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"Valor in Gray"

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"Valor in Gray"

by Mort Kunstler

This is the second in Kunstler's panoramic Marye's Height Series.
To view the first - "Courage in Blue" - click the title.

Limited Edition Print
Image Size: 14 3/4” x 23”
Overall Size: 20 1/4” x 28”
950 Limited Edition Signed and Numbered
95 Artist Proofs Signed and Numbered

Limited Edition Canvas Giclees
Image Size: 18” x 29”
100 Limited Edition Signed and Numbered
10 Artist Proofs

Current Price: Check our current price list.

They faced the most powerful army in America. Advancing in battle lines up the hill toward them was the mighty Army of the Potomac - more than 115,000 strong - composed of courageous, well-trained combat troops under the command of General Ambrose E. Burnside. For half a year, General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia had been persistently hammered by this great army, led by one Northern commander after another. Back in autumn at Antietam, the men in gray had escaped destruction by this same blue-uniformed host. Now they faced them again on the field of battle at Fredericksburg.

This time, however, they had a formidable advantage. They held an almost impregnable line of defense, which was anchored in a sunken road behind a stone wall on Marye’s Heights. The Northern troops advancing on them now in a mighty mass had to assault uphill over a long and open plain. Defending the Sunken Road were troops from Georgia, North Carolina, and Kershaw’s Brigade of South Carolinians, commanded by Brigadier General Joseph B. Kershaw. Descended from a prominent Southern family, Kershaw had been orphaned as a boy and had worked his way through life with remarkable success as a self-educated lawyer, a local militia officer, a Mexican War veteran, and a Confederate officer distinguished by a rapid rise in rank to brigadier general. Despite the numerical superiority of the men in blue at Fredericksburg, Kershaw held his brigade steady and poured forth a terrible fire from behind the stone wall.

Kershaw demonstrated "great coolness and skill," observed a fellow officer, and helped transform the gigantic Federal assault into one of the North’s worst defeats. While Southern forces in the road and along the ridges behind it would lose a thousand men, the assaulting Northern forces would lose almost eight thousand. Finally, after making one courageous charge after another, the men in blue would give it up. The Battle of Fredericksburg would be heralded as one of Robert E. Lee’s greatest victories - due in great measure to the valiant defense made by these sons of the South. It would long be celebrated in the Southern homeland as a triumph of valor in gray.

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