DC -- Donald W. Reynolds Center (NPG) -- Exhibit: Civil War:
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SIPGCW_180908_04.JPG: Study for Grant and His Generals
As the Civil War moved into its final stages in the fall of 1864, the Norwegian artist Ole Peter Hansen Balling and a prosperous New Yorker conceived of the idea for a large equestrian painting depicting the commander of the Union armies, Ulysses S. Grant, flanked by an array of generals who served under him. Upon completion, the painting would be used to raise funds for the United States Sanitary Commission, a private organization for aiding sick and wounded soldiers. To obtain likenesses of the twenty-seven figures in the picture, Balling traveled to Union army encampments to make life studies of his subjects. Among the most cooperative was Grant, who gave Balling repeated opportunities to draw him as he rode with staff officers to survey the forward lines near his headquarters at City Point, Virginia.
The final rendering of Grant and His Generals approached being life-sized. Balling also painted this smaller version, most likely to serve as the template for a color lithograph of the picture. Today both paintings are in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection; the large version is on display in a nearby stairwell.
Ole Peter Hansen Balling, c 1865
Left to right: Thomas C. Devin (1822–1878), George A. Custer (1839–1876), Hugh J. Kilpatrick (1836–1881), William H. Emory (1811–1887), Philip H. Sheridan (1831–1888), James B. McPherson (1828–1864), George Crook (1830–1890), Wesley Merritt (1834–1910), George H. Thomas (1816–1870), Gouverneur Kemble Warren (1830–1882), George G. Meade (1815–1872), John G. Parke (1827–1900), William T. Sherman (1820–1891), John A. Logan (1826–1886), Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885), Ambrose E. Burnside (1824–1881), Joseph Hooker (1814–1879), Winfield Scott Hancock (1824–1886), John A. Rawlins (1831–1869), Edward O. C. Ord (1818–1883), Francis Preston Blair (1821–1875), Alfred H. Terry (1827–1890), Henry W. Slocum (1827–1894), Jefferson C. Davis (1828–1879), Oliver O. Howard (1830–1909), John M. Schofield (1831–1906), Joseph A. Mower (1827–1870)
SIPGCW_180908_14.JPG: Assassination of President Lincoln
On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln was attending the play Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre, accompanied by his wife and their guests, Major Henry R. Rathbone and his fiancée, Clara Harris. That evening, the guard assigned to the president had thought it safe to abandon his post. As a result, John Wilkes Booth found it relatively easy to enter Lincoln’s box and shoot him. As Booth leapt out of the box to the stage about twelve feet below, he caught the spur of his boot on a flag and broke his leg when he landed. Nevertheless, he escaped. It was not until twelve days later that Union soldiers cornered Booth in a barn in Caroline County, Virginia, where he died of a bullet wound.
Currier & Ives Lithgraphy Company, 1865
SIPGCW_180908_27.JPG: Surrender of General Lee
Most written accounts of Robert E. Lee's surrender to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, note the difference between Lee's stiff dignity and Grant's more relaxed demeanor. This lithograph of the event, showing the two men seated at a table as they negotiate and sign the terms of peace, idealizes that historic end to the Civil War. In reality, they used two different tables.
After the South surrendered to the North, Wilmer McLean, the owner of the house where the signing took place, lost much of his furniture to soldiers desiring mementos. The chairs in which Grant and Lee sat are now in the collection of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.
Currier & Ives Lithography Company, 1865
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Description of Subject Matter: Two of the threads running through the United States before the Civil War were the principle of union and the reality of slavery. In the North, Americans insisted on union above all else; in the South, Americans insisted on slavery above all else; and in the great American West, pioneers and sellers were left to choose between the two.
The Americans represented in this gallery felt strongly about these issues of liberty, union, and slavery. One of them, John Brown, did as much as any single person could do to push the divided nation to the brink of secession and civil war.
Abraham Lincoln's election to the presidency in November of 1860 enraged radical southern leaders, who fiercely defended the institution of slavery. As the Republican Party candidate, Lincoln wholly endorsed his party's platform to ban the extension of slavery into the western territories. Although he clearly stated his intention not to interfere with slavery where it already legally existed, southern extremists did not trust the new president-elect. In response, southerners enacted their doctrine of states' rights: "The Union Is Dissolved!" proclaimed the Charleston Mercury on December 20, 1860, when South Carolina became the first of eleven states to secede. A call to arms on both sides followed on the heels of secession. "Both parties deprecated war," President Lincoln reflected four years later in his second inaugural address, "but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came."
Lincoln and His Cabinet:
Upon entering the office of the presidency, Abraham Lincoln had every reason to feel skeptical about the ultimate success of his administration. Faced with a civil war, responsibility rested on his angular shoulders as it had done with no other American president before or since. Moreover, Lincoln had to win control over his cabinet, which at the start was at odds with him and with itsel ...More...
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2018 photos: Equipment this year: I continued to use my Fuji XS-1 cameras but, depending on the event, I also used a Nikon D7000.
Trips this year:
Civil War Trust conferences in Greenville, NC, Newport News, VA, and my farewell event with them in Chicago, IL (via sites in Louisville, KY, St. Louis, MO, and Toledo, OH),
three trips to New York City (including New York Comic-Con), and
my 13th consecutive trip to San Diego Comic-Con (including sites in Reno, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Los Angeles).
Number of photos taken this year: about 535,000.