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Highlights Archives

The Civil War Sketches of Alexander Simplot


Soldiers' bunks at Fort Holt, Kentucky
WHI 32879

If asked to picture a scene from the Civil War, most Americans would probably imagine an iconic black-and-white photograph by Mathew Brady. But during the war very few people were able to see photographs like those because printers had no way to include them in newspapers and magazines. Instead, Americans saw engravings of drawings made by artists in the field. Artists sent hand-drawn sketches from the front to be engraved line-by-line on metal plates, which could be printed on paper alongside text. Periodicals such as Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper and Harper's Weekly brought thousands of Civil War scenes into American homes. The latest Wisconsin Historical Images gallery features dozens of original drawings and sketches by one of those artists, Alexander Simplot (1837-1914), who worked as an illustrator for Harper's Weekly during the first half of the war.


:: Posted October 3, 2011

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