DC -- Donald W. Reynolds Center (NPG) -- Exhibit: Mathew Brady's Photographs of Union Generals:
Bruce Guthrie Photos Home Page: [Click here] to go to Bruce Guthrie Photos home page.
Description of Pictures: Mathew Brady’s Photographs of Union Generals
March 30, 2012 - May 8, 2016
Mathew Brady’s Photographs of Union Generals is a part of the Portrait Gallery's series of exhibitions marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Although Brady may be best known for his photographic documentation of the Civil War, his New York and Washington DC galleries also did a brisk business throughout the conflict by producing studio portraits of the ever-changing roster of Union Army generals.
Featuring modern prints made from Brady’s original glass-plate negatives in the National Portrait Gallery’s Frederick Hill Meserve Collection, this installation includes portraits of many of the North’s military leaders, from George McCellan and Ambrose Burnside to William Tecumseh Sherman and Ulysses Grant.
Recognize anyone? If you recognize specific people (or other things) in the pictures which I haven't labeled, please identify them for the world. Or fill in any other descriptions you can. Click the little pencil icon underneath the file name (just above the picture). Spammers need not apply.
Slide Show: Want to see the pictures as a slide show?
Copyrights: All pictures were taken by amateur photographer Bruce Guthrie (me!) who retains copyright on them. Free for non-commercial use with attribution. See the [Creative Commons] definition of what this means. "Photos (c) Bruce Guthrie" is fine for attribution. Feel free to use in publications and pages with attribution but you don't have permission to sell the photos themselves. A free copy of any printed publication using any photographs is requested. Descriptive text, if any, is from a mixture of sources, quite frequently from signs at the location or from official web sites; copyrights, if any, are retained by their original owners.
Specific picture descriptions: Photos above with "i" icons next to the bracketed sequence numbers (e.g. " ") are described as follows:
SIPGUG_120407_002.JPG: Matthew Brady's Photographs of Union Generals
By assembling teams of photographers and securing permission for them to accompany Union forces in the field, Mathew Brady produced an extraordinary visual record of the Civil War. But there was more to his efforts during the war: his New York and Washington galleries did a brisk business creating studio portraits of the ever-changing roster of Union generals.
When the war began, Brady was already one of America’s foremost portrait photographers. His reputation for excellence made his galleries an obvious destination for Union officers assuming a new command or receiving a promotion. Although some posed for large-format portraits, the burgeoning popularity of inexpensive, calling card-size photographs known as cartes de visite made this the format of choice for countless generals. In addition to furnishing cartes de visite for the subject’s personal use, Brady marketed them to a public eager for pictures of the men it hoped would lead the Union to victory. As the fortunes of individual generals rose and fell, new portraits were produced and dutifully added to the albums that were a fixture in many American parlors.
The photographs exhibited here are modern prints made from Brady carte-de-visite negatives in the National Portrait Gallery’s Frederick Hill Meserve Collection. The absence of generals such as Henry W. Halleck, George G. Meade, John Pope, and George H. Thomas reflects the fact that Brady's negatives of these men are not present in this collection.
SIPGUG_120407_011.JPG: Joseph Hooker 1814–1879
Born Hadley, Massachusetts
Following General Ambrose Burnside’s resounding defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg, President Lincoln named the charismatic Joseph Hooker as commander of the Army of the Potomac in January 1863. With signature bravado, Hooker proclaimed, “May God have mercy on General Lee, for I will have none.” But it was Lee who emerged victorious in May when his vastly outnumbered Army of Northern Virginia bested Hooker’s forces at Chancellorsville, Virginia. When Lincoln’s confidence in him plummeted, Hooker asked to be relieved of his command. He was succeeded by General George Gordon Meade just days before the Battle of Gettysburg. In the autumn of 1863 Hooker returned to the field as a corps commander in the war’s western theater, where he contributed to the Union victory at Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. He later served ably in Sherman’s Atlanta campaign but relinquished his command when he was passed over for promotion.
SIPGUG_120407_015.JPG: Daniel Sickles 1819–1914
Born New York City
A career politician with no prior military experience, Daniel Sickles took the lead in organizing New York’s “Excelsior Brigade” during the initial months of the war. Placed in command of that unit with the rank of brigadier general of volunteers, Sickles performed capably during the Army of the Potomac’s Peninsula Campaign and the Seven Days battles in 1862. He was promoted to major general in November 1862 and later led the Third Corps at the Battle of Chancellorsville, where his troops attacked the rear guard of General “Stonewall” Jackson’s army and then sustained substantial casualties during a retreat ordered by General Joseph Hooker. At Gettysburg, Sickles disregarded General George G. Meade’s orders and deployed his men in such a way that they were decimated by General James Longstreet’s Confederates. Wounded by enemy cannon fire, Sickles lost his right leg to amputation and never returned to the field.
SIPGUG_120407_024.JPG: William Rosecrans 1819–1898
Born Delaware County, Ohio
William Rosecrans began his Civil War service on a positive note. In the early months of the conflict, he proved instrumental in the campaign that expelled General Robert E. Lee’s forces from western Virginia and secured that region for the Union. Assuming command of the newly designated Army of the Cumberland in 1862, Rosecrans marshaled his troops for a drive against Confederate general Braxton Bragg’s forces, which culminated in the Battle of Stones River in Tennessee. Despite heavy casualties, the Union forces prevailed. In 1863 Rosecrans launched a well-conceived campaign to force Bragg’s retreat to Chattanooga but suffered a crushing defeat when the opposing armies clashed at Chickamauga in September. In one of the war’s bloodiest battles, a tactical error by Rosecrans paved the way for a Confederate victory. Relieved of his command, Rosecrans led the Department of the Missouri in 1864 but held no other post for the remainder of the war.
SIPGUG_120407_031.JPG: Fitz John Porter 1822–1901
Born Portsmouth, New Hampshire
A protégé of George McClellan, Fitz John Porter became the general’s close friend and confidant while serving under his command during the Peninsula Campaign of 1862. Following his promotion to major general of volunteers in July 1862, Porter was reassigned to the Army of Northern Virginia under the leadership of McClellan’s arch-rival, General John Pope—a man Porter also detested. When Pope accused him of dereliction of duty during the Battle of Second Bull Run, Porter requested an official investigation of the matter. He rejoined McClellan’s Army of the Potomac but was subsequently relieved of his command of the Fifth Corps while awaiting the outcome of a court-martial. In proceedings marred by questionable evidence and political intrigue, Porter was found guilty of disloyalty, disobedience, and misconduct. He was dismissed from the army in January 1863. When his case was retried in 1879, the earlier verdict was reversed.
SIPGUG_120407_038.JPG: Ulysses S. Grant 1822–1885
Born Point Pleasant, Ohio
Urged by critics to relieve Ulysses S. Grant of his command in April 1862, following the costly Union victory at Shiloh, President Lincoln refused, saying, “I can’t spare this man—he fights.” Fifteen months later, Lincoln’s faith in Grant was justified when the major general engineered the stunning victory at Vicksburg, cutting the Confederacy in two and marking a turning point in the war. With subsequent victories at Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, and Missionary Ridge, Grant firmly established his preeminence among Union commanders. Appointed general-in-chief of the Union army by President Lincoln in March 1864, Grant mapped out the multi-theater war strategy that relied upon simultaneous, coordinated attacks by all northern armies to batter the Confederates on every front and compel their surrender. The cost in casualties was staggering, but the soundness of Grant’s strategy was confirmed a little more than a year after its implementation, when Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox.
SIPGUG_120407_047.JPG: William Tecumseh Sherman 1820–1891
Born Lancaster, Ohio
With Ulysses S. Grant’s promotion to general-in-chief of the army in March 1864, William Tecumseh Sherman assumed command of all Union troops in the war’s western theater and embarked on the most significant campaign of his military career. Tasked with taking Atlanta and destroying Confederate general Joseph E. Johnston’s army, Sherman pushed into Georgia from Tennessee in May. After a series of hard-fought battles, his forces captured Atlanta in September before continuing on to Savannah. Though harsh in his prosecution of a “total war” strategy that exacted a devastating toll on people and property in the path of his army’s march through Georgia and the Carolinas, Sherman proved to be a magnanimous peacemaker at the war’s end. On April 17, 1865, when he met with Johnston to arrange for the surrender of the latter’s army, Sherman offered terms more generous than those agreed to by Grant and Lee at Appomattox.
SIPGUG_120407_059.JPG: Philip Sheridan 1831–1888
Born Albany, New York?
After an inauspicious beginning as an army quartermaster, General Philip Sheridan subsequently compiled a brilliant military record that by the Civil War’s end had earned him recognition as one of the North’s most effective generals. When a series of battlefield successes brought him to the attention of General Ulysses S. Grant, Sheridan was first chosen to command the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac (April 1864), followed by the Army of the Shenandoah (August 1864). In the latter capacity, under direct orders from Grant, Sheridan and his army swept through the Shenandoah Valley, driving the enemy south while systematically laying waste to the fertile region that had served as a major source of Confederate supplies. In the final campaign of the war, Sheridan and his troops played a key role in dislodging General Robert E. Lee’s army from Petersburg and later blocking its retreat near Appomattox Court House.
SIPGUG_120407_066.JPG: Franz Sigel 1824–1902
Born Sinsheim, Grand Duchy of Baden, Germany
A prominent member of the German American community, Franz Sigel helped to rally immigrant support for the Union cause. He began his Civil War service in the West and later contributed to the North’s decisive victory in the Battle at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, in March 1862. Promoted to the rank of major general, Sigel was transferred to the war’s eastern theater but success proved elusive for him there. He was given his first major command when the Army of Virginia was created in the summer of 1862 and served under General John Pope in the North’s stunning loss at the Battle of Second Bull Run (Manassas). Relegated thereafter to a series of less prominent posts, Sigel finally gained command of the Department of West Virginia in February 1864. He was soundly defeated at the Battle of New Market in May and lost his field command a short time later.
SIPGUG_120407_071.JPG: Winfield Scott Hancock 1824–1886
Born Montgomery Square, Pennsylvania
By the time the Union and Confederate armies met at Gettysburg in July 1863, Winfield Scott Hancock had served in the Peninsula Campaign with General George McClellan and ably led troops in heavy fighting at Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. On the first day at Gettysburg, Hancock claimed much of the high ground for Union forces by establishing a line of defense that snaked around Culp’s and Cemetery Hills and continued to the south, along Cemetery Ridge to Little Round Top. Despite repeated Confederate assaults, Hancock’s defenses held and were a deciding factor in the Union army’s victory. Often in the thick of the fight, Hancock was badly wounded during Pickett’s charge and did not return to duty for some months. He served in the Virginia campaigns of 1864—from the Battle of the Wilderness to the siege of Petersburg—until poor health forced him to give up his field command.
SIPGUG_120407_079.JPG: James B. McPherson 1828–1864
Born near Clyde, Ohio
A West Point–trained engineer, James B. McPherson began his Civil War service overseeing harbor fortifications in Boston. By the autumn of 1861, however, he had secured field duty in Missouri as an aide-de-camp and assistant engineer to General Henry W. Halleck. The following February, McPherson came under General Ulysses S. Grant’s command. He served ably as Grant’s chief engineer during the campaign against Forts Henry and Donelson, at the Battle of Shiloh, and in action at Corinth, Mississippi. Promoted rapidly to the rank of major general, McPherson became one of the youngest corps commanders in the Union army when Grant gave him charge of the Seventeenth Corps in January 1863. After distinguishing himself at Vicksburg and later assuming command of the Army of Tennessee, McPherson lost his life in a skirmish on July 22, 1864, while supporting General William T. Sherman’s army in the Battle of Atlanta.
SIPGUG_120407_084.JPG: Henry W. Slocum 1760–1851
Born Delphi, New York
Henry W. Slocum saw action in a number of the Civil War’s critical campaigns. He was severely wounded at the Battle of First Bull Run (Manassas) but recovered to lead a brigade and later a division during General George McClellan’s operations on the Virginia peninsula. Promoted to major general in 1862, Slocum provided cover to retreating Union troops after Second Bull Run and later fought in Maryland at South Mountain and Antietam. He was highly critical of General Joseph Hooker’s conduct during the Battle at Chancellorsville, where Slocum’s Twelfth Corps suffered heavy casualties. After commanding the Union army’s right wing on Culp’s Hill at the Battle of Gettysburg, Slocum was ordered to the war’s western theater, where he balked at serving again under Hooker. Assigned to alternate duties, he led the first Union troops to enter Atlanta in September 1864 and took part in Sherman’s march through Georgia and subsequent campaign in the Carolinas.
SIPGUG_120407_093.JPG: Robert Anderson 1805–1871
Born Jefferson County, near Louisville, Kentucky
In November 1860 U.S. Army major Robert Anderson was ordered to South Carolina to assume command of three federal forts—Moultrie, Sumter, and Castle Pinckney—located in Charleston Harbor. Despite his southern sympathies, Anderson was devoted to the Union and steadfast in his desire to avoid action that could provoke war. Fearing seizure of his Fort Moultrie garrison in the wake of South Carolina’s vote for secession, Anderson moved his troops to Fort Sumter under cover of darkness on December 26, 1860. In January 1861, when rebel guns prevented a supply ship from reaching his garrison, Anderson did not return fire. But when the Confederates launched their bombardment of Fort Sumter on April 12, he defended the fort until further resistance was futile. After surrendering on April 14, Anderson immediately became a hero in the North, and President Lincoln promoted him to the rank of brigadier general.
SIPGUG_120407_104.JPG: Irvin McDowell 1818–1885
Born Columbus, Ohio
Staff officer Irvin McDowell had no experience as a field commander, but thanks to powerful support from General Winfield Scott and Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase, he was promoted to brigadier general on May 14, 1861. Shortly thereafter, he received command of the Department of Northeastern Virginia. Faced with the daunting task of assembling, equipping, and training a large fighting force composed principally of inexperienced recruits, McDowell came under heavy political pressure to move swiftly against Confederate forces massing near a critical railway junction at Manassas, Virginia. McDowell’s battle plan may have appeared credible on paper, but the combination of untested troops and poor leadership in the field produced the demoralizing Union defeat at the Battle of First Bull Run in July 1861. Replaced immediately by General George McClellan, McDowell later suffered significant blame for his role in the Union defeat at the Battle of Second Bull Run a year later.
SIPGUG_120407_110.JPG: John Adams Dix 1798–1879
Born Boscawen, New Hampshire
Four southern states had already seceded from the Union by January 15, 1861, when John Adams Dix—a prominent Democrat—assumed the post of treasury secretary in President James Buchanan’s lame-duck administration. Determined to maintain federal authority, Dix sent a dispatch in late January to a treasury official in New Orleans, famously declaring, “If anyone attempts to haul down the American flag, shoot him on the spot!” When the war began, Dix first accepted appointment as a major general with the New York State volunteers before receiving a commission from President Lincoln at the same rank in the Union army. Deemed too old for battlefield service, Dix was awarded a series of departmental commands in the war’s eastern theater, including that of the Department of the East, where he helped to restore order in New York City following antidraft riots in July 1863.
SIPGUG_120407_119.JPG: George McClellan 1826–1885
Born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Fresh from action in the West that had helped secure both Kentucky and western Virginia for the Union, George McClellan was President Lincoln’s choice in July 1861 to take charge of the army in the East following its disastrous rout at the Battle of First Bull Run. Although McClellan proved masterful in reorganizing, training, and restoring morale to the command he would name the Army of the Potomac, his penchant for overestimating the strength of the enemy and underrating his own army’s preparedness undermined his effectiveness. McClellan’s procrastinations and inflated demands for more troops—combined with the failure of his Peninsula Campaign against Richmond in June 1861 and the indecisive outcome of the Battle of Antietam—exhausted the president’s patience. Lincoln relieved McClellan of his command after he failed to pursue General Robert E. Lee’s army in the fall of 1862.
SIPGUG_120407_124.JPG: Thomas Meagher 1823–1867
Born Waterford, Ireland
A popular figure in New York City’s Irish community, Thomas Meagher initially raised a Zouave unit—consisting principally of Irish immigrants—for the Sixty-ninth New York State Militia during the spring of 1861. After serving with this company of short-term volunteers at the Battle of First Bull Run, he returned to New York and assembled the “Irish Brigade,” whose members enlisted for the duration of the war. Commissioned as a brigadier general in February 1862, Meagher commanded the Irish Brigade throughout the Peninsula Campaign, at Second Bull Run, Antietam, and at Fredericksburg, where the company suffered staggering causalities while attempting to take the Confederate positions on Marye’s Heights. When he was refused permission to rebuild his decimated brigade after the Battle of Chancellorsville, Meagher resigned his commission in May 1863. He did not return to the field until the final months of the war.
SIPGUG_120407_131.JPG: Samuel Heintzelman 1805–1880
Born Manheim, Pennsylvania
Samuel Heintzelman had more than three decades of military service prior to the Civil War, but as a Union army commander he failed to distinguish himself. General Heintzelman successfully led the force that occupied Alexandria, Virginia, on May 24, 1861, but suffered a devastating defeat in July at the Battle of First Bull Run (Manassas), when vital Union artillery was lost to Confederate forces, and his Third Division troops were routed from the field. Taking part in General George McClellan’s unsuccessful drive to capture Richmond during the Peninsula Campaign of 1862, Heintzelman committed a costly error by overestimating enemy strength at Yorktown and counseling against a direct assault. Later, despite personal bravery in the Battle of Seven Pines, he provided ineffectual leadership in the field. His final engagement as a corps commander came in August 1862 at the Battle of Second Bull Run, where his troops again fell short of achieving their objective.
SIPGUG_120407_137.JPG: John C. Frémont 1813–1890
Born Savannah, Georgia
Appointed by President Lincoln to command the Department of the West, headquartered in St. Louis, former explorer John C. Frémont assumed that post in July 1861. But within a matter of months, his refusal to rescind a proclamation to confiscate the property of rebel Missourians and free their slaves cost him both the president’s confidence and his western command. This episode made Frémont a favorite among radical, antislavery Republicans, who pressured Lincoln to restore him to duty. Assigned to a new command in Virginia in the spring of 1862, he was outmatched by Confederate general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and later resigned his command rather than serve under General John Pope. Nominated by anti-Lincoln Republicans as their candidate for president in 1864, Frémont withdrew from the contest when a committee of administration loyalists convinced him that his candidacy could open the door to a Democratic victory in November.
SIPGUG_120407_146.JPG: Ambrose Burnside 1824–1881
Born Liberty, Indiana
Doubtful of his fitness to lead a large army, Ambrose Burnside twice declined the command of the Army of the Potomac. He felt duty-bound to assume the post, however, when it was offered yet a third time, after General George McClellan’s removal in the wake of Antietam (September 1862). Burnside’s first and only engagement as commander was the disastrous Battle of Fredericksburg in December of the same year, in which a series of frontal assaults against well-fortified Confederate positions resulted in nearly 13,000 Union casualties. Relieved of his command by President Lincoln, Burnside was transferred to the Department of the Ohio, where he later redeemed himself in the defense of Knoxville, Tennessee, earning the thanks of Congress for his efforts. Burnside ended his Civil War service on an unfortunate note. Deemed responsible for the staggering Union losses in the Battle of the Crater (July 1864) at Petersburg, Virginia, Burnside was placed on leave and not recalled to duty.
SIPGUG_120407_157.JPG: John Sedgwick 1813–1864
Born Cornwall Hollow, Connecticut
Known affectionately as “Uncle John” by his troops, John Sedgwick was a favorite of General George McClellan, who appointed him to a divisional command with the Army of the Potomac in February 1862. Sedgwick took part in the Peninsula Campaign and was first wounded at Glendale during the Seven Days battles in late June. Promoted to major general of volunteers, he again saw action at Antietam, where his division suffered heavy casualties and he sustained multiple wounds. In General Joseph Hooker’s Chancellorsville campaign of 1863, Sedgwick’s men won a small victory at Fredericksburg, but when they were later forced back across the Rappahannock River, Hooker blamed their commander for the campaign’s failure. In May 1864, Sedgwick lost his life at the Wilderness while directing the placement of artillery. Cautioned that he might draw enemy fire, Sedgwick replied, “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance” and was felled immediately by a Confederate sharpshooter.
Limiting Text: You can turn off all of this text by clicking this link:
Multi Column: Number of columns of thumbnails to appear per page (normally defaults to 3):
Bigger photos? To save space on the server and because the modern camera images are so large, photos larger than 640x480 have not been loaded on this page. If you need the bigger sizes of selected photos, email me and I can email them back to you or I can re-load this page temporarily with the bigger versions restored.
2012 photos: Equipment this year: My mainstays were the Fuji S100fs, Nikon D7000, and the new Fuji X-S1. I also used an underwater Fuji XP50 and a Nikon D600. The first three cameras all broke this year and had to be repaired.
Trips this year: three Civil War Trust conferences (Shepherdstown, West Virginia; Richmond, Virginia; and Williamsburg, Virginia), a week-long family reunion cruise of the Caribbean, my annual two-week trip out west for the San Diego Comic-Con (plus side trips to Zion, Bryce, the Grand Canyon, etc), and a week-long family reunion in the Wisconsin Dells (with lots of in-transit time in Ohio and Indiana)..
Ego strokes: I had a picture of Miss DC, Ashley Boalch, published in the Washington Post. I had a photograph of the George Segal San Francisco Holocaust memorial used as the cover of Quebec Francais (issue 165). Not being able to read French, I'm not entirely sure what the article is about but, hey! And I guess what could be considered to be a positive thing, my site is now established enough that spammers have noticed it and I had to block 17,000 file description postings for Viagra and whatever else..
Number of photos taken this year: just below 410,000.