Monday, May 11, 2015

Hancock's Charge

Image Credit: Library of Congress
Another year is about gone since the 2014 Memorial Day post on Corps Commander Winfield Scott Hancock. Since then I've looked at some of the many Civil War era images available online in the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Above, this Currier and Ives print visually reinforces the main point of that earlier post (Hancock not Grant is the "Corps Commander" of Melville's poem in Battle-Pieces), illustrating Hancock's popular credit for leading what Melville in On the Photograph of a Corps Commander calls "Spottsylvania's charge to victory."  
Ay, man is manly. Here you see
The warrior-carriage of the head,
And brave dilation of the frame;
And lighting all, the soul that led
Spottsylvania's charge to victory
Which justifies his fame.
--On the Photograph of a Corps Commander, first stanza
The full caption of the Currier and Ives print reads:


At the Battle near Spottsylvania Court House Va., May 12th 1864. 

At midnight Gen’l Hancock changed his position on the extreme right to the left; and at daylight attacked with his accustomed impetuosity, forcing the first, and then the second line of the Rebel works, capturing the whole of Johnson’s Division and part of Early’s, together with Maj. Gen’l E. Johnson, Gen’l. Geo. H. Stewart, and prisoners by the thousands.

The Currier & Ives "Circular for Trade Only" reproduced at The Philadelphia Print Shop lists "Hancock's Charge at Spottsylvania" and "Gen. Hancock on Horseback" among new and current PRINTS FOR THE CAMPAIGN, available wholesale at $6 per 100.

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