Winslow Homer: Civil War Sharpshooter


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Winslow Homer Civil War Art:

The Army of the Potomac - A Sharp-Shooter on Picket Duty

Winslow Homer is remembered for this image, perhaps,  more than any other.  It is the most collected, and most difficult to find, of all Winslow Homer Civil War prints.  It is the November 15, 1862 Harper's Weekly leaf entitled, "The Army of the Potomac - A Sharp-Shooter on Picket Duty [from a pointing by W. Homer Esq.]".  The image is popularly referred to simply as "Homer's Sharpshooter".

Winslow Homer- The Sharpshooter on Picket Duty

November 15, 1862 - The Sharpshooter on Picket Duty (Click on Image for Enlarged View)

The image shows a Union sharpshooter in a tree, with a telescopic rifle.  The soldier has an intense look of concentration on his face as he draws a bead on what will no doubt become the next casualty of war.

While Homer gained fame for this illustration, we find that he was actually haunted by the image of the sharpshooter. In this fascinating letter Homer describes his recollections of sharpshooters with these words, "I was not a soldier but a camp follower & artist. The above impression [referring to his sketch] struck me as being as near murder as anything I ever could think of in connection with the army & I always had a horror of that branch of the service."




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