General Robert E. Lee & Major Walter H. Taylor
Falling Waters - Williamsport, Maryland - July 13, 1863
After the battle of Gettysburg, the Army of Northern Virginia retreated south in a torrential rain storm that lasted for two days. As General Robert E. Lee's army reached the Potomac River at Williamsport, they found a swollen, raging and impassable river. A pontoon bridge near the town had been broken up by a Federal raiding party leaving Lee's army in a perilous position. With the river so high some predicted it might be a week before the river could be crossed and Federal forces had already begun probing for an opening to attack. With the Potomac River to their backs, a full scale attack by US General Mead's army would be disastrous.
General Lee issued orders for his commanders to set up defensive positions around the army and prepare for battle. Soon a mixed force of Federal cavalry and artillery appeared threatening to capture wagons carrying wounded soldiers. General J.E.B. Stuart and his cavalry along with infantry were able to push back the enemy probe. Lee turned his attention to his wounded soldiers and ordered any ferry boats to begin transporting the injured to the south bank. Lee then gave Major J. A. Harman the assignment to somehow rebuild the pontoon bridge.
General Lee wrote to his wife, "Had the river not unexpectedly risen, all would have been well with us; but God, in His all-wise providence, ruled otherwise, and our communications have been interrupted and almost cut off." By July 13 Lee's prayers were answered. The river had receded to about 4 feet and Major Harman had reconstructed the pontoon bridge using wood from old warehouses, and recovered boats from down river. General Lee decided to attempt the crossing of his army under the cover of night.
Disheartening to all it began to rain again that afternoon and by nightfall the men were facing another "pouring from the skies" wrote Col. Alexander. All night the army labored to cross the Potomac. General Lee sat on his horse at the north end of the bridge encouraging his men throughout the whole night. At times the rain came down so hard it was difficult to keep the three or four torches alight to guide the procession. The shaky bridge miraculously held together "as it swayed to and fro, lashed by the current."
By morning a great weight seemed to be lifted from General Lee's shoulders, as most of the army had crossed into Virginia safely. In the distance the guns of the rear guard under the command of General Henry Heath could be heard. Heath and Pender's battle at Falling Waters was soon over, and the rest of Army of Northern Virginia was back on home soil. This would be the southern army's last crossing of the Potomac River.
General Stonewall Jackson & Lt. Colonel Turner Ashby
Warm Springs, Morgan County - Western Virginia
January 4, 1862
General Stonewall Jackson had a number of goals he wanted to accomplish during his January 1st 1862 expedition to several towns under the occupation of Federal troops in western Virginia. Jackson’s main priority was the defense of the Shenandoah Valley. As such he would need to clear out the Federal garrison in the town of Berkeley Springs, also known as Bath, from troops under the command of US Brigadier General Frederick W. Lander. With his northern flank secured he would then turn his attention to the Federal garrison of 5000 men located in Romney under the command of Brigadier General Benjamin F. Kelley.
After taking Romney, General Jackson planned to attack the Federal garrison and railroad hub of Cumberland Maryland. Also on the agenda was to sever or disrupt the lines of supply and transport of the enemy by destroying as much of the B&O Railroad as possible.
The expedition would also test Jackson’s newly formed army. He would learn which officers under his command he could trust and count on, and those he could not. His troops would also be tried under difficult circumstances during winter conditions, against multiple foes. In short Jackson would learn “who was worth his salt”.
On the comfortable sunny day of January 1st Confederate troops marched from Winchester towards Berkeley Springs. Jackson’s cavalry under the command of Lt. Colonel Turner Ashby led the way, followed by four brigades of infantry. The travel was easy at first, moving over flat terrain, but in the late afternoon a cold front blew through, dropping temperatures that night into the teens. The column halted at Pughtown for the night after covering 8 miles. The next day the army was on the move again pushing against a blinding snow storm. Miraculously the army was able to cover another 7 miles and camped at Unger’s Store.
By the middle of the afternoon the next day Jackson’s force had marched another eleven miles in the snow and elements of Ashby’s Cavalry had engaged the enemy 3 miles outside of Berkeley Springs. That night as the army camped in the woods near the enemy garrison of 1400 troops, another half a foot of snow fell.
The morning of January 4th the Stonewall Brigade again dug out of the snow. As the troops crawled out from under their snow-laden blankets, half-frozen, they were cursing General Jackson as the cause of their sufferings. Unbeknownst to them, the General lay close by under a tree, also snowed under, and heard all their complaints. Without a chastisement he too crawled out from under a snow covered blanket. Shaking the snow off, he made a humorous remark to the nearest men, who had no idea he had arrived during the night and lain down amongst them. News of what had happened spread throughout the ranks in short order, and fully reestablished his popularity. It was fortunate at that time for the troops to learn the metal of their leader as they were soon to go into battle.
The attack at Berkeley Springs was not as coordinated as Jackson had planned. General Loring, one of Jackson’s commanders “managed to scatter the rest of his command all over the countryside - except toward the front”. Exasperated, General Jackson rode into the confusion and took charge. By mid afternoon Jackson dashed into the city with his escort, ahead of his own skirmishers. The enemy had high-tailed it out, retreating to the town of Hancock.
Stonewall had learned much about his command that day, and he and his Stonewall Brigade established headquarters in Strother’s health resort in Berkeley Springs. Phase one of his expedition was difficult, but a success. His next test was the garrison at Romney.
Major John S. Mosby & Captain Frank Stringfellow
Loudoun Heights, Virginia - January 10, 1864
A blanket of snow covered the Virginia countryside in the early days of January when Major John S. Mosby, commanding the 43rd Battalion of Partisan Rangers, received an intriguing communique.
The message was from Captain Frank Stringfellow, a well known trusted scout of J.E.B. Stuart and Robert E. Lee. Stringfellow had a reputation for providing accurate intelligence on enemy activity. Stringfellow's plan was to attack and capture a Maryland Cavalry Battalion performing picket duty near the Hillsboro road at Loudoun Heights, a strategic passage leading to Harper's Ferry. Stringfellow believed the enemy camp of 200 men could be easily surprised at night and captured while sleeping without firing a single shot.
Mosby considered the plan and knew attacking a much larger force would have to be performed with precision and stealth in order to be successful. He gathered his men on January 9th at Upperville, and the hard march to capture US Major Henry Cole's Maryland Cavalry began. Major Mosby's brother William later wrote about the night raid. "The snow covered the ground, an icy wind swept down through the passes of the neighboring Blue Ridge, and altogether the night was the coldest that ever broke away from the North Pole and wandered south of the Arctic circle - a splendid night for a surprise party."
The Confederate column marched along the base of the Short Hills until it reached the Potomac River. The Rangers quietly moved up the river bank towards Harper's Ferry. As they began their ascent up the mountain they could see Federal encampment fires across the river on the Maryland side. The steep icy snow-covered wooded cliffs could only be climbed by men leading their horses single file. At about 5am Mosby's force of 100 men were finally in position to make their move to surprise the sleeping enemy. Mosby dismounted a portion of his force and they quietly captured the first row of Cole's men sleeping in their tents. Suddenly a shot rang out from somewhere, (Mosby believed it was from Stringfellow's men yelling and shooting). The element of surprise was gone and all hell and confusion broke loose. The Federals came pouring barefoot out of their tents armed with pistols and carbines.
A number of Mosby's faithful men were killed or wounded, and a hasty retreat towards Hillsboro was made carrying as many of their wounded as possible. The Rangers lost five men and six were wounded. Victory had been in their grasp but as so often happens in war, unforeseen events can change the course of history.
These are the latest releases from John Paul Strain and only available through licensed dealers.
What is an Artist’s Proof (AP)? An Artist's proof has a perceived higher value in the market place due to their limited supply and availability. The Artist's proof edition is signified with "Artist Proof" or "AP" in front of the number (AP 1/5).
What is a Printer's Proof (AP)? A Printer's Proof also has a perceived higher value in the market place due to their limited supply and availability. The Printer's Proof edition is signified with "Printer's Proof" or "PP" in front of the number (PP 1/5).
The prints by John Paul Strain are done on lithographic paper. Artist’s Proof prints are unique because John Paul Strain prints two small Remarque paintings in the white border at the bottom of the prints.
What is a S/N Limited Edition Print? A John Paul Strain S/N Limited Edition Print is a signed and numbered edition of identical prints numbered sequentially and individually signed by John Paul Strain, having a limit to the number in the edition. These S/N Limited Edition Prints and Artist’s proof prints are produced using museum quality inks and pH neutral (acid-free) paper. All of our prints are accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.
What is a Canvas Giclée? John Paul Strain's canvas giclée (pronounced zhee-CLAY) is an individually produced, high-resolution, high-fidelity reproduction done on a special large format printer. Giclée is a French term that means "spray of ink" and is produced from digital scans of the original artwork. More than four million droplets per second in a fine stream of ink is sprayed onto a specially treated canvas. Our giclées have passed the 75-year ink-fade test and are produced on acid free, pH balanced archival canvas. Each giclée is hand-signed by John Paul Strain and includes a "Certificate of Authenticity." The Studio Canvas Giclée will be signed and numbered. Approximately 17" x 24" in size.
What is a Canvas Giclée? John Paul Strain's paper giclée (pronounced zhee-CLAY) is an individually produced, high-resolution, high-fidelity reproduction done on a special large format printer. Giclée is a French term that means "spray of ink" and is produced from digital scans of the original artwork. More than four million droplets per second in a fine stream of ink is sprayed onto a specialty paper. Our giclées have passed the 75-year ink-fade test and are produced on acid free, pH balanced archival canvas. Each giclée is hand-signed by John Paul Strain and includes a "Certificate of Authenticity." We custom frame John Paul Strain paper giclées. The Classic Canvas Giclée will be signed and numbered. Approximately 23" x 33" in size.
These are special pieces of John Paul Strain Art that we have framed and available for you.