DIY: Lookout Mountain Painting

By The History Detectives Team
26 July 2010
Category: DIY Investigations

The painting of the Battle of Lookout Mountain was by artist John Gisch. In the course of our investigation we discovered he fought during the battle for Chattanooga. Gisch’s service record shows that on the 25th of November, in the fighting on Missionary Ridge, he was captured by Union forces and was then sent to the prison camp at Rock Island. We learn that he probably got his perspective for the painting from a similar illustration found in The Harper’s Magazine, as he was not a witness to the Battle of Lookout Mountain.

Lookout Mountain Painting

What can this painting tell us about a turning point in the Civil War?

On the bottom of the painting it says “From Thomas Cocke to Mary Robertson.” We found out that Thomas Cocke was a witness to the Battle of Lookout Mountain, and taught Bible classes at Rock Island prison, which is where he probably met John Gisch.

But one mystery we are still trying to solve is: what was Cocke’s relationship to Mary Robertson, our contributor’s relative, and why did he give her the painting?



Do you have any information on Mary Robertson or Thomas Cocke? Was Mary perhaps a Southern sympathizer who would visit the prison to see the Confederate prisoners? Could she have attended Thomas Cocke’s Bible classes? Review the evidence and start sleuthing! Come back here to update us on your progress. Let us know what and where you’re investigating. And report back with any findings - no matter how small. Good luck!


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