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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.



Stonewall Jackson at Harpers Ferry - limited edition print
September 15, 1862


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Artist proof Print - $525.00



 


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LIMITED EDITION PRINTS

Official print, West Virginia National Guard Foundation

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: 17" x 26" • Overall Size: 23' x 31"
Signed & Numbered • Edition Size: 1250
Signed Artist's Proof • Edition Size: 50


Historical Information

It had been an eventful day for the dusty, worn-looking horsemen who rode into the quiet Virginia town of Harpers Ferry. Only hours before, the boom of artillery had reverberated off the stone and brick walls, echoing in the valleys of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. Now, the streets were quiet, except for the scuffling feet of curious gray soldiers who wandered the historic town. Dim lights glowed from a few windows, signaling a cautious return to life. The general and his staff studied the shadows in façades of the buildings, overshadowed by Maryland Heights beyond. The general's face was a familiar one to many, and this was the scene of his earliest command – "Stonewall" Jackson had returned to Harpers Ferry.

A year prior to this warm September evening, Jackson's first command was located here. Now, he had returned to encircle it, forcing its 12,500 man garrison to surrender. It was a strategic high point of Robert E. Lee's campaign into Maryland. What were Jackson's thoughts as he rode along Shenadoah Street that evening? Was he remembering his first command, or the victory of the day? More than likely, the plan for the following day's march rolled through his head. Lee, to the north, was waiting for "Stonewall," while facing the bulk of McClellan's Union army.

There was little time to rest on his laurels. Jackson was desperately needed in Maryland. He would march northward at dawn toward Sharpsburg, and a rendezvous along the banks of the Antietam.


Mort Künstler's Comments

Anyone that has ever been to Harpers Ferry cannot be unaffected by the scenery. Surrounded by bluffs and the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, the landscape is magnificent. But when one enters the town and sees the preserved and restored buildings of the National Park you instantly are transported back to the past. When I learned that nothing had been painted of Harpers Ferry, I knew I would have to paint it.

In searching through the history of the town, I found out that the capture of Harpers Ferry by "Stonewall" Jackson on September 15, 1862 had the best possibilities. I wanted to paint the buildings of the town rather than some of the outlying scenic areas, and since Jackson marched through the streets with an entourage that evening, I felt this was the perfect picture opportunity. I could paint one of my favorite personalities within the city and have an interesting lighting effect all in one painting. By looking up Shenandoah Street with Maryland Heights in the background, I was even able to incorporate the scenic bluffs.

"Stonewall" is, naturally, the center of interest riding his favorite mount, "Little Sorrel." Riding closest to him, on the black horse to the left is Major W.J. Hawkes. Between them, further back and to the immediate left of Jackson, is Major D.B. Bridgeford. At the extreme left of the group is Lt. Col. W. Allan, Chief of Ordnance.

The men lounging around in the streets are some of Jackson's infantry that occupied Harpers Ferry earlier that day.

Jackson would leave early the next morning for Sharpsburg and that fateful, bloody day on the banks of the Antietam.

 

 
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 © 2001-2018. 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.