Artillery: Nine and Thirteen Inch Guns, Siege of Petersburg, 1864, 1893
Courtesy of West Point Museum Art Collection
Alternate title: Mortar Battery Firing
Oil on canvas, 24 x 20 inches
ll: “W. T. Trego”
West Point Museum Art Collection, United
States Military Academy, West
Point, New York, accession #15,135
This was one of seven works commissioned by publisher George
Barrie as illustrations for his monumental work The Army and Navy of the United States,
published in Philadelphia, 1889–95. It
was reproduced in section 6 as a 5-by-6-inch black-and-white photogravure.
shows each of the four mortars at a different step in the routine of firing.
The men in the foreground are positioning a nine-inch mortar, while those
behind them are loading a much larger thirteen-inch gun. The third crew farther
back is apparently getting ready to fire, and in the far background, the last
mortar is actually being fired, the trajectory of the shell traceable by a
trail of smoke.
The early provenance after its original owner,
George Barrie, is unknown. By 1959 the painting was part of the celebrated
collection of military paintings assembled by Alexander McCook Craighead. Craighead bequeathed the painting to West Point Museum
Dayton, Ohio, October and November 1959:
as “A Mortar Battery Firing,” it was included in the exhibit of the Alexander
McCook Craighead collection of military paintings at the Dayton Art Institute
“A Mortar Battery Firing,” it appeared on the cover of Civil War Times Illustrated
14, no. 3 (June 1975). As “Mortar Battery,” it was used to
illustrate an article by Pierce Rice, “The Painters of the Civil War,” Art and Antiques
1980), p. 112. As “Mortar Battery
Firing,” in Helen Hartman Gemmill, “William B. T. Trego, the Artist with the Paralyzed
(November1983), p. 9.
Dayton Art Institute Bulletin
18, no. 2 (October–November 1959)
The painting is in good condition