Generals in Bronze
Interviewing the Commanders of the Civil War
In the decades that followed the American Civil War, artist James E. Kelly (1855–1933) conducted in-depth interviews with more than forty Union generals in an effort to accurately portray them in their greatest moment of glory. “I had always felt a great lack of certain personal details,” Kelly explained. “I made up my mind to ask from the living officers every question that I would have asked Washington or his generals had they posed for me, such as what they considered the principal incidents in their career and particulars about costumes and surroundings.” When, during one interview, a general declared, “I don't see how you can show this in a picture,” Kelly responded, “Just tell me the facts, and I’ll attend to the picture.” By recording those stirring facts, Kelly left us a truly unique picture of the great figures of the American Civil War.
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