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The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd.

A Nation Divided.  The Civil War in contemporary prints
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Scenes of the Civil War

[ Battles & Events | Currier & Ives and contemporaries | Kurz & Allison | Prang & Co. | Winslow Homer | Small illustrations ]


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Battles & Events:


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Battle of Rich Mountain
Hennessy. "The Battle of Rich Mountain, Virginia, July 13, 1861." From Harper's Weekly: July 27, 1861. Wood engraving. 9 x 13 3/4. Slight crease down center. Otherwise, very good condition.

The images from illustrated newspapers, like Harper's Weekly were often based on first-hand drawings, making them some of the accurate images of battles and other events. They were also published very quickly after the events depicted; this image appeared just two weeks after the battle shown. $45
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Bachman: Seat of War
John Bachman. "Bird's Eye View of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia." From a series titled "Panorama of the Seat of War." New York: Charles Magnus, 1864. 22 1/2 x 32 1/2 (sheet). Chromolithograph. A few short, repaired tears at top and bottom, all expertly conserved, repaired and lined. Else, very good condition.

This fascinating print is half view, half map. The scene looks down upon the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries from a 'bird's eye view.' It shows the progress of the Union blockade against the Confederates, and it was designed for a Northern audience. Along the right side one can see Wilmington, Baltimore, and Harper's Ferry, including the water and road network that connected these points to the south. Norfolk, Petersburg, Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Washington are seen in the center of the image, with fine detail. One of few documents to show the entire Delmarva Peninsula and as far west as the Shenandoah Valley. Also shown are the forts and ships along and in the Chesapeake Bay and to the north. A dramatic and informative image of the Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia center of action during the Civil War. $2,700



Battle of Antietam
Max Rosenthal. "Battle of Antietam." Philadelphia: William Smith, 1865. Chromolithograph by M. Rosenthal. 22 3/4 x 27 1/2 (full sheet). Printed by L.N. Rosenthal. Folded down center. Excellent condition.

This heroic depiction shows the Union Army staff during the Battle of Antietam, September 1862, in which Gen. George McClellan turned back Gen. Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the North. Known as the bloodiest single day of the war, the battle was a technical Union victory that provided Lincoln with political advantages centering on the Emancipation Proclamation and on warning European powers away from alliance with the Confederacy. Published in the final year of the war, this dramatic print was an emotional presentation of a great victory remembered. $450



F[elix] O[ctavius] C[arr] Darley. "On the March to the Sea." Connecticut: L. Stebbins, 1868. Steel engraving by A.H. Ritchie. Hand coloring. 25 x 40 1/4 (image) plus 27 x 41 1/2 (full sheet). A vignette bust portrait of W.T. Sherman is in the lower title area. Attached to heavy board. Vertical fold that cracked the paper surface at center from top to bottom, but less obvious due to size and superb color.

Darley's dramatic and well drawn depiction of William Tecumseh Sherman's famous "March to the Sea" shows a scene from a campaign that had been a deciding factor in the closing days of the Civil War. Grant was facing stalemate on the eastern front, and as the battlefield deaths mounted, the reelection of Lincoln was in danger due to war weariness. Once Sherman's western army captured Atlanta, Lincoln's leadership of the Republican Party was no longer seriously questioned. An aggressive campaign to take Savannah as quickly as possible instead of Augusta or Charleston became the famous "March to the Sea" in which a wide swath of destruction was made to terrorize the southern citizens as well as eliminate the South's ability to wage war.

This picture focuses on Union troops destroying the railroad tracks with hearty expertise while around them buildings burn and freed slaves flee in terror. In the background a burning bridge is probably the Oconee River passage that was destroyed by Gen. Slocum prior to the convergence of the two main columns on Milledgeville. Such a depiction is one part of a controversy that carries on among historians to this day. The ferocity of Sherman's campaign has been condemned and defended. This print was issued at a time when Sherman was being considered as a presidential candidate for the election of 1868. His superior officer, U.S. Grant, gained the nomination, but this piece of historical Americana illustrates the strong emotions that supported Sherman at that time. Many still consider Sherman the very best strategist of the Civil War. Regional differences will always play a part in that consideration. $625



Thure de Thulstrup. "Battle of Allatoona Pass." Boston: L. Prang, 1887. 15 x 21 7/8. Chromolithograph. With short repaired tear. Otherwise, very good condition.

A striking image that is one of the rare and important Civil War series issued by Louis Prang between 1886 and 1888. In the early 1880s, Century Magazine had issued a very popular work entitled Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, and the Kurz & Allison firm had issued a large chromolithograph of Gettysburg. In response to these, Louis Prang decided to issue a portfolio of 18 elaborate chromolithographs of important battles of the war. Prang termed his prints "aquarelle facsimile prints" to distinguish them from "mere" chromos. Prang claimed they were made by a "new and secret process", but primarily they were chromos done without any line work. They were based on watercolors commissioned by Prang and they were intended to be naturalistic and accurate, for Prang was aiming these prints for veterans and their descendants. Prang got testimonials on their accuracy from prominent veterans and he included detailed text on the battles involved. The prints were quite popular, helping to create a great surge in patriotic nostalgia about the war.

There were 18 prints in all: 6 of eastern battles; 6 of western battles; and 6 naval images. There was intended to be something for everyone, and Prang focused mostly on heroes who were still living at the time. The were issued either in a portfolio or separately for framing.. At first they were issued in parts over time, but eventually were packaged into three groups: East/West/Naval. These are not to be confused with the more common later Prang chromos, also issued by the American Lithographic Company. Not only are these larger and more finely produced, but they are much scarcer.

This image shows the battle over the railroad depot near Kenesaw Mountain. On October 5, 1864, the Confederates attacked the Union troops under Brig. General John M. Corse. He was instructed to "Hold fast. We are coming" by General Sherman, and Corse not only held his position, but launched a successful counterattack-the scene depicted here. $850



Sherman's Foragers
James E. Taylor. "Sherman's Foragers on a Georgia Plantation." Pencil and wash drawing signed at bottom right "James E. Taylor 1888." 14 1/4 x 24 1/4. Probably drawn in New York. Excellent condition. Reproduced in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, IV: p. 674.

During the American Civil War James Earl Taylor (1839-1901) was a battlefront artist working for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Magazine. He made a reputation for himself during the war and afterwards went west to continue doing illustrations of events and landscapes. He left Leslie's in 1883 to become an independent illustrator and was soon after contacted by the publishers of The Century to provide scenes of the recent Civil War from his memories. A series of articles about the war had appeared in The Century Magazine and were very popular, so the editors decided to gather those articles and more along with vivid illustrations for a set of four volumes which became the classic Battles and Leaders of the Civil War.

This drawing was used to illustrate an article by Capt. Daniel Oakey of the Second Massachusetts Volunteers who wrote in the middle of an article titled "Marching through Georgia and the Carolinas" that "Sometimes in the midday halt a stray pig that had cunningly evaded the foragers would venture forth in the belief of having escaped 'the cruel war,' and would find his error, alas! too late, by encountering our column." (IV: 675) The slaughter of the pig is the main focus, but Taylor also included pictures of other acts by foragers, a detailed vignette of slaves looking on with fright, and depictions of buildings that include a large cotton press. There is much emotional history in this portrayal. This is a superb, historical illustration.

Interestingly, Taylor used essentially the same foreground for an illustration in a 1900 manuscript With Sheridan Up the Shenandoah Valley in 1864: Leaves from a Special Artist's Sketch Book and Diary, recounting the campaign of General Philip Sheridan. Although assembled in the 1890s, The James E. Taylor Sketchbook was not published until 1989, by the Western Reserve Historical Society which owns the original. In that much smaller illustration (p. 272), "Disregarding the Cavalryman's prior claim the Dough boy throws himself on the Porker," far fewer human figures are shown than in this Sherman one, and the plantation structures such as the cotton press are replaced by a representation of the "Selden Barn." That barn remains today, south of Charles Town, West Virginia, and very near the cave where Col. George Washington reportedly had presided over the first Masonic ceremonies west of the Blue Ridge and which Taylor visited on 29 August 1864. Modern maps locating the site and a photograph of the barn accompany the print. $2,400


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