This is an 1893 Kurz and Allison chromolithograph view of the Battle of Williamsburg during the American Civil War (1861 - 1865). Depicting the counterattack led by General Winfield Scott Hancock, Union troops advance on a Confederate position from the left, with the flag of the 5th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment occupying the center of the view next to the American flag. The flag of the 6th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment appears in the background near the left border. Confederate and Union troops fight at close range in the lower right foreground, with casualties from both armies sprawled across the field. Some Confederate soldiers are illustrated holding their ground against the charging Federals, but others flee in panic.
The Battle of WilliamsburgThe Battle of Williamsburg took place on May 5, 1862 and was the first battle of the Peninsula Campaign. After the Confederates withdrew from Yorktown, Virginia, Union forces belatedly pursued the retreating army. The rearguard of the Confederate army, in an effort to delay the Union pursuit, occupied a defensive line near Williamsburg known as Fort Magruder. The Union vanguard engaged this Confederate force and fought an inconclusive battle that nonetheless gave the Confederate army time to retreat to Richmond. Both sides proclaimed victory. Union commander Major General George B. McClellan deemed the battle to be a 'brilliant victory', which the Northern press eagerly adopted. The Confederacy viewed the battle as a success since it allowed the bulk of their army fight another day.
Kurz and Allison Civil War LithographsThe publishing firm Kurz and Allison created a series of thirty-six battle scenes from the American Civil War in the late 1880s and early 1890s. At the time of their publication, historical interest in Civil War was at an all-time high, with many of the participants still alive and heroes to the subsequent generation. Kurz and Allison's views, due to their high production quality, were the most popular series of Civil War views ever published. In a style reminiscent of Currier and Ives, the chromolithographs were not meant to be purely historical representations, and from time to time, included historical inaccuracies. Even so, 'prints depicting the Civil War battles by Kurz and Allison are among the most sought-after collectibles of Civil War enthusiasts.'
ChromolithographyChromolithography is a color lithographic technique developed in the mid-19th century. The process involved using multiple lithographic stones, one for each color, to yield a rich composite effect. Oftentimes, the process would start with a black basecoat upon which subsequent colors were layered. Some chromolithographs used 30 or more separate lithographic stones to achieve the desired effect. Chromolithograph color could also be effectively blended for even more dramatic results. The process became extremely popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when it emerged as the dominate method of color printing. The vivid color chromolithography produced made it exceptionally effective for advertising and propaganda imagery.
Publication History and CensusThis view was created and published by Kurz and Allison in 1893. We note a single example cataloged in OCLC, part of the collection at the Library of Congress.
Kurz and Allison (1880 - c. 1905) was an American publishing firm known for its chromolithographs. Founded by Louis Kurz (1835 - 1921) and Alexander Allison, the firm was based at 267-269 Wabash Avenue in Chicago. In the partnership, it is known that Kurz, an Austrian immigrant, was the lithographer and it is presumed that Allison provided the financial backing. The firm is most well-known for its series of thirty-six battle scenes from the American Civil War. At the time of their publication, the late 1880s and early 1890s, a general nostalgia was prevalent among Civil War veterans (of which Kurz was one), and evidently the company was trying to capitalize on the sentiment. Kurz and Allison's Civil War prints were not the first such prints to be issued, but they were by far the most popular. In a style reminiscent of Currier and Ives, Kurz and Allison lithographs are not meant to be historical representations, and even, from time to time, included historical inaccuracies. Even so, 'prints depicting the Civil War battles by Kurz and Allison are among the most sought-after collectibles of Civil War enthusiasts.' Their prints are also notable for featuring African-American soldiers, a rarity for the era. After the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, the firm published views from famous battles and continued doing so for the campaigns of the Philippine-American War and the Russo-Japanese War. Learn More...
Good. Closed four (4) inch tear from top margin professionally repaired on verso. Small area of infill to margin.