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