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The Great Beefsteak Raid

The Great Beefsteak Raid

Regular price $225.00 USD
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This is Mort Künstler limited edition print - The Great Beefsteak Raid - General Wade Hampton, September 16, 1864.



Paper Prints
Reproduction technique: Fine offset lithography on neutral pH archival quality paper using the finest fade-resistant inks.
Each print is numbered and signed by the artist and accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity.

Image Size: 17” x 29¼” • Overall Size: 22” x 33¼
Signed & Numbered • Edition Size: 350
Signed Artist’s Proof • Edition Size: 50

Giclée Canvas Prints
Reproduction technique: Giclées are printed with the finest archival pigmented inks on canvas.
Each print is numbered and signed by the artist and accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity.

Signature Edition 16” x 28”
Signed & Numbered • Edition Size: 50
Signed Canvas Artist’s Proof • Edition Size: 10

Classic Edition 19” x 33”
Signed & Numbered • Edition Size: 50
Signed Artist’s Proof • Edition Size: 10

Premier Edition 22” x 38”
Signed & Numbered • Edition Size: 15
Signed Artist’s Proof • Edition Size: 5

Collector’s Edition 32” x 55”
Signed & Numbered • Edition Size: 5
Signed Artist’s Proof • Edition Size: 2

Historical Information
By September of 1864, Confederate forces began to show the ill effects of a drawn-out war. Food, ammunition, and medicine were in short supply as trench warfare and siege tactics became the norm. In Virginia, General Wade Hampton was besieged at Petersburg and became well aware of the desperateness of his situation. A new enemy, one even more formidable than the much larger and better-outfitted Union Army, began to overtake his lines. The adversary’s name was “hunger” and it threatened to destroy the entire southern army’s spirit.

The growing desperateness of his troop’s situation forced Hampton to undertake what would become one of the most ambitious raids of the entire Civil War. On September 15th he set out to commandeer an entire herd of cattle, numbering in the thousands, from the surrounding Union Army. By September 17th he had not only accomplished his goal of thievery, he also managed to drive the herd back to the safety of his own lines.

This amazing feat required 2,500 captured cattle to traverse streams and cross battle scarred landscapes without stampeding. Perhaps the critical nature of the mission enabled the famished horsemen to pull it off as Hampton’s men returned triumphantly with enough food to sustain and nourish the starved army.

Mort Künstler’s Comments
Over the years, I have continually searched for new ideas for paintings. There are several criteria I use to select new subjects. First, I look for originality as I prefer to paint subjects that have never been done before. Second, I look for historically significant locations such as an interesting building that stood during the Civil War. Often these landmark sites serve as a backdrop for the scene. I then research what events occurred near or in front of the building, and proceed from there.

For this work, number VI of VIII in the “Tribute to the Legend” series, I used a different method. I asked for suggestions and allowed others to nominate the subject. I received many suggestions and some of them were quite excellent. After reading all of the ideas, I became interested in an event that happened 150 years ago this September, 2014. It is referred to as “The Great Beefsteak Raid” and is a moment that has yet to be captured on canvas. During my research I realized that this event could be very exciting visually.

In September of 1864, Confederate forces were besieged in Petersburg, Virginia and were suffering shortages of food supplies. Aware that his men were suffering from hunger, General Wade Hampton decided on a very daring, dangerous raid. He would attempt to steal an entire herd of nearly 2,500 head of cattle from the Union Army. On September 15-17 he somehow managed to pull it off! In one of the most dramatic and underpublicized raids of the war, the action is best told in Hampton’s own words.

“…the command returned to their old quarters after an absence of three days, during which they had marched upward of 100 miles, defeating the enemy in two fights, and bringing from his lines in safety a large amount of captured property, together with 304 prisoners. Of the 2,486 cattle captured, 2,468 have been brought in, and I hope [to] get the few remaining ones. Three guidons were taken and eleven wagons brought in safely, several others having been destroyed. Three camps of the enemy were burned, after securing from them some very valuable stores, including quite a number of blankets. My loss was 10 killed, 47 wounded, and 4 missing.”

With this painting, my goal is to capture one of the most theatrical and successful raids of the entire Civil War. Making a herd of cattle cross a stream under these kinds of conditions is extremely difficult – I have experienced it first hand. In my painting I depict the challenge that Gen. Hampton experienced while supervising the crossing of the Nottoway River. It is a testament to the tenacity of the Confederate commander under the most desperate of circumstances. Thanks to this ambitious raid, his ravenous men were sustained and lived to fight another day.

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