Color Sketchbook by Private Henry Berckhoff
Sketchbook by Private Henry Berckhoff
8th New York "German
27 May 1861 to 23 May 1863
What did the Civil War look
like to the soldiers who fought in it? The pictures in this
exhibition were drawn by a young Union soldier, Henry Berckhoff,
during the war. Berckhoff sketched these pictures in graphite
and later added ink and watercolor. He also attached the images
to paper boards and bound them together.
Berckhoff's paintings of large
groups of soldiers marching and fighting are shown in part
one of this exhibit. In part two, there are more personal
and solitary scenes of camp life. His drawings allow us to
see the Civil War through a soldier's eyes.
Berckhoff was a career soldier.
He served in the military almost continually from the time
he fought with the Union army until his retirement in February
1894. Twenty years old when he enlisted in New York City,
Berckhoff became a private in the Eighth New York Volunteer
Infantry, Company B, which was also known as the First German
Rifles. This was an "ethnic regiment" composed of
approximately 1,000 German immigrants. The drawings displayed
here represent the early years of Berckhoff's military career.
Part One: Sketches
About Marching and Fighting
Part Two: Sketches
About Camp Life