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The Official Mort Künstler Website

Gunner and the Colonel, The - limited edition print

Gunner and the Colonel, The - limited edition print

The Battle of Fort Fisher, North Carolina, January 15, 1865

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Regular price Sale price $400.00 USD
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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: 16” x 28¼” • Overall Size: 22” x 33¼
Signed & Numbered • Edition Size: 1000
Signed Artist’s Proof • Edition Size: 50

Mort Künstler’s Comments
In reading the book Confederate Goliath by Rod Gragg, I was so fascinated by his account of the Battle of Fort Fisher, that I felt I had to paint it.

I called Mr. Gragg, who informed me that part of Fort Fisher still exists (three quarters of it had been washed into the sea) and has been preserved by the State of North Carolina. He was kind enough to offer to meet me and take me on a tour of the site and I immediately accepted.

I flew into Wilmington, NC on January 7th, at the exact same time of year that the battle took place and with great luck was able to observe the lighting conditions and weather exactly the way it was some 127 years earlier. Between Rod Gragg and Gehrig Spencer, the manager at Fort Fisher State Historic Site, I was able to walk, step by step, over the entire battlefield.

One of the dramatic moments during the battle occurred when the guns of Shepherd's Battery were overrun by the Union troops. Colonel Newton Curtis led the charge with his sword in one hand and a guidon in the other. When they reached the top of the steep embankment of the gun emplacement there was vicious hand to hand fighting. The colonel demanded the surrender of the gunner, still up on the gun carriage trying to fire point blank into the massed Federal troops. The unarmed gunner continued trying to fire until struck down by a sabre blow. This was the scene I have tried to capture.

I had never seen a painting of big coastal guns and decided to make the 10 inch Columbiad that was at Shepherd's Battery, the center of interest.

According to ship’s logs, the wind was out of the Northeast and the day was clear. The flags are flying toward the sun in the Southwest and the clear weather gave me an opportunity to show the Cape Fear River in the background.

Capt. Kinchen Braddy was in command of Second Company C of the Thirty-Sixth North Carolina in charge of defending Shepherd’s Battery. He is seen in the left foreground, holding a pistol and sword.

The flag in the upper left corner is the second national flag of the Confederacy and the guidon carried by Curtis is that of the 117th NY, the regiment that was among the first to break into the Fort.

The damaged cannon in the foreground is a rifled and banded 32 pounder on a center pintle barbette carriage.

There is a very active North Carolina Committee to save Fort Fisher, headed by Paul M. Laird and headquartered at the Greater Wilmington Chamber Foundation. I only hope that this painting will help to stimulate interest in the drive to preserve one of the important sites of our great American heritage.
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