The First in a Panoramic Set of Two Limited Edition Fine Art Prints
Courage in Blue is a companion print to Valor in Gray – Kershaw’s Brigade at Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862. Together, they portray the remarkable American heroism which became the lasting legacy of the Civil War.
Mort Künstler’s Comments
The Civil War had so many heroes, and to me, none is more appealing or inspiring than General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. Most students of the war are aware of his heroic defense of Little Round Top at Gettysburg, but much less known is the courageous charge he led at the Battle of Fredericksburg. It was such a horrible, bloody battle. Northern troops made numerous charges up Marye’s Heights – and all of them failed. Finally, a new assault was ordered – and it included Chamberlain and his 20th Maine.
Chamberlain, who was then a lieutenant colonel, heroically led his troops up the hill and into the horrendous fire coming from the Southern lines. Just yards from the Confederate line, the Northern troops were forced to take cover on the ground among the bodies of the dead. Chamberlain and the survivors of the 20th Maine stayed there under fire all night and all the next day before being relieved.
In this painting, I have tried to capture the climax of the charge by the 20th Maine up Marye’s Heights. The composition of the picture leans slightly to the left to suggest the forward movement of the assault. I’ve used the bright muzzle flashes of the regiment’s rifles to make Chamberlain and the U.S. flag the focal point of the painting. Next year, I plan to do a companion painting to this work that will portray the Southern troops defending Marye’s Heights at the point of Chamberlain’s charge. Placed together, the two paintings will offer a panoramic view which will be almost cycloramic in scope.
To me, Chamberlain and the 20th Maine symbolize the courage and sacrifice that were typical of American soldiers in the Civil War on both sides – and I hope I have been able to convey that emotion in this painting.