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Lovie, Henri, 1829-1875
Vignette of the Passage of the Rappahannock by the Grand Army of the Potomac at Fredericksburg, Virginia, Midnight, December 10, 1862.
Civil War drawings collection, approximately 1861-1865.
New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024, 212-873-3400
December 10, 1862
Drawing: Graphite on paper with annotations in brown ink. 8 1/2 x 13 in. Small sketch of troop movements, including movement of cannons, down a road, over a bridge and through a town represented by houses, buildings and a church steeple. Lengthy text in graphite (with brown ink annotations): Top right, 'The audiences of the different tiers of houses are exact, the air / is foggy and only the roofs are visible the rest flat indistinct[?] / masses.' Right side, 'If you can possibly catch the / spirit of this sketch you will have a / very beautiful scene; It is impossible / for me to finish it as I want to get / it through for next weeks paper and / shells are bursting close bye[sic] indicating / more sketches. I send it by special / messenger to Acquia[sic] Creek. / Manage the town & landscape in flat, silvery tints, darkening the / sky [?] town towards the right, the / masses are correctly sketched, the bank / of the river is very rough do not put much / detail in but use the effect of the glimmer / of bayonets and campsites well-make the bridge & artillery your brilliant / moonlight scene.' The title is written out, with edits in brown ink. Bottom left, 'The troops aroused during the night.' Center, 'The shore is crowded with troops in 2 distinct / masses on the upper and lower road, small / campsites here & there, figures dimly visible in / groups of foot & horsemen relieve against smoke / between the two masses and buildings beyond.'
This is a scene of the Federal army moving into position to begin the Bombardment of Fredericksburg. Engraved for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, December 27, 1862 (XV:378): 214, 220, under the title: 'The Passage of the Rappahannock by the Grand Army of the Potomac at Fredericksburg, VA., Midnight, Wednesday December 10.' The accompanying article, on page 214, was titled: 'Bombardment of Fredericksburg.' Condensed from: Harper's Weekly, December 27, 1862, pages 830-831, 'THE BOMBARDMENT OF FREDERICKSBURG, December 11, 1862 Last evening, at sundown, the movement commenced. Artillery never seemed to rumble so noisily before. At two o'clock our pickets were withdrawn, and at three the pontoon train drove down to the water. Lumber was noiselessly piled upon the ground, and the huge boats slid from off their trucks. Suddenly, Crack! crack! crack! from a hundred muskets tells us the ball is opened. A cry of pain comes up the bank from the gallant engineers, mules dash off, with pontoons thundering after, across the plot; the musketry grows louder and the whiz of bullets more frequent; frightened teamsters fly, panic-stricken, and the artillery horses plunge at the caissons. Suddenly, boom! goes a gun-another and another, until thirty pieces are pouring shot and shell upon the devoted city. Gradually the fire slackens, and the engineers again attempt the completion of the bridge, but in vain; and after a third trial they fall back, bearing in their arms their wounded, dead, and dying. It was designed to lay down two bridges at once, one at the lower and the other at the upper end of the city. The enemy, posted in the houses and cellars, upon the bank of the river, were safe from our infantry, and maintained a continuous fire. Our infantry returned the fire spiritedly, but finding it impossible to drive the rebels from their cover, finally withdrew, leaving the disposition of the enemy to our artillery. By this time it was sunrise. The engineers (Fiftieth New York) and the Fifty-seventh and Sixty-sixth New York regiments had suffered heavily. About eight o'clock the artillery fire ceased. Again the engineers advance, and again the enemy drive them back, orderlies gallop to the different batteries with instructions; a message orders from Aquia a special train with solid shot; and again the thunder breaks out anew. For a time the roar is indescribably awful. The guns renew their roar, and we see the solid shot plunge through the masonry as though it were pasteboard; other buildings are fired, and before sundown a score of houses are in ashes, while not one seems to have escaped the pitiless storm of iron. Our artillery would drive the enemy from their cover upon the bank of the river, but when compelled to cease, in order not to endanger the lives of the regiments, the rebels would immediately steal back and pick off our men with the rifle.' About the Artist: Born in Berlin, Prussia in 1829, Henri Lovie became portrait and landscape painter. In the 1850s, he illustrated The Ohio Railroad Guide, Zoe: or the Quadroon's Triumph, Brother Mason, the Circut Rider; or Ten Years a Methodist Minister, The Gallows, the Prison, and the Poor-House. Among other illustrator positions held, Lovie was a 'special artist' for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper.
New-York Historical Society
United States. Army of the PotomacFredericksburg (V.A.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865NightTroop movementArtillery (weaponry)Cities and townsBridges
SketchesDrawings (visual works)ImageText
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