Edwin Forbes Draws Gettysburg, " The Army Sketch Book " In PA

JPK Huson 1863

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Edwin Forbes, army correspondent/artist, is a long story. He had a long, long war, shared with us through his 1890's publication as well as magazines of the day. Making the trek in June and July to Gettysburg, PA, Forbe's vantage points take us there in words and images.

Edwin Forbes, pre-war landscape artist and war correspondent/artist did not merely draw from accounts- Forbes, like Waud was there. His post-war " The Army Sketch Book ", narrates Forbes' war, illustrated. Images in it are terrific but the best experience is pairing the book with Forbes' on-site sketches, found in LoC. Both are public domain, Hathitrust carrying his book. Sketches by someone who saw the actions, stood on LRT, for example and looked on the shattered field after Picket's Charge seem as good as photographs. Forbes turned quite a few into paintings, also amazing but his eye witness sketches are what flatten you.

More tomorrow, too-long posts can be a big yawn. This stuff is too good to turn into a yawn.

Spent quite awhile flipping back and forth, thought it would be good to share, if anyone's interested. Will only post one or two a day, each story worthy of a thread. Not necessarily in order in this thread, sorry, picking through the best.

It's public access, no worries.
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uiug.30112064417600;view=1up;seq=208;size=175

Edwin writes-and sketches July 3rd and 4th, after watching one the Confederate line march into death.

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" ...... battery horses near the grove of trees

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From July 4th- we do not get to see a soldiers at Gettysburg, just post battle shambles. Thankfully, Forbes was there.

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" Behind the breastworks on the right, 4th of July "


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Edwin Forbes ' Longstreet's prisoners, July 3 ', an amazing filmstrip to his eye witness narrative.
 

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1stMN

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I'm always amazed at the detail of sketches from the frontline correspondents of the time. While on our roadtrip in August, my husband would seek out any of the battlefield markers that had the sketches specifically because they're great at giving a sense of scale and perspective.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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More from his book/memoirs, as we frequently see, nothing but admiration for the men marching across that awful field. Account after account, we've seen Union men speak of Confederates with huge respect, Forbes wasn't singular. " The splendid courage of these brave men.... "

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I realize it's a mere sketch and we've seen artists depict Pickett's Charge but not by one who was there.

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charge end.jpg
 

Gettysburg Greg

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Great post @JPK Huson 1863, Like you, I find these sketches by artists who actually witnessed the battle extremely interesting. The closest we can get to real time photos taken during the battle. I would like to follow up on the Forbes sketch showing relaxed soldiers on Culp's Hill on July 4th that you posted. I've always found this sketch especially interesting, because when Forbes later used this scene as a backdrop for a more refined painting, he elected to back the timeline up a day to July 3rd while the fighting was still raging here. I suspect Forbes realized that for commercial reasons, the action from July 3rd would spark more interest than the comparative serene scene in the sketch. Would be interested in hearing other opinions. Here is a comparison of the original sketch and the final painting.
forbes stret.jpg
 

GS

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This is amazing detail, especially his written record of events. I suppose one who focuses on recording events, such as this war, actually "sees" both the minute detail and the bigger picture, as he is not blinded by trying to fight a battle.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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I suspect Forbes realized that for commercial reasons, the action from July 3rd would spark more interest than the comparative serene scene in the sketch. Would be interested in hearing other opinions. Here is a comparison of the original sketch and the final painting.

Whoa, good eye, thank you! I've seen that painting a ton of times without putting it together with that sketch. Very cool stuff. His images in the book are quite different from sketches done that day, found on LoC,, I like these much more although anything by an eye witness is ridiculously interesting.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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What's amazing is Edwin Forbes managing to stay alive through his war. Alfred Waud, same. Found a story where one of the artists/journalists was killed in an ambush, picked off as the cavalry regiment he rode with was targeted on the way to Gettysburg. I can't find his name or the regiment- but Waud was there. He buried his friend before continuing to Gettysburg.

Hazardous duty, and these artists intrepid. They wrote articles, to send with sketches. Have several of Waud's from various parts of the war.
 


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