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We normally think of war as a time of action. But Civil War troops also spent a good deal of time in camp, either training or awaiting combat. The uncertainty of the future and their separation from home caused the thoughts of many soldiers to turn to their families and loved ones. This poignant print captures a Union soldier's longing to be safely reunited with his wife and children. The image, by Phelps and Watson, Beekman Street, New York City, romanticizes the neatness and cleanliness of the soldier and of the camp. It was made to sell to the domestic market, perhaps to provide reassurance in the light of the photographs of Matthew Brady and others, which portrayed the more realistic horrors of war.


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"A Soldier's Dream"

printer   Phelps and Watson
date   c. 1863
location   New York
process/materials   paper, watercolor
item type   Art/Painting
accession #   #2000.38

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See Also...

Excerpt from James Childs Hitchcock's Civil War Military Journal

Sketch of the Union Naval Attack on Charleston Harbor

Memorial - 52nd Massachusetts Volunteers

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