“QUITE A TRUTHFUL DRAUGHTSMAN” SPECIAL ARTISTS IN THE EXPERIENCE OF CIVIL WAR COMBAT An Introduction and Case Study on Alfred Waud Approaching and Near Actions at Gettysburg, July 1, 1863
Jarret M. Wasko Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2014 Gettysburg Collegeâ€™s Gettysburg Semester, 2012 First Draft Completed December 11, 2012
It is the afternoon of July 1, and a darkly attired man in riding boots, long frock coat, and with a great beard pointing down out of a slouch hat rides northward from the Taneytown area. Major General George Gordon Meade, Commander of the Army of the Potomac, has dispatched his Second Corps’ commander, Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, to take control of the engagement developing at the dark rider‘s destination. Taking his cue from this movement, the rider followed Hancock into the town after 4PM, just in time to see the only two present corps of the Army of the Potomac collapse and stream through the town.1 He hurriedly found a place to dismount. Early that evening, Alfred Rudolph Waud put pencil to fresh paper and began to sketch the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg.
1 Ray, Frederic E. “Our Special Artist:” Alfred R. Waud’s Civil War. (Mechanicsburg: Stackpole, 1994), 42; Katz, Harry L. and Vincent Virga. Civil War Sketch Book: Drawings from the Battlefront. (New York & London: WW. Norton, 2012), 117; Thompson, W. Fletcher. The Image of War: Pictorial Reporting of the American Civil War. (New York & London: Thomas Yoseloff, 1960), 123. Derivation of Waud’s speculated arrival follows on pages 10-11.
“I consider this a very correct cut. I had a good view of our infantry as they charged the rifle pit, and this looks very much like it,” Sergeant William Peacock wrote home concerning a printed drawing by Waud that appeared in Harper’s Weekly later in 1863.2 How did Alfred R. Waud capture a scene of combat so accurately as to satisfy a soldier? Waud belonged to a journalistic class termed the special artists, a career not yet two decades old, which is interpreted in the study of the Civil War in such a way that leaves this question unanswered. Photography is often assumed to be a precise recording of what is seen, and, when compared side-by-side with special artists’ sketches, it is frequently privileged over these artistic renderings. For this reason, it is sometimes thought that the works of the Civil War’s special artists are either ones of artistic fantasy completed offsite or literally drawn ‘on the spot—never something in between.’3 Either way, they remain illustrations to books, rather than the evidence that they are. In a nod to semiotics, this paper aims to blend the story of the Gettysburg campaign with the stories of its participants and Alfred Waud’s depictions of them to arrive at the overlooked story: the story of the special artist. What follows is a case study, or one chapter, in this untold story.
‘Special artists’ represent an intersection of journalism, art history, and Civil War era studies because of the nature of their practice. Unfortunately, the opposite of an abundance of information lies at this junction of subjects, and at first glance the specifics of these artists’ actions appeared lost. Their contributions are peripherally noted in journalistic history’s literature
2 Ray, Frederic E. “Our Special Artist”…, from original letter, quoted on 31. 3 Thompson, W. Fletcher. The Image of War, 123-124. Fletcher, the first student of the subject, is especially guilty of the literal interpretation in assuming Waud’s actions at Gettysburg.
largely as a prelude to photojournalism.4. The next most apparently available sources are to be found in art history, where texts such as The Artist as Reporter provide the best information on the trade, framed by the perspective the title implies, as well as the only real analysis of the aesthetic elements of the work so as to remark on the historical subject depicted.5 However, special artists are rarely, if ever, noted as contributing to larger developments in art, lying in the shadows of Winslow Homer’s evolved artistic approach to the war after his beginning as a special artist. The best art historical resource has to be accompaniments to hybrid ‘art-history’ collections or exhibitions on the subject of Civil War drawings.6 Civil War special artists, though, populate only a miniscule category of these studies and for understandable reasons. Out of countless soldiers and comparably high numbers of traditional journalists, there were likely only around fifty specials. This problem is reflected in their near absence from history on the Civil War, where they mostly maintain sideline positions even in studies of Civil War journalism.7 Instead, the story lies in the primary materials: the drawings and
4 Mathews, Joseph J. Reporting the Wars. (Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota, 1957); Knightly, Phillip. The First Casualty: From the Crimea to Vietnam: The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist, and Mythmaker. (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1975); Sweeney, Michael S. From the Front: The Story of War. (Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2002). 5 Hogarth, Paul. The Artist as Reporter. (London: Studio Vista, 1967); Hodgson, Pat. The War Illustrators. (New York: Macmillan, 1977). 6 Bookbinder, Judith and Sheila Gallagher. First Hand: Civil War Era Drawings: From the Becker Collection. (Chestnut Hill: McMullen Museum of Art. Dist. By Univ. of Chicago Press, 2009); The American Heritage Century Collection of Civil War Art, ed. Stephen W. Sears. (New York: American Heritage & McGraw-Hill Dist., 1974). Bookbinder and Gallagher collect numerous well-researched historical and art-historical essays on special artists to accompany the publication of their collection, while American Heritage collects and contextualizes its drawings made for Century’s Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, often claiming in its captions to originate from wartime sketches. 7 Andrews, J. Cutler. The North Reports the Civil War. (Pittsburgh: Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 1955); Andrews, J. Cutler. “The Press Reports the Battle of Gettysburg.” Pennsylvania History. Vol. 31, No. 2 (April, 1964), 176198; Bulla, David W. and Gregory A. Borchard. Journalism in the Civil War Era. (New York: Peter Lang, 2010); Starr, Louis M. Bohemian Brigade: Civil War Newsmen in Action. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1954); Perry, James M. A Bohemian Brigade: The Civil War Correspondents: Mostly Rough, Sometimes Ready. (New York: Wiley, 2000); Weisberger, Bernard A. Reporters for the Union. (Boston: Little, Brown, & Co., 1953); Van Tuyll, Debra Reddin. “A Dozen Best,” American Journalism 24, No. 2 (2007): 152-160; Huntzicker, William E. “Journalism in the Civil War Era/First hand: Civil War Drawings from the Becker Collection,” American Journalism 28, No. 1 (2011): 126-129. The academic reviews by Van Tuyll and Huntzicker are especially useful in determining the emphases of these various journalistic texts.
writings of the artists, the newspapers, and those with whom they interacted. Equally problematic in the search for material on the subject is the terms with which various authors define the work of the special artists. A contributing factor is that these artists worked in various creative fields, as one will learn from Waud who began in decoration before school. Although secondary sources use some of the terms interchangeably, in this paper a consistent usage for each will be maintained. Alfred Waud has, will, and can generally be referred to as an artist. He was trained as such at the Somerset House’s School of Design and the Royal Academy in London before immigrating to the United States. Waud arrived in New York in 1850 with a connection in theater so that he could begin painting scenery, but when this failed, he turned to illustration, training in Boston and working in various cities, including Washington. Montgomery smartly makes a point to specifically describe illustration as drawing on wood to be engraved and printed in a publication. This would not be Waud‘s wartime activity.8 Although working as an illustrator, Waud, naturally, worked on paper on his own. Ray displays his earliest dated sketches from 1851 of the cities surrounding his residences. Amongst all of his works are also more finished pieces, which could be termed drawings, like one of a Boston street that reflects his attention to architecture and helps verify his accuracy at Gettysburg (Figure 1).9 This multiple step process from a rough sketch to a finished drawing, and then transferred to wood as an illustration allowed Waud “to detest” Thomas Nast when he signed on
8 Meschutt, David. “Waud, Alfred R.” http://www.anb.org/articles/17/17-01670.html; American National Biography Online, October 2002 (Accessed December 09, 2012); Montgomery, Walter. American Art and American Art Collections: Essays on Artistic Subjects: By the Best Art Writers, Fully Illustrated with Etchings, Photo-Etchings, Photogravures, Phototypes, and Engravings on Steel and Wood: By the Most Celebrated Artists, ed. Vol. II. (Boston, E.W. Walker & Co., 1889), 836; Ray, Frederic E. “Our Special Artist”…,12; Reese, Timothy J. Written in Stone: Brief Biographies of the Journalists, Photographers, and Artists Whose Names Appear on the War Correspondents Memorial Arch Gathland state Park Crampton’s Gap, South Mountain, Maryland (South Mountain, Md.: Friends of Gathland State Park, 2000), 46. “Waud, Alfred Rudolph,” Dictionary of Louisiana Biography. Louisiana Historical Assocation. http://www.lahistory.org/site40.php, (Accessed Online December 09, 2012). 9 Ray, Frederic E. “Our Special Artist”…,12-13.
with the New York Illustrated News just prior to the outbreak of the war in 1860. Now employed as a special artist, Waud would work in the field, sketching events on the spot, and possibly working up drawings from these references later to be submitted to the Illustrated News. There, Thomas Nast signed his name on Waud’s work during the illustration process, although Waud did get his name on the embellishment drawing of New York Harbor that was printed at the top of the front page at least once.10
Figure Alfred Waud, Washington Street, Boston, c. 1858, Reproduced in Ray, Plate 1, from M & M Karolik Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Waud was offered a job by Harper’s Weekly within a year, starting in February 1862.11 There, Waud would win his fame with his by-line being maintained more honestly through the illustration process and accompanied by his brief columns on the events depicted. The prints were completed via a process in which the wood, on which the illustration was placed, had the lines of the illustration carved with a fine gouge, or engraved. Then, a cast was made of the block, with the lines now protruding from a metal plate that could be used to print on the actual paper.12 To review, then, an event was sketched, redrawn, illustrated on wood, engraved, cast, and then printed. Waud’s smaller rougher sketches will be referred as such throughout the paper, just as his finished drawings will be. The versions of these that appear in Harper’s Weekly will be referred to as prints, to denote that they are the final product even though other secondary 10 Montgomery, Walter. American Art and American Art Collections:…, 836; Ray, Frederic E. “Our Special Artist”…,16; Reese, Timothy J. Written in Stone:…, 47. 11 Reese, Timothy J. Written in Stone:…, 47; Montgomery, Walter. American Art…, 836; Sears, Stephen W. The American Heritage Century Collection…, 394. 12 Ray, Frederic E. “Our Special Artist”…, 27-28; Van Doren Stern, Philip. They Were There: The Civil War in Action as Seen by its Combat Artists. (New York: Crown, 1959), 9-10.
sources might refer to them as illustrations or images. Secondary descriptors might identify Waud as an artist-reporter, correspondent, or war illustrator. The latter especially is inapplicable, because one now knows that the illustration process did not occur in the field. A correspondent, as one learns from the absence of any study of the artists in the authoritative books on Civil war journalism, is strictly one that simply writes to report the news at this time. In the published materials during and soon after the war, Waud was always a special artist, special, war-artist, or artist. To Harper’s, Waud was “our special artist,” although photographers were similarly identified. Given the environment for these artists’ work, deeming it special makes sense. The special artist was employed by the illustrated periodical or journal, an early magazine, not a newspaper which typically lacked printed images and was in a separate and older class from the illustrated journal at this time. Moreover, Waud sketched the war on the tail end of a visual movement in art history that developed the depiction of the landscape, commonly identified with the Hudson River School. This movement within America piled on top of history painting, grandiose depictions like those of Benjamin West on the founding of the United States. “But,” Thompson writes, “by 1861 their monopoly was being challenged….in two new art mediums—photography and illustrated journalism—to assault the conventional images.”13 The country had been fed with a diet of romanticized imagery of war, and, in addition to the soldiers, the artists, like Waud, that went on campaign with the army were disillusioned by the contrast with war’s reality. Waud’s work in his trade, a vernacular art, contrasted sharply with the high art of the time; art that was as young as its nation and just loosening the inspirational and stylistic grip of European art in which America was held. Not only the art world would be left behind by Waud’s drawings. Illustrated journalism 13 Thompson, W. Fletcher. The Image of War,18.
and the special artist were an institution just established in 1841, when the middle class developed to a point so as to demand what would become a hallmark of the Victorian Era and a change to the formerly unbroken columns of text. The only immediate success was had in England with the Illustrated London News, who first used an artist to make an eye-witness drawing of the Queen’s visit to Scotland that year. Harper’s Weekly did not come about until 1857.14 Thompson states that when the special artists went on campaign with the armies in 1861, it was the first time such a thing had been done.15 It is supposed that “…the apogee of war illustration as a profession was reached in the Sudan campaign,” in the decades following the American Civil War.16 For the most part, Alfred Waud was trailblazing at the fore of a new journalistic occupation and an unaccepted artistic calling in a young nation torn asunder by a war that may never have been properly understood in art or literature, however desperately they grappled with it.
Likely in the early morning hours of Monday, June 22nd, Waud received horrible news. His friend and New York Herald Correspondent, Lynde Walter Buckingham, who had been covering General Kilpatrick‘s actions near Aldie as Cavalry Corps correspondent had died after being thrown from his horse while pursued by Confederate partisans. Waud “repaired to the place” just in time to bury his friend in a small graveyard adjoined to a Union church-turnedhospital.17 It is supposed that a “depressed” or “bereaved” Waud returned to the Army of the 14 Hogarth, Paul. The Artist as Reporter, 12, 15-16; Hodgson, Pat. The War Illustrators, 12. 15 Thompson, W. Fletcher. The Image of War, 7. 16 Hodgson, Pat. The War Illustrators, 29. 17 Cook, Thomas. “Death of a Herald Correspondent, Mr. L. W. Buckingham” Herald . (New York: June 25), 1; “Obituary: Mr. Lynde Walter Buckingham,” Herald June 25, 1863, 5.
Potomac, carrying with him Buckingham’s personal effects.18 In this state, Waud would be the only special artist that made it to Gettysburg on July 1. All of the illustrated journals had been unprepared for Lee’s invasion: Theodore R. Davis and Frank Schell would have sketched for Harper’s and Leslie‘s, but they were stranded out west mostly dealing with events at Vicksburg. Arthur Lumley, the only full time special artist employed by the New York Illustrated News, was out of action. Leslie’s Edwin Forbes was available, but would arrive on the afternoon of July 2nd because he had followed the cavalry to Aldie—likely for the actions on which Buckingham reported prior to his death—then stopped in Baltimore. The specials were not, however, alone. Staff artists were sent to fill the void, but these efforts were almost ones of comedy. Leslie’s George Law only got two sketches off before being captured by rebels in Chambersburg and Albert Berghaus only made one sketch in Wrightsville. Now working for Harper’s, Thomas Nast sketched preparations in Philadelphia, but found himself in jail in Harrisburg on his first night, arrested until after the battle concluded because one of his in-laws had worn a Confederate flag. Often overlooked is Frank Bellew, mostly a renowned cartoonist for all of the illustrated journals, whom the New York Illustrated News somehow convinced to take to the field in Lumley’s place and effectively sketched the battle.19 New York Tribune correspondent, Nathaniel G. Shepherd, was an artist and drawing teacher before the war with whom Bellew traveled, but it is unclear that he sketched anything at Gettysburg.20 Joseph Becker also claimed to have sketched the battle for Leslie’s.21 There is no secondary agreement on the time of Waud’s arrival at Gettysburg. Although
18 Ray, Frederic E. “Our Special Artist,” 42; Thompson. Image, 121; Cook, Thomas. “Death of a Herald Correspondent…,” Herald, 1; Andrews, J. Cutler. The North Reports the War, 413; “Personal,” Chicago Daily Tribune (Chicago: June 29); Weisberger, Bernard A. Reporters for the Union, 128. 19 Thompson, Image 121-122; Cutler, “The Press Reports the Battle of Gettysburg,” 185-186. 20 Cutler, “The Press Reports the Battle of Gettysburg,” 179, 185-186. 21 Reese, Timothy J. Written in Stone:…, 4; Bookbinder, Judith and Sheila Gallagher. First Hand:…, 11, 26.
Ray states, “It would seem that he came up with the main body of…Meade’s army during the night of July 1-2, 1863,” Katz more recently contrasts Waud with Forbes, who “…showed up that evening [July 1st] and quickly made up for lost time.” Relying on Waud’s first published print of the battle—federal artillery on July 1st firing across open fields at the enemy--Thompson argues specifically that Waud arrived in the afternoon, and Forbes the next evening actually. Meanwhile, William A. Frassanito‘s research leads him to believe that Special Artists traveled with overall Army Headquarters rather than other commands. These ideas lead the author to speculate that Waud was most likely with Meade until the engagement became sure, and followed Hancock to arrive late in the afternoon at Gettysburg. Leaving any later would have brought him to Gettysburg too late and therefore too chronologically near Forbes’ arrival by Katz’ conclusion.22 Therefore, in this paper, it is thought that Waud traveled with Meade’s Headquarters until Hancock departed for Gettysburg. Riding toward Gettysburg, Waud learned of the death of General Reynolds. However, Waud might have found himself meeting this death more personally than he would have desired. Pfanz details how Reynold’s staff took the body to Taneytown and met Hancock on its way.23 It would be surprising if Waud did not, in this story, then also possibly approach the party bearing Reynold’s body. Accounts of General Reynold’s mortal wounding were primarily and originally supplied by his staff who were most immediate to Reynold‘s position or witnessed the tragedy, and these were the accounts Waud would need to sketch and draw Reynold‘s fall.24 Sensitive to death, having tossed soil on top of the body of his friend, Buckingham, about a week earlier, Waud paid attention to this story. Waud made his first sketch on cream paper, 22 Ray, Frederic E. “Our Special Artist:”…,42; Katz, Harry L. and Vincent Virga. Civil War Sketch Book:…, 117; Thompson, W. Fletcher. The Image of War, 123; Interview with William Frassanito, December 2012. 23 Pfanz, Harry W. Gettysburg-The First Day, 79. 24 Coddington, Edwin. The Gettysburg Campaign, 691 Note 90, 686-687 Note 52, 269; Pfanz, Harry W. Gettysburg-The First Day, 78-79.
changing his mind concerning the hand and head position and placing Reynolds reclined on his horse after being hit in the back of his skull, possibly indicated by the few lines protruding from his in the sketch. He tore this sketch, on a quarter of a sheet, off (Figure 2). He sketched this possibly on the way to or upon arrival in town, as soon as possible after receiving the accounts he could from Reynold’s staff, impossible to obtain later or even immediately after the battle because the majority of these officers accompanied the body and were in Lancaster on the fourth.25 He may have adjusted the sketch when the staff explained where the bullet hit Reynolds, which was also explained to Jennie Reynolds later as having hit Reynolds behind his right ear or at the base of the brain.26
Plate Alfred Waud, Death of Reynolds Gettysburg, July 1, 1863, Library of Congress
After making this visual notation, Waud began learning other events of the day. One scoop was concerning the Railroad Cut on Seminary Ridge, “Where,” Waud learned, “Lt. Col. Dawes went with the reserve assisted by two of Fowler's regts. captured a number of the enemy.”27 He turned his pocket sketchbook sideways to scribble this at the top of a page on the right or lower page, as would be natural, so that he could find the scene later. He could not go there until Confederate lines no longer drew across it. Waud reoriented his sketchbook as he moved to Cemetery Hill, possibly being directed there to find the I Corps command to learn more about the incident of the Railroad cut. Waud stumbled upon “Genl Robinson’s fly at 25 Pfanz, Harry W. Gettysburg-The First Day, 79. 26 Coddington, Edwin. The Gettysburg Campaign, 686. 27 Inscribed on sketch, Plate 11. Library of Congress.
Gettysburg,” containing the commander the the 2nd Division.28 After withdrawing from north of the town at the end of the afternoon’s fighting, Robinson’s Division took up a position on West Cemetery Hill, “the ridge to the left of the cemetery, facing the Emmitsburg Road” and would remain there until relieved the following day.29 Perhaps Waud conversed with those there about the cut, but, before he left, he flipped the page in his pocketbook and sketched the simple headquarters on the back of his notation concerning the railroad cut (Figure 3). Up until this time, Waud has been careful, seeking out information and recording it in his small sketchbook. Detailed and subject-identifiable inscriptions remain on his first sketch imagining the fall of Reynolds, the blank page reserved for the railroad cut, and on the sketch of Robinson’s fly. The author believes that there appear to be no other surviving on-the-spot notes or sketches from this day based on the possible actions or locations, which Waud could or could not have observed.
Figure Alfred Waud, Genl Robinsons fly at Gettysburg, July 1, 1863, Library of Congress.
However, Waud had taken down little by the time he left Robinson, and would have been paying attention to further opportunities for material before the day’s fighting ended. After all, could he be certain that the battle, rather than retreat or pursuit, would ensue the following day? As he pondered this though, he stood near the Baltimore Pike, a main route for retreat throughout the day. Soon, a reconnaissance in force was to be conducted by the 73rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Waud may have followed this group, looking to finally experience some action that day, which moved North on either side of and on the Baltimore Pike. From a sharp bend in the pike towards the North and into the town, Waud may have watched these men move up the street to and just beyond the Wagon Hotel at the intersection with the Emmitsburg Road, only to be 28 Inscribed on sketch, Plate 5. Library of Congress. 29 Robinson, OR XXVII 1:290.
turned back promptly by close Confederate lines.30 Union forces occupied buildings like the Wagon hotel to oppose these Confederates also occupying buildings to their north. Waud could have observed the 73rd PVI’s reconnaissance from the David Study House and likely sketched his view in a pocket book before retiring with the reconnaissance, being sure that the visuals of the sharpshooters in the buildings opposing the 73rd were committed to memory for a later drawing. That night, Waud likely returned to and grappled with his depiction of Reynolds. He considered an alternate composition (Figure 4) before completing a drawing more in line with his first of Reynolds’ wounding (Figure 5). He, it is equally valid to consider, could have not done these drawings at this time, and instead waited for an opportunity to examine the ground on which the event occurred. For the time being, with Confederates pressing down on he and the Army of the Potomac, this appears to be all that Waud could do besides prepare for the second day of battle. *
30 Frassanito, William A. Early Photography at Gettysburg, 134, Quoting from “Address of George T. R. Knorr,” Pennsylvania at Gettysburg (Harrisburg: E. K. Myers, 1893), Vol. 1, pg 394.
Two days later, the battle had ended victoriously for the Union. Maintaining control of the field, Waud was able to explore the grounds without threat after the Army of Northern Virginia withdrew overnight between July 4 and July 5. Having spent the second and third day of the battle sketching events at Culp’s Hill, Cemetery Hill, Little Round Top, and along Cemetery Ridge, he would have been eager to move north into and through the town that had been blocked off from him by the Confederate lines for the duration of the battle. The first scene he would come to, moving north into the town from the previous Union line, would have been the David Study house from which he might have observed the 73rd PVI‘s evening reconnaissance and a taste of house-to-house sharpshooting. Frassanito believes that Waud drew the scene of the intersection leading into town “…shortly after the battle…” (Figure 6). It is “strikingly similar in perspective” to a photograph by Alexander Gardner, likely part of a series made to document the laying of a cornerstone for the Soldiers National Monument two years later, almost to the day.31 Waud must have taken some artistic license and placed sharpshooters in the houses, though. Figure Alfred Waud, The Death of Reynolds Gettysburg, July 1-5, 1863, Library of Congress.
Figure Alfred Waud, Death of Reynolds--Gettysburg, July 1-5, 1863, Library of Congress.
Figure Alfred Waud, Entrance to Gettysburg--sharpshooting from the houses, July 4-5, 1863, Library of Congress.
As Waud rode through town, he possibly noticed a remaining barricade across the square near the railroad station, and chose to take time to draw it before it was removed to restore function to the road (Figure 7). The author is weary to claim this to be an immediate drawing because it dwells
31 Frassanito, Early Photography at Gettysburg 133-134 and 415. View 47d.
on the back of a drawing that functioned as an illustration in the Century’s Battles and Leaders of the Civil War series. And, unlike many others, its caption in the book did not include “from a wartime sketch.”32 However, Frassanito is confident that other drawing-to-become-illustration “…was drawn just several days after the battle…” and that Waud simply “…used artistic license to portray rebel artillery in the foreground.”33 If it can be accepted that this drawing did survive until the making of Battles and Leaders, yet was originally a battlefield study of the Round Tops, then it is plausible that Frassanito is right to try and place the drawing of the barricade. Frassanito dates the drawing to July 4th or 5th with support: “…the presence of the barricade strongly suggests that Waud produced his Gettysburg street scene prior to turning his attention to the Slaughter Pen area…” because it had not yet been removed.34 This sound conclusion has been employed as an anchor by the author to suppose that Waud took his initial northward route to see the town before the scar of battle was removed and to move northwest of town to study Reynold’s place of death and the Railroad Cut. He would be working in a chronological order to recapture day one’s field before day two, and this could be confirmed if it was found when Waud would have dispatched which sketches and drawings to Harper’s on which days.
Figure Alfred Waud, [Bar]ricade at the R. R. Depot…, July 4-5, 1863, Library of Congress.
Once Waud completed the detailed study of the barricaded street, he perhaps finally turned onto the Cashtown Road from the town square to go reexamine the ground of McPherson‘s Ridge where Reynolds fell. The author believes that, northwest on this road, Waud might have mistaken Seminary for McPherson’s Ridge, for he stops to complete a detailed study 32 Battles and Leaders, 339; Waud, Alfred. “Gettysburg: View of the hills on the left of our position from the Rebel artillery, last Rebel shot.” Drawing. Library of Congress. 33 Frassanito, Gettysburg: Then & Now, 18. 34 Frassanito, Early Photography at Gettysburg, 105.
of the Seminary’s eastward side near the Carrie Sheads house (Figure 8). It compares favorably to stereography and photography by Brady and Tyson of the respective locations of the Sheads House and the Seminary.35 Waud then proudly inscribed the sketch, back to his careful habits of the first day, as “Seminary nr. Gettysburg used as a hospital, scene of Reynolds fight with Longstreet the first day.”36
Figure Alfred Waud, Seminary nr. Gettysburg…, July 4-5, 1863, Library of Congress.
Confusing Hill’s Corps with Longstreet seems odd, as Waud has repeatedly seemed surprisingly aware of events of battles even as they occurred . G.A. Sala described Waud in this way: “He probably knew more about the several campaigns, the rights and wrongs of the several fights, the merits and demerits of the commanders, than two out of three wearers of generals’ shoulder-straps. But he was a prudent man, who could keep his own counsel, and went on sketching.” 37 Therefore, it is possible that he actually knew less about the event going in than one might think, choosing to work out his account of the actions with a map when he found the correct location. He likely continued down Cashtown Road to get a better look, talk to those around, and find McPherson’s Ridge. This would be when he created an accompanying map and account of
“The Fall of Reynolds” (Figure 9) from the sum of the accounts he had heard throughout the battle and by his own examinations of the field. Unfortunately, it does not seem that this account and map, collected with his final drawing in the Library of Congress today, nor a print of the final illustration in the collection, were ever published in Harper’s Weekly, and rather the print exists 35 Frassanito, Journey in Time, 74-79. 36 Inscription at bottom of drawing, Plate 9. Library of Congress. 37 Montgomery 836, from G.A. Sala
independently (Figure 10). Unfortunately, although the handwriting of Waud’s signature and inscriptions on the print and Waud’s other drawings roughly compare to the accompanying documents, it is unclear that he produced them. It would make sense though, because he created three compositions for the image before settling on one. Moreover, this is the only printed illustration from any of Waud’s work or events on the first day of the battle of Gettysburg generally. Why a portrait of ‘the late John Reynolds’ from a photograph was published on July 18, rather than the illustration, remains
unclear.38 This area also afforded him the chance to visit the railroad cut that he had learned of on the 1st. He entered the railroad trench and sketched the view once in his pocket sketchbook on the page on which he’d taken the note about it down on the July 1st (Figure 11). Using the exact same ground from the first sketch, he then proceeded to make a larger format sketch of this with the Confederate prisoners being taken as he had imagined it to occur when he heard the stories (Figure 12). Returning southward, Waud likely reexamined the events of the second and third day of the battle, at least dwelling on the battlefield until the 6th, when he was photographed by Gardner on Little Round Top.39
Figure Alfred Waud?, Map Accompanying Last Death of Reynolds, July 4-5, 1863, Library of Congress.
Figure Alfred Waud, The Fall of Reynolds, Publication Origin Undetermined, Library of Congress.
Figure Alfred Waud, The R. R. Cut…., July 4-5, 1863, Library of Congress.
Figure Alfred Waud, The R. R. Cut…, July 4-5, 1863, Library of Congress.
38 HW July 18, 453 39 Ray, Frederic E. “Our Special Artist:”…, 43.
Thompson concluded, “Waud added the final details to his sketches and rushed them off to New York. He could well be proud of them. They ranked with Lovie’s Shiloh sketches as one of the outstanding picture-reports of the war.” After Gettysburg, “sketch artists had been developing a new artistic concept of war. The eastern artists…achieved full maturity at Gettysburg and…were dissatisfied with the conventional images.”40 Staff officer Frank A. Haskell asked after Gettysburg, “Who could sketch the changes, the constant shifting of the bloody panorama[?]”41 Waud alone had done it in its complete form, somehow, in one of the war’s rare opportunities to achieve a “pictorial scoop.”42
It is the author’s opinion, after reaching the sum of his research that Waud, more often than not, sketched from life, and worked up drawings for submission to their papers from such reference sketches if they were not of finished quality in the first place. “Visual information suggests that most artists in the Becker Collection (with the exception of, perhaps, Lovie) preferred to work from life to observational sketches.” 43 Frassanito is more reticent, admitting, “…there is little doubt that he was present during the battle and observed some of the action.” before cautioning, “(This does not mean, however, that he personally witnessed all of the dramatic battle scenes he eventually forwarded to Harper’s Weekly.)”44 The sketches, drawings, and prints of the death of Reynolds obviously were not witnessed. 40 Thompson, W. Fletcher. Image of War, 124, 127. 41 Haskell, Frank A. The Battle of Gettysburg. Bruce Catton, Ed. (Boston, 1958), 156. 42 Thompson, W. Fletcher. Image of War, 123. 43 Bookbinder, Judith & Sheila Gallagher. “Drawing as Information,” First Hand…, 30. 44 Frassanito, Early Photography at Gettysburg, 105.
The lens through which this story of Waud approaching and experiencing the first day’s battle in and around Gettysburg was one attempting to be committed to neither of the two traditions with which pictorial reporting in the Civil War has been interpreted. One should neither rampantly place faith in the literal truthfulness of Waud’s inscriptions or Harper’s Weekly’s captions and columns nor view all of Waud’s works with an overly critical, skeptical, and perhaps revisionist gaze. We would like to find Waud to have been a true artist in combat-sketching sharpshooters in the second story of the Study House as he took cover around the corner of it on the ground. However, it does make sense that he remained close to headquarters until it was sure that a general engagement had developed, followed the leads he could, listened to the stories being passed down the lines, and took note of the visuals of these stories that were related to him. If an opportunity presented itself, as it might have with the July 1st reconnaissance of the town, he followed it and paid attention. In three days, he could then very logically move through the town and fields where these events occurred, fill in the blanks, and clarify the stories he was representing. A full scale investigation into what sketches and drawings were sent to Harper’s Weekly, and perhaps any records remaining from the journal that would comment on when Waud sent his works there, might confirm this idea, but for now, this would seem to be the most realistically indicative story of the special artist in battle, and, specifically, Alfred Waud and the beginning of the Battle of Gettysburg.Bibliography Andrews, J. Cutler. The North Reports the Civil War. Pittsburgh: Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 1955. Andrews, J. Cutler. “The Press Reports the Battle of Gettysburg.” Pennsylvania History. Vol. 31, No. 2 (April, 1964), 176-198. Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. Bookbinder, Judith and Sheila Gallagher. First Hand: Civil War Era Drawings: From the Becker
Collection, ed. Chestnut Hill: McMullen Museum of Art. Dist. By Univ. of Chicago Press, 2009.Coddington, Edwin B. The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command. New York: Touchstone, 1997. Bulla, David W. and Gregory A. Borchard. Journalism in the Civil War Era. 2010). Coddington, Edwin. The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command. New York: Touchstone, 1997. Frassanito, William A. Early Photography at Gettysburg. Gettysburg: Thomas, 1995. Frassanito, William A. Gettysburg: A Journey in Time. New York: Charles Scribner‘s Sons, 1975. Frassanito, William A. Gettysburg: Then & Now: Touring the Battlefield with Old Photos, 18631889. Gettysburg: Thomas, 1996. Frassanito, William A. The Gettysburg: Then & Now Companion. Gettysburg: Thomas, 1997. Haskell, Frank A. The Battle of Gettysburg. Bruce Catton, Ed. Boston: 1958. Hodgson, Pat. The War Illustrators. New York: Macmillan, 1977. Hogarth, Paul. The Artist as Reporter. London: Studio Vista, 1967. Huntzicker, William E. “Journalism in the Civil War Era/First hand: Civil War Drawings from the Becker Collection,” American Journalism 28, No. 1 (2011): 126-129. Katz, Harry L. and Vincent Virga. Civil War Sketch Book: Drawings from the Battlefront. New York & London: WW. Norton, 2012. Knightly, Phillip. The First Casualty: From the Crimea to Vietnam: The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist, and Mythmaker. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1975. Louisiana Historical Assocation. http://www.lahistory.org/site40.php, (Accessed Online December 09, 2012). Mathews, Joseph J. Reporting the Wars. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota, 1957.
Meschutt, David. “Waud, Alfred R.” http://www.anb.org/articles/17/17-01670.html; American National Biography Online, October 2002 (Accessed December 09, 2012). Montgomery, Walter. American Art and American Art Collections: Essays on Artistic Subjects: By the Best Art Writers, Fully Illustrated with Etchings, Photo-Etchings, Photogravures, Phototypes, and Engravings on Steel and Wood: By the Most Celebrated Artists, ed. Vol. II. Boston, E.W. Walker & Co., 1889. Perry, James M. A Bohemian Brigade: The Civil War Correspondents: Mostly Rough, Sometimes Ready. New York: Wiley, 2000. Pfanz, Harry W. Gettysburg-The First Day. Chapel Hill & London: Univ. of NC, 2001. Ray, Frederic E. “Our Special Artist:” Alfred R. Waud’s Civil War. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole, 1994. Sears, Stephen W. The American Heritage Century Collection of Civil War Art, ed. New York: American Heritage & McGraw-Hill Dist., 1974. Sears, Stephen W. Gettysburg. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2004. Starr, Louis M. Bohemian Brigade: Civil War Newsmen in Action. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1954. Sweeney, Michael S. From the Front: The Story of War. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2002. Thompson, W. Fletcher. The Image of War: Pictorial Reporting of the American Civil War. New York & London: Thomas Yoseloff, 1960. Van Doren Stern, Philip. They Were There: The Civil War in Action as Seen by Its Combat Artists. New York: Crown Publishers Inc., 1959. Van Tuyll, Debra Reddin. “A Dozen Best,” American Journalism 24, No. 2 (2007): 152-160.
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Published on Aug 6, 2013
An Introduction to Special Artists in the Experience of Civil War Combat and a Case Study on Alfred Waud Approaching and Near Actions at Get...