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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.

Cross Over the River - limited edition print SOLD OUT
General Stonewall Jackson

Paper Signed & Numbered - $0.00
Paper Signed Artist's Proof - $0.00
Paper Patron's Edition - $0.00

This limited edition print is SOLD OUT


The Official Lee's Lieutenants Series - Third in a Series of Six Limited Edition Prints.

Painted 1995

Image Size: 18 1/2" x 24 1/2".
Overall Size: 24" x 29 1/2".
1750 Limited Edition Numbered and Signed
100 Patron's Edition Numbered and Signed
75 Artist Proofs Numbered and Signed

Historical Information

There was but one Stonewall Jackson.

He began the war as an obscure drill instructor whose students jokingly called him Major ”Tom Fool“ Jackson. Three months later he was the famous “Stonewall” – a tribute inspired by his steadfast line at the Battle of First Manassas. By mid-autumn of 1862, he was Lieutenant General Thomas J. (“Stonewall”) Jackson – the victor of a string of crucial battles, heroic defender of the Shenandoah Valley, commander of half of the Army of Northern Virginia, and the matchless “right arm” of General Robert E. Lee.

At the height of his fame, Jackson wrote to Lexington, Virginia, addressing a note to his pastor. "Here is a letter from General Jackson himself!" the minister joyfully announced, and read the correspondence aloud to a gathering crowd of townspeople. Typically, Jackson made no mention of his fame or victories, but instead inquired about the status of his church and the Sunday school class he taught for members of Lexington's black community.

Center place in Jackson's life was his personal faith in Jesus Christ, which produced a disciple – and a military commander – with the devotion and discipline of an Old Testament Joshua. "His field dispatches, official reports, and home correspondence," observed Jackson authority Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr., "all contained references to 'the blessings of God' and 'an all-wise Providence.'"

Although overshadowed by his military fame, his deep faith and quiet devotion motivated and sustained Jackson through much of America's bloodiest war. "I do not concern myself about [death]" he explained, "but to always be ready, no matter when it may overtake me." Openly devout and unashamed of his faith, he passed out Bibles to his men, directed worship services in camp, and humbled himself before the Lord in prayer. When "called home" by death, he wished aloud, he hoped it would be on the Lord's Day.

And so it was: on Sunday afternoon, May 10, 1863, at a Virginia railroad crossing following his accidental wounding at the Battle of Chancellorsville. Never again would Lee have a chieftain whose faultless obedience to orders would produce hammer-blow strikes and matchless victories. Jackson's final words: "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees."

There was but one Stonewall Jackson.

Mort Künstler's Comments

"Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees." Those were the last words spoken by General “Stonewall” Jackson - and became the inspiration for this painting.

Jackson, who was very devout, would pause two or three times a day to pray. This painting, which is set on the banks of a Virginia river, depicts one of those quiet moments. As symbolic as the painting appears, Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr. – the dean of Civil War historians and foremost authority on Jackson – assured me that moments like this happened many times during Jackson's short career in the Confederate army.

In ...Cross Over the River, I painted Jackson standing at the riverside with his arms folded as he communed with God in a silent, respectful ritual. Nearby we see Little Sorrel grazing, as he patiently waits for his master.

I used the autumn foliage as a symbolic color scheme to suggest that the end of Jackson's life was drawing near. Jackson is deliberately placed in the shade to accentuate his dark beard and hair in contrast to the sunlight on the trees in the background and the light bouncing off the water.

This painting gave me an opportunity to do something different from what is usually expected of my historical works and enabled me to paint with colors I very rarely use. I hope the viewer enjoys this sentimental and unusual portrayal of Lee's foremost lieutenant.


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.