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Battle of Williamsburg


In the southern part of the Virginia peninsula, with General McClellan pressing him, and after a month-long siege, General Joseph Johnston decided to abandon his line at Yorktown and pull back his troops in order to be able to better defend the Confederate capital of Richmond. In order to protect his retreat, he placed troops, under General James Longstreet, at Fort Magruder, which straddled the road north out of Yorktown, near the town of Williamsburg. On May 5th, General "Fighting Joe" Hooker's advance division came upon the Confederate force at Magruder and the first pitched battle of the Peninsular Campaign took place, called the Battle of Williamsburg or the Battle of Fort Magruder. The battle was inconclusive, for Hooker's attack was repulsed and Johnston's forces were able to continue their withdrawal.

Battle of Williamsburg
A.R. Waud. "General Hancock's Brigade Charging the Rebels at the Battle of Williamsburg" and "General Hooker's Division Engaging the Enemy at the Battle of Williamsburg." From Harper's Weekly. New York, May 24, 1862. Wood engraving. 9 x 13 3/4.

A pair of action images drawn by A.R. Waud, a Harper's artist who followed the Union army in the Peninsular campaign. These appeared within less than three weeks after the battle. $40

Battle of Williamsburg
Alonzo Chappel. "Battle of Williamsburg." From Battles of the United States by Sea and Land. New York: Johnson, Fry & Co., ca. 1865. 5 1/8 x 7 3/4. Steel engraving. Very good condition.

Alonzo Chappel was one of the most prolific and accomplished illustrators who produced images for contemporary publications on the Civil War. This is a nice, strong image that it typical of the quality of his work. Hooker's forces are shown in the foreground, attacking the fort in the middle distance. $75

Battle of Williamsburg
"Battle of Williamsburg." Chicago: Kurz & Allison, 1893. 21 x 28. Chromolithograph. Very good condition.

The Chicago firm of Kurz & Allison is well known for its production of commemorative prints of American historical scenes. Founded in 1880, the firm's avowed purpose was to design "for large scale establishments of all kinds, and in originating and placing on the market artistic and fancy prints of the most elaborate workmanship." Beginning in the late 1880s, when people began to look back at the Civil War and were interested in having pictures of its events, this firm issued a series of graphic and colored, though mostly made-up, images of the war's major battles. $575
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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. April 14, 2016