Homer: “A Bivouac Fire on the Potomac” (1861)

Harper’s Weekly‘s December 21, 1861 edition features (among many other images) this stunning centerfold of Winslow Homer’s “A Bivouac Fire on the Potomac”: Homer depicts an encounter between diverse American cultures — celtic, North African, West African, Afro-Caribbean — centered on the evening’s entertainments of dance, fiddle, and other camp pastimes.

Picket Guard (Beers & Hewitt, 1861)

“His musket falls slack, his face dark and grim,
Grows gentle with memories tender,
As he mutters a prayer for the children asleep–
For their mother–may Heaven defend her.”