WAUD, ALFRED R., artist. Original drawing, depicting the Charge of Meagher's Irish Brigade aginst Marye's Heights, in the battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862. 335 x 465 mm. (13 x 18 in.), gouache with black ink and Chinese white highlights on buff-tinted paper; handsomely matted and framed.
THE IRISH BRIGADE ATTACKS THE CONFEDERATE ENTRENCHMENTS AT FREDERICKSBURG
A superb wartime depiction of a major battle from a near vantage point, by the foremost combat artist of the war, Alfred Waud. Born in London, Waud came to America in 1850 and during the conflict was employed by Harper's Weekly to document the war with pen and pencil. In the absence of any confirmed photographs of actual battles, Waud's depictions, sketched at first-hand, are the most vivid representations of Civil War combat available to historians. The Irish Brigade, (63rd, 69th, 88th New York, 116th Penn. and 28th Mass.) was part of Hancock's command in the Army of the Potomac. In futile and costly repeated assaults against Confederates dug in at a sunken road at the base of Marye's Heights, Hancock's division sustained over 2000 casualties.
Waud's panorama of this climactic assault shows the Marye Mansion (with columns) on the crest of the ridge; below is the sunken road which can be traced by the smoke and from the rifles of the Southern defenders (Longstreet's men). At the upper left is the flag of the Irish Brigade, marked by a harp, being carried by the mounted Division Commander, Winfield S. Hancock. For other Waud views of Fredericksburg, see F.E. Ray, Alfred A. Waud: Civil War Artist (New York, 1974). Rare; the bulk of Waud's exceptional drawings are in the Library of Congress.