Confederate War Etchings: Adalbert J. Volck’s Visual Depiction of the Confederate War Effort

By Savannah Rose ’17

During the Civil War, both the Union and the Confederacy utilized art to convey their sentiments regarding different aspects of the war. Most Civil War enthusiasts often recall drawings and cartoons by Thomas Nast when they think about political cartoons of the 19th century. Nast drew numerous cartoons for the Northern newspaper Harpers Weekly, commenting frequently on the Confederate States of America, the Civil War, as well as the political corruption of the era. Nast grew in fame across the Union, but the Confederacy, too, had its share of political cartoons and drawings that criticized the Northern war effort. Though not very popular during the Civil War, Adalbert J. Volck created political cartoons that resonated strongly with the Confederate war effort and the Lost Cause following 1865.

Adalbert Johann Volck was born on April 14, 1828 in Bavaria, Germany. As a young child, his parents decided that their son should focus on the sciences, sending him to the Nuremburg Polytechnic Institute. During his spare time though, Volck spent countless hours with a group of artists where he learned the basics of drawing and etching. He moved on to the University of Munich, where he once again studied science but longed to further his art career which led to him making use of Munich’s art academy to continue to develop his skills. While in Munich, Volck participated in the rising political revolution in early 1848, causing him to flee Bavaria for New York City.

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Adalbert J. Volck drew numerous drawings and cartoons to aid the Confederate war effort. Photograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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A French Biologist Observes the Civil War

By Ryan Nadeau ’16

[This piece is the third in a series on international observation of the American Civil War. Follow these links to read Part 1 and Part 2.]

Charles Girard, towards the end of his life (1891). “Girard Charles Frédéric (1822-1895),” Wikimedia Commons.
Charles Girard, toward the end of his life (1891).
“Girard Charles Frédéric (1822-1895),” Wikimedia Commons.

When considering international observation of the Civil War, common sense suggests that the vast majority of observers would be individuals with distinct military interests in mind. Given the distance between the United States and Europe, as well as the time that observation of the war demanded, Europeans did not simply pack their bags for a day trip to the battlefield to observe the Americans fighting each other for nothing but curiosity and laughs. Military interests and observations were not fully the draw of those who did go, however—on occasion politics were involved.

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