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1888 Kurz and Allison View of the Civil War Battle of Antietam, Maryland

Battle of Antietam. - Main View

1888 Kurz and Allison View of the Civil War Battle of Antietam, Maryland


The 'bloodiest' day in American history.



Battle of Antietam.
  1888 (dated)     19 x 25.25 in (48.26 x 64.135 cm)


This is an 1888 Kurz and Allison chromolithograph view of the Battle of Antietam, Maryland. The view is hand embellished with guache color. The Battle of Antietam took place on September 17, 1862 and is remembered as the bloodiest day in American history. Antietam was also the last battle in General Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the North. Kurz and Allison's view focuses on the action on 'Burnside's Bridge'.
'Burnside's Bridge'
Rohrbach's Bridge (now known as 'Burnside's Bridge') was a three-span, 125-foot stone bridge, the southernmost crossing of Antietam Creek. General Ambrose Burnside commanded four divisions (12,500 men) on the east side of Antietam Creek. On the morning of September 17, he led his men in a diversionary attack. However, he was told to wait for orders before commencing his attack, and those orders arrived late. Burnside was also put out by General George McClellan's decision, which limited his preparations for the coming assault. Burnside's men attacked the bridge several times, suffering enormous casualties each time. It took three attempts to secure the bridge and the Federals only succeeded because the Confederate forces defending the bridge began running low on ammunition. Continued setbacks (including Union forces neglecting to bring ammunition) repeatedly delayed Union attacks and allowed Confederate reinforcements to arrive. These fresh troops destroyed the last few Union attacks and held their ground. Lee's forces began withdrawing across the Antietam the following day.
The Battle of Antietam
The single bloodiest day in U.S. history, the battle of Antietam claimed a combined total of 22,717 killed, wounded, or missing and has the distinction of being the first field army level engagement in the Eastern Theater of the Civil War to take place on Union soil. The battle was fought between Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and Union General George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac near Sharpsburg, Maryland and Antietam Creek. The battle is referred to by both names, although the Battle of Sharpsburg is used primarily in the southern United States. Who emerged victorious from the Battle of Antietam is a difficult question, since both sides suffered huge casualties yet had something to celebrate. The Union Army successfully stopped the Confederate invasion of Maryland but was unable to capitalize on the advantage won during the battle to completely defeat Lee. As such, Lee was able to retreat with his army to fight another day. Historians deem this a strategic victory for the Union. Perhaps the most significant outcome of the battle was Lincoln's decision to follow the victory by announcing the Emancipation Proclamation, which prevented both England and France from officially recognizing the Confederacy.
Kurz and Allison Civil War Lithographs
The 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.'
Chromolithography 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 product. 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.
Gum Arabic Gouache
This view features extensive use of Gum Arabic. Most watercolor paints produced from the mid-19th century onward have a gum arabic component which acts a binding agent to hold the pigment in suspension. Some watercolorists, when mixing their own paints, will add additional gum arabic to the paint, leading to strikingly vibrant, glossy, and depending on the mixture, even transparent and opaque colors. This technique is also sometimes referred to as gouache or bodycolor.
Publication History and Census
This view was created and published by Kurz and Allison in 1888. Two examples are cataloged in OCLC and are part of the collections at the Library of Congress and the McNair Library at the National Defense University. Scarce.


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...


Very good. Closed margin tears professionally repaired on verso.


OCLC 51155542.