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Signed by the Artist
This 1992 poster was for the Lou Reda Productions presentation of Images of the Civil War - The Paintings of Mort Kunstler. The one-hour television special was shown on the A&E network on April 30, 1993. It was the first television show featuring one artist’s work on the Civil War. This poster is a detail of the painting The Grand Review.
The idea for this painting came about in my search for a scene that would show the flamboyant and colorful J.E.B. Stuart, I had never painted him before and had wanted to for some time. When I read this account of the event and heard it had never been painted before, I felt this was my opportunity.
To show off his splendid division, Stuart planned a Grand Review of nearly 10,000 cavalrymen. Friends and dignitaries were invited to a plain about a mile southwest of Brandy Station, Virginia. There was a knoll and road adjacent to the main railroad line from Culpepper Courthouse. It became a wonderful reviewing stand. The fields were wide enough to accommodate the entire division and was open enough for the spectators to see everything.
People arrived from Charlottesville and Richmond and the crowd included most of the town of Culpepper. The train from Richmond with Secretary of War Randolph and a large contingent of ladies aboard, was parked on the tracks behind the reviewing area.
Based on a trip to the site and maps of the area, I was able to reconstruct the event. The area is sliced by and the knoll is now covered with houses but is easy to visualize the thousands of troopers out on the field that still exists, virtually unchanged.
It is late in the afternoon and as a grand finale the units charged past Stuart and company with a final salute. The troops went by the reviewing stand from west to east with the spectators facing the north. The sun in the upper left corner of the painting is coming from out of the west.
Stuart is seen on a black charger as described by eyewitnesses, mounted alongside his aide, Major Heros Von Borcke, who gave an excellent account of the proceedings that day in his memoirs.
Although Robert E. Lee was not present on June 5th, his son, General W.H.F. "Rooney" Lee was. He can be seen with plumed hat, canteen and saddlebags directly in the back of the unmounted guard. The next mounted officer further to the right and directly underneath the flying Confederate battle flag is General Fitzhugh Lee, Robert E. Lee's nephew, who was described as riding "low in the saddle." Next in line is General Wade Hampton, the famed South Carolinian, who would succeed Stuart as Corps Commander after his death in 1864.
Immediately after the review on the 5th, the different commands went back to their assigned camps, while Stuart and his aides went back to Culpepper for an evening ball and entertainment.
Perhaps the best summation of the review is from Von Borcke, who later wrote, "...one magnificent pageant, inspiring enough to make even an old woman feel fightish!"
Image Size: 26” x 24”
Overall Size: 36” x 24”
Signed by the artist