Sherman at Savannah, Ga.

Sherman at Savannah, Ga.

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This print depicts General William Tecumseh Sherman at the end of his Savannah Campaign. Both Sherman Sherman and Grant believed that the Union Army would only be victorious if it could break the Confederacy both economically and psychologically. Sherman ordered the Army of the Tennessee and the Army of Georgia on a scorched earth campaign through Georgia during the winter of 1864, destroying Southern railroads, telegraph lines, and farms. When Sherman reached Savannah, the Confederate forces guarding it fled, and the mayor surrendered the city to the Union general on December 21, 1864. In this print, Sherman rides on his horse on the outside of the city. He is followed by his officers, many of whom are identified below the illustration. Various buildings of Savannah are visible in the background and to the right, a company of infantrymen stand at attention. At the lower right, the lithographer has included the text from a telegram from Sherman to Lincoln, asking the President to accept the city of Savannah – along with its guns, ammunition, and cotton – as a Christmas present.
A caption at the bottom of the print recognizes that the image was based on an “Original Picture by Br. Lt. Col. Otto Botticher.” Botticher was a Prussian immigrant artist who served as an officer in the Civil War. From 1853-1854 he partnered with Thomas Benecke as a portrait painter and lithographer. Prior to the Civil War, he produced several paintings and lithographic plates of military subjects with the aid of daguerreotypes and ambrotypes, early forms of photography. His work displays precision and excellent attention to detail, indicating that he probably had formal draftsmanship training. He enlisted along with his sons, in New York City on July 22, 1861, the day after the First Battle of Manassas, in the 68th New York Volunteers Infantry (Cameron Rifles) and by August he was given the title of Captain. He was captured by Confederates March 29, 1862 near Manassas, Virginia and was in at least 2 prisoner of war camps – Libby Prison in Richmond and Salisbury Prison in North Carolina– before being paroled during a prisoner exchange. He participated in the battle at Chancellorsville, and was wounded at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863. He chronicled his activity during the early years of the war and his time in Confederate prison camps in a series of sketches. Although Botticher’s regiment was stationed in Savannah in November of 1865, it was never there at the same time as Sherman, meaning that the artist instead relied on photographs and his imagination when designing the scene.
John Chester Buttre (1821-1893) designed this print after the original painting by Botticher. Buttre was an American steel-plate engraver and lithographer who was active in New York City. During the Civil War he sold several million copies of prints of President Lincoln and high-ranking generals.
The work was copyrighted in 1865 and produced by the company of Major & Knapp. Joseph Frederick Knapp joined the lithography firm of Napoleon Sarony and James Major in 1854, two former employees of Nathaniel Currier. After Sarony departed in the mid-1860s to pursue photography, the business was renamed Major & Knapp.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Date made
Sherman, William Tecumseh
Botticher, Otto
Buttre, John Chester
Major & Knapp Engraving, Manufacturing & Lithographic Company
place made
United States: New York, New York City
image: 13 7/8 in x 25 7/8 in; 35.2425 cm x 65.7225 cm
overall: 18 in x 28 in; 45.72 cm x 71.12 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection
Patriotism and Patriotic Symbols
Civil War
Uniforms, Military
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Domestic Life
Domestic Furnishings
American Civil War Prints
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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