Lee Deliberates Heth's Advance - Gettysburg by Bradley Schmehl
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Lee Deliberates Heth's Advance - Gettysburg by Bradley Schmehl ~
July 1st, 1863 – 2:30 pm
Robert E. Lee has arrived on the battlefield. He is shown here on the Cashtown Road where it crosses Herr’s Ridge – the Herr Tavern and barn are seen in the background. Ambulances whisk away the wounded and dying of Heth’s Division, which had opened the attack that morning. Heth rides up with four of his staff joining Lee, General A. P. Hill (who is clearly irritated with Heth for bringing on an engagement contrary to Lee’s orders), and Lieutenant Colonel Walter Taylor, Lee’s cigar smoking aide. While Heth solicits Lee’s permission to renew the attack, his men reorganize in preparation.
Lee was "not prepared to bring on a general engagement today” because General James Longstreet’s corps had not yet reached Gettysburg. But Lee sees a cloud of dust beyond the Federal XI Corps’ right flank; General Jubal Early’s division has arrived on the battlefield.
An opportunity has presented itself to the Confederate Army commander. With the long, discontinuous Federal line bent at a right angle, and with Early assailing the Union right and General Robert Rodes hammering the angle’s vertex, A. P. Hill’s corps could renew its assault against the Union right and the enemy would be caught in the jaws of a vise.
The order is given! Heth’s Division, supported by General Dorsey Pender’s Division, attack. Ultimately, after much savage fighting and a great cost of life on both sides, the Confederates prevail, and the Union I and XI Corps retreat to the safety of Cemetery Hill, south of town of Gettysburg. 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.