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Draft Riot Sketches from Sketchbook List items
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The thirteen sketches presented here depict New York during the period of the Draft Riots of 1863, when angry laborers took to the street, destroying African American neighborhoods, recruiting offices and churches, and killing 105 people. There are several sketches of army units encamped at the Battery, street scenes showing posters and recruiting stations, and an image of the notorious Five Points section of New York entitled "Homes of the Rioters." There is an image of Jim Best, who was tried in the death of a Mrs. Derrickson who was killed during the riots while defending her son. Clement Vallandigham is depicted as a snake, a reference to a derogatory term, common at the time, for the more extreme element of the Peace Democrats, known as Copperheads.

The sketches are drawn from a small sketchbook (approximately 4 3/4 x 7 1/4 inches) from the New-York Historical Society's
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Museum Department donated by N-YHS trustee George A. Zabriskie in 1943. The volume itself may be dated approximately to between 1858 and 1869, since the sketchbook was purchased from a business which is listed in New York city directories for that period. It was filled with drawings from the 1860s until approximately the 1880s. Most of the Civil War-era sketches were done by a person identified only as "J.H.W.", with other sketches inscribed "G.R.B. del." and "Bart del." Presumably all the artists are amateurs, and the sketches can be seen as representative of the popular nineteenth century pastime of recording one's surroundings through drawing. Although there are other subjects, including New York city street scenes and depictions of various types of people, only those sketches depicting New York during the Civil War at the time of the Draft Riots are included in Civil War Treasures of the New-York Historical Society.

Civil War Sketches List items

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Charge of the 92nd Ill. M.I.V.

This collection presents 111 images of drawings and text, depicting both important events and everyday scenes from the Civil War.
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On the road from Hyattstown

A few sketches show in great detail the uniforms of different regiments and ranks of soldiers; others show troop movements by specific regiments. Small towns are shown with Union troops passing through them, and other southern landscapes including plantations are depicted. Many scenes were drawn very quickly and roughly, in order to capture newsworthy events. Others are carefully crafted satires, like "24 Weeks on the Potomac" which shows McClellan and Beauregard contemplating one another across the Potomac River during a stalemate early in the war. On the back (verso) of some of these sketches the artist described the scene and general battle atmosphere in great detail.

This collection of drawings from the New-York Historical Society's Museum Department was acquired from the collection of J. Kavanaugh, Rutherford, N.J. in 1945. The pencil, pen-and-ink, crayon and wash drawings range in size from 5 x 5 inches to 19 x 12 inches. They were made by "special artists" employed by Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, and used as a basis for the wood engravings that illustrated it. Many of the artists were professionals such as John Francis Edward Hillen and E.B. Bensell. Others were soldiers and others in the field who submitted their drawings for publication.
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Going on board the boat at Montgomery Ala.

The sketches were made from the earliest days of the war, in April 1861, when troops were being moved to defend Washington, to February 1865, when the U.S. flag was raised over Fort Sumter after being recaptured by Union troops. Some date from April and May 1865, when Lincoln's body was lying in state after his assassination. The sketches were able to capture action that photographs were not able to convey at the time, and provide immediacy lacking in the other medium.

The collection has 85 sheets, some of which have drawings on both sides of the paper. Others have descriptions or letters to Frank Leslie or descriptions on the verso. In these cases, the backs of the drawings were also imaged and described; the records for front and back are linked as related items.

Point Lookout Sketches List items

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A Federal Officer buying fans

The forty-eight color ink drawings presented here were made in 1864 by a Confederate prisoner of war at Point Lookout, Maryland, the Union's largest Civil War prison camp. The drawings highlight the concerns and experiences of prisoners of war; most scenes show prisoners playing cards, buying food, or engaging in barter with food vendors. Although rations in Northern prisons were usually more generous than what the Confederate soldiers had been accustomed to in the field, these sketches show prisoners hungry for familiar food. All of the prison guards depicted are African American, and encounters are recorded between these guards and the Confederate prisoners. The prisoners are also shown in conflict over taking an oath of allegiance to the United States (Union) government. The album into which these sketches were pasted also includes photographs of commanding officers at Point Lookout, printed orders to prison guards about the treatment of prisoners, and letters from prisoners to President Lincoln asking to be released.
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Prison Entrance, Point Lookout MD.

The album containing the drawings is housed in the New-York Historical Society's Manuscripts Department. The volume is part of the Naval History Society Collection, which was donated to the New-York Historical Society in 1925 by James Barnes. James Barnes was the son of the Naval History Society's founder, John S. Barnes, whose own father, Brigadier General James Barnes, commanded the Point Lookout prison. John found the album among his father's papers after his death in 1869.

John S. Barnes describes the contents of this sketchbook in a letter included in the volume: "The sketches in this book were made by a Confederate Prisoner of War, confined at Point Lookout Md. during the period of my father's command of the District of St. Marys which included Pt. Lookout. The name of the artist is not preserved. He made a business of his work & sold several of the books."

Drawings of similar medium, style and subject are held by the Maryland Historical Society, and have been identified as the work of John T. Omenhausser.

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