Monday, August 19, 2013

"Articulating the unspeakable: Art-making during wartime"

This undated handout image provided by the Smithsonian American Art Museum shows Frederic Edwin Church's 1861 oil on paper "Our Banner in the Sky."
        (Credit: AP/Smithsonian American Art Museum)
From a worthwhile article at yesterday: "Two exhibitions of Civil War-era art and photography ask if images can truly convey the horrors of the battlefield." Read the full article here.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Meanwhile, some good reading from

Sneden Collection, Virginia Historical Society
The map, which shows in rich detail not only the engagement, but the layout of Civil War-era Washington, is part of one of the more remarkable compilations of Civil War maps and artwork in existence: the Sneden Collection at the Virginia Historical Society. “It’s an incredible body of visual information about the Civil War,” says the Society’s head of program development, Andrew Talkov. The collection includes his wartime diary, and the so-called “Sneden Scrapbook,” a loosely organized compendium of maps and drawings that he compiled after the war, documenting not only his own experience, but other battles as well. Often known as “Jubal’s Raid” because it bore the stamp of one of Robert E. Lee’s boldest and ablest generals, the attack on Washington was part of an effort to relieve pressure on Lee’s army in Petersburg, Virginia.
     Read the full article here.

And if you have a few more minutes, check out this slide show on Gettysburg Artifacts from the Smithsonian Collection.

U.S. Army Canteen (Armed Forces History, NAMH)

Back from the Mountain Top

View of the Rocky Mountains from atop Crested Butte Mountain,
Gunnison County, Colorodo. 
It's been a busy summer, involving much traveling, including a return trip to the Little Bighorn Battlefield in June, and a two-week adventure in Colorado in July. Now we're back in the groove again, amidst the redwoods and oaks midway down the San Francisco Peninsula. The kids are back in school, and I find myself renewed and eager to turn attention again to the stacks of books that fill my apartment like dusty, literary stalagmites. Time, too, to jump back into blogging and the Civil War Forum with both feet.

Speaking of cave features, on our way through Colorado Springs we stopped to tour Cave of the Winds, a place I had once visited as a 17-year-old. This time I was interested to learn that inside, near the original entrance, are three stone memorials to Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and Robert E. Lee. Reportedly, 19th century visitors were asked to stack a stone on the memorial of the man they admired most, and Grant's pile grew the largest. At some point Lee's stone pile collapsed, and has resisted efforts to restore it. Make of that what you will. And there you have a Civil War connection under the very earth and rocks of a Colorado mountain.

Cave of the Winds stone memorials, left to right: Lincoln, Grant, Lee.