The Civil War… 150 years ago today… June 15, 1861
We continue our weekly feature of reflecting upon the appropriate 150 year old issue of “Harper’s Weekly” from the perspective of a subscriber in 1861:
The front page of this June 15, 1861 Harper’s Weekly has a dramatic illustration showing the shooting of Col. Ellsworth in Alexandria, the first conspicuous death in the Civil War. We had read of Ellsworth’s heroics to take down the Confederate flag atop the Marshall House in Alexandria, but he was shot down by owner when descending the stairs. This print certainly brings the event to life.
There are many war-related prints in today’s issue including three of scenes at Fort Pickens in Florida. The centerfold print has a nice view showing the City of Cairo, Illinois with many troops in the foreground, and also has a print showing a tremendous cavalry charge through Fairfax Court House in Virginia. Yet another print in the centerfold showing many soldiers digging a trench at Arlington Heights. It must have been a massive undertaking as it appears over 5 feet deep and 10 feet wide. Obviously there is more to fighting a war than firing rifles & guns.
Other prints show camp scenes at Freeport, Illinois and Detroit, Michigan as well as St. Louis, Missouri. Yet another camp near Washington shows small buildings which must have been the soldiers’ huts. I would have thought only tents were used.
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