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"Artists Who Lost Their Lives on the Battlefield" Topic


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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP12 May 2020 3:48 p.m. PST

"During the American Civil War, Irish-born James R. O'Neill, who at one time or another made his living as an actor, comedian, or landscape artist, worked for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper as an artist-correspondent in the war's Western theater—especially Oklahoma, southern Missouri, Arkansas, and Kansas—sending reports, cartoons, and the occasional sketch to the home office in New York City. Even before entering the fray, O'Neill had been painting scenes of the war copied from engravings he had seen in Leslie's for a panopticon (a large panorama) that was first exhibited in October 1861. The only sketch that bore his signature—of a Union cavalry charge at Honey Springs, Indian Territory (Oklahoma), on July 17, 1863—was published in Leslie's some five weeks after the battle.

In early October 1863, O'Neill found himself near Fort Baxter, a small Union post in Kansas, as he traveled with a Union detachment accompanying Major General James G. Blunt. On October 6, a band of Quantrill's Raiders under the command of William T. "Bloody Bill" Anderson attacked the fort, but its defenders repulsed the Confederate guerrillas. Moving out into the prairie, Anderson's forces, disguised as Federal soldiers, found Blunt's detachment and virtually wiped it out, summarily executing and scalping those they captured, including O'Neill. He is the only artist known to have been killed during the Civil War…"
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