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A special Combat Gallery Sunday: The original Fighting Irish, on the eve of the Wheatfield, 154 years ago

Absolution Under Fire, By Paul Wood, via the Snite Museum of Art Notre Dame. Note the drummer boys in distinctive Zouave uniforms and the famous green harp flag. Click to bigup

On July 2nd 1863, minutes before the Irish Brigade would charge the Wheatfield at Gettysburg, Father William Corby gave absolution to the men. Corby would later become President of Notre Dame University and the following quote from Col. St. Clair Mulholland comes from their web page on Corby:

Colonel St. Clair Mulholland was attached with the Irish Brigade and later gave this account of Corby’s famous absolution [Originally published in the Philadelphia Times, reprinted in Scholastic, April 3, 1880, pages 470-471]:

There is yet a few minutes to spare before starting, and the time is occupied in one of the most impressive religious ceremonies I have ever witnessed. The Irish Brigade, which had been commanded formerly by General Thomas Francis Meagher, and whose green flag had been unfurled in every battle in which the Army of the Potomac had been engaged from the first Bull Run to Appomattox, was now commanded by Colonel Patrick Kelly, of the Eighty-eighth New York, and formed a part of this division. The brigade stood in columns of regiments closed in mass. As the large majority of its members were Catholics, the Chaplain of the brigade Rev. William Corby, CSC, proposed to give a general absolution to all the men before going into the fight. While this is customary in the armies of Catholic countries of Europe, it was perhaps the first time it was ever witnessed on this continent… Father Corby stood upon a large rock in front of the brigade, addressing the men; he explained what he was about to do, saying that each one would receive the benefit of the absolution by making a sincere Act of Contrition, and firmly resolving to embrace the first opportunity of confessing his sins, urging them to do their duty well, and reminding them of the high and sacred nature of their trust as soldiers and the noble object for which they fought. The brigade was standing at “Order arms,” and as he closed his address, every man fell on his knees, with head bowed down. Then, stretching his right hand towards the brigade, Father Corby pronounced the words of absolution. The scene was more than impressive, it was awe-inspiring. Near by, stood General Hancock, surrounded by a brilliant throng of officers, who had gathered to witness this very unusual occurrence and while there was profound silence in the ranks of the Second Corps, yet over to the left, out by the peach orchard and Little Round Top, where Weed, and Vincent, and Haslett were dying, the roar of the battle rose and swelled and reechoed through the woods. The act seemed to be in harmony with all the surroundings. I do not think there was a man in the brigade who did not offer up a heartfelt prayer. For some it was their last; they knelt there in their grave-clothes — in less than half an hour many of them were numbered with the dead of July 2.

 

Combat Gallery Sunday: The Martial Art of The Met

Much as once a week I like to take time off to cover warships (Wednesdays), on Sundays (when I feel like working), I like to cover military art and the painters, illustrators, sculptors, photographers and the like that produced them.

Combat Gallery Sunday: The Martial Art of the Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art very graciously just released 375,000 works into the public domain as Creative Commons Zero 1.0 Universal copyright, the broadest possible. While about 200,000 are online, and as a whole, they represent just a fifth of the Met’s huge collection, there are some interesting pieces in the trove with a military background. These include over 70 plates from Goya’s haunting ‘The Disasters of War’ (Los Desastres de la Guerra) and dozens more from Stefano della Bella’s ‘Peace and War’ (Divers desseins tant pour la paix que pour la guerre).

Here are some pieces I found remarkable.

Deck of a Warship Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg (Danish, Blåkrog 1783–1853 Copenhagen) 1833

The “Kearsarge” at Boulogne Édouard Manet (French, Paris 1832–1883 Paris) 1864

A Bit of War History: The Recruit Thomas Waterman Wood (American, Montpelier, Vermont 1823–1903 New York) 1866

A Bit of War History The Veteran Thomas Waterman Wood (American, Montpelier, Vermont 1823–1903 New York) 1866

The full collection is here.

Enjoy!

Combat Gallery Sunday: The Martial Art of Paul Sample

Much as once a week I like to take time off to cover warships (Wednesdays), on Sundays (when I feel like working), I like to cover military art and the painters, illustrators, sculptors, photographers and the like that produced them.

Combat Gallery Sunday: The Martial Art of Paul Sample

Paul Sample was born in Lousiville, Kentucky, 14 September 1896. Enrolling at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire in 1916 to pursue art, he put his education on hold when the U.S. rushed into the Great War in 1917, serving in the Naval Reserve.

Once the war was over, he returned to Dartmouth, graduating in the class of 1920. After a stint with tuberculosis, Sample studied drawing and painting from artist Jonas Lie, then, using his Veteran’s Bonus, studied in New York and at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. By 1926 at age 30, he was on the faculty at USC.

By 1934, he was one of the most influential artists in the country, adept at Social Realism and American Regionalist painting styles with his work shown at the Met and appearing in Fortune, Esquire, Country Gentlemen, and American Artist.

Maple Sugaring, Paul Sample

In 1936, his old alma mater at Dartmouth made him an artist in residence– becoming their longest serving, making it through 1962.

In 1941 he was elected academician by the National Academy of Design.

When WWII came, the former Navy man served as a Life Correspondent attached to the sea service, embarking on the carrier USS Ranger (CV-4) and heavy cruiser USS Portland (CA-33) among others, covering the war in both the Atlantic and Pacific in watercolors that capture the feeling of the moment.

Fighter disaster on USS Ranger (CV 4), which depicts the crash of an F4F-4 “Wildcat” fighter on board USS Ranger on 25 August 1942 after an off center landing attempt. Artwork by Paul Sample. Photo # NH 89617-KN (Color)

Fighter disaster on USS Ranger (CV 4), which depicts the crash of an F4F-4 “Wildcat” fighter on board USS Ranger on 25 August 1942 after an off-center landing attempt. Artwork by Paul Sample. Photo # NH 89617-KN (Color). It should be noted that Ranger sailed to support the Torch Landings just days after this incident, where her aircraft were influencial in silencing the French.

Ship's band, USS RANGER (CV-4) Caption: Artist: Paul Sample, 1942. Description: Time-Life Collection Courtesy of Chief of Military History Catalog #: NH 89619-KN

Ship’s band, USS RANGER (CV-4) Caption: Artist: Paul Sample, 1942. Description: Time-Life Collection Courtesy of Chief of Military History Catalog #: NH 89619-KN

Seaplane base, Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia Caption: Artist: Paul Sample, 1942. Description: Time-Life Collection Courtesy of Chief of Military History Catalog #: NH 89615-KN

Seaplane base, Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia Caption: Artist: Paul Sample, 1942. Description: Time-Life Collection Courtesy of Chief of Military History Catalog #: NH 89615-KN

Field carrier landings, Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia Caption: Artist: Paul Sample, 1942. Description: Time-Life Collection Courtesy of Chief of Military History Catalog #: NH 89616-KN

Field carrier landings, Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia Caption: Artist: Paul Sample, 1942. Description: Time-Life Collection Courtesy of Chief of Military History Catalog #: NH 89616-KN. Note the distinctive gear of the F4F Wildcat.

"Chinese overside, submarine base, Pearl Harbor"Caption: Artist: Paul Sample, 1943. 28"x 44". Description: Time-Life Collection Courtesy of Chief of Military History Catalog #: NH 89621-KN

“Chinese overside, submarine base, Pearl Harbor” Caption: Artist: Paul Sample, 1943. 28″x 44″. Description: Time-Life Collection Courtesy of Chief of Military History Catalog #: NH 89621-KN

Crew's quarters aboard a Pacific submarine Caption: Artist: Paul Sample, 1943. 17"x 24". Description: Time-Life Collection Courtesy of Chief of Military History Catalog #: NH 89620-KN

Crew’s quarters aboard a Pacific submarine Caption: Artist: Paul Sample, 1943. 17″x 24″. Description: Time-Life Collection Courtesy of Chief of Military History Catalog #: NH 89620-KN. Note the crew sleeping on the torpedos. The foot front and to the left is great as is the “Shipwreck” GI Joe character.

Skipper on the bridge, Pacific submarine Caption: Artist: Paul Sample, 1943. 24"x 30". Description: Time-Life Collection Courtesy of Chief of Military History Catalog #: NH 89622-KN

Skipper on the bridge, Pacific submarine Caption: Artist: Paul Sample, 1943. 24″x 30″. Description: Time-Life Collection Courtesy of Chief of Military History Catalog #: NH 89622-KN

Red beach, Leyte, Pacific Caption: Artist: Paul Sample, 1944. 14"x 38". Description: Time-Life Collection Courtesy of Chief of Military History Catalog #: NH 89623-KN

Red beach, Leyte, Pacific Caption: Artist: Paul Sample, 1944. 14″x 38″. Description: Time-Life Collection Courtesy of Chief of Military History Catalog #: NH 89623-KN

After the war, Sample did mural work, painted the Saturn rocket launch for NASA in 1964.

He died in 1974, after working in his Vermont studio that morning, age 80.

Works by Sample may be found at the Arkell Museum, Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy, Art Institute of Chicago, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Currier Gallery of Art, Hood Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Springfield Museum of Art in Utah, and the D’Amour Museum of Fine Art.

Thank you for your work, sir.

The background may change, but the stare remains the same

Found this haunting image of a Marine with the “2,000-yard stare” currently in storage at the National Museum of the Marine Corps awaiting display. (If anyone recognizes the artist, please let me know).

in-storage-at-national-museum-of-the-marine-corps

It is, of course, an homage to war artist Thomas Lea’s The 2000 Yard Stare of WWII fame:

"2000 YARD STARE" "Down from Bloody Ridge Too Late. He's Finished - Washed Up - Gone" "As we passed sick bay, still in the shell hole, it was crowded with wounded, and somehow hushed in the evening light. I noticed a tattered Marine standing quietly by a corpsman, staring stiffly at nothing. His mind had crumbled in battle, his jaw hung, and his eyes were like two black empty holes in his head. Down by the beach again, we walked silently as we passed the long line of dead Marines under the tarpaulins. He left the States 31 months ago. He was wounded in his first campaign. He has had tropical diseases. He half-sleeps at night and gouges Japs out of holes all day. Two-thirds of his company has been killed or wounded. He will return to attack this morning. How much can a human being endure?” Life Collection of Art WWII, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

“2000 YARD STARE”
“Down from Bloody Ridge Too Late. He’s Finished – Washed Up – Gone”
“As we passed sick bay, still in the shell hole, it was crowded with wounded, and somehow hushed in the evening light. I noticed a tattered Marine standing quietly by a corpsman, staring stiffly at nothing. His mind had crumbled in battle, his jaw hung, and his eyes were like two black empty holes in his head. Down by the beach again, we walked silently as we passed the long line of dead Marines under the tarpaulins. He left the States 31 months ago. He was wounded in his first campaign. He has had tropical diseases. He half-sleeps at night and gouges Japs out of holes all day. Two-thirds of his company has been killed or wounded. He will return to attack this morning. How much can a human being endure?” Life Collection of Art WWII, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

 

Combat Gallery Sunday: The Martial Art of Franz Schmidt

Much as once a week I like to take time off to cover warships (Wednesdays), on Sundays (when I feel like working), I like to cover military art and the painters, illustrators, sculptors, photographers and the like that produced them.

Combat Gallery Sunday: The Martial Art of Franz Schmidt

Franz Schmidt was a German postcard artist probably best known for his series of city cards published from 1910-14 showing buildings and sites around his hometown of Nuremberg.

Nassauer Haus Nurnberg Germany, Franz Schmidt 1910.

Nassauer Haus Nurnberg Germany, Franz Schmidt 1910.

However, when the Great War popped off, Schmidt was commissioned to produce a series of “fighting man” style postcards for Trautmann & von Seggern of Hamburg (T&S) showing German troops in action in 1914-15.

While I cannot find much information on Schmidt’s background or how he obtained the study for the martial series (i.e. whether he used models, traveled to the front, relied on newspaper imagery) they are very well done and mostly correct, even if they are clearly propaganda. Each shows a good example of early war uniforms including piping, brass buttons and covered Pickelhaube and Czapka.

The below come from The Rare Book Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Wilson Library has a massive collection of WWI postcards (nearly 10,000!)

Battle of St. Quentin. German soldiers on horseback, carrying swords, are riding toward English and Scottish infantry.

Battle of St. Quentin. German soldiers on horseback, carrying swords, are riding toward English and Scottish infantry.

Color image on a postcard showing a German infantryman holding his rifle, standing in the woods.

Color image on a postcard showing a German infantryman holding his rifle, standing in the woods.

Color image on a postcard showing a German Marine on a beach, carrying a rifle over his shoulder.

Color image on a postcard showing a German Marine on a beach, carrying a rifle over his shoulder.

German 77mm field artillery defend from French cavalry in battle near the Aisne

German 77mm field artillery defend from French cavalry in battle near the Aisne

German gunner at a gun park. He is standing in front of cannons, holding an artillery short sword

German gunner at a gun park. He is standing in front of cannons, holding an artillery short sword

German troops attacking Indian troops at Ypres, in West Flanders. Througout the war the Germans made a big deal of the fact that both France and Britain utilized colonial troops who the German media characterized as savages-- while they played up their own native Askari troops in Africa.

German troops attacking Indian troops at Ypres, in West Flanders. Throughout the war the Germans made a big deal of the fact that both France and Britain utilized colonial troops who the German media often characterized as savages– while they played up their own native Askari troops in Africa.

German soldiers fighting French soldiers at Neufchâteau

German soldiers fighting French soldiers at Neufchâteau

Hussar standing with his horse in a city that has been bombed. In his hand is a lit cigar

Hussar standing with his horse in a city that has been bombed. In his hand is a lit cigar.

Landstrum soldier at a railway station. There is snow on the ground, and a train sits on a track in the background.

Landstrum soldier at a railway station. There is snow on the ground, and a train sits on a track in the background.

Postcard showing a member of the German uhlan cavalry on horseback with lance.

Postcard showing a member of the German uhlan cavalry on horseback with lance.

Schmidt’s cards from time to time pop up online on eBay and others, typically at low ($5-$10) prices.

Thank you for your work, sir.

Combat Gallery Sunday: The Martial Art of Don Troiani

Much as once a week I like to take time off to cover warships (Wednesdays), on Sundays (when I feel like working), I like to cover military art and the painters, illustrators, sculptors, photographers and the like that produced them.

Combat Gallery Sunday: The Martial Art of Don Troiani

If you like military art at all, Don Troiani needs no introduction.

Here is a painting he has been working on for the Saratoga National Park that he has chronicled on his social media page from pencil to finished work.

The scene depicts the attack of the 62nd Regiment of Foot on the Connecticut Militia and 3rd New Hampshire Regiment on a wooded slope during the Battle of Freeman’s Farm. Major Harnage of the 62nd is wounded in the left foreground.

Thank you for your work, sir.

Combat Gallery Sunday: The Martial Art of Alex Schomburg

Much as once a week I like to take time off to cover warships (Wednesdays), on Sundays (when I feel like working), I like to cover military art and the painters, illustrators, sculptors, photographers and the like that produced them.

Combat Gallery Sunday: The Martial Art of Alex Schomburg

Born Alejandro Schomburg y Rosa in 1905 in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico– then just seven years removed from the Spanish Empire– the young man who would go on to be called the “Norman Rockwell of Comic books” moved to New York City in the early 1920s. After learning his trade, that of a commercial artist, while working with his three older brothers, he took on standalone work making lantern screen drawings, art, and illustrations for NYCs myriad of comics and pulps including Thrilling Wonder Stories and Flying Aces.

With war in Europe in 1939, sci-fi tech guru Hugo Gernsback, something of the Arthur C. Clarke of his day, enlisted the budding Schomburg for a series of covers of his tech mag Radio Craft and Popular Electronics covering emerging military electronics.

radio-craft-popular-electronics-incorporating-short-wave-bda60690-07cf-4b92-b0a5-7e742370bc43 yrc2_002 alex-schomburg-radio-craft-fighter-plane fielxcqf_280916141353lola e59b1a42-ffd9-4ab7-b868-8ec3cf5bef1a_570

He also worked with Liberty puzzles to make a series of combat tableaus.

liberty-puzzles-by-alex-schomburg liberty-puzzles-by-alex-schomburg-2 liberty-puzzles-by-alex-schomburg-3 liberty-puzzles-by-alex-schomburg-4

Schomburg also illustrated a number of war pulps.

alex-schomburg-machine-gun-in-hand-ensign-casey-dangled-less-than-a-hundred-feet-above-the-stern-of-the-u-boat-pby alex-schomburg-air-war-1942

Then, with war firmly gripping U.S., Schomberg took some more “dynamic” work for Timely Comics which largely consisted of American heros slam dunking dirty “japs” and Nazis with a little assistance from their super powers. You see, in that age, there was no need for super villains, and Berlin and Tokyo produced them in real life.

This included Capt.America long before he became a Marvel icon, as well Sub-Mariner, Ka-Zar the Great, The Angel, Black Terror, the Fighting Yank, the Green Hornet and the Human Torch– in just a decade producing something like 600 comic covers alone.

While no doubt cracking reading for its day, they come off rather like propaganda with a skosh of racism when looked at some 70 years later.

3917 humantorch23 exciting35 709311 536_o 1120_o 537_o ca28 suspense-comics-3-1944-600x830

While not an official “war artist” you better believe that most teenage Coasties, Bluejackets, Devil Dogs and Joes had a copy of one of his comics in his sea bag or ruck at one time or another during WWII. The things they carried, indeed.

As Paul Tobin noted:

There’s so much to look at in a Schomburg cover… a compendium of vignettes all worked into one overall scene by The Man Who Made Perspective His Bitch. Seriously… each cover is about the wonkiest perspective possible, often with one character’s upper body in the foreground, and then their lower body in the far distant background, and yet it all works… it all comes together to form a cohesive whole. And that’s why he’s number one. Because he cheated. He was so good he didn’t need to play by the rules.

Eschewing comics, he moved into more sci-fi cover novel cover art which kept him busy the rest of his life and a Hugo award nomination.

fantastic-story-1955-winter-600x807 flying-saucer-landing-fantastic-universe-magazine-cover-july-1954-600x794 41828355-trouble_on_titan-600x876 fantastic-story-september-1953-600x808

He died in Beaverton, Oregon on April 7, 1998 and there are extensive galleries of his work online at Paul Tobin’s page (who lists him as the No. 1 cover artist in the U.S.) Pulp Covers and Alex Schomberg.com.

Thank you for your work, sir.

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