Gettysburg Illustrations - WileyStudio

Doc reenacted as a Battlefield Illustrator-Photographer, and Dixie as an Ice Angel-Photographer. Eventually, the full color, black and white, and period-style Illustrations will cover most key events and personages of the battle held to be the turning point of the American Civil War.

INTERESTING NOTES ON CIVIL WAR BATTLEFIELD ILLUSTRATORS: Alfred Waud, Frank Vizetelly, and other Civil War Battlefield Illustrators were civilian artists who produced artworks as they followed both Union and Confederate Armies throughout the war. Their initial quick battlefield sketches were further developed in camp, then sent by horse couriers or blockade runners for conversion into engravings in publications such as Harper's Weekly, The New York Illustrated News, and The Illustrated London News. In this way, live action battlefield events were brought to American and European audiences quickly - for the time - and made the Civil War the first conflict viewable in history as it unfolded. Photography was a new technology - so the photographic work of Gardner and Brady was not yet reproducible in printed publications. In addition, camera shutter speeds were slow and not capable of capturing live action - which is why the photography of the time tended to capture after-battle scenes, portraits, and static images - making the work of battlefield illustrators the only way to convey battlefield live action scenes. Illustrators like Waud and Vizetelly lived frequently with front line troops and were in much personal peril as they worked. A typical up to 30-minute pencil sketch was further rendered in camp or in the field then sent in to a publisher in as few as two days where the conversion into wood block or metal plate engravings were made by a team of artists for printing and distribution to a waiting public. Waud, following the Army Of The Potomac worked for Northern publications and could get his work published fairly quickly, but Vizetelly - following the Army Of Northern Virginia - faced the added constraint of having to send his work to The Illustrated London News via blockade runners from Wilmington, North Carolina. Of interest; there was a Northern Bounty on both Vizetelly AND his work - as it was considered propaghanda against the north. Such was the commitment of Battlefield Illustrators and publishers at the time. Illustrated newspapers with Civil War Battlefield Scenes were in very high demand and sometimes sold more than 300.000 copies per issue.

Culps Hill Assault

150th Gettysburg Reenactment Illustration

Converted from a 12-minute battlefield sketch and support photographs, this deepened dusk scene shows the 8th Tennessee / Cleburne's Division / Ewell's 2nd Corp assault on the northern Union Defensive Line on Culp's Hill at the top of the Fishhook; the night of the second day of the Battle Of Gettysburg.

Both North and South Reenactors who took part in this event were struck by the frenzied loud power of thousands of muskets firing from both sides, and the thickness of the blue-gray smoke drifting through the shadowing trees nearing dark. Like the actual battle, the Union Line held fast and Ewell eventually departed in the near dark. It was a surreal moment that left a lasting impression.

Afterward, walking back on a gravel road through trees to the 8th Tennessee Encampment, I had time to converse with both Union and Confederate Reenactors about what they had just been through. Their reactions were similar; it was the best experience at the 150th Gettysburg they had yet experienced. I felt the same - and once back in camp we couldn't stop talking about it - and wondering how both Union and Confederate Soldiers could have made it through all that with such steadfast courage.

In "Culp's Hill Assault" the Confederates are assaulting the Union Defensive Line toward the top of the hill. Smoke from both lines of battle are drifting through the trees, and boulders and details from reenactment and historical photographs were added to the battlefield sketch I made on the spot to produce the final illustration. I departed from sepia and gray papers and chose dark blue-gray illustration board to enhance the moody dusk battle scene.



Time Of Execution: 20 Hours
Technique / Media: Etched graphite, Prisma-Color, gouache and marker on blue-gray illustration board.
Size: 11" x 17"

scott wileyillustrationdrawingGettysburg8th TennesseeCleburne's DivisionEwell's 2nd Corpsdusk150th Gettysburg Reenactment IlustrationslideshowDoc Wileydw