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The Art of Mort Künstler / The American Spirit / The Civil War

Here you will find a pictorial chronicle of the drama and excitement of American History. These paintings give the viewer an insight into the tumultuous life of this young nation that mere words cannot achieve.

Gods and Generals - limited edition print SOLD OUT
Antietam Campaign, Leesburg, Virginia September 5, 1862

Paper Signed & Numbered - $0.00
Paper Signed & Numbered, Leesburg Edition - $0.00
Paper Signed Artist's Proof - $0.00
Canvas Signed & Numbered - $0.00
Canvas Signed Artist's Proof - $0.00

The Official Gods and Generals Collection
Second in a Four Print Special Series from the Official
Artist of the Motion Picture Gods and Generals


Paper Prints
Reproduction technique: Fine offset lithography on neutral pH archival quality paper using the finest fade-resistant inks.
Each print is numbered and signed by the artist and accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity.

Image Size: 18” x 26” • Overall Size: 24” x 31”
Signed & Numbered • Edition Size: 950
Leesburg Edition • Edition Size: 100
Signed Artist’s Proof • Edition Size: 95

Giclée Canvas Prints
Reproduction technique: Giclées are printed with the finest archival pigmented inks on canvas.
Each print is numbered and signed by the artist and accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity.

Size: 21” x 31”
Signed & Numbered • Edition Size: 50
Signed Artist’s Proof • Edition Size: 5

Historical Information

It was a meeting that could determine the outcome of the war.

After a brilliant victory at the battle of Second Manassas, General Robert E. Lee intended to lead his newly organized Army of Northern Virginia into enemy country. He would attempt to shift the focus of the war in the east from his beloved Virginia and take the fighting to the North. Along the way, he hoped to enlist crucial support from Southern sympathizers in Maryland and perhaps even provoke official recognition of the Confederacy by Great Britain. If he could win a major battle on northern soil - in Pennsylvania - it might even be enough to end the war’s unprecedented bloodshed and gain independence for the South.

That was Lee’s vision as he moved his mighty and victorious army northward toward the Potomac River, Maryland and the North. At Harrison Hall, a palatial antebellum home in Leesburg, Virginia, the General convened a council of war. Despite being injured in a fall, Lee was again the master strategist and daring risk-taker. He had divided his forces to move quickly northward and to secure his rear. Soon the mighty Army of Northern Virginia would be reunited - but until that occurred the army would be vulnerable to destruction. It was a risk that Lee felt was worth taking. His adversary, General George B. McClellan, could be expected to move cautiously, and Lee intended to reunite his forces before McClellan could seize the opportunity to strike. All would be well if Lee’s daring gamble remained undiscovered by the enemy.

Assembled with their staffs at Harrison Hall were Lee’s lieutenants. Present was General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson - Lee’s “right arm” - who had superbly executed Lee’s strategy at the battle of Second Manassas with devastating, hammer-like blows. There, too, was General James Longstreet - whom Lee would praise as his “Old War Horse.” Also present were General J.E.B. Stuart, Lee’s cavalry commander - who was treasured by Lee as the “eyes” of the army - and Brigadier General Lewis Armistead, who had helped save the day for Lee’s army at the battle of Malvern Hill.

Of those four generals summoned by Lee for counsel at Harrison Hall, General Longstreet alone would survive the war, and he would do so with a severe wound. Ahead too lay what Lee feared most for his army: General McClellan would discover Lee’s strategy, and the Army of Northern Virginia would be threatened with annihilation at the Battle of Antietam. It would be the bloodiest single day of fighting in this bloodiest of all American wars - and it would end Lee’s attempt to win the war in 1862. All that lay ahead, however, and for the moment, convened in council at Harrison Hall, were the South’s best and brightest.

Mort Künstler

This is the second painting in the Official Gods and Generals Collection, which focuses on the historical events on which the Jeff Shaara novel and Ron Maxwell motion picture are based. In this painting, which bears the series title, I wanted to show as many “gods” and generals as possible. On a research trip to Virginia, I discovered Harrison Hall in Leesburg - the perfect setting for the second print of the series. Harrison Hall was General Robert E. Lee’s headquarters September 4-5, 1862, during the Antietam Campaign, and was the scene of a council of war with Lee and his generals. I was searching for just the right scene to show Lee and his lieutenants. When I saw the historical structure where the council occurred still standing in Leesburg, I knew that I had found my painting.

On September 5th, Lee presided over the council with his hands bandaged from a fall two days earlier. He had ridden into Leesburg in an ambulance. General James Longstreet, also seated in this painting, was suffering from a severe blister on his foot and wore carpet slippers. Unable to ride, he too had arrived by ambulance. Pointing to the map is Lee’s “right arm”, General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, who is accompanied by members of his staff, Dr. Hunter McGuire and his chief aid Sandy Pendleton.

On the right of the painting, General J.E.B. Stuart, Lee’s chief of cavalry, has tossed his plumed hat on the back of a chair and stands with his hand on his sword. Brigadier General Lewis Armistead stands between Lee and Stuart, and on the extreme right is Lee’s trusted aide, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Marshall.

I was thrilled to tour historic Harrison Hall, also known as the Glenfiddich House, which is privately owned. It is still under restoration, so the interior is not furnished the way I pictured it here. However, the fireplace, the floors and basic structure are original, and resemble their appearance in this painting. My depiction of the interior wallpaper, rug, drapes and accessories is based on research into the typical furnishings of the era. Someday, I hope, Harrison Hall will be completely refurbished and restored to its Civil War grandeur.

Such a war council - a who’s who of Lee’s command structure - was rarely assembled, and I hope this painting faithfully commemorates the gathering of “gods” and generals that occurred over the course of those two days in 1862.


All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2022. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.