Macabre Sketch by Alfred Waud: "Here's a health to the next one that dies"

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Lampasas Bill

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Based on Waud's caption, I presume the jolly officers are singing a popular song of the period, especially favored by military men: Stand to Your Glasses.

First verse and chorus:

We stand beneath resounding rafters,
The walls around us are bare,
They echo back our laughter,
It seems like the dead are still there.

So stand to your glasses steady,
This world is a world full of lies.
A toast to the dead already,
And hurrah for the next man to die!

It was written in 1835 by British civil servant William Francis Thompson during a deadly cholera outbreak in Calcutta and was soon adopted by soldiers. It was still a big hit with Allied flyers during WWI, men who tempted fate every time they took off.
 
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Bruce Vail

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Highly unusual, at least in my experience. Waud was ardent supporter of the Union and tended to draw the soldiers as serious and heroic.

I wonder if this was ever published during the War? Waud was subject to some censorship by his editors at Harper's. I've seen a very interesting drawing by him of Union soldiers looting private homes in Fredericksburg Va. The editor would not publish it, but the original drawing survived in the archive.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

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Glad someone bumped this. Waud could sure convey an awful lot in just a pencil sketch, couldn't he?

Waud was subject to some censorship by his editors at Harper's.

Here's what's so weird about Harper's. Early war issues seem to present the war in a somewhat neutral light? I've never looked into it terribly in depth- sketches of Confederate camps, generals and uniforms are next-page-over from Union camps, generals and uniforms. Someone who knows this stuff will be able to ascertain when it became solidly pro-Union.

That's a great thread, unused artist's images of the war. There's another one, of Union and Confederate officers drinking a toast after a parole at Fredericksburg. I can't find it in Harper's anyway. You'd think it'd be a pretty welcome addition.
 
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