Assault on Fort Sanders, a chromolithograph created by Kurz & Allison and copyrighted in 1891, presents a visual depiction of the battle fought on November 29, 1863, during the American Civil War, specifically portraying the losses incurred by both Union (Gen. Burnside) and Confederate (Gen. Longstreet) forces. Located at 76 & 78 Wabash Ave., Chicago, Kurz & Allison are well-known for their role in preserving significant historical events in visual form.
The Battle of Fort Sanders was a crucial event in the Civil War, particularly in the Knoxville Campaign, as Union forces under General Ambrose Burnside clashed with Confederate forces led by General James Longstreet. The conflict around Fort Sanders, a key Union stronghold, marked an intense struggle for control in the Eastern Tennessee region. Despite the fortifications being considered subpar, the Union's strategic position allowed them to fend off the Confederates' assault, which is vividly illustrated in this print.
Kurz & Allison's depiction of the battle captures not only the raw intensity of combat but also provides a detailed portrayal of military formations and strategies of the time. The specific losses, namely 8 killed and 5 wounded for the Union, and over 500 killed and wounded for the Confederates, provide a glimpse into the human cost of this confrontation. The print serves as both an artistic and a historical document, reflecting the societal interest in preserving the memory of significant battles in American history.
This lithograph is emblematic of the late 19th-century trend in visual representation of historical events, often produced for commercial consumption but also contributing to historical understanding and public memory. The depiction of the Assault on Fort Sanders stands as an important example of how art and history intertwine, offering an engaging and informative insight into one of the defining moments of the American Civil War. The role of Kurz & Allison in immortalizing such events represents a noteworthy contribution to both art and historiography.