Artist: Mort Künstler Title: "Rush's Lancers" Camp Meigs, Philadelphia, November 1861 Edition Size: Artist Signed and Numbered with COA to 197 total editions. COA included. Medium: Fine Art Giclee on Canvas Editions. Image Dimensions: 19" x 23" , 24" x 29", 29" x 35" and 36” x 43”. Custom Frame Any Size of this Canvas for only $199 About the Art:The original painting has been part of twelve museum exhibits, including the travelling exhibit Mort Künstler: The Art of Adventure curated by the Norman Rockwell Museum. Historical Information: Patriotic fervor in the first months of the Civil War was never more in evidence than with Rush’s Lancers. Composed mostly of Philadelphia’s raw youth, the recruits knew nothing about riding and caring for horses. Their determined leader was a Pennsylvania aristocrat, Richard Rush, a West Point graduate whose grandfather had signed the Declaration of Independence.
It was Gen. George McClellan who, in late summer of 1861, suggested that Rush’s unit (officially the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment) arm itself with lances. Napoleon had made good use of the weapons a half-century earlier when war was less sophisticated. Rush’s young troopers did not take kindly to the nine-foot wooden lance with an eleven-inch steel blade and red banner on the end. One Lancer considered the weapon “a decided nuisance in a wooded country.” Lavish uniforms also made the regiment conspicuous – to friend and foe alike.
Fortunately, the entire regiment never saw action with their vintage lances. When the Pennsylvanians arrived on the Virginia peninsula in the spring of 1862, cavalry commander George Stoneman told Rush to throw away “them Damn poles” and arm themselves with conventional weapons. That was the end of lances in the Civil War. Mort Künstler’s Comments: One of the many artists who has inspired me is Winslow Homer, the great American illustrator. Harper’s Weekly sent Homer to the front lines of the Civil War, where he sketched battle scenes and camp life, which were then published as illustrations in their publications. He did a painting of Rush’s Lancers and did a lot of research to get it accurate. I admire this painting a great deal. In addition to reading an entire book on Rush’s Lancers by Eric Wittenberg, I also consulted historians on this subject.
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