The Death of Reynolds - Gettysburg by Bradley Schmehl
Tell Me More
The Death of Reynolds - Gettysburg by Bradley Schmehl ~
July 1st, 1863 – 10 am.
The Battle of Gettysburg has begun. General Henry Heth’s Division, of A. P. Hill’s corps, has marched toward Gettysburg from the west on the Cashtown Road, but has been prevented from entering the town by dismounted union cavalry led by General John Buford. Buford’s men are holding the line valiantly, anxiously awaiting the arrival of Union General John Reynolds’ I corps.
Buford’s cavalry hold a line on McPherson’s Ridge, just west of Seminary Ridge. That portion of the line which extends into Herbst’s Woods (now McPherson’s Woods, shown here) is relieved by the 2nd Wisconsin of the famed Iron Brigade, who are personally led into battle by the aggressive General Reynolds himself. As they engage the Confederates of Archer’s Brigade, Reynolds, who has momentarily turned in his saddle to see if the regiments he is awaiting are coming up, takes a fatal bullet just behind his right ear. His orderly, Private Charles Veil and some members of the General’s staff carry his lifeless body from the field.
John Reynolds, a Pennsylvania native who gave distinguished service in the Mexican War as well as he War Between the States, fell in battle perhaps due to his own sense of modesty. President Lincoln had offered him command of the Army of the Potomac a few days earlier, but Reynolds demurred, stating that others, General George Meade among them, were more senior and better qualified than he. Had he accepted command, perhaps he would have survived the war.
The time of day is around 10:30 am. Visible at the center background is McPherson’s Barn and at right, in the extreme distance, the smoke of fighting at the "Bloody Railroad Cut.” DF
About The Artist
As an artist who loves and studies history, Bradley Schmehl has made it his life’s work to research the subjects for his paintings through diaries, letters, books, visiting historical sites, and generally immersing himself in any materials available to him. From the Civil War to the cowboys of the West, Schmehl finds his subjects fascinating. Talking and exchanging ideas and information with others who share Schmehl’s interest in history also offer the artist opportunities to expand his resources. The artist says, “History is a world which is past, yet exerts its influence on us all. It is possible to visit and experience the world of history through the work of writers, filmmakers, living historians, and artists. I want to help open the window on our history so that more people can share in the view.”
Schmehl’s detailed paintings reflect the many historical aspects he includes in his images. As an avid reader, the artist tries to capture in his mind the events chronicled in the books and other materials he reads. Schmehl also consults with historical experts. Armed with all the research available to him, the artist’s goal is always to paint each element of an event or story. From uniforms to weapons to horses to even the time of day and weather conditions, Schmehl’s paintings are as authentic as possible.
The artist usually starts with a rough pencil sketch, mostly done on location, then he engages his models to pose as the various characters in the image and photographs them. Once Schmehl is satisfied that his concept is historically accurate, he commences creating his painting. Working in oil on canvas, the artist creates a rough under-painting. After drying, he over-paints the details and refines his brushwork. Schmehl describes his technique as “painterly realism.” “I strive to capture the true nature of the light, the color, but I make no effort to disguise the brushstrokes. Even while attempting to render meticulous detail, I strive to paint boldly and deliberately.”
Schmehl has traveled throughout the country in pursuit of his subject matter. Extensive trips to Civil War battlefields, to other historical sites, to even being on the range in Texas have allowed the artist to collect and record the many, many notes, sketches, and library of materials that contribute to Schmehl’s fine work. A Schmehl painting gives the viewer a unique perspective on the subject matter portrayed. As the details in the image come to life, an appreciation of history is evident.
When not on a research trip, Schmehl cherishes the time he and his wife, Becky, spend in their 1885 Victorian home with their two cats. As committed Christians, the artist and his wife are active in their church; Brad plays the guitar in the worship band.
Come live history through the eyes and paintings of Bradley Schmehl…it will be a most enjoyable journey.