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Volck, Adalbert John (1828-1912) Valiant men "Dat Fite Mit Siegel"

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00493.14 Author/Creator: Volck, Adalbert John (1828-1912) Place Written: s.l. Type: Print Date: circa 1880-1890 Pagination: 1 etching : b&w ; 26.2 x 34.8 cm.

Depicts a house being plundered and burned while a woman kneels, begging Federal officers to spare her children from the flames. The officers appear haughty and indifferent to her pleas. The threat of sexual violation is implicit as an officer with a gun holds her by the laces of her corset, revealing a torn dress and her bare breast. In the upper left of the sketch one sees an older child holding a baby trying to escape out a second-floor window. An oddly dressed character to the right of the frame takes aim at the children, in a seemingly despicable act of wanton cruelty. Amidst this cruelty and destruction a soldier waves the American flag. General Franz Sigel was a German American who was active in St. Louis's emigrant community before the war. His strong antislavery beliefs attracted many of his fellow Germans to support the Union, and when hostilities broke out, Sigel, who had been a leader in the 1848 Revolutions in the German states, quickly offered his services. Volck was a German immigrant right after the 1848 Revolutions as well, and seems to have been offering a commentary on the choices one can make in America. Size in extent is for the mount. The actual size of the etching is 20.1 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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