"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

James B. McPherson

This 1876 Statue of Major General James Birdseye McPherson by Louis T. Rebisso stands in McPherson Square in Washington, DC. The following bio of McPherson is taken from a half-formed Facebook page.
James Birdseye McPherson was a career United States Army officer who served as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. McPherson was on the General's staff of Henry Halleck and later, of Ulysses S. Grant and was with Grant at the Battle of Shiloh. He was killed at the Battle of Atlanta, facing the army of his old West Point classmate John Bell Hood, who paid a warm tribute to his character. He was the second highest ranking Union officer killed during the war.
Early life and career
McPherson was born in Clyde, Ohio. He attended Norwalk Academy in Norwalk, Ohio, and graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1853, first in his class, which included Philip H. Sheridan, John M. Schofield, and John Bell Hood; Hood would oppose him later in the Western Theater. McPherson was directly appointed to the Corps of Engineers with the rank of brevet second lieutenant. For a year after his graduation he was assistant instructor of practical engineering at the Military Academy a position never before given to so young an officer.

SIRIS describes the statue this way:
Equestrian portrait of McPherson holding the reins in his proper left hand and a pair of field glasses in his proper right hand. He sits in the saddle with his body turned slightly to the proper right as he surveys his battlefield. His horse is caught mid-stride as it walks forward with its proper right front foot raised and its head down. The sculpture rests on a rectangular base adorned around the top with a ring of small wreaths and a ring of stars and around the bottom with a ring of canon balls.

 Louis T. Rebisso, Sculpt

Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson,
July 22, 1864.

Erected by His Comrades
of the Society of
The Army of the Tennessee.
...The Society of the Army of the Tennessee raised $23,500 for the statue, sculpted by Italian-born Louis Rebisso of Cincinnati. Congress contributed $25,000 for the granite base and pedestal, designed by O.E. Babcock. The statue was cast from bronze cannon captured in the Battle of Atlanta. At the dedication attended by President Hayes in 1876, General William T. Sherman presided and General John Logan delivered the main address. -- DC Historic Sites
Plans for the society's monument incorporated a vault for McPherson's body, which had been buried near Clyde, Ohio. Just as the body was about to be exhumed, however, a group in Clyde, which was raising money for its own monument, got an injunction thwarting the society's plan. -- Kathryn Allamong Jacob, Testament to Union.

What is today McPherson Square was named “Scott Square” in 1868 in honor of Winfield Scott. It was renamed McPherson Square when the statue was dedicated in 1876.

The Library of Congress has this photo of James B. McPherson by Brady's studio.

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