ABOUT THIS PIECE:
Official Print for the 1990 Class of the U.S. Army War College.
The decision of Brigadier General John Buford to make a determined stand against the oncoming Confederates at Gettysburg cannot be underestimated. His decisive commands set the stage for the Battle of Gettysburg, which became a great Union victory and one of the crucial turning points of the war.
We see General Buford, dismounted, holding binoculars and pointing to the Confederate forces on the other side of Willoughby's Run. General Reynolds peers through his binoculars to see the enemy, through the smoke and dust. the action takes place McPherson's ridge at the site of the monuments to General Buford and Reynolds, McPherson's barn, still in existence, is seen in the right background. Two artillery pieces are seen, both 3" Ordinance Rifles, part of Calef's Battery A, 2nd U.S. Artillery. They were positioned at this site and are there to this day. The "worm" fence on the north side of the Chambersburg Pike has been torn down at this point to prepare the ridge for the strong defense that followed. In the background, a shell bursts near one of the horse holders of the dismounted cavalry, as they are being led to a safer area behind the ridge.
General Buford, casual in his field appearance (note the unbuttoned top button of his four button sack coat) has his ever present pipe protruding from his chest pocket. His headquarters flag, carried by the mounted corporal immediately behind him, with the two number ones in block lettering (1st Brigade, 1st Division) was the standard headquarters flag adopted for the Cavalry Corps in early 1863. His horse is held by the dismounted sergeant, immediately below his outstretched arm.
General Reynolds, on his black charger, has a Western style saddle, which still exists in the J. Norward Wirt Collection at the Mollus Museum in Philadelphia, and has a brace of pistols in horse holsters attached to the saddle. His uniform is regulation dress for General officers, with the buttons grouped in threes, and a velvet collar and cuffs. Directly behind him flies his headquarters flag, as illustrated in Headquarters Flags, American Military Equipage Vol. II. A fragment of the actual flag is also in the Mollus Museum in Philadelphia. The cavalry escort for General Reynolds was Company "L" of the 1st Maine Cavalry. Their guidon flies between the two headquarters flags. The other flag in the painting is the artillery guidon of Calef's Battery, with Lt. John Calef, seen mounted to the immediate right of the guidon and directly behind the artillery piece in the left foreground. The officer directly to the left of Reynolds is Capt. Miles Keogh, one of Buford's aides, who would eventually die at the Little Big Horn, under Custer.
The title of the painting is based on the actual words of Brigadier General Buford to Major General Reynolds when asked, "What's the matter, John?"
Image size: 29.25 x 15.75
Limited Edition: 789/1100
Certificate of Authenticity MAY BE included--looking for not found yet
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