Civil War portraits
Perhaps in late 1861, but certainly by mid-1862, Ehrgott, Forbriger & Co. began to issue a series of portraits of Civil War figures: politicians as well as military and naval officers. These prints, which the firm continued to issue at least as late as 1864, were in many ways similar to the portraits issued by other firms such as Currier & Ives, however these Ehrgott, Forbriger & Co. are quite unlike the prints by other publishers in one salient feature.
As discussed in Milt Kaplan's "Heads of States," (Winterthur Portfolio 6. Charlottesville, 1970 Pp. 135-150.) prints of different figures share the same, or very similar backgrounds, with the identical horses, landscapes, troops, ships, desks, and so forth. [Cf. illustrations of Gens. Franklin (left) and Fremont (right)] While some of the backgrounds the firm used appear only in one print, others are shared by between three and five figures, and one has as many as seven different generals sharing it. Overall, the firm issued seventy-nine different prints of sixty-nine different Union politicians and officers. The Ehrgott, Forbriger & Co. prints were issued separately for those in the mid-west who wanted to have these images of Union heroes and they have also been found in bound portfolios. However they are found, they are very rare and a fascinating part of Civil War history. For further information, see Mark E. Neely Jr. & Harold Holzer's The Union Image: Popular Prints of the Civil War North. (Chapel Hill, 2000.)
An interesting map issued to show the importance of completing the railroad between Cincinnati and Nashville. By the end of the Civil War an extensive network of railroads criss-crossed the North, with a less extensive but still reasonable network in the South. The need for connections between the lines of these two regions was obvious and thus the importance of a link from Cincinnati to Nashville. The map indicates that track existed from Cincinnati south to Danville, with the proposed route shown for the final link to Nashville. $250
Ehrgott & Forbriger portfolio:
[Album of the Campaign of 1861 in Western Virginia.] Drawn and lithographed by J.N. Roesler. Cincinnati, 1862. Portfolio of 20 lithographs by Ehrgott, Forbriger & Co.. Small folio on sheets 13 x 17. Four of the prints with foxing and some tears and wear in the margins. Other prints generally very good though with some stains and foxing. With original boards but detached and with corner broken off one.
A very rare portfolio of wonderful, lithographed scenes of the 47th Ohio during their campaign in West Virginia are based on drawings by J. Nep Roesler, a Corporal of the color guard in the 47th. This set of twenty images was entitled Album of the Campaign of 1861 in Western Virginia. The images concern General William S. Rosecrans' Kanawha Valley campaign of late 1861 which was important in maintaining Western Virginia for the union. Unusual for the time, only one image in the series shows a battle scene. While most subsequent Civil War images focused on the battles and military might of the Union, these charming prints include otherwise rarely seen images of camp life, picket duty, marching, crossing rivers, etc.. The prints are also wonderful in their portrayal of the mountainous terrain of Western Virginia and the sometimes wild weather faced by the troops. As stated by Neely & Holzer, "Roesler's ability to escape patriotic convention, as well as his real skills as a landscape artist, gave his portfolio a special place among popular prints of the Civil War." (p. 67) These rare prints are fascinating and unusual documents of Civil War history.
The portfolio for $4,600
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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated January 31, 2015