Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Volck, Adalbert John (1828-1912) Enlistment of Sickles Brigade

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Log in
to see this thumbnail image

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00493.06 Author/Creator: Volck, Adalbert John (1828-1912) Place Written: s.l. Type: Print Date: circa 1880-1890 Pagination: 1 etching : b&w ; 26.1 x 34.8 cm.

A high-resolution version of this object is available for registered users. LOG IN

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00493.06 Author/Creator: Volck, Adalbert John (1828-1912) Place Written: s.l. Type: Print Date: circa 1880-1890 Pagination: 1 etching : b&w ; 26.1 x 34.8 cm.

Summary of Content: Shows the duplicitous agents of Daniel Sickles recruiting the brigade he raised and equipped himself at considerable expense. A throng of bedraggled men congregate around a Federal officer who holds out a medal and wears a "Colonel Sickle's Brigade" sign on his hat. Even the dog listens intently to his rousing words. A sign reads, "The Capital in danger. Sickles Brigade to the Rescue!!!" The brigade was raised during the summer of 1861 and joined the Union Army as the Sickles or Excelsior Brigade in December 1861. Volck depicts the recruitment taking place amongst the rag-tag immigrant residents of the seedy Five Points neighborhood of New York City. Shows Sickles inviting men into the liquor store in the left foreground, trying to manipulate the recruitment of unsuspecting youths. Background shows a mini-riot taking place amongst what appears to be drunken men. Background also shows a tumult around a woman who is giving away free pipes to convince the men to join and a missionary looking heavenward, Bibles in his hands, his arms outstretched. To emphasize the irreverence of the motley crowd below, Volck has an unseen prankster removing the preacher's wig from an upstairs window. This image fits Volck's theme that Northern numerical supremacy depended on using of the dregs of Europe to fight its battles. Size in extent is for the mount. The actual size of the etching is 20.4 x 26.6 cm. Title in pencil on verso.

Background Information: Adalbert John Volck was a dentist, political cartoonist, and a caricaturist who sympathized with the Southern cause. During the Civil War, Volck supported the Confederacy through his satirical political cartoons. ...He also smuggled drugs and medical supplies for the Confederate army, and served as a personal courier to President Jefferson Davis. See More

People: Volck, Adalbert John, 1828-1912
Sickles, Daniel Edgar, 1819-1914

Historical Era: Rise of Industrial America, 1877-1900

Subjects: PropagandaCivil WarUnion ForcesUnion GeneralWashington, D.C.RecruitmentArt, Music, Theater, and FilmMobs and RiotsTobacco and SmokingAlcoholWomen's HistoryReligionHumor and Satire

Sub Era:

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources