Battle of Five Forks, Va.
19 x 25.5 in (48.26 x 64.77 cm)
This is an 1886 Kurz and Allison view of the pivotal Battle of Five Forks during the American Civil War. Union forces, most mounted on horseback, are illustrated charging Confederate lines from the left. Brutal hand to hand combat dominated the foreground, while an inoperable Confederate cannon lies derelict in lower right. Union cavalry stretches to the horizon, charging through a cloud of gunpowder towards the Confederate lines. Other Confederate troops mount a hasty if orderly retreat.
Historical ContextThe pivotal Battle of Five Forks occurred near the end of the Siege of Petersburg. Five Forks was a critical road junction southwest of Petersburg along Confederate General-in-Chief Robert E. Lee's final supply line, the South Side Railroad. This route was also one of Lee's final escape routes from Petersburg. In the days leading up to the Battle of Five Forks, Union General Ulysses S. Grant orchestrated several smaller battles along the Confederate defensive line south of Petersburg. Each action ended in a Union victory. Lee knew that with this series of victories, Grant would send troops to Five Forks to cut off Petersburg and Richmond from the South Side Railroad. In response, Lee sent reinforcements under the command of Major General George Pickett to hold Five Forks 'at all hazards'.
The Battle of Five ForksBattle erupted at Five Forks on April 1, 1865, after several small skirmishes. The battle raged all day, with numerous charges and counterattacks. Union forces seized Five Forks, but were unable to cut off the Confederate lines of retreat. The following day, Union attacks broke through Confederate lines at the Third Battle of Petersburg and forced the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia to evacuate. The American Civil War (1861 - 1865) ended on April 9, 1865, just seven days later, at Appomattox Court House.
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 1886. Two examples are cataloged in OCLC and are part of the collections at the Library of Congress and the University of Virginia. Two more OCLC references exist for this map, but they are empty, suggesting that former cooperative members created them.
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 tear extending five-and-one-half (5.5) inches into printed area from right margin professionally repaired on verso. Closed tear extending three-eighths (3/8) of an inch into printed area from left margin professionally repaired on verso.
OCLC 51155451; 647987453.