"Changing of the Pickets"
Fredricksburg, Virginia, December 6, 1862
by Mort Künstler
Image Size: 17 3/4" x 29 1/2". Overall Size: 23 3/4" x 34 1/2".
Regular Edition: 1150 Signed and Numbered Prints
Current Price: Check our current price list.
They too bore the burden of war. America’s civilians – both North and South – endured hardship and deprivation comparable, in many cases, to the men in uniform. They endured the loss of loved ones - husbands, fathers and sons - who were “gone for a soldier.” They sacrificed time and treasure to support the men at war. And in many cases, the loss of loved ones was permanent. Between 1861 and 1865, the wages of war were often issued in deep and personal suffering on the home front. This was especially true in the South, where the war fought, and it was particularly true in Fredericksburg, Virginia - a handsome, historic city perched alongside Virginia’s Rappahannock River.
As the War Between the States swept over the embattled South, it came to Fredericksburg with a mighty vengeance in December of 1862. Huge and powerful, the North’s Army of the Potomac, commanded by General Ambrose E. Burnside, massed on the northern side of the Rappahannock. On the opposite side lay General Robert E. Lee’s hard-driving, hard-fighting Army of Northern Virginia. Between both armies lay picturesque Fredericksburg. Eventually, one of the bloodiest battles of the war would ravage Fredericksburg, leaving devastation in its wake.
In early December, however - as winter draped the riverside town in its customary cloak of white - Fredericksburg’s residents made do with the ways of war. To avoid drawing Federal artillery fire into the city, General Lee kept a reduced presence in the city: even the handful of troops detailed for picket duty were careful not to provoke enemy fire. Hard times lay ahead for the people of Fredericksburg – not only in the weeks to come, but in the years that followed until the end of the war. Yet, like Southerners everywhere - and many of their Northern counterparts - the citizens of the city valiantly moved forward with life. They endured sacrifice. They persevered. They were Americans.
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