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  1. The first 'war photographs' are believed to have been taken during the Mexican War; and the Crimean War generated fewer than 1000 photographic images. Therefore, it is safe to suggest that war photography 'came of age' during the Civil War... But while Civil War photography was finding its footing (most obvious IRT Shiloh and Corinth, from which so few contemporaneous images exist), the 'visual record' of that contest was still the primary domain of the sketch artist. One such sketch artist was Alexander Simplot. Born in Dubuque in 1837 to parents who were successful merchants (and some of the earliest settlers in Eastern Iowa), Alex was fortunate to attend the finest local schools, before being sent east to Union College at Schenectady, New York, where he 'graduated from the Law Department' in 1858. Back in Iowa, and despite his parent's best efforts to dissuade him, Alex gravitated towards 'wasting his life on drawing.' His work, Departure of Volunteers from Dubuque, Iowa on April 22, 1861 was published on page 6 of the May 25, 1861 issue of Harper's Weekly -- and Simplot was hired to become 'correspondent/war artist' for that magazine. http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1861/may/dubuque-iowa.htm He followed the Army to Missouri, and to Cairo (where he renewed acquaintance with a former school chum -- John A. Rawlins -- who was a prominent member of General Grant's staff.) He accompanied Grant's expedition into Kentucky and Tennessee, and sketched Fort Holt, Fort Henry, Fort Donelson... many images found their way into Harper's Weekly. Leaving Grant after Fort Donelson, Simplot returned to Cairo in time to join Foote's gunboats for the operation against Island No. 10. He sketched the evacuated Fort Columbus along the way, and was busy recording Foote's gunboats and mortars, and Pope's transports in action... and missed the Battle of Shiloh. Alex Simplot rejoined the Army of the Tennessee in mid-April, and recorded Hamburg Landing, the Skirmish at Farmington, and Federal troops entering Corinth. Somehow, he managed to find transport that linked him up with Davis and Ellet's naval effort at Memphis, Battle of June 6th. (That sketch made the cover of Harper's Weekly for June 28, 1862.) He returned to the Army of the Tennessee, and was present in Corinth during the October 1862 attack. Due to ill health, Alex Simplot resigned as war artist for Harper's Weekly in early 1863, and returned to Dubuque. After the war, he was contracted by Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper to sketch scenes in Galena, Illinois during a reception for General U. S. Grant. Alexander Simplot died in Dubuque in 1914. In 1958, a large collection of his original sketches (and preliminary sketches) was found in a garage in Wisconsin; the Wisconsin Historical Society is now home to that collection. Ozzy References: http://www.encyclopediadubuque.org/index.php?title=SIMPLOT,_Alexander Encyclopedia Dubuque http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Content.aspx?dsNav=Ntk:All%7cSimplot%2c+Alexander%7c3%7c,Ny:True,Ro:0&dsNavOnly=N:1133&dsDimensionSearch=D:Simplot%2c+Alexander,Dxm:All,Dxp:3&dsCompoundDimensionSearch=D:Simplot%2c+Alexander,Dxm:All,Dxp:3&fromsearch=true Wisconsin Historical Society, Alexander Simplot Collection http://archive.org/stream/harpersweeklyv6bonn#page/401/mode/1up Harper's Weekly, Compiled for year of 1862 Fort Henry, pages 113, 120, 133; Fort Donelson 129, 148, 161, 164, 188; Fort Columbus 197, 198; Island No. 10 pages 212, 213, 228, 285; Pittsburg Landing (written report) page 243; Henry Halleck 257; Hamburg Landing 349; Corinth Siege 391; Corinth Cartoon 435; Memphis 408, 420.
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