1889 Kurz and Allison View of the American Civil War Battle Between the Monitor and the Merrimac

MonitorMerrimac-kurzallison-1889
$1,200.00
Battle Between the Monitor and Merrimac. - Main View
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1889 Kurz and Allison View of the American Civil War Battle Between the Monitor and the Merrimac

MonitorMerrimac-kurzallison-1889

First battle between iron clad ships.
$1,200.00

Title


Battle Between the Monitor and Merrimac.
  1889 (dated)     19 x 25.5 in (48.26 x 64.77 cm)

Description


This is an 1889 Kurz and Allison chromolithograph view embellished with gum Arabic color of the Battle of Hampton Roads (March 8 - 9, 1862). The Battle of Hampton Roads was a naval battle of the American Civil War (1861 - 1865), renowned as the first clash of ironclads. The USS Monitor, the Union ironclad (identifiable by the U.S. flag on her stern), and the CSS Virginia, the Confederate ironclad, are illustrated offshore firing at close range. Other ships involved in the battle appear as well, including the USS Cumberland, USS Congress, and USS Minnesota, along with several Confederate ships. Union soldiers appear in the foreground, many helping the survivors of the sinking USS Congress. Several Union officers, astride horses, watch the battle from a high point on the left. Union shore batteries attempt to help the Monitor and the rest of the fleet combat the Virginia.
The USS Cumberland and the USS Congress
Both the Cumberland and the Congress were destroyed by the Virginia during the first day of the battle. The Virginia rammed the Cumberland and she sank rapidly. After this initial success, the captain of the Virginia engaged the Congress. The ships fought and Virginia was assisted by the James River Squadron. After an hour of unequal combat, the Congress struck her colors and surrendered. In retaliation for being fired upon by a Union shore battery, the captain of the Virginia fired on the Congress with hot shot (red-hot cannonballs). Congress caught fire and burned for the rest of the day and, near midnight, the fire spread to her magazine. The Congress exploded and sank stern first. After dispatching Cumberland and Congress, Virginia moved to engage Minnesota, which had run aground. However, night was falling, and darkness forced Virginia to return to port, granting Minnesota a reprieve.
The USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia
The Monitor and the Virginia were not the world's first ironclads, but they were the first to see combat. The Virginia was built on the burnt-out remains of the USS Merrimac, which was inadequately scuttled when the Union evacuated Norfolk's shipyards, hence the Virginia is also referred to as the Merrimac. The Monitor was built from scratch as an ironclad in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Monitor was dispatched to Hampton Roads to defend the Minnesota against the Virginia. Monitor engaged Virginia on the morning of March 9, 1862, when Virginia moved to destroy the Minnesota. Monitor and Virginia fought for hours at close range, neither gaining an advantage. Virginia had not expected to encounter another ironclad, so she was not armed with iron-piercing ammunition. Monitor was armed with guns large enough to pierce Virginia's armor, but the shipbuilder feared that using thirty-pound charges could damage the ship, so only fifteen-pound charges were used. The battle ended after a shell from Virginia hit Monitor's pilot house and temporarily blinded its captain, forcing her to temporarily disengage. Virginia's captain believed that the Monitor disengaged because she was leaving the battle and elected to head back to port to undergo repairs. When Monitor returned to the battle and saw Virginia withdrawing, they erroneously believed she had given up. Thus, both ship's captain's declared victory.
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
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 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 Census
This view was created and published by Kurz and Allison in 1889. We note two cataloged examples. One is part of the collection at the Library of Congress and the other is part of the collection at the National Museum of American History.

Cartographer


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...

Condition


Very good. Closed margin tears professionally repaired on verso.

References


National Museum of American History DL.60.2633. OCLC 51155557.