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Back to Water Color Sketchbook by Private Henry Berckhoff

Sketches About Camp Life

Henry Berckhoff used his experiences as a private in the Eighth New York Volunteer Infantry to create these paintings. Unlike the drawings in part one, which convey the great strength of the North's military effort during the Civil War, the images in this section are of a more personal and solitary nature. Here soldiers camp out in a thunderstorm, a lone man patrols the bank of the Potomac River, and another stands in the snow guarding a bridge. We see soldiers washing their clothes (and themselves), polishing their boots, cooking meals, and splitting firewood. There is a poignancy in the ordinary details of these wartime scenes: A mirror is hung from a tree so a soldier can carefully comb his hair; pots and pans are arranged for cooking; a tree stump is used as a chair.

Bivouac on the Potomac River Near Alexandria, Va., August 1861.
GLC 6106 p.2.
The Gilder Lehrman Collection, on deposit at the Piermont Morgan Library.

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Camp at Roche's Mill, August 1861.
GLC 6106 p.4.
The Gilder Lehrman Collection, on deposit at the Piermont Morgan Library.

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Building Fort Blenker, September 1861.
GLC 6106 p.5.
The Gilder Lehrman Collection, on deposit at the Piermont Morgan Library.

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Morning Scene at Camp Hunter's Chappel, October 1861.
GLC 6106 p.6.
The Gilder Lehrman Collection, on deposit at the Piermont Morgan Library.

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Crossing the Shenandoah River on Pontoons at Berryville,
17 April 1862.
GLC 6106 p.9.
The Gilder Lehrman Collection, on deposit at the Piermont Morgan Library.

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Crossing the Upper Potomac near Franklin, 13 May 1862.
GLC 6106 p.10.
The Gilder Lehrman Collection, on deposit at the Piermont Morgan Library.

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Passing the Hanging Rocks Gap near Romney, 3 May 1862.
GLC 6106 p.11.
The Gilder Lehrman Collection, on deposit at the Piermont Morgan Library.

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Bridge building at New Market, 5 June 1862.
GLC 6106 p.12.
The Gilder Lehrman Collection, on deposit at the Piermont Morgan Library.

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Railroad Guard near Brooks Station, February 1863.
GLC 6106 p.17.
The Gilder Lehrman Collection, on deposit at the Piermont Morgan Library.

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Bivouac at Dumfries, 13 December 1862.
GLC 6106 p.18.
The Gilder Lehrman Collection, on deposit at the Piermont Morgan Library.

 

Homeward Bound, Hop's Landing on the Aquia Creek, 3 May 1863.
GLC 6106 p.19.
The Gilder Lehrman Collection, on deposit at the Piermont Morgan Library.

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This site was updated on 02-Sep-14.

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