Guerrilla Warfare (Picket Duty in Virginia)
Painted by artist Albert Bierstadt in 1862, Guerrilla Warfare, also known as Picket Duty in Virginia, depicts a common Civil War scene.
According to the Essential Civil War Curriculum: A "picket" or sentinel, served as the eyes and ears of the army. Posted as close to the enemy as possible, the picket was responsible for noting any movements of the enemy and alerting the main line or camp of an enemy attack. An additional duty of the picket was to prevent desertion from his own ranks.
Pickets would form a scattered line far in advance of the main army's encampment, but within supporting distance. A picket guard was made up of a lieutenant, two sergeants, four corporals, and 40 privates from each regiment. Picket duty constituted the most hazardous work of infantrymen in the field. Being the first to feel any major enemy movement, they were also the first liable to be killed, wounded, or captured.
In this painting, Union troops are shown standing, crouching and kneeling, firing, or standing at-the-ready with their rifles over a fence, from a position in the wood, whilst an officer looks on from behind. Their target is a Confederate column of cavalry, which is crossing the field in front of them. One of their horses, its rider lying on the ground, is bolting. A farmhouse and a road are discernible in the background.
Artist: Albert Bierstadt
Original medium: Oil on Panel
Orientation (metal print): Horizontal/Landscape
Orientation (slate print): Square
Image enhanced by Rebel Seed Studio