Rare Lithograph : “The Charge of the First Maryland Regiment At the Death of Ashby ”


Rare Lithograph Entitled: “The Charge of the First Maryland Regiment At the Death of Ashby ” - This fine and rarely encountered lithograph was printed by A. Hoen & Co., Baltimore in 1867. Depicted in the print is the beginning of the charge of the First Maryland against the Pennsylvania Bucktail Rifles near Harrisonburg on June 6, 1862. The text below describes the incident, in part using Major General Ewell’s facsimile hand written general order, “In commemoration of the gallant conduct of the First Maryland (Confederate) regiment, on the 6th of June, when, led by Col. Bradley T. Johnson, they drove back with loss the Pennsylvania Bucktail rifles in the engagement near Harrisonburg, Rockingham Co., Va., authority is given to have one of the captured Bucktails, the insignia of the Federal regiment, appended to the color staff of the First Maryland regiment.” This is followed by Ewell’s text report of the battle. The print was originally issued to raise funds for a monument in Baltimore to the Maryland Line.

Note that the original art work for this lithograph was completed by William Ludwell Sheppard – his signature is printed in the right bottom corner of the print, above the Baltimore printer’s name. Shepard was a prolific illustrator, painter, sculptor, and watercolorist, who studied in New York and Paris. During the Civil War he was a second-lieutenant of the Richmond Howitzers and worked with the Topographical Engineering Department of the Army of Northern Virginia. He married Sallie McCaw on December 15, 1864 in Richmond. Early in his career he was known for designing tobacco labels, but achieved more notice for his drawings and paintings of Confederate soldiers. He continued to portray as his primary subject post-war life in Virginia. His work was published in Harper’s Weekly, Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, and included in several books, including Henry Watterson’s Oddities in Southern Life and Character. After the war he studied sculpting and at least three monuments by him may be found in Richmond today, including one paying tribute to the Richmond Howitzers at Park Avenue and Harrison Street.

The lithograph is in overall very good condition, with some slight staining; it is housed in its original frame and under the original glass.

Measurements: Frame size – Width: 29.5” Height: 24.5”

Sight size – Width: 25.25”  Height: 19.75”

Turner Ashby, Jr. (October 23, 1828 – June 6, 1862) was a Confederate cavalry commander in the American Civil War. He achieved prominence as Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson‘s cavalry commander, with the rank of colonel, in the Shenandoah Valley before he was killed in the Battle of Good’s Farm. Although he is sometimes referred to as a general and his name often appears in lists of Confederate generals, his appointment as brigadier general was never confirmed by the Confederate Senate. He died two weeks after his appointment and the Confederate Senate did not act to confirm the appointment during that time.

Ashby’s vigorous reconnaissance and screening were factors in the success of Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign in the Shenandoah Valley in 1862. However, Ashby failed Jackson in some instances. At the First Battle of Kernstown, Jackson attacked a retreating Union column that Ashby had estimated to be four regiments of infantry, about the size of Jackson’s force. It turned out to be an entire division of 9,000 men, and Jackson was forced to retreat. At the First Battle of Winchester, as Union forces under Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks were retreating, Ashby failed to cut off their retreat because his troopers were plundering captured wagons.

As Jackson’s army withdrew from the pressure of Maj. Gen. John C. Frémont‘s superior forces, moving from Harrisonburg toward Port Republic, Ashby commanded the rear guard. On June 6, 1862, near Harrisonburg, the 1st New Jersey Cavalry attacked Ashby’s position at Good’s Farm. Although Ashby defeated the cavalry attack, the following infantry engagement resulted in his horse being shot, so Ashby charged ahead on foot. After only a few steps, he was shot through the heart, killing him instantly. (The origin of the fatal shot remains unclear. Soldiers of the 13th Pennsylvania Reserve Infantry, the “Bucktails”, claimed credit, but some accounts blame it on friendly fire.) His last words were “Charge, men! For God’s sake. Charge!” waving his sword, when a bullet pierced him in the breast and he fell dead.”