Photo Essays

Sketches of War

Posted 6/10/2016 By Civil War Monitor

“One of the first things that strikes you about his sketches is their wonderful clearness of idea. You feel that they are drawn by a ready and skillful hand; one who thoroughly understands himself and his art…. His conception is clear, sharp, and distinct in his mind before he puts pencil to paper. He knows the grouping of every figure, the expression of every face. If he wants a tree in a particular spot, he knows just what species of tree he wants—the size and shape of the bole, the individuality of its bark and moss, every quirl and twist of its boughs, the very twinkle of its leaves. Nothing is left to chance; all is certainty. He never guesses, he knows.”

So noted The National Magazine a few years before the outbreak of the Civil War about Felix Octavius Carr "F.O.C." Darley. Born in Philadelphia in 1822, Darley was a self-taught artist who by 1861 had established himself as one of the country’s foremost illustrators, working for publications such as Harper’s Weekly and providing artwork for books by such well-known authors as James Fennimore Cooper, Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Washington Irving. During the war, Darley would produce a number of works about the conflict, most notably those that appeared as illustrations in the multi-volume history The War With the South, published between 1862 and 1867, which are reproduced below with their original titles.

Massachusetts Militia Passing Through Baltimore
Struggle on a Bridge During the Retreat from Manassas
Battle at Wilson's Creek, MO. Death of General Lyon
Battle of Ball's Bluff, VA. Rescuing the Body of Brig. Gen. Baker
Battle Near Mill Springs, KY. Death of Gen. Zollicoffer
Capture of Fort Donelson, Tenn. Charge of Gen. Smith's Division
Capture of Roanoke Island, Charge of Zouaves
Battle of Shiloh, Tenn. Charge of Gen. Grant


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