Civil War Era

 “The Campaign in Virginia—‘On to Richmond!’”
  Source:  Harper’s Weekly
  Date:   June 18, 1864, pp. 392-393

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
Ten weeks after “April Fool’s Day,” Nast echoed the notoriously unrealized Tribune slogan of June 1861 in a grim double-page illustration, “The Campaign in Virginia—‘On to Richmond!’” for the postdated Harper’s Weekly issue of June 18, 1864 (published June 8).  It appeared near the end of Union General Ulysses S. Grant’s Overland Campaign (May 4-June 12) against Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Virginia.  Although the illustration shows the Union advancing, in reality the Confederates halted their momentum at the Battle of Cold Harbor (May 31-June 3).  A disastrous Union assault on the last day claimed half of the Union’s 13,000 total casualties for the battle.  Confederate casualties numbered only 2500, and the battle was Lee’s last major victory.  Grant later wrote, “I have always regretted that the last assault at Cold Harbor was ever made.”  In this illustration, Grant is on horseback in the left background, while General William “Baldy” Smith charges forward with his sword drawn in the center foreground.

On the night of June 12, 1864, Grant began a new campaign to reach Richmond through Petersburg, 25 miles south of the Confederate capital.  It took nearly ten months before the Union eventually forced the evacuation of the two cities on April 2, 1865.  A week later, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, Virginia, bringing an end to the Civil War.



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