Winslow Homer: The Wish Bone


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Winslow Homer Civil War Art:

The Wish Bone

We have seen Winslow Homer Civil War Illustrations of death, or hopelessness, of fear and of terror.  Now finally, in the closing days of 1864, we see an image of hope.  The illustration is from the December 3, 1864 edition of Harper's Weekly, and is captioned, "Thanksgiving-Day in the Army. - After Dinner: The Wish-Bone. [Drawn by Winslow Homer.]"

Winslow Homer Wishbone

December 3, 1864 - After Dinner, the Wishbone

(Click on Image for Enlarged View)

The image shows soldiers after their thanksgiving meal pulling on the wish bone.  There is a look of peaceful determination on the faces of the soldiers, as if they know that while the war is not yet over, it soon will be and they will be able to return to their families.  The soldier's sword, usually so prominently featured in Homer's work, in now put away, secured in its scabbard on the soldiers hip. The knife on the table looks not so much like a terrorizing weapon of war, but more like a useful implement for carving a turkey.  The background features men reclining and resting.  A stack of drums is shown in the background, with the hope that they will one day soon be used to make music, as opposed to lead men to war. There is not a bayonet to be seen in the illustration.

A Note to our Readers

We acquired the images above for the purpose of digitally persevering them on this site for all to enjoy.  With the digital archive complete, we are making the original, 140 year old illustrations available for purchase.  By selling these original illustrations, we are able to acquire more material to archive on this site.  If you are interested in purchasing one of the original Harper's Weekly leafs on this page, contact The leafs are available for a price of $250 a piece, and the proceeds will go to continue to expand the resources on this site.




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