New York: Harry Johnson, 1876. Forty plates. Large folio. Original publisher's cloth, gilt. Front board present, gilt worn away; rear board lacking. Cover somewhat dampsoiled and worn. Light foxing and soiling, heavier to first plate, though mostly confined to margins elsewhere. A few plates with small marginal tears or chips. Good. Item #WRCAM49017
Edwin Forbes was one of the most notable illustrators of the American Civil War. From 1862 on he was a correspondent for HARPER'S WEEKLY, producing illustrations for news of the war. During most of this period he accompanied the Army of the Potomac on its campaigns in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Although Forbes portrays battle scenes, he was much more interested in depicting the everyday life of the private soldier in camp and on the march. Typically his scenes include such topics as "Washing Day," the camp cook, vendors of soldiers' supplies, picket duty, and other incidents of camp life. A number of other illustrations show life on the march, fording streams, the supply train, and the like. All the plates are etchings, evidently executed by Forbes himself from his original drawings (which were mainly pen and ink wash). The forty plates contain fifty-nine scenes (some plates have two or three scenes, and one has five). A table of contents appears on the inside of the front board, where each plate has a more lengthy textual gloss as well. The front board proclaims the publication was sold "to subscribers only." It divides the plates into ten parts, so it would seem the publication was issued over a period of time, although all plates are dated 1876.
A major graphic record of the Civil War, by one of its most notable recorders.