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The Army of the Potomac--A Sharp-Shooter on Picket Duty

1862 Winslow Homer Born: Boston, Massachusetts 1836 Died: Prout's Neck, Maine 1910 wood engraving on paper image: 9 1/8 x 13 3/4 in. (23.2 x 35.1 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of International Business Machines Corporation 1966.48.81 Not currently on view


Exhibition Label

Winslow Homer created an image of a Union sharpshooter while working as an artist-correspondent for Harper's Weekly during the Civil War. The soldier looks through the sight of a telescopic rifle as he searches for a target. Sharpshooters were called for duty when there was a lull in the action and weary soldiers from both North and South were resting. Reviled as "murderers" by both sides, sharpshooters usually were executed if captured. Years after the Civil War ended, Homer recounted his memory of peering through the scope in a company of Union sharpshooters. "I looked through one of their rifles once when they were in a peach orchard in front of Yorktown in April, 1862," he recalled. "The . . . impression struck me as being as near murder as anything I ever think of in connection with the army & I always had a horror of that branch of the service."

The Great American Hall of Wonders, 2011

 

 

Keywords

Figure male - full length

History - United States - Civil War

Landscape - tree

Object - weapon - gun

Occupation - military - soldier

graphic arts - print

paper

wood engraving

About Winslow Homer

Born: Boston, Massachusetts 1836 Died: Prout's Neck, Maine 1910

More works in the collection by
Winslow Homer