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Civil War Pen and Ink Drawings

Today, we have become accustomed to seeing the realities of war enter our homes through the television and as photographs in magazines and newspapers.  The present Iraq War has been marked by the firsthand coverage, which has allowed us to witness journalists in bullet proof vests and helmets reporting from the back of armored tanks as they speed across the undulating desert.  
While this is a new phenomenon, the precedent was set over 140 years ago with the commencement of the American Civil War.  With advancements in printing and communications, accounts could be more readily filed and printed and, for the first time, reports and illustrations recording the progress of war were more immediately disseminated to the general public.  Although photography was utilized, the practical process for reproducing photographs accurately in halftone, had not yet been developed and so publications relied on the artist and the illustrator.  For ease of printing, they produced works in black and white, en grisaille, thus replicating how the published accounts would look.  However, much was left to the printers discretion as time constraints often meant that artists sent back unfinished sketches with written directions as to the appearance of the scene.  The results were often wholly unsatisfactory.
Thus, to rectify the many discrepancies published during the Civil War, the editors of Century magazine collected accounts of all the major campaigns and battles of the war written by men who had been in them.  Furthermore, having collected writers to describe the war, the Century editors went looking for the artists who were now able to rework their sketches to produce accurate eyewitness views of what they had seen. Out of all of this came a composite history such as no war had ever had before. The accounts ran in the magazine, issue after issue for three years, between 1884 and 1887, and finally they were published in 1888 as the legendary Battles and Leaders of the Civil War.

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