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The Artist-Reporters of the Civil War: America’s First “Embedded” Correspondents

The illustrated newspaper became a significant news medium in the mid 19th Century.  The three major ones in the United States were Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper started in 1855, Harper’s Weekly in 1857 and the New York Illustrated News in 1859.  These popular papers brought events, politics, people, and even the latest fashions to a news-hungry public at an affordable price.  Best of all, they were illustrated with wood engravings taken from drawings, sketches, paintings and the newly growing field of photography.  (2185) *


Although expensive, Harper’s early realized the appeal of engravings in its publications.  They reinvested a large part of their profits in this process.  With the beginning of the Civil War circulation vastly increased and so did the paper’s influence and power.  The American Civil War was the first major conflict to be “observed” by the general public while it was occurring and it became the first great media event in American history.  Families at home demanded news and pictures of the battles and the life that their loved ones were enduring.  Harper’s editorially favored the North, but it gave a balanced account of the battles, events and people on both sides. 


During the Civil War, the illustrated newspapers hired artists to follow the armies and send back sketches and drawings which were then engraved and published.  Local and amateur artists in the path of the war also sent drawings to the publishers as did military personnel.  Naval officers sent drawings of their ships and the war at sea.  The drawings were mailed, carried by paid messengers and entrusted to others traveling north.  Speed was paramount.  Artists, on location, would do detailed sketches that were then rushed to the main office of the newspaper. There a staff of engravers used the sketches to create engravings on blocks of boxwood.  Since the blocks were about 4 inches across they would have to be combined together to make one large illustration. The wood engraving was then copied via the electrotype process to produce a metal printing plate for publication. An average press run for Harper’s Weekly was 125,000 copies, produced in two days.


Most of the combat artists were of Northern origin and followed the federal armies, although some did accompany the Southern forces, in the beginning of the war.  Artists were usually paid by the sketch, $5.00 to $25.00 per picture on the average.  Well known and established artists were sometimes given a regular salary and field allowance.  By the end of the war Winslow Homer, who chose to be a freelance artist, was earning $60 per page for his sketches.  The artists were not always identified.  Many engravings were credited to, “Our Special Artist,” in the field. (1149) *  Most artists sketched scenes of camp life, equipment, the country side, and the aftermath of battles, including rows of the dead.  But it was the few artists that traveled with the armies, lived in the camps and followed the soldiers onto the fields of battle that captured the reality of the war along with its horrors.  These artists experienced the same dangers and hardships as the soldiers and when captured they were imprisoned.  One artist tells of waking in the morning to find the soldier sharing his tent dead.  He had stopped a bullet that would have also killed the artist.  Alfred Waud wrote that while sitting in a tree to sketch a battle, he was repeatedly fired on by rebel sharpshooters.


Photography was a growing and popular technology during the Civil War.  However, photographic equipment was too cumbersome and exposure times were too slow to be useful on the battlefield or in other action shots.  Photographers such as Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, Timothy O’Sullivan, George Barnard, and Andrew Russell took still portraits of officers, camps, towns, fortifications and the carnage after the battle.  Photographs of the dead in particular made a huge impact on the home front.  Though they played an important role in recording the Civil War, photographs could not be published by the newspapers of the day because the photoengraving process had not yet been perfected.  Photographs were sent to New York where engravings were made and then the engravings were published. (1349) *


Especially during the early days of the war, correspondents and artists had amazing freedom of movement and were uncensored in what they could observe and record.  They sketched and described military camps, fortifications and troop movements.  This freedom did not sit well with many of the commanding officers.  The newspapers were actually a ready source of espionage.  Union and Confederate soldiers bought, traded and captured newspapers to learn what was happening at home and in the military zones. 


In 1861 all three of the illustrated papers were published in New York City.  Before the war, they were circulated in the southern states.  In May of 1861 mail was stopped between the North and South.  The southern states no longer received the New York papers.  The South tried to replace them with their own Southern Illustrated News.  However, due to the poor economic conditions, the paper could not afford a field artist and it contained little current reporting and very few engravings.  The Illustrated London News became the only major paper active in the South.  It made news and images of the Confederate Army available in the southern states.  Sympathetic to the South, The Illustrated London News hired artist and reporter Frank Vizetelly to cover the war.  He traveled with the Army of the Confederacy and spent the entire war sketching battles and events and sending reports back to London.  His works comprise the principle record of the Confederate war.  Some of his sketches were also published in Harper’s Weekly.  (8527) *


Many of the artist-reporters of the Civil War moved on to other subjects after the war.  Some traveled to the American West to record its beauty and the heritage of the Native Americans.  Others, like Edwin Forbes made producing images of the war their life’s work.  Century magazine’s postwar, “Battles and Leaders of the Civil War” depended heavily on the wartime artists.  Along with firsthand accounts of all the major campaigns and battles of the war, from both Union and Confederate forces, the editors commissioned illustrations from the artists of the war.  The accounts were serialized for three years in issues of the magazine, and in 1888 they were published in a four volume set. (8325-8340)*





Charles F. Allgauer worked for Harper’s Weekly during the early part of the Civil War, mainly in the Florida area. (7743) *


Solon M. Allis 21st Massachusetts His sketch titled, "Siege Of Washington, N. C.--Effect Of Two Shells, Fired At The Same, On A Rebel Cotton Battery, Opposite Washington, N. C., April 12,” and an engraved map titled, "Map of Washington, Tar River, N. C. Showing The Rebel Batteries, And The National Defenses During The Siege Of April 12,” were published in the May 16, 1863 issue of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated. (2141) *


G. W. Andrews, a soldier-artist with Cameron Cavalry of Pennsylvania, sketched soldiers in camp.  Harper’s Weekly published his “Interior View of My Tent” in 1861.


Frank Beard, 1842-1905.   From a family of artists, Frank Beard was 18 when Fort Sumter was attacked.  Because he had a severe hearing impairment, he memorized the questions the examiners would ask him so he could enlist.  They were not fooled but a captain who saw what happened told Frank he could join his company without pay.  He was given a uniform and musket and served as a private in the Seventh Ohio.  Frank sold sketches during his service to papers including Harper’s Weekly.  He actually made as much money from his sketches as he would have been paid as a private.  Beard is credited with producing the first war cartoon.  It showed General Scott as a bull-dog, a bone marked “Washington” and a hungry hound labeled “Jeff Davis”.  The cartoon was published by newspapers and sold as a lithograph.  After the war Beard moved to New York City and became a successful illustrator and political cartoonist. (7559) * He was a professor of fine arts at Syracuse University.


M. Beauce illustrated the Saturday, October 25, 1862 Harper’s Weekly cover titled, "Garibaldi, Wounded and A Prisoner." (1243) *


(Carl J.) Joseph Becker, 1841-1910.  Born in Pennsylvania he moved to New York where he went to work as an errand boy for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.  In 1863, Leslie sent Becker to accompany the Union Army.  In addition to the battles of Gettysburg and Petersburg and President Lincoln’s address at the dedication of the military cemetery at Gettysburg, Becker recorded scenes of daily life in army camps as well as civilian events.  He portrayed African Americans with particular sensitivity.  After the war he traveled in the American West recording the landscape of the Great Plains and the expansion of the railroads.  He sketched Chicago in the aftermath of the Great Fire.  In 1875, he became manager of Leslie’s art department.  (2502,2239 ,2806,2101)*


Eugene Benson, 1839-1908.  As a young artist working for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated, he willingly went to the front during the Civil War to record battles and events.  After the war Benson became a known writer, painter, and critic.


Albert Berghaus was a lithographer, engraver and illustrator.  He was employed by Frank Leslie’s Illustrated from the late 1850s through the 1880s.   Berghaus’ illustrations included the execution of John Brown, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the Battle of Gettysburg.  He researched and reconstructed the events leading to Lincoln’s death.  After the Civil War, he was sent West by the paper and during the 1870s collaborated with Frederic Remington.  (2246,2030,2293)*


Charles E. H. Bonwill (F. C. H. Bonwill).  Between 1861 and 1865, Bonwill worked as a special artist for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper sketching scenes of the Civil War of which 87 were published.  His sketches included the war in Virginia, Maryland, Louisiana and North Carolina. (2044, 6459, 2051)*  After the war, he traveled to Canada, and his drawings of Quebec and Ottawa were published in Picturesque Canada in 1882.


Col. G. Douglas Brewerton.  His series of sketches titled, "The South Carolina Loyal Colored Regiment In Action," appeared in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated, December 20, 1862. (2076) *


D. R. Brown illustrated "View In Atlanta, Georgia.”  It appeared in the November 26, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly. (6382,8566,8567)*


H. E. Brown was an enlisted man with General Joseph Hooker’s 12th Corps.  He sketched along side Theodore R. Davis during the Chattanooga campaign. (8340) *  After the war he became a portrait painter.


W.T.R. Brown illustrated "Camp Dick Robinson, Garrard County, Kentucky--The Great Rendezvous of Union Troops and Refuge of Tennessee Exiles--Recently Deserted By General Bragg.” It appeared in the November 1, 1862 Harper’s Weekly. (1186) *


W.W. Charles. His sketch, Hancock’s Corps Crossing The James River from Jones’s Neck was published in the August 20, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly. (8559) *


Charles H. Chapin, 1829-1909.  He was an illustrator, art teacher and painter known for his landscapes.  During his career he had studios in New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles and San Francisco.  Chapin was an illustrator of Civil War scenes for Harper's Weekly in 1860s. (1473, 8568, 8570)*


Lieutenant C.C. Coleman-100th NYSV.  His sketch titled, "The Campbell House, Headquarters of General Gillmore On Polly Island, Charleston Harbor, S. C., Before The Battle Of Morris Island, July 10,” appeared in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated, August 15, 1863.  (6453) *


James S. Conant. A sketch by Conant of the “Brandywine” was published in the September 24, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly.  (8564) *


William T. Crane, 1830-1878.  Throughout the Civil War, Crane worked as a special artist for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. (2049) *  Under orders from General Quincy A. Gillmore, Crane drew a series of sequential views of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor depicting the stages of the fort’s demolition. (2358) *  General Gillmore included these detailed and shocking drawings in his final report to the War Department.  They were later reproduced in the government’s Official Records.


William H. Davenport, a part-time artist, is credited by Harper’s Weekly for the sketches, "General Sigel’s Corps at The Second Battle of Bull Run-- Fought August 29, 1862” and "The Army Of Virginia--Scenes On The March” also in 1862. (1336,1591)*


J. O. Davidson illustrated for various publications including Century’s “Battles and Leaders of the Civil War.” (8339, 8326, 8338)*  He is best known for his maritime and naval scenes.


Theodore R. Davis, 1840-1894.  As an artist-correspondent for Harper’s Weekly Davis was wounded twice and had his horse shot out from under him.  In April, 1861 Harper’s gave Davis permission to travel in the southern states with William H. Russell, correspondent for the London Times.  It was already becoming dangerous for a northern man to travel among the Rebels.  He told people that he was an artist for the Illustrated London News and as a member of Russell’s party, he was protected.  However, Russell apparently did not know that Davis was sending sketches and intelligence back to Harper’s.  Their relationship ended in controversy.  Theodore Davis made drawings of both military and political events. (1518,1547,6312,1271)* Some of these drawings include the Battle of Champion Hill, and the sketch of General Joseph E. Johnston and General William T. Sherman meeting at the Bennett Farm near Durham Station to discuss the surrender terms of the remaining Confederate armies in the Southeast. He was often in the center of the action, especially when he traveled with General Grant’s staff at the Vicksburg campaign and was part of General Sherman’s March-to-the Sea. (1612) *  After the war, Davis continued to work for Harper’s covering the reconstruction and traveling West. (6501) *  He was the first to document the Sioux in 1865, was with General Custer in 1867 and traveled with Hancock’s Indian Expedition.  In retirement he wrote a treatise titled, “How a Battle is sketched”.

George H. Ellsbury.  His sketch, Forest’s Raid into Memphis appeared in the September 10, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly. (8562) *


Charles F. Ellmore.  His naval sketch appeared in the December 3, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly. (8574) *


John Everding. His naval sketch appeared in the December 17, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly. (8576) *


Edwin Forbes, 1839-1895.  Born in New York, his career as an illustrator began in 1861 when he became a staff artist for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.  He recorded the campaigns of the Army of the Potomac from Cross Keys in the Shenandoah Valley to the battles at Manassas in 1862 and the siege of Petersburg in 1864. (2147)   He would make quick sketches on the battlefields and then refine them in his tent studio back at camp.    Many of his sketches were later made into copper engravings.  In 1864 he left Leslie’s but continued to draw scenes of the war.  He was awarded a medal at the Philadelphia Centennial in 1876 for his Life Studies of the Great Army.  General William T. Sherman purchased the first proof and donated it to the United States government.  In 1890 he published a summary of his work in Thirty Years After: An Artist’s Story of the Great War. (880)*

Gilbert Gaul, 1855-1919.  Born in New Jersey, he was known for his military art.  He provided numerous illustrations to Century Magazine for its publication of Battles and Leaders of the Civil War 1887–88.  (5179,8334, 8326)*   He also did work for Harper's Weekly.  In the 1890 he worked for the federal census recording the Native Americans in North Dakota. (1094) *  Gaul won medals at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and at the Buffalo Exposition in 1902.

Jasper Green, 1829-1910.  Green was born in Columbia, Pennsylvania.  He was an engraver, illustrator, and wood carver.  Green sketched battle scenes, events and people for Harper's Weekly during the Civil War.  His sketch titled, "A Female Rebel In Baltimore--An Everyday Scene," was the cover engraving of the Saturday, September 7, 1861 issue. (1206) *  He was the father of illustrator Elizabeth Shippen Green.


A. W. Gripen.  A sketch of Atlanta by Gripen was published in the October 15, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly. (8567) *


James Guire illustrated for Harper’s Weekly.  His sketch titled, "Arrival of The Twenty-Second Indiana Volunteers, Colonel J. C. Davis, At St. Louis, Missouri” appeared in the September 14, 1861 issue. (1452) *


J. H. Hale sent sketches to Frank Leslie’s Illustrated of McClellan’s army in 1862.


Edward S. Hall was born in England in about 1840.  By 1860 he was a resident of New York and established as a book illustrator.  In 1861 he worked for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper and was sent to Baltimore, MD with Francis B. Schell to cover the Baltimore riots.  Throughout the spring and summer of 1862 he covered the war in Virginia.


John R. Hamilton was an English architect who moved to Cincinnati in 1852.  Hamilton won a silver medal at the Ohio Mechanics’ Institute for his paintings, lithographs, architectural, and other drawings.  He later moved to New York City and served during the Civil Was as a special artist for Harper’s Weekly.  He recorded the naval combat in New Orleans and the life of African Americans in Louisiana.  He was in Richmond, Virginia, from about 1864 to 1866. (6315,8569,8570)*


Byron S. Heath of the USS Louisiana.  His sketch titled, "Washington, On The Tar River, North Carolina,” appeared in the May 16, 1863 issue of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated. (2140) *


Col. W. Heine.  His “Camp of the New York 103rd Before Charleston” was published in the 2/2/1964 issue of Harper’s Weekly. (8531) *


William John Hennessy, 1839-1917.  He settled with his family in New York in 1848.  Hennessy was known in this country mainly an illustrator and engraver.  He contributed to periodicals including Harper’s Weekly and Frank Leslie’s Illustrated.  Collectors at times confuse his initials with the initials of Winslow Homer. (6299,1445,2155)* Hennessy returned to Europe in the 1870’s where he was acclaimed for his painting.  He continued to exhibit in the United States, including the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.


C.E.F. Hillen, an illustrator and author, worked for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated as a special artist during the Civil War.  He produced sketches of the war in Tennessee and Georgia including the 1863 Battle of Chattanooga and the 1864 Capture of Lost Mountain.  His illustrations appear in Leslie’s 1896 “Famous Leaders and Battle Scenes of the Civil War” and the 1893 “The Soldier in Our Civil War”.  Hillen also recorded the life and service of African Americans.  


John Francis Edward Hillen, 1819-1865.  Born in Belgium, he lived in Philadelphia in the early 1850s and joined the Union Army in 1861.  He was wounded in 1862 and discharged as disabled. In the same year, his scenes of war in West Virginia were published in Harper’s Weekly.  He worked as a “special artist” for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper from 1862 to 1865, which published his drawings of battles and camp life in Virginia, Georgia, and Tennessee.


Winslow Homer, 1836-1910.  Born in Boston, he began work at age nineteen as an apprentice lithographer for Bufford.  He left Bufford after two years and concentrated on illustration. (1092) *  Still later he turned to painting.  In 1957 he moved to New York and had many of his drawings published in Harper’s Weekly and Ballou’s Pictorial.  He turned down a staff position at Harper’s preferring to be a freelance artist.  From 1861-1862, he sent drawings of the Civil War to Harper’s.  He sketched battle scenes, camp life and commanders.  Attached to the Army of The Potomac, his were the first drawings of General George B. McClellan.  Homer filled his sketch books with studies of uniforms, weapons, individual soldiers and daily life.  His work recorded the experiences of the soldiers, their comradery on the front lines as well as the terrors of war. (1117.1116,1130,1141,6296)*  Towards the end of the war, Homer did striking paintings of African Americans.  After the war, he did engravings and paintings in the cities, on the farm, at the seaside and in the mountains.  Most of his famous oil and watercolor paintings were produced in the second half of his life after he moved to Maine.


Henry Hubner is identified by Harper’s Weekly as Mr. H. Hubner of the Third Ohio Volunteers.  In 1862, he sent sketches along with detailed descriptions of the battles, units, events, movements and leaders of the Union forces to Harper’s.  He was with General Buell’s army in Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama.  (1334, 1465)*  The following account was published by Harper’s along with Hubner’s sketch, “Burning The Tennessee Bridge At Decatur.”  A part of Mitchell’s division, under command of Colonel Lytle, Tenth Ohio Volunteers, Third Ohio Volunteers, Colonel J. Beatty, Coldwater Battery, Captain Loomis (Michigan Artillery), was sent to Decatur, which place they held until the rebels with overwhelming forces, under command of General Price, advanced on us.  We prevented the rebels from following us by burning the bridge, also the railroad depot.  Mitchell took possession of every boat, even of the smallest skiff, for twenty miles up and down the river, so the rebels had not the slightest means to cross.  Captain Loomis did good work.  His boys are the finest set of men I have ever seen.” (1460) *


Carl Iwonski sent a sketch of his fellow rebel recruits camped in Las Moras, TX to Harper’s Weekly  in May, 1861.  It was the first scene of the war in the West published by Harper’s.


William Samuel Lyon Jewett, 1834-1876.  Born in New York, he was a painter and illustrator.  Jewett did many sketches and portraits for Harper’s including the trial of John Brown. (6296,8418)*  Research by his daughter identified a “winged lizard” signature used by him.


Theodore Jones.  His original full page engraved political cartoon titled, "The Forlorn Hope--The Ship Secession In The Breakers, The Chicago Wreckers Rushing To The Rescue,” appeared in the October 29, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly. (1205,8569)*


Theodore Kaufmann,1814-1896.  Born in Germany, he immigrated to the United States in 1850 and settled in New York City where he worked as both a painter and teacher.Thomas Nast was one of his students.  During the Civil War, he joined the Union Army and was also an artist-correspondent.  An engraving of his watercolor, “Fort Hatteras Just before the Surrender,” was published in the September 21, 1861 issue of Harper’s Weekly.  Kaufmann is known for his military and historical paintings and his portraits.


Mr. Killeen.  A naval sketch by Killeen was published in the October 8, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly. (8566) *


Daniel R. Knight.  “Return of the Veteran Volunteers” was published in the 1/23/1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly. (8529) *


S. M. Lane.   His naval sketch appeared in the December 10, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly. (8575) *


George Law worked for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated.  The sketches “Invasion of the Northern States” and “Recruiting in the New York City Hall Park” were done in 1864.


Henri Lovie, 1829-1875.  He worked in Cincinnati as a painter and illustrator until 1859.  In 1860, Lovie joined Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper as a special artist.  He was sent in February 1861 to follow Abraham Lincoln from Springfield, Illinois to Washington D.C. for the presidential inauguration.  Lovie joined General George McClellan’s army in Washington.  He sketched the battle of Philippi and the West Virginia mountains.  In June 1861, he joined the Federal Expeditionary Forces going up the Missouri River under the command of Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyons to capture Jefferson City and Boonville.  The campaign ended with a Union retreat after the Battle of Wilson’s Creek where Lovie recorded the death of General Lyons.  Lovie escaped to Lebanon, Kentucky drawing scenes of battles at Munfordville, Kentucky and Stones River, Tennessee where he recorded the death of Colonel Julius Garesche.  (2092, 2088)*   He returned to Cincinnati after the war but moved to Philadelphia in 1868 to complete a life-size bronze figure of a soldier, which stands as a war memorial in Springfield, Ohio.


Arthur Lumley, 1837-1912.  Born in Dublin, Ireland, Lumley came to this country before 1840 and made his home in Brooklyn.  He did illustrations for Harper’s Weekly, New York Illustrated News and Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.  He was the first artist sent by Frank Leslie’s Illustrated to the Army of the Potomac to cover the Civil War.  As a “special artist” he accompanied General Irwin McDowell’s army as it engaged the Confederate forces at Bull Run Creek.  When Confederate forces counterattack and broke the Federal assault, Lumley captured the resulting panic as the Union Army retreated to Washington.   In 1862 he went to work for the New York Illustrated News.  After the war he did book illustrations and contributed social satire drawings to The Daily Graphic.Established in the early 1870s, it was the first illustrated daily newspaper in the United States.


Andrew McCallum, 1821-1902.  He was hired by Frank Leslie’s Illustrated in 1864 to help cover the siege of Petersburg.  McCallum arrived at Petersburg in late July just in time to witness the explosion of a mine placed in a tunnel under the Confederate lines. In spite of the explosion, the Union forces suffered terrible losses. McCallum recorded the extent of the carnage in agonizing detail.


William R. McComas, 1840-1909.  McComas was born in Cincinnati.  He began his career as a special artist with drawings of scenes of the Northern Virginia campaign published in New York Illustrated News.  He started drawing for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated News in 1861.  His first drawing was of Paducah, KY.  He was assigned as special artist to Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant’s army, which he accompanied to Bowling Green, Kentucky and to the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee.  He enlisted as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 79th Ohio Infantry in 1862.  McComas continued to send drawings to New York throughout his military career.  In 1863, he was detailed as a topographical engineer to Major General John McClernand’s staff.  General McClernand cited McComas for commendation in his report of the Battle of Champion’s Hill, Mississippi in May 1863.  McComas was promoted to Captain in August 1863 and continued to serve in campaigns in Texas until he was discharged in 1865.  He then returned to Cincinnati.


James W. McLaughlin, 1834-1923.  Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, he was a successful illustrator and architect.  He designed the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Moorish Revival Plum Street Temple, the Art Academy of Cincinnati, Machinery Hall, the Cincinnati Gas Light and Coke Co. building, and the first Cincinnati Reds baseball stadium.  He also designed the buildings of the Cincinnati Zoological Gardens, the first structures created expressly for that purpose in the United States.  When the Civil War began in 1861, he volunteered as a lieutenant in the Infantry Body Guard of General John C. Fremont.  While serving in the Army of the Southwest, McLaughlin became a special artist for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.


D. W. Matthews.  His sketch appeared in the December 24, 1864 issues of Harper’s Weekly. (8577) *


Mr. Mead of the Vermont Brigade.  His sketch titled,"Pickets Conversing Before Yorktown--A Common Scene,” appeared in the May 17, 1862 issue of Harper’s Weekly. (6297) *


John W. Miller.  A sketch of Fort Morgan by Miller was published in the October 22, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly.  (8568) *


Henry Mosler, 1841-1920.  Born in what is now Poland, Henry moved with his parents to New York when he was eight and then to Cincinnati in 1851.  He studied there with James Beard.  From 1862 to 1863 he was a Civil War illustrator for Harper's Weekly.  He drew scenes in and around Cincinnati and Kentucky. (1511,1539)*  Following General Buell’s Army (1345) * he recorded the battle of Perryville, Kentucky (1188) * and the occupation of Camp Nevin. (1237) *  Mosler became a well-known illustrator and painter of portraits and genre scenes.  In 1863 he went to Europe where he earned many honors.  He received a silver medal in Paris 1889, and gold medals at Paris in 1888, and Vienna, 1893.


Edward F. Mullen was a well-known comic and book illustrator before he became a “special artist” for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper in 1864.  He was sent with other Leslie artists to draw the siege of Petersburg.  In the following months, he continued to focus on the details of battle and its aftermath.  He recorded the burial squads at Antietam and Petersburg.  His images captured the difficulties the Union forces were facing.  After the war, he returned to New York and continued illustrating.


Thomas Nast, 1840-1902.  Born in Bavaria, he came to New York in 1846.  At fifteen he became a draftsman for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated.  He briefly worked for the New York Illustrated News and the Illustrated London News.  In 1861 Nast became a staff artist for Harper’s Weekly.  Considered to be the "Father of the American Cartoon," he was a caricaturist, satirist, and editorial cartoonist.  His vivid war drawings greatly influenced public opinion. (1249,1333)*  During the Civil War years his work was pro Lincoln, pro Union, and anti Slavery. (1325) *  He portrayed Southerners as the enemy—and sometimes as cruel and brutal. (1516) *  Abraham Lincoln called him, "our best recruiting sergeant."  Nast’s political cartoons were considered important in securing Lincoln’s second election.  President Grant said, “Two things elected me, the sword of Sheridan and the pencil of Thomas Nast.”  Nast’s dramatic cartoons exposing the Tweed Ring in New York City, 1869-1872 made his famous. (1324,1318)*  Nast invented the Tammany Tiger, the Republican elephant and the Democratic donkey.  During and after the Civil War, he did sentimental Christmas scenes including his famous rendition of Santa Claus.  In all he produced over three thousand pictures.


William P. Noble.  He was a well known watercolor artist in Cincinnati.  In 1858 he helped organize the Cincinnati Sketch Club composed of most of Cincinnati’s leading artists.  The Cincinnati Commercial reported, on May 17, 1861 that the Sixth Ohio of the Guthrie Greys marched through the heart of Cincinnati.  They created an impressive site and were greeted with loud ovations from the crowds who lined their route.  William Noble was a lieutenant and an old member of the Greys.  He sent a sketch of the Cincinnati scene to Harper’s Weekly. (6301) *


Johannes Adam Oertel, 1823-1909.  Born in Bavaria, he immigrated to the United States in 1848.  Oertel was an artist, teacher and Episcopal clergyman.  During the Civil War he did engravings of army life. (1289) *  His work included religious topics and scenes.  He assisted in decorating the Capitol in Washington and his work is in the National Cathedral. 


James R. O’Neill, 1833-1863.  Born in Ireland, his family moved to Wisconsin Territory in 1843.  He became known as an artist, actor and musician.  In 1860 he moved with friends to Leavenworth, Kansas.  With the outbreak of Civil War, O’Neill sketched soldiers and officers at Ft. Leavenworth, selling some to Frank Leslie’s Illustrated.  Frank Leslie hired him as a part-time artist in 1863.  His job was to follow Maj. Gen. James G. Blunt's Army of the Frontier into combat and draw sketches of the battle scenes he witnessed. (2050) *  O’Neill also contributed political cartoons.  He was killed at Baxter Springs by members of Quantrill’s Raiders, Confederate irregulars.  They were known to not take prisoners and killed both noncombatants like O’Neill and civilians. (2039) *


Private Miles O’Reilly.  A poem and engraving was published by Harper’s Weekly, April, 30, 1864. (8543) *


Bradley Sillick Osbon, born 1828, Rye, NY.  An experienced sailor, Osbon worked for the New York World and then the New York Herald as its chief naval correspondent.  Using his skills as a seaman, he was able to cover the major naval battles of the war.  He hired on as Captain’s Clerk on the Harriet Lane from which he witnessed and reported the attack on Fort Sumter.  He reported the capture of New Orleans by signing on as a clerk aboard David G. Farragut’s flagship, the Hartford.  Along the way he earned extra cash by sending sketches of naval encounters to Harper’s Weekly.  His Port Royal sketches gave a vivid picture of the expedition.  (1497) *


Charles Parsons, 1821-1910. Parsons was born in London.   He was known for his marine paintings, lithographs and illustrations.  His Civil War works published in Harper’s Weekly were signed C.P. and C. Parsons.  (1214, 1540)*  From 1863-1889 he was head art director for Harper’s Weekly. 


James William Pattison, 1844-1915.  Born in Boston, he later worked in New York City and Chicago.  During the Civil War he was an illustrator for Harper’s Weekly.  (6381,8573)*  As a painter, he was known for his figures, animals, landscapes and marines.  Pattison was on the faculty of the Chicago Art Institute and editor of the Fine Arts Journal.


Granville Perkins, 1830-1895.  Although he produced oils and watercolors, he was noted as an illustrator of harbor, marine and landscape scenes.  In 1851 he began engraving on wood for illustrated papers and magazines.  In 1853 he worked for Illustrated News under Frank Leslie.  From there he worked for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated and then Harper’s Weekly.  During the Civil War he furnished drawings of naval operations, battles, genre, and portraits.  Many of his engravings were signed G. P. (1239,1455,1484)*   His illustrations were published in most of the illustrated journals of the day and in many important books.


C. H. Perring.  His “Bridge Across the Holston at Knoxville” was published in the 3/12/1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly. (8536) *


Allen C. Redwood, 1844-1922.  Redwood was North Carolina native.  He joined the 55th Virginia at the start of the Civil War and witnessed extensive combat at Fredericksburg and Gettysburg where he was seriously wounded.  Redwood produced sketches of the war depicting soldiers in camp and in midst of battle.  Some of his sketches were published in Harper’s Weekly.  Surviving the war, he created many works depicting the horrors of war, images he witnessed personally.  Redwood was commissioned to do works for Century’s “Battles and Leaders of the Civil War.” (8329,8330,8334,8336)* He moved to Baltimore after the war.  Many of his works are displayed at the Virginia Historical Society.


Mrs. Ricketts.  A sketch by Mrs. Ricketts appeared on the cover of the January 11, 1862 issue of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated.  It is titled, "Exhibition of National Prisoners, In The Hospital At Richmond, Va.” (1291) *


Adam Rohe.  His naval sketch appeared in the December 31, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly. (8578) *


Surgeon Sanford.  A sketch published in the June 29, 1863 issue of Harper’s Weekly is titled, "Camp of the Vermont Regiment, Newport News, With Stockade and Embankment.--Sketched by Surgeon Sanford." (6303) *


Francis H. Schell, 1834-1909.  Schell was an artist, illustrator, and lithographer in Philadelphia before going to New York where Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper hired him as a special artist in 1861.  He witnessed the battle of Antietam Creek, one of the bloodiest battles of the war. The experience led Schell to capture the realities of battle.  In addition to drawing battle scenes and details of camp life, he was interested in capturing the images of “contrabands”, former slaves who dug trenches and did odd jobs for the army. (2145) *  He became Leslie’s art director after the war until he formed a lithography partnership with Thomas Hogan that continued for 30 years.  He also did illustrations for Century magazine, and his drawings were included in Beyond the Mississippi and Battles and Leaders of the Civil War.  (8339,8333)*


Frederick B. Schell, 1838–1905. Frederick was born in Philadelphia.  He became a special artist for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper in 1862 and did drawings at Antietam.  In 1863, Frank Leslie assigned him to General Ulysses S. Grant’s army at Vicksburg.  When the Confederate General John C. Pemberton and his exhausted and starving troops surrendered on July 4th, Schell captured the somber meeting of the two generals. (2117,2112,2113)*  His works were also published in Century magazine and in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War.   After the war he did illustrations for Picturesque Canada and for The Picturesque Atlas of Australia.  Schell served as art director for Harper & Brothers.


Mr. Schofield 47th New York.  Sketches titled, "Siege Of Charleston--Attack Of The Naval Forces On Forts Wagner and Sumter.--From Sketches by W. T. Crane and by Mr. Schofield, 47th N. Y." appeared in the August 22, 1863 issue of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated. (2127) *


William Henry Shelton, 1840-1932.  Shelton was an artist-illustrator in New York City.  He worked for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated, Harper’s Weekly, Century, and the New York Ledger.  During the Civil War, he served in a New York State regiment as an artilleryman.  He participated as an artillery commander in the Battle of the Wilderness, where he was badly wounded and taken prisoner by the Confederates.  He made a daring escape which he described and illustrated for Century magazine. (8327,8328,8335)*   His etchings and drawings were based on real experiences.  Shelton contributed many illustrations to leading periodicals such as Harper’s Weekly during the 1870’s and 1880’s.  W. H. Shelton exhibited at the Brooklyn Art Association, the Boston Art Club, the Pennsylvania Academy and the Art Institute of Chicago.


William Ludlow (Ludwell) Sheppard, 1833-1912.  A Southern artist born in Richmond, Virginia, William Sheppard was a watercolorist, illustrator, teacher, and painter who first gained attention for designing tobacco labels.  He enlisted in the Civil War with the Richmond Howitzers in the Army of Northern Virginia, reaching the rank of engineering officer.  He devoted most of his spare time to drawing and painting his fellow soldiers in the Confederate army.  This work led him to the field of illustration.  His works appeared in Harper’s Weekly, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated and Appleton’s. (2799,2475)*  After the war he developed an interest in and portrayed the life of African Americans. 


Charles Sholl, Topographical Engineer.  “Map of Richmond, Virginia Showing Its Defenses and Railroad Connections” drawn by Sholl was published in Harper’s Weekly, May 21, 1864. (8546) *


Joseph R. Shurry.  A sketch by Shurry appeared in the August 22, 1863 issue of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated.  It is titled, "The Devils Den Near Gettysburg, The Scene Of The Most Terrible Fight Of The Three Day Battle.” (6454) *


Emil Sigel was both an engraver and a famous and prolific die-sinker.  During the Civil War he created designs for many medals and tokens in his New York City shop.  His engraving of his brother, General Franz Sigel, was produced on the October 18, 1862 cover of Harper’s Weekly. (1344) *


Alexander Simplot, 1837-1914.  Born in Dubuque, Iowa, he worked as a special artist for Harper’s Weekly for two years.  His drawing of volunteers boarding the steamer “Alhambra” in April, 1861 was the first Civil War related sketch published by Harper’s Weekly.  One of his most famous drawings was “The Battle of Corinth.” (1182) *  Most of his Civil War sketches for Harper’s were done on the Mississippi and its tributaries.  (1462, 1172)*  He was also well known for his Civil War paintings.  Simplot returned to Dubuque where he taught school for several years.


Mr. George Slater (Lt.).  A sketch by Slater appeared in the June 18, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly. (8550,8564,8567)*


Robert Smalls, 1839–1915, Captain of the Gunboat “Planter”.  Smalls was an enslaved African American who freed himself and his family from slavery by commandeering a Confederate transport ship, the “Planter” to freedom in Charleston harbor.  Harper’s Weekly published an engraving by Smalls along with a sketch he made of the “Planter” in its June 14, 1862 issue. (1456) *  Born in South Carolina, he became a politician, serving in both the South Carolina State legislature and the United States House of Representatives.  He founded the Republican Party of South Carolina, and convinced President Lincoln to accept African-American soldiers into the Union army.


Chapin Stephens.  A centerfold of George B. McClellan by Stephens was published in the September 17, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly. (8563) *


David Hunter Strother, 1816-1888.  Born in Virginia (now West Virginia) he was one of the best known graphic artists in America by the mid 1800s.  He began his career doing wood engravings for books and periodicals including the art journal, Crayon.  In 1858 he wrote and illustrated his first article under the pen name “Porte Crayon” for Harper’s Monthly.  From 1859-1861 Strother wrote and illustrated many travelogues for Harper’s.  Early in 1861 Harper’s sent him south to cover the war.  As a Virginian, but sympathetic to the North, he was at first able to travel with the Southern forces.  Harper’s published his account of the Confederate raid on Harper’s Ferry and his sketch titled, “The Burning of the United States Arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, 10 P.M., April 18, 1861.”   In 1861, he was commissioned as a topographer and staff officer in the Union Army.  He was assigned to several generals including his cousin, General David Hunter.  Strother’s detailed knowledge of the Shenandoah Valley enabled him to draw detailed maps that played a key role in guiding Union forces.  From 1866-1868, Harper’s Monthly published eleven installments of Porte Crayon’s “Personal Recollections of the War”. 


James E. Taylor, 1839-1901.  Born in Cincinnati, Taylor was a well known painter and illustrator.  He enlisted in the Tenth New York Infantry (National Zouaves) in 1861. While a soldier, he sent battlefield drawings to Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.  When he left the army in 1863, Leslie’s hired him as a “special artist”.  For the remainder of the war, he traveled with the Union Army in Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.  After the war, Taylor traveled to the West with the Indian Peace Commission.  His drawings of the Medicine Lodge Council of the Peace Commission were published in Leslie’s in November 1867.  His drawing “Branding Cattle on the Prairies in Texas”, published in Leslie’s in June 1867, was the first illustration of the western cattle industry printed in the national press.  In 1883 he became a freelance illustrator. (2686) *


William D. T. Travis accompanied the Union army as a staff artist for Harper’s Weekly and the New York Illustrated News.  He is identified by Harper’s Weekly simply as Mr. Bill Travis.  In November, 1861 Harper’s published a half page engraving from a sketch done by Travis titled, "Two Slave-Hunters Expelled From The Camp of The Twenty-Second Illinois Volunteers At Birds Point, Missouri.” (6310) *  A December, 1861 full page engraving is a series of three sketches and a map.  The main sketch is titled, "The Battle of Belmont--Charge of Colonel Dougherty, Twenty-Second Illinois Regiment, Upon The Rebel Batteries." It shows mounted officers leading the charge into the rebel camp.  The smaller sketches are titled, "The Mississippi River Near Columbus and Belmont, and The Retreat--the Tyler Shelling the Rebel troops." It shows a line of steamboats with shells bursting. The map is titled, "Mississippi River From Cairo To Chalk Bluff.” (7732) *  After the war, Travis painted scenes of the Civil War from on-the-spot sketches and memories accumulated while accompanying the army.  A panorama entitled “The Army of the Cumberland” is in the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. 


Henry A. Van Ingen, 1833-1899.  Born in Holland, he worked in New York starting in 1860.  He contributed Civil War sketches to Harper’s Weekly.  Two of his sketches appeared in the October 25, 1862 issue, "Battery on St. Johns Bluff, Florida, Taken By Our Forces" and "Mayport Mills, Mouth of St. Johns River, Florida.” (6323) *  Van Ingen was primarily known as a genre painter.


Frank Vizetelly, 1820-1894.  He was hired in 1861 by the Illustrated London News, to provide the paper with news releases, sketches and drawings of the American Civil War.   After his negative report on the conduct of Federal troops during and after the first Battle of Bull Run, Vizetelly was banned from Union lines.  He fled to Richmond and proceeded to cover the war from a Southern perspective.  Starting in 1862 he traveled widely, from Charleston to the Mississippi River and into northern Virginia.  During his travels Vizetelly met and interviewed many of the leaders of the Confederacy, including Jeb Stuart, Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis.  His descriptions of them and others helped create favorable impressions among English readers.  After the war he continued to work for the News.  In 1887 he established a publishing house in London and in 1893 he wrote a volume of autobiographical reminiscences.  Two of his sketches were published in 1/9/1864 by Harper’s Weekly.  They included, “Longstreet’s Sharp-Shooters.” (8527) *


Henry A. Walke, 1808-1896.  Renowned artist and naval officer, Walke was a Union Naval hero during the Civil War.  He served at Forts Henry, Donelson, Pillow, Vicksburg and others.  During Grant’s campaign to control the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers he was commander of the “timberclad” Tyler in the Battle of Belmont. (1230) *  His naval sketches appeared in Harper’s Weekly and other publications of the time.  He wrote and illustrated several naval books including his classic Naval Lithograph Portfolio.  Walke was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1870.


George Walters contributed the following Civil War sketches to Harper’s Weekly.   "View of Mobile and The Federal Fleet In The Bay,” "The Metacomets Boats Blowing Up The Rebel Ram Nashville, August 16, 1864,” and "Receiving The Wounded On Board The Metacomet, August 5, 1864.” (6317,8569)*


A. W. Warren, d.1873.  Born in Coventry, New York, he was a Civil War “special artist” for Harper’s Weekly in 1864 and 1865.  The November 26, 1864 issue published two of his sketches, "Before Petersburg--Mounted Infantry," and "Before Petersburg--Reinforcements Going To The Front.” (6380, 8570, 8577)*  He also sketched the ruins of Richmond.  It was Warren’s idea to form The New York Etching Club.  After the war he is known for his paintings of Latin America.


Capt. Warn.  His sketch titled, "The Rebel Privateer Florida Chasing The Schooner Laura Ann, About 400 Miles West Of Bermuda,” appeared in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated May 23, 1863. (6456, 1234) *


George Watters.  His sketch titled, The “Metacomet” was published in the October 29, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly. (8575,8576)*


Alfred Rudolph Waud, 1828-1891.  Born in London, he immigrated to America in 1850.  In 1860, Waud became a staff artist for the New York Illustrated News.  In April 1861, the newspaper assigned him to cover the Army of the Potomac.  He joined Harper’s Weekly at the end of 1861.Alfred Waud was present at every Army of the Potomac battle from the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861 to the Siege of Petersburg in 1865. (1512,1565,1566, 1463,6373)*  He was present at the Battle of Gettysburg making the only eyewitness drawing of Confederate General Pickett’s charge. (8180) * At Appomattox, he was the only artist or photographer in the vicinity.  He got there just in time to see General Lee’s departure after his surrender and the Confederates laying down their arms and battle flags.  Later, Alfred accompanied the Lincoln funeral train and depicted the burial of the president in Springfield, Illinois.  Harper’s Weekly acclaimed him the most important artist-correspondent of the Civil War.  Alfred Waud continued to be a prolific illustrator, doing numerous illustrations for Harper's Weekly and other prominent publications including Century magazine and Battles and Leaders of the Civil War.  He died in 1891 in Marietta, Georgia, while touring battlefields of the South.


William Waud, 1839-1878.  English born and brother of Alfred, he worked for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated and covered assignments in the South including the inauguration of Jefferson Davis, the bombardment of Fort Sumter, and the New Orleans Expedition in the spring of 1862.  In 1864 Waud joined the staff of Harper's Weekly.  He worked along side his brother, Alfred during the Petersburg Campaign.  William covered Sherman’s March in the south and Lincoln’s funeral after the war. (6314,1204,1616)* 

G. W. Webb.  A sketch by Webb was published in the September 17, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly. (8563) *

Robert Weir.  His sketches of the naval battles in Mobil Bay appear in the September 10, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly. (8562,8564,8568)*

Mr. P. F. Wharton.His sketch of Sheridan’s Troops was published in the November 5, 1864 issue of Harper’s Weekly. (8570) *

A. Wiser.  An engraving published in the May 17, 1862 Harper’s Weekly is titled, "Fort Macon Repossessed--Sketched by Mr. A. Wiser." It is a group of three sketches titled, "Bombardment of Fort Macon, Fort Macon from the Upper Parapet, and The Fifth Rhode Island Regiment entering Fort Macon." (1125) *



Unidentified Artists:


Sketched by an officer of the Mississippi.  This engraving of the fleet entering the Mississippi is a double-page, centerfold titled, "Commodore Farragut’s Squadron and Captain Porter’s Mortar Fleet Entering The Mississippi River.”  It shows the ships, Colorado, Pensacola, Westfield, Mississippi, Connecticut, Harriet Lane, Clinton, Banona and the Lighthouse.  It appeared in the May 17, 1862 issue of Harper’s Weekly. (1124) *


Sketched by an officer of the Richmond.  This series of sketches titled, "The Battle At The Southwest Pass--The Ram Manassas Attacking The Richmond,” appeared in the December 7, 1861 issue of Harper’s Weekly. (6321) *


*Note:  Numbers in parentheses correspond to the Product Numbers of engravings in the Dietrich’s Vault collection. 




The Becker Collection, America’s Distinguished Artists

War Correspondents Memorial Arch, Antietam National Battlefield


Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900.  Mary Sayre Haverstock, et. al.  Kent State University Press, 1999.


A Bohemian Brigade, The Civil War Correspondents—Mostly Rough, Sometimes Ready.  James M. Perry, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2000.


The Civil War, An Illustrated History. Time Books, 2011.


The Civil War in Art, A Visual Odyssey.  Doranne Jacobson, Smithmark, 1991.


Civil War Sketch Book: Drawings from the Battlefront.  Harry L. Katz and Vincent Virga, W.W. Norton & Co., New York, 2012.


A Dictionary of American Artists, Sculptors and Engravers.  From the beginnings through the turn of the Twentieth Century. William Young, 1968.


Early American Book Illustrators and Wood Engravers 1670-1870, Vol. I and II. Sinclair Hamilton, Princeton University Press, 1968.


Katz, Harry, “Civil War Battlefield Art” National Geographic, May 2012.


Mantle Fieldings’s Dictionary of American Painter, Sculptors and Engravers. James F. Carr, 1965.


The New York Historical Society’s Dictionary of Artists In America 1564-1960. George C. Groce and David H. Wallace, Yale University Press, 1957.


Th: Nast, His Period and His Pictures. Albert Bigelow Paine, The Pyne Press, 1904.


The Timberclads In The Civil War: The Lexington, Conestoga and Tyler On The Western Waters.  Myron J. Smith. 2008.


Winslow Homer’s Magazine Engravings. Philip C. Beam, Harper & Row, 1979.