1872 The Battle of Gettysburg Engraving

This is a significant 1872 engraving of the Battle of Gettysburg,  by Peter F. Rothermel. Rothermel was commissioned by the state of Pennsylvania in 1866 to make a painting of the battle, and this print, engraved several years later, is after that painting. Pennsylvania wanted to commemorate the war and the action, valor, and sacrifice of their troops in the war. Measuring 16 by 32 feet, the large and highly detailed painting now hangs in the state museum in Harrisburg. In 1872, Rothermel had his painting engraved by John Sartain from Philadelphia, a reduced version in size but not impact.

Rothermel spent three years in preparation of the painting. He visited the battle site multiple times, talked to soldiers and witnesses who were there, read firsthand accounts of the battle, and because of this diligent research, he composed one of the most accurate pictures of the events at Gettysburg.

The print depicts the repulse of Confederate General Pickett's charge by Union soldiers. On the third day of battle, fighting had resumed on Culp's Hill, and cavalry battles raged to the east and south. But the main event was a dramatic infantry assault by 12,500 Confederate soldiers against the center of the Union line on Cemetery ridge, known as Pickett's Charge. The charge was repulsed by Union rifle and artillery fire, at great loss to the Confederate army.

The focus of this print is not on General Meade, depicted at far left. Rather, amongst the chaos, smoke, and death of the battle scene, one man in the center, in a light shirt and a rifle raised over his head, draws our attention. A key made of the print that said it was Private Sill. However, there is no record of a Private Sill at the battle. Rather, this man represented the Union soldier, the common man from Pennsylvania who fought in the battle. This print serves as a tribute to these soldiers, who fought with valor and pride, in an epic three-day battle. Between 46,000 and 51,000 soldiers from both armies were casualties, the most costly in US history.

This engraving is one of the best images from the Civil War period; a striking, accurate portrayal of this epic battle. It celebrates a major shift in the tide of the war, the decisive Union victory which simultaneously ended the three-day battle and Lee's campaign into Pennsylvania. 


Overall very good condition. This 1872 engraving is uncolored. The paper is bright and healthy with no notable damage. Framed according to the highest archival standards with UV protective glass and acid-free matting.

Framed dimensions: 37" H x 49 1/4" W x 2 3/4" D 

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