"Peculiarly distinguished among the advance guard, where all were distinguished, must be recorded . . . Private J. W. Brown, of Company F, First Georgia Regiment, who, upon hearing the order to fall back, exclaimed, 'I will give them one more shot before I leave,' and while ramming down his twenty-ninth cartridge fell dead at his post." - General Henry R. Jackson in his report of the Battle of Greenbrier River.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Face of the Civil War

A member of the First Georgia has been honored in Virginia. William S. Askew of the Newnan Guards, Company A of the First, appears on the new logo for the Manassas 150th Civil War Commemoration. The artist, Allan Guy of Allan Guy Design and Illustration of Manassas, Virginia, searched through the extensive holdings of the Library of Congress looking for just the right image of an early war soldier. When he came across Askew’s photograph, Guy knew he had the one he was looking for. Even though Askew did not serve at First or Second Manassas, Allan was taken by the “haunted” look in Askew’s eyes, and felt that Askew would represent well all the young, impressionable and eager young men who marched off to war in 1861. "I searched through a lot of images -- men and women -- with compelling faces, but this boy's eyes just shot out at you. This kid has the combination of age and eyes that are most direct," Allan explained in an interview. "A face like that is beyond comparison to even a period object or historic house. I wanted to make sure it had warmth because all too often history seems dead and gone."

Allan was also careful to use the appropriate First National flag in his illustration, instead of using the better known Southern Cross battleflag.*
The original image is displayed right. Askew strikes an suitably war-like pose as he holds his musket at attention, brandishing a brace of pistols in his belt. The private enlisted in the Newnan Guards on May 7, 1861, while the regiment was in Pensacola. During the retreat of the First and the Army of the Northwest from Laurel Hill in July, Askew was captured by Federal troops, but was able to escape and return to his regiment. In bad health as a result of his ordeal, Askew was discharged from the Newnan Guards on August 21. He later served in the 16th Georgia Cavalry Battalion, only to be captured again, and was imprisoned in Camp Morton, Indiana, until the end of the war.

I think Allan did a superb job with the logo.

*Appropriate in that the Southern Cross did not exist until after the Battle of First Manassas (or Bull Run).

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