1872 Peter Rothermal "Battle of Gettysburg" Print
You brought in this rather dramatic and violent image of the Battle of Gettysburg. Can you tell me where you got it?
I actually got it a little over a year ago. I bought at a yard sale down towards Bisbee area, and I just was on my way down there to spend the day and they had a multi-family yard sale and I swung in and I saw this.
What appealed to you about it?
Well, it looked old, first of all. Then the Battle of Gettysburg, I actually went to visit the site between my junior and senior year in high school with my grandparents. And so it was just, when I saw it, it just made me think of that and my grandparents. And when you visit the site now, it's so green and lush and peaceful. It's just such a contrast. It's hard to believe that this actually took place at that site.
Right, and how much did you pay for it?
It's a picture of the Battle of Gettysburg, and it's by a man named Peter F. Rothermel, and he was actually commissioned by the state of Pennsylvania in 1866 to make a painting, and this print is after that painting. That's what it says down at the bottom. Pennsylvania wanted to commemorate the war and the action of their troops in the war, and what this shows is the repulse of Pickett's Charge by the Union troops. And the Union troops are over on this side and the Confederate troops on that side. And it's a huge painting he did. It's 16 feet by 32 feet, and it's in the state museum in Harrisburg. Rothermel studied, he spent about three years, he visited the site like you did a number of times, he talked to people, he read firsthand accounts, and it's known as one of the most accurate pictures of the events at Gettysburg. He wanted to include General Meade, who was a Pennsylvanian. He wasn't actually there, but he included him anyway, and so here's General Meade over here. But one thing he didn't do is that John Geary, who was also an officer there and wasn't right here, but was near this, he was the governor of Pennsylvania at the time, Rothermel didn't include him. So Geary wasn't really happy about that. Rothermel had it engraved by a man named John Sartain from Philadelphia, and John Sartain's name is down there in the bottom right, and that's just above a publisher's name. So this is an original engraving by John Sartain from 1872 that's a reduced version of this wonderful thing. The focus of this print is not on Meade, it's on this man right here. That's a private, it's not an officer, and there was a key made of the print that said it was Private Sill. There is no record of a Private Sill at the battle. He represented the Union soldier, the common man from Pennsylvania who fought in the battle. Gettysburg is very popular, it's one of the best images from the Civil War period. Condition, though, is an issue, and as you can see here, you have a really bad water stain. However, it's such a good print that it still has a significant amount of value. In a retail shop, I think you'd probably put about $1,800 on it.
It'll cost you maybe $400 or $500 to fix it up, you have a print that's over $2,000.
Oh, wow. A good investment for $50.
It is a good investment.
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