Library of Congress


The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > A Civil War Soldier in the Wild Cat Regiment

[Detail] Photographic Print of Tilton C. Reynolds, undated

Graphic Arts in Wartime

Drawings can be an effective way to convey ideas. Throughout history, soldiers have drawn and sketched their surroundings and their thoughts about their experiences. Examine the drawing below, which is found in the Tilton Reynolds papers but is not dated or signed.

  • What is the drawing's title? What does this suggest about the author?
  • What symbols are included in the sketch?
  • What is happening in the drawing?
  • What was the artist portraying in the sketch? What idea was the artist conveying? How effectively does the drawing convey that idea?
  • What would you hypothesize about the artist who drew this sketch?

Examine the graphic image "Running the Blockade" that appeared on camp stationery Tilton used to write his mother on January 30, 1862.

  • How did the artist ridicule Southern blockade-runners?
  • What was the point of providing stationery imprinted with caricatures of the opposition? Do you think this was an effective way to use art in wartime?

Choose an event in one of the letters listed below and create a drawing depicting those events. Decide first whether you will draw from the Northern, Southern, or a neutral perspective. Based on the chosen perspective, decide what idea you want the drawing to convey. When you have completed your drawing, show it to a classmate. Does your classmate understand the events depicted and the idea you tried to convey?