A.E. Mathews. "Shiloh Spring."
Cincinnati: Ehrgott, Forbriger & Co., ca. 1862. 6 1/8 x 8 5/8. Two tone lithograph. Very good condition.
A rare Civil War scene of Shiloh Spring, drawn sometime around the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862. The image shows four mounted Union soldiers and an infantryman filling his canteen at the spring. This print is a lithograph after a sketch by A.E. Mathews, a soldier in the 31st. Ohio Volunteer Regiment. Mathews, who went on to considerable fame as a lithographic artist of western scenes, worked as an artist before the war and he continued this work once he had joined the Union army. Mathews drew not only this image, but also one of the Shiloh Church (after which the battle was named) and one of the battle itself. These prints may have been commissioned by Mathews from Ehrgott, Forbriger & Co., with hopes of selling them to the public back home as frameable prints or possibly in a portfolio. Ehrgott, Forbriger & Co. are particularly known for the Civil War portraits, but they also issued a portfolio of views in West Virginia after another Ohio soldier, J. Nep Roesler that may have inspired Mathews to try his luck with a series of Civil War scenes. Whatever its nature, this project appears to have been unsuccessful as the prints are very rare.
The Battle of Shiloh was one of the fiercest of the Civil War and Ohio volunteer troops were intimately involved; about one-fifth of the Union army at the battle was comprised of troops from the buckeye state. This image shows scattered tree trunks, which may have been the result of the army gathering fire wood, but more likely was the result of the cannon and rifle fire during the battle.