Battle of Bull's Run, Va. July 21st 1861 by E.B. and E.C. Kellogg


The First Battle of Bull’s Run (also known as First Manassas) was the first major land battle of the Civil War. On July 21, 1861, the Union army, commanded by General Irvin McDowell engaged the forces of Confederate general, P.G.T. Beauregard, 25 miles southwest of the Capital. Although the Federal army achieved some early victories in the battle, Confederate reinforcements arrived, breaking the right flank of the Union lines. The Northern troops were routed as they tried to retreat. Although the Confederates won the day, they were too disorganized to pursue the fleeing Union army, which limped back to the safety of Washington, D.C. Nearly 900 men from either side had been killed in the battle, and another 2,500 wounded. Lincoln and the members of his administration now realized that the war would be a much longer and costlier affair than they had first believed.

This 1861 print depicts Colonel Michael Corcoran (1827-1863) leading the 69th New York Militia of Irish Volunteers during an assault on Confederate batteries. Corcoran, who was later captured during the battle, spent time in four Confederate prison camps before being paroled for a Confederate officer. Upon his release, he organized and led a new brigade, Corcoran’s Irish Legion, composed mainly of irish immigrants, but was soon after killed by a fall from his horse. In this print, he sits upon a dappled grey horse and points towards the enemy with his sabre, urging on his men. His troops wear red and blue uniforms and carry both an American flag and their distinctive regimental flag, which features a gold harp encircled by a wreath on a green background. Although the Irish militiamen appear to be gaining the upper hand, they were quickly pushed back by a large Confederate force and Corcoran was taken prisoner. The battle was marked by confusion, as the standard blue and grey uniforms had not yet been adopted, and soldiers were uncertain as to who was friend or foe. Contributing to this ambiguity was the similarity of the American flag to the Confederate Stars and Bars, leading to the South’s adoption of the more recognizable battle flag. Although the Union lost this first major confrontation of the war, the print emphasizes a temporary moment of Union success in order to appeal to Northern buyers.

The work was produced by the Hartford, Connecticut lithographic firm of E.B. & E.C. Kellogg. Edmund Burke Kellogg and Elijah Chapman Kellogg were younger brothers of the founder of the Kellogg lithography firm, Daniel Wright Kellogg. After Daniel Wright Kellogg moved west, his two brothers took over the family lithography firm in 1840 and changed the name to E.B. & E.C. Kellogg. They were responsible for the continued success of the family firm and involved in partnerships with Horace Thayer in 1846-47, John Chenevard Comstock in 1848 and William Henry Bulkeley in 1867.

George Whiting worked as the agent and distributor of the Kellogg brothers’ prints in New York from 1848 to 1860. In 1860, the Kelloggs closed their New York office and Whiting took over the firm, selling prints until his death two years later.

Date Made: 1861

Publisher; Distributor: Whiting, GeorgeDepicted (Sitter): Corcoran, MichaelMaker: E.B. and E.C. Kellogg

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Connecticut, Hartford

Subject: Patriotism and Patriotic SymbolsDepicted: HorsesUniforms, MilitaryReferenced: Civil WarDepicted: Battle ScenesFlagsRelated Event: Battle of Bull Run (1st), 1861Civil War


See more items in: Home and Community Life: Domestic Life, American Civil War Prints, Art, Domestic Furnishings


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: DL.60.3314Catalog Number: 60.3314

Object Name: LithographObject Type: Lithograph

Measurements: image: 9 1/2 in x 13 1/2 in; 24.13 cm x 34.29 cm


Record Id: nmah_325541

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