Artwork from the Battlefield at History Meets the Arts

The Gettysburg Heritage Center is presenting three talks about artwork that was created around the Gettysburg battle on Saturday at History Meets the Arts 2022.

Much of the artwork of Gettysburg is artwork about the battle, created by people living in the 20th and 21st centuries to interpret or describe what happened here. In the terms used by a historian, they are secondary sources. In general, the voices of the veterans have been silent.

History in Granite and Bronze1

Yet, we are surrounded by a rich catalogue of primary sources; the regimental monuments that cover the field were created by the veterans. Most of the leading sculptors of the time worked at Gettysburg; a commission to do a Gettysburg sculpture was valued work. The combination of veterans who had something on their mind and the top sculptors of the day resulted in some outstanding works of art.

Writers David Loose and Leon Reed will discuss this unique case of history meeting the arts.

1:00 p.m.: Dave Loose: The Development of Art at Gettysburg

Dave Loose, author, and collector of Gettysburg memorabilia will present a program describing how the battle of Gettysburg, the battlefield of Gettysburg, and the stories about the battle were integrated into artforms throughout the first 25 years after the battle.

The program will relate how the arts of the time were used to promote the battlefield and attract visitors to Gettysburg “to see where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them,”

This program is designed to be an interactive conversation around period artworks and items from the Dave Loose collection; items will be available to be studied, viewed, and handled.

David will discuss artforms including Photography, Illustration, Painting, Literature, & Sculpture.

He will discuss several period artists, including:

            Photographers: Alexander Gardner, Mathew Brady, William Tipton, Levi Mumper

            Painters: James Walker, Peter Rothermel, Paul Philippoteaux

            Writers: Theodore Ditterline, Michael Jacobs, John Bachelder

We will also preview Dave’s new book When Veterans Marked the Field: The First 25 Monuments at Gettysburg.

2:00 p.m.: Leon Reed: The Development of Gettysburg’s Monumental Landscapes

Leon Reed will build on Dave’s presentation and discuss the development of the monumental landscape at Gettysburg through the beginning of the 21st century. He will describe the distinct phases of monument building, the themes addressed by the monuments of various time periods, and the sculptors who worked here. Regimental monuments he will address tell stories of regret (149th PA), loss (86th NY), reconciliation (66th NY), lost companions (11th PA, 54th NY), nationalistic pride (74th PA), and other themes. He will also discuss the state monuments and the bronze statues of generals that came along later.

Copies of his books, Stories the Monuments Tell: A Photo Tour of Gettysburg, Told by its Monuments, and The Artworks of Gettysburg Battlefield will be available.

3:00 p.m.: Leon Reed, Patriotic Envelopes Illustrate the Civil War. Patriotic envelopes were the Internet meme of the day; colorful inexpensive ways to show your support for the cause, celebrate the latest triumphs, mourn the fallen martyrs, and generally trash talk the other side. Leon will discuss some of the topics addressed by these envelopes, including the election of 1860, fallen martyrs such as Elmer Ellsworth, Fort Sumter, heroes of the moment, Benjamin Butler and contraband, and many others.

Leon will also display in public for the first time a contemporary collection of correspondences, photos, and patriotic covers that were assembled in 1860-1862 by an official of the New York Militia Association. The collection has been passed down through the family and has never been seen in public.

Copies of his book based on this collection, No Greater Calamity for the Country: North-South Conflict, Secession, and the Onset of Civil War, will be available.

The Gettysburg Heritage Center is operated by the non-profit, The Gettysburg Nature Alliance, and is located at 297 Steinwehr Ave., Gettysburg, PA. For additional information, visit or call 717-334-6245.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x