Naval officers and crew hoist the American Flag on board one of the nine Union Navy gunboats blockading Mobile, Alabama, possibly U.S.S. SCIOTA, under an early morning sky. Painted by the artist Alfred R. Waud, this is his finished oil painting inspired directly from his sketch that would make the cover illustration of his employer's publication, Harper's Weekly, on Feb. 13, 1864, under the artistic direction of Thomas Nast. Another of the wood, double-ended SCIOTA-class gunboats is off the Southern port-city, flying her ensign as well. The success of the blockades of Mobile, Charleston and Galveston, as well as the capture of New Orleans, proved instrumental to the Union's eventual victory.
Waud has properly shown several officers in observation of the American Ensign being raised and the hostile waters, while part of a gunnery crew stay near their Dahlgren Cannon on deck. Only months after this image was first published would the Union forces attack under Rear Admiral David Farragut and would take Mobile Bay on August 5th, defeating fortifications and the Confederate Ironclad TENNESSEE, ushering the war's final campaigns.
This specific work is a glorious original period piece of Americana and patriotic folk art. Waud finished this oil painting in 1865 at the war's outcome, just one of a handful of known paintings from his more than 2,300 Civil War sketches. It is set in an American period gilt and ebonized frame of great quality and character, as Waud himself proved to be to the soldiers.
Illustrated: Harper’s Weekly, Front Cover, Vol. VIII, No. 372.
Provenance: Private American Collection since 1900.
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