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Rebels Outside Their Works at Yorktown Reconnoitring with Dark Lanterns

Winslow Homer

American Art

In the spring of 1862, General McClellan, commander of the Union forces, surrounded Yorktown, where he believed he could defeat the rebel forces. A standoff occurred, and with little battle activity to report, some of the journals, including Harper's Weekly, illustrated the Union encampments. The War Department confiscated these issues because they did not want details of the Union sites published. Instead, journals were told to depict more generalized images of the Confederates at the front, as Winslow Homer does in this illustration.

Regarded as one of the great American Realists of the nineteenth century, Homer is known primarily for his large body of works in oil and watercolor. However, he also had an early career as a freelance illustrator, making drawings for wood engravings that were reproduced in mass-circulation periodicals such as Harper's Weekly. In 1998, the Brooklyn Museum received a generous gift of more than 250 wood-engraved illustrations by Homer from Harvey Isbitts.
MEDIUM Wood engraving
DATES 1862
DIMENSIONS Image: 10 7/8 x 9 1/4 in. (27.6 x 23.5 cm) Sheet: 6 x 11 1/4 in. (15.2 x 28.6 cm) Frame: 22 3/4 x 16 3/4 x 1 1/2 in. (57.8 x 42.5 x 3.8 cm)
INSCRIPTIONS In caption: "Sketched by Mr. Winslow Homer"
CREDIT LINE Gift of Harvey Isbitts
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
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