The Battle of Nashville
Howard Pyle's 1906 Civil War painting depicts the Second Brigade (under the command of Col. Lucius F. Hubbard - comprising the Fifth and Ninth Minnesota, the Eleventh Missouri, the Eighth Wisconsin, and the Second Iowa Regiments) making the final charge - across a muddy cornfield to the east of Shy Hill - that broke the Confederate lines on December 16, 1864, during The Battle of Nashville.
Description of the painting from a letter written by the artist: "The battle of Nashville was fought upon the 15th and 16th of December 1864. The battle picture represents the second and final day of battle at about four o’clock in the afternoon of the 16th of December 1864. It had been raining during the latter part of the afternoon, but ceased a little before four o’clock. The order was given to charge, and the advance was made across a sodden cornfield, and against a stone wall, behind which lay the Confederate line. In spite of the shot and shell which poured upon them, the Minnesota regiments dashed against the wall and over it, driving the Confederates before them. The Minnesota regiments were nearest the turnpike, and the viewpoint of the picture is taken at or near the juncture of the stone wall and the turnpike. The two regiments, becoming somewhat intermingled in the charge, rushed to breast-work at about the same time, and each planted its flag almost simultaneously upon the captured stonewall. The nearest regiment is the Fifth, and the flag in the middle distance is the flag of the Ninth, which perhaps was planted upon the captured wall a fraction of time before the other."
According to the Minnesota Historical Society: "The Battle of Nashville, December 15-16, 1864, almost destroyed the Confederate Army of Tennessee. Twice as many Union soldiers fought in the battle as Confederate soldiers, leading to a Union victory. The Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth Minnesota Regiments all fought in the deadly charge across a muddy cornfield at Shy's Hill near Nashville, Tennessee. More than 300 Minnesota soldiers were left on the field of battle. These losses appear in Howard Pyle's 1906 painting, with its face-to-face depiction of the dangers of war."
Artist: Howard Pyle
Original medium: Oil on Canvas
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