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Posted By: Dave Gaddy on: 09/07/2011 07:54:50 EDT
Subject: Fantasy Art

Message Detail:
In the "good news/bad news" department -- contemporary artists have begun to use the signal services of "our war" as subjects or background for their paintings. Combined with striving for absolute accuracy, the result is mixed, partly due to lack of information (especially on the CS side). Depictions of Union signalmen on Little Round Top and at Fort McAllister are examples of "state of the art/state of the knowledge" prints. The only Confederate example I can think of is British artist Alan Fearnley's "The Vantage Point," depicting Lee and Longstreet sharing the cupola of the Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg with a Signal Sergeant.

The SigSgt leans forward on the rail, evidently looking at or for someone on the ground. In his hands he holds what appears to be a small red flag with oversize white center square with a short "handle" that appears to be more suitable for [later, two-hand] semaphore than Myer-type signaling.

A print of this painting hangs over my desk. I love it. I find it inspiring. Unfortunately, I've never satisfied myself that Lee -- and/or any other CS general officer -- ever visited that "vantage point," or that CS signalists operated a station there. That's why I think of it, for the moment, as "fantasy" art, imagination. If any of you encounter any information to substantiate the photo caption in Miller's "Photographic History" that terms the seminary "headquarters of the Confederate Signal Corps at Gettysburg," I hope you'll let me know, either here or directly.

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