Golden Thread A photo of your favorite Civil War treasure or display

Virginia Dave

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Location
Waynesboro, Virginia
I’ve collected a few odds and ends but have one particular favorite - my John Rogers Statuary - “The Council
Of War,” sculpted in 1868. While not an actual war artifact, it’s period authentic and beautifully restored. It was a highly prized piece sought after by common folk after the war who couldn’t afford bronze statuary.

The statue features U. S. President Abraham Lincoln seated holding before him the map of the Union Army campaign against the Confederacy in 1864. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton (right) stands behind his chair polishing his glasses, while General Ulysses S. Grant (left) explains the plan by pointing to the map of the area in question.

Rogers sold to a broad audience of middle-class Americans with Shakespeare and home life related sculptures, but earned his early fame from his Civil War subjects. After the war ended he produced a few more sculptures that memorialized the Northern leaders of the conflict. As a monument to three key figures in the war, General Ulysses S. Grant, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, and the slain president Abraham Lincoln, The Council of War became one of Rogers' most resonant works. The idea for the group came from Stanton.

Stanton once described one of the president's key councils of war in March 1864, immediately after Grant was given charge of all the Union armies. "Lieutenant General Grant[,] after returning from his first visit to the Army of the Potomac, laid before the President the plan of operations he proposed to adopt. This was at the War Department, and the group would embrace the three figures of the President, Secretary of War and General Grant. It would require no accessories but a roll or map in the hands of the General."

Rogers' composition is very close to Stanton's suggestion except for the map, which, in the hands of the president rather than the secretary of war, makes Lincoln the central figure. The artist also added a scrolled paper, perhaps another map, curving behind Lincoln's feet, and he draped Lincoln's chair, perhaps to eliminate the distraction of its detailed surfaces. Rogers took great care in preparing to model the three likenesses, visiting Grant and Stanton and using photographs for reference. For the assassinated president he relied entirely on photographs. Rogers' oeuvre shows a mastery of portraiture that often goes unacknowledged, but here his talents were on full display and universally praised. Rogers was credited with giving an accurate sense of Lincoln's dignity yet also his lanky physical presence through the awkward placement of his legs.

The president's son Tad later wrote that his family considered The Council of War the most lifelike rendering of his father in sculpture. Stanton, too, congratulated the artist for surpassing any other likeness he had ever seen. In the years immediately following the Civil War, Americans struggled with the difficult psychological work of understanding the cataclysmic changes that had been wrought on the country and their own lives. Monument building was an important part of the public task of dealing with the conflict. Individuals could attempt the private work with the aid of more personal monuments. The Council of War functioned as a monument in miniature that could be placed in one's home. Even before the group was released to the public, the New York Evening Post was quick to distinguish it as a "higher flight" than Rogers' earlier Civil War subjects. Eight years later it was still considered "worthy of reproduction in marble as a historical subject." In the years after the group was released, writers called Lincoln's face by turns sad and anxious, lit up with hope, and cheerfully approving of Grant's plan. Comments on Stanton's expression ranged from "thoughtful attention," to reflective, to irritable. Even though Rogers marketed the group at the relatively high price of $25, it was one of his most popular works. He produced three versions of the COW that show slight variations in the position of Stanton's hands and the position of his head.


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What a wonderful collection room. If I had that my wife would never see me.... LOL she might like that. Thank you for showing us your treasures. I would just love to spend time there getting a closer look at everything. I saw the other sculptures on top of the cabinet. Please post some close up photos of those. Thank you again for sharing.
 

vmicraig

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 12, 2018
Location
Mobile, AL
What a wonderful collection room. If I had that my wife would never see me.... LOL she might like that. Thank you for showing us your treasures. I would just love to spend time there getting a closer look at everything. I saw the other sculptures on top of the cabinet. Please post some close up photos of those. Thank you again for sharing.

Certainly, Dave. Although "Council" is by far my favorite, the 2 other pieces atop the red cabinet are also by John Rogers. The first, "Taking the Oath and Drawing Rations", was patented circa 1866 just after the war and is considered one of Rogers finest works, often referred to as his masterpiece. In this study of the complex tensions that characterized the end of the Civil War and the Reconstruction era, it became one of his most popular groups and depicts a Southern woman forced to take an oath of allegiance to the Union to secure food for her hungry family. In the closing years of the war and thereafter, the United States required the oath in exchange for aid or to travel, hold political office, buy goods, or protect personal property. Americans in both North and South would have been familiar with such scenes, whether from the pages of periodicals or from personal experience. Rogers rendered a stately woman in fine but modest dress with her hand on the Bible about to declare her loyalty to the Union. Next to her a Union soldier lifts his cap in a gesture of respect; his uniform identifies him as an officer of the second corps of the Army of the Potomac. At left, an African American boy lounges with a basket, ready to receive the sustenance that the oath will provide. Many Unionists applauded the officer's chivalric treatment of the vanquished, and Confederates considered the scene a tribute to Southern womanhood.

The second piece, patented in 1865, is titled "Wounded to the rear - One more shot". It was the most successful of John Rogers’ Civil War groups, which continued to sell long after the war ended. General Joseph R. Hawley, who received a plaster copy in 1868, commented that “nothing relating to the war in painting or sculpture surpasses One Shot More.” It depicts two courageous wounded veterans with one lingering to have one more shot at the enemy before retreating to the hospital. General George A. Custer and his wife reportedly carried a statue similar to this with them from army post to army post along with other Rogers statuary.

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Harms88

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 13, 2019
Location
North of the Wall & South of the Canucks
My only real Civil War stuff that’s not books or movies at the moment.
1F99E57E-02EA-452A-8C45-04696911CA73.jpeg


My Colt Army firing replica that has rusted frozen and needs to be taken to a gunsmith here in town. Irish Brigade shot glass. My two headed 150th Commemorative coin. With Lincoln as the head and an eagle with crossed Union and Confederate flags.

C9C53F87-CB5E-42CE-AA29-EC7B30872367.jpeg


My Confederate Bowie Knife, which has Robert E. Lee on the handle and the Confederate States in order of secession, including Kentucky and Missouri even though they only had ordinances of secession but never truly joined.

824146A0-A578-40AF-958A-A8395C2F51BB.jpeg


Lastly my Springfield Rifle Musket pen that I got from the Shriver House in Gettysburg during my Make A Wish trip when I was 12. Still writes after all this time.

image.jpg
 

Virginia Dave

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Location
Waynesboro, Virginia
Certainly, Dave. Although "Council" is by far my favorite, the 2 other pieces atop the red cabinet are also by John Rogers. The first, "Taking the Oath and Drawing Rations", was patented circa 1866 just after the war and is considered one of Rogers finest works, often referred to as his masterpiece. In this study of the complex tensions that characterized the end of the Civil War and the Reconstruction era, it became one of his most popular groups and depicts a Southern woman forced to take an oath of allegiance to the Union to secure food for her hungry family. In the closing years of the war and thereafter, the United States required the oath in exchange for aid or to travel, hold political office, buy goods, or protect personal property. Americans in both North and South would have been familiar with such scenes, whether from the pages of periodicals or from personal experience. Rogers rendered a stately woman in fine but modest dress with her hand on the Bible about to declare her loyalty to the Union. Next to her a Union soldier lifts his cap in a gesture of respect; his uniform identifies him as an officer of the second corps of the Army of the Potomac. At left, an African American boy lounges with a basket, ready to receive the sustenance that the oath will provide. Many Unionists applauded the officer's chivalric treatment of the vanquished, and Confederates considered the scene a tribute to Southern womanhood.

The second piece, patented in 1865, is titled "Wounded to the rear - One more shot". It was the most successful of John Rogers’ Civil War groups, which continued to sell long after the war ended. General Joseph R. Hawley, who received a plaster copy in 1868, commented that “nothing relating to the war in painting or sculpture surpasses One Shot More.” It depicts two courageous wounded veterans with one lingering to have one more shot at the enemy before retreating to the hospital. General George A. Custer and his wife reportedly carried a statue similar to this with them from army post to army post along with other Rogers statuary.

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Certainly, Dave. Although "Council" is by far my favorite, the 2 other pieces atop the red cabinet are also by John Rogers. The first, "Taking the Oath and Drawing Rations", was patented circa 1866 just after the war and is considered one of Rogers finest works, often referred to as his masterpiece. In this study of the complex tensions that characterized the end of the Civil War and the Reconstruction era, it became one of his most popular groups and depicts a Southern woman forced to take an oath of allegiance to the Union to secure food for her hungry family. In the closing years of the war and thereafter, the United States required the oath in exchange for aid or to travel, hold political office, buy goods, or protect personal property. Americans in both North and South would have been familiar with such scenes, whether from the pages of periodicals or from personal experience. Rogers rendered a stately woman in fine but modest dress with her hand on the Bible about to declare her loyalty to the Union. Next to her a Union soldier lifts his cap in a gesture of respect; his uniform identifies him as an officer of the second corps of the Army of the Potomac. At left, an African American boy lounges with a basket, ready to receive the sustenance that the oath will provide. Many Unionists applauded the officer's chivalric treatment of the vanquished, and Confederates considered the scene a tribute to Southern womanhood.

The second piece, patented in 1865, is titled "Wounded to the rear - One more shot". It was the most successful of John Rogers’ Civil War groups, which continued to sell long after the war ended. General Joseph R. Hawley, who received a plaster copy in 1868, commented that “nothing relating to the war in painting or sculpture surpasses One Shot More.” It depicts two courageous wounded veterans with one lingering to have one more shot at the enemy before retreating to the hospital. General George A. Custer and his wife reportedly carried a statue similar to this with them from army post to army post along with other Rogers statuary.

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These are wonderful pieces of art. Can they still be purchased?
 

Virginia Dave

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Location
Waynesboro, Virginia
My only real Civil War stuff that’s not books or movies at the moment.
View attachment 367423

My Colt Army firing replica that has rusted frozen and needs to be taken to a gunsmith here in town. Irish Brigade shot glass. My two headed 150th Commemorative coin. With Lincoln as the head and an eagle with crossed Union and Confederate flags.

View attachment 367424

My Confederate Bowie Knife, which has Robert E. Lee on the handle and the Confederate States in order of secession, including Kentucky and Missouri even though they only had ordinances of secession but never truly joined.

View attachment 367422

Lastly my Springfield Rifle Musket pen that I got from the Shriver House in Gettysburg during my Make A Wish trip when I was 12. Still writes after all this time.

View attachment 367425
that's a good start. Don't stop now. Please post more as you add to your collecty.
 

vmicraig

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 12, 2018
Location
Mobile, AL
These are wonderful pieces of art. Can they still be purchased?

He sculpted 80 different groups (pieces) from 1859-1892, with a total of 80,000 pieces produced, so there are still a lot out there. They haven't been made in 100 years, so there is no specific place to purchase one, but I do see them occasionally in antique stores or more often on eBay or at auction houses like Heritage.com or Invaluable.com. Of the 80 groups produced, only a little over a half dozen were Civil War themed - those produced before the war were Shakesperian themed or of country life.

The tough part is finding one in good condition - remember, they were sculpted from plaster so that the "common" man back in the late 1800's could a true sculpture for their parlor. You will often find parian and bronze versions, but those were made post-production by specialty houses and although not "original" statuary, still fetch a good price. They have held up over time much better, most still being around the same age. If you see one painted, stay away. Value is ruined, kinda like when people use grinders to wear away the patina on a musket.

You can certainly find them on eBay somewhere in the $400-$500 range, but a clean ACW themed statuary group such as a "Taking the Oath" will fetch an easy grand. A good clean "Council", could run several grand if you happen to find one in decent shape.

I've developed a friendship with George Mechling, one of only 3-4 persons in the states who professionally restore Rogers Groups. His website is full of info on the groups, how to spot fakes, etc (https://www.johnrogers.org/recognizing-rogers-groups.html). Great place to start. You can click through the collection to see examples of each Civil War group he sculpted.
 

Virginia Dave

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Location
Waynesboro, Virginia
He sculpted 80 different groups (pieces) from 1859-1892, with a total of 80,000 pieces produced, so there are still a lot out there. They haven't been made in 100 years, so there is no specific place to purchase one, but I do see them occasionally in antique stores or more often on eBay or at auction houses like Heritage.com or Invaluable.com. Of the 80 groups produced, only a little over a half dozen were Civil War themed - those produced before the war were Shakesperian themed or of country life.

The tough part is finding one in good condition - remember, they were sculpted from plaster so that the "common" man back in the late 1800's could a true sculpture for their parlor. You will often find parian and bronze versions, but those were made post-production by specialty houses and although not "original" statuary, still fetch a good price. They have held up over time much better, most still being around the same age. If you see one painted, stay away. Value is ruined, kinda like when people use grinders to wear away the patina on a musket.

You can certainly find them on eBay somewhere in the $400-$500 range, but a clean ACW themed statuary group such as a "Taking the Oath" will fetch an easy grand. A good clean "Council", could run several grand if you happen to find one in decent shape.

I've developed a friendship with George Mechling, one of only 3-4 persons in the states who professionally restore Rogers Groups. His website is full of info on the groups, how to spot fakes, etc (https://www.johnrogers.org/recognizing-rogers-groups.html). Great place to start. You can click through the collection to see examples of each Civil War group he sculpted.
Thanks for the information. Christmas isn't that far away. Lol
 

Virginia Dave

First Sergeant
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Joined
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Location
Waynesboro, Virginia
Hello all. Is anyone interested in discussing setting up a CWT online museum Forum featuring CWT members collections? I thought it might be a great educational tool for new members to learn about Civil War items, memorabilia, art etc. Each member that is interested could post a few items at a time with a little history of the item, how, where and when they obtained it and answer questions about it.

A lot of good material has already been posted in this thread, and I would love to see it formatted properly. I am no computer expert, but I am sure there are knowledgeable members that might be interested.

I guess the biggest question that needs to be answered is "Are there any members interested?" A few have already liked the idea in another post I made. @ami how do you set up a poll on CWT?
 

CivilWarTalk

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Joined
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Hello all. Is anyone interested in discussing setting up a CWT online museum Forum featuring CWT members collections? I thought it might be a great educational tool for new members to learn about Civil War items, memorabilia, art etc. Each member that is interested could post a few items at a time with a little history of the item, how, where and when they obtained it and answer questions about it.

A lot of good material has already been posted in this thread, and I would love to see it formatted properly. I am no computer expert, but I am sure there are knowledgeable members that might be interested.

I guess the biggest question that needs to be answered is "Are there any members interested?" A few have already liked the idea in another post I made. @ami how do you set up a poll on CWT?
This sounds like an interesting idea, and awesome idea even.

I think this might be something we can do, but I'm not sure this is something we can open a new forum for today, at least not until we had a significant number of threads on the subject.

However, I'm not shooting the idea down, instead, I'd say, make the idea happen, we already have a Relic forum and and a Small Arms forum, there's no reason why you couldn't create these threads in these forums, and once we have enough of these threads to put a "Collections" forum together, then we can consider creating an independent forum for them.

But the real challenge is creating the threads first, as we would do for any new forum we wanted.
 

Virginia Dave

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Location
Waynesboro, Virginia
This sounds like an interesting idea, and awesome idea even.

I think this might be something we can do, but I'm not sure this is something we can open a new forum for today, at least not until we had a significant number of threads on the subject.

However, I'm not shooting the idea down, instead, I'd say, make the idea happen, we already have a Relic forum and and a Small Arms forum, there's no reason why you couldn't create these threads in these forums, and once we have enough of these threads to put a "Collections" forum together, then we can consider creating an independent forum for them.

But the real challenge is creating the threads first, as we would do for any new forum we wanted.
Can we do a poll to see how much interest there is? I really appreciate your considering this idea.
 

Virginia Dave

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Location
Waynesboro, Virginia
Next Up: Miniature Bull Run Battle Scene: I now need expert advice on how to improve the scene pictured below. What should be added, removed, improved etc. Should I start over? Should I ???????? Any and all help would be appreciated. Feel free to criticize, I can take it. Remember I am married. LOL

Bull Run Battlefield.jpg
 

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