The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 381
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pendence. In mass-produced drawings of spirited public rallies, well-
dressed southern soldiers drilling in orderly camps, and Jefferson Davis
("Our First President") in heroic poses unthinkable for Abraham Lin-
coln, they spread the spirit of optimism and destiny. But by 1862 they
were no longer able to stir the people of the Confederacy, for the artists
and craftsmen capable of producing prints were concentrated in the
Union-dominated cities of Baltimore and (after April, 1862) New Or-
leans. To their immeasurable loss, therefore, southerners were de-
prived of a visualization of their cause and its symbols.
After the war, when visualization became possible, the confederate
image was deliberately shaped to deal with the new realities of defeat
and subjugation. Northern printmakers gave the South what it wanted
and needed: reassurance that the cause for which it had sacrificed so
much had been a noble one. They eulogized Rebel leaders in a fashion
that only months before would have been considered treasonable, and
they assuaged the South's anguish by routinely portraying its soldiers
barefoot and in rags. It was a way of telling the people they had been
defeated because of a deficiency of resources, not of leadership or
Perhaps the most brilliant of all pro-Confederate visual propagan-
dists was Adalbert Johann Volck, whose etchings portrayed the South
as "a bastion of virtue, where ladies faced sacrifices nobly, where gen-
erals prayed in camp, and where loyal slaves happily protected their
white masters from Yankee intruders. Everything Northern, on the
other hand, Volck viewed with acidic contempt. Free blacks were de-
bauchers, thieves, or beggars, and Union soldiers were dishonorable
plunderers and rapists" (p. 44). Unfortunately for the Confederacy,
Volck lived in Baltimore and was thus excluded from the market that
would have appreciated him. Although his drawings perfectly ex-
pressed the animus of many northerners against the war, they had very
little circulation. Thus, contrary to general belief, neither Confederates
nor Copperheads derived advantage from his work, which was not dis-
covered until the end of the century.
Volck's prints and those of many other artists are handsomely repro-
duced in some one hundred black and white illustrations and twenty
color plates. But it is the author's discussion of the influences behind
the prints that transforms them from mere curiosities into living his-
torical documents. This book shows that popular prints, intelligently
explained, can teach as much as photographs about Civil War history,
and proves that sometimes a thousand words are worth more than one
San Diego State University
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989, periodical, 1989; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/m1/419/: accessed June 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.