American Studies Home Site Map Gallery of Prints Writing Across the Curriculum Currier & Ives Introduction Currier & Ives Opening

The Civil War
Battle at Cold Harbor, Burial at Cold Harbor
"Battle of Coal [sic] Harbor, VA June 1st, 1864."
Rollover image: Burial scene at Cold Harbor, VA, April 1865.

Currier and Ives printed more than 200 lithographs of the Civil War that supported the North but avoided castigating the South, where they had many customers before the war. Although they frequently depicted battles, the scenes tended to soften the carnage of war while conveying the emotional impact. For this reason, newspapers sometimes preferred the more genteel prints of Currier and Ives to the more gruesome photographs of war-time photographers such as Matthew Brady (who sometimes rearranged bodies for better effect).

The aim that Currier and Ives strove hardest to meet, however, was to show civilians at home a romanticized picture of the war their loved ones were living through. (14) Although these were usually more sentimental than nostalgic, the prints were nevertheless one more layer between the public and reality.

The firm also covered events from the War of 1812, the Revolutionary War, the Mexican War of 1846, and, in 1898, the Spanish-American War. Both before and after the Civil War, the South was glorified in prints such as "A Home on the Mississippi" (1871).

A Home on the Mississippi.

American Studies Home Site Map Gallery of Prints Writing Across the Curriculum Currier & Ives Introduction Currier & Ives Opening

Site created by Marcy McDonald, American Studies, UVA. Last modified: July 30, 2005. E-mail: asgrp@virginia.edu

ENDNOTES | SOURCES

University of Virginia, www.virginia.edu