Edwin Forbes (1839-1895) was an American landscape painter and etcher, best known for his Life Studies of the Great Army. He was born in New York City to Joseph C. and Ann Forbes. At the age of eighteen he began his study of art and by the age of twenty became a pupil of Arthur F. Tait. His early work involved painting animals but he later expanded to genre scenes and landscapes.

In 1861 he was hired as a staff artist for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper where he covered the Army of the Potomac from 1862 to 1864. With his primary interest being that of recording the everyday activities of soldiers, Forbes would making quick sketches on the battlefield and later refine them with great detail. The sketches were sent back to New York where copper plate etchings were made from the detailed drawings. His drawings were published in Leslie's newspaper and in 1876, Forbes made etchings of his own illustrations and published them in portfolio form on better quality paper as Life Studies of the Great Army: A Historical Art Work in Copper Plate Etching Containing Forty Plates. His work, considered to be the finest drawings of the Civil War, is now preserved in the War Office at Washington D.C. because of the historic significance and value. Less than 200 of these superb large size etchings were ever made.

His Life Studies of the Great Army would go on to receive an award at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. After his death the Library of Congress acquired Forbes originals through a gift of John Pierpont Morgan in 1919. They included about 300 drawings as well as forty-three etched plates and the original impressions used in Life Studies of the Great Army.

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Edwin Forbes
The Civil War's Foremost Battlefield Artist
1. AN ADVANCE OF THE CAVALRY SKIRMISH LINE - PLATE No. 37

This museum quality framed print measuring 25" x 20" is titled "An Advance of the Cavalry Skirmish Line" and is Plate No. 37 out of 40. Originally created in 1876, it is signed in type in the lower left corner, "E. Forbes." In excellent condition, the actual print size is 24" x 19" and an original engraving from his portfolio. The scene depicts a horse and rider clearing the way while the main body is moving forward in support. $ 395.00

2. THE REVEILLE ON THE LINE OF BATTLE / TATTOO IN CAMP - PLATE No. 1

This museum quality framed print measuring 25" x 20" is titled "The Reveille on the Line of Battle "and "Tattoo" and is Plate No.1 of 40. It is signed in the plate in the lower left corner, "E. Forbes." In excellent condition, the actual print size is 24" x 19" and an original engraving from his portfolio.
The upper half of the etching represents the line of battle at daylight. The regimental bugler stands on the crest of the hill playing the reveille to arouse the troops, who are lying on the ground wrapped in their blankets. In the middle distance a battery is seen in position with “caissons” and “limbers” to the rear.
The lower half of the etching depicts a moonlight scene. The regimental drum corps is beating “tattoo,” the signal for the men to retire to their tents. “Taps,” the signal for “lights out,” follows half an hour later. $360.00

3. STUCK IN THE MUD - PLATE No. 19
This museum quality framed print measuring 25" x 20" is titled "Stuck in the Mud" and is Plate No. 19 out of 40. It is signed in the plate in the lower left corner, "E. Forbes." In excellent condition, the actual print size is 24" x 19" and an original engraving from his portfolio. A pontoon wagon with boat fast in a slough. A regiment of infantry is pulling on a rope attached to the head of the team, trying to drag them to firmer ground. $350.00
4. THROUGH THE WILDERNESS - PLATE No. 3
This museum quality framed print measuring 25" x 20" is titled "Through the Wilderness" and is Plate No. 3 of 40. It is signed in the plate in the lower left corner, "E. Forbes." In excellent condition, the actual print size is 24" x 19" and an original engraving from his portfolio. A battery of artillery dragged through the mud during a spring rainstorm. $380.00
5. A CHRISTMAS DINNER - PLATE No. 9
This museum quality framed print measuring 25" x 20" is titled "Through the Wilderness" and is Plate No. 3 out of 40. It is signed in the plate in the lower left corner, "E. Forbes." In excellent condition, the actual print size is 24" x 19" and an original engraving from his portfolio. A scene on the outer picket line. A soldier off duty is cooking his frugal meal in front of an improvised shelter made of pine-boughs and fence-rails. $380.00
6. A CAVALRY CHARGE - PLATE No. 26
This unframed print measures 24" x 19" is titled "A Cavalry Charge" and is Plate No. 26 out of 40. It is signed in the plate in the lower right corner, "E. Forbes." In excellent condition this is an original engraving from his portfolio. The scene depicted is an advance against the enemy’s guns, which are posted on the hill. The enemy’s line has met the charge, and is trying to save the guns, which are hurrying to the rear. Unframed: $175.00
7. THE OUTER PICKET LINE, WINTER - PLATE No. 33
This unframed print measures 24" x 19" is titled "The Outer Picket Line, Winter" and is Plate No. 33 out of 40. It is signed in the plate in the lower left corner, "E. Forbes." In excellent condition this is an original engraving from his portfolio. The scene depicted is a general view overlooking the enemy’s country. Unframed: $165.00
8. A WAGONER'S SHANTY / THE DESERTED PICKET-HUT / MUD HUTS - PLATE No. 4
This unframed print measures 24" x 19" is titled "A Wagoner's Shanty/The Deserted Picket-Hut/Mud Huts" and is Plate No. 4 out of 40. It is signed in the plate in the lower right corner, "E. Forbes." In excellent condition this is an original engraving from his portfolio. Three scenes are depicted of Winter Camp. Unframed: $150.00
9. THE LEADER OF THE HERD - PLATE No. 7
This unframed print measures 24" x 19" is titled "The Leader of the Herd" and is Plate No. 7 out of 40. It is signed in the plate in the lower right corner, "E. Forbes." In excellent condition this is an original engraving from his portfolio. The scene depicted is of Cattle for army use led by a Zouave butcher. Across the road, under the pine trees, can be seen the graves of two Union soldiers, who have been killed in a roadside skirmish. Unframed: $160.00
10. OFFICERS' WINTER QUARTERS - PLATE No. 13
This unframed print measures 24" x 19" is titled "Officers' Winter Quarters" and is Plate No. 13 out of 40. It is signed in the plate in the lower left corner, "E. Forbes." In fair condition this is an original engraving from his portfolio. The scene depicted is of soldiers waiting for dinner after dress parade. In the doorway the sergeant of the guard is seen reporting to the officer of the day. Unframed: $125.00
11. A WATCHED POT NEVER BOILS / A HEARTY SUPPER / DRUMMER BOYS / PLAYED OUT - PLATE No. 29
This unframed print measures 24" x 19" is titled "A Watched Pot Never Boils/A Hearty Supper/Drummer Boys/Played Out and is Plate No. 29 out of 40. It is signed in the plate in the lower right corner, "E. Forbes." In excellent condition this is an original engraving from his portfolio. Four scenes are depicted. A Watched Pot never Boils, A Hearty Supper on the Battle Field and Drummer Boys halted on the road. The fourth scene is titled Played Out and shows two foot-sore and used-up soldiers who have dropped out of the column and fallen asleep at the foot of a tree, while the rear of the detachment is seen disappearing up the road. Unframed: $135.00

12. FALL IN FOR SOUP - COMPANY MESS - PLATE No. 20
This unframed print measures 24" x 19" is titled "Fall In For Soup" and is Plate No. 20 out of 40. It is signed in the lower left corner, "E. Forbes." In excellent condition this is an original engraving from his portfolio. The scene depicted shows a winter camp, giving a general idea of the style of huts built and occupied by the troops. A wagon train is coming down the road from the distant camp on its way to the depot for forage. $140.00

13. THE NEWSPAPER CORRESPONDENT - PLATE No. 11
This unframed print measures 24" x 19" is titled "The Newspaper Correspondent" and is Plate No. 11 out of 40. It is signed in the lower right corner, "E. Forbes." In excellent condition this is an original engraving from his portfolio. The scene depicted shows a newspaper correspondent riding to send off his dispatches with news of a battle, ahead of rival correspondants. $175.00

14. COFFEE COOLERS - PLATE No. 12
This unframed print measures 24" x 19" is titled "Coffee Coolers" and is Plate No. 12 out of 40. It is signed in the lower left corner, "E. Forbes." In excellent condition this is an original engraving from his portfolio. The scene depicted shows a party of stragglers from the column which is seen marching over the hill in the distance. These are the men who always shirked a battle, and were to be found with their regiments only when rations were to be served out, at a safe distance from the enemy. $175.00

15. THE "RELIABLE CONTRABAND" - PLATE No. 23
This unframed print measures 24" x 19" is titled "The 'Reliable Contraband'" and is Plate No. 23 out of 40. It is signed in the lower right corner, "E. Forbes." In excellent condition this is an original engraving from his portfolio. The scene depicted shows a cavalry outpost. In the foreground a negro,“leading an old horse,” is seen hesitatingly imparting to anxious officers what little information he possesses of the enemy’s movements. Cavalrymen and their horse are grouped about the house in the middle ground, and in the distance a vidette is sitting on his horse watching the road through the woods, in anticipation of the approach of the enemy.
$145.00
16. THE REAR OF THE COLUMN - PLATE No. 18
This unframed print measures 24" x 19" is titled "The Rear of the Column" and is Plate No. 20 out of 40. It is signed in the lower left corner, "E. Forbes." In excellent condition this is an original engraving from his portfolio. The scene depicted shows stragglers and wagon guards are bringing up the rear, while the wagon train is seen coming down the distant hill, with flankers thrown out to protect it from the enemy’s horsemen. $155.00

17. "BUMMERS" - PLATE No. 39
This unframed print measures 24" x 19" is titled "Bummers" and is Plate No. 39 out of 40. It is signed in the lower left corner, "E. Forbes." In excellent condition this is an original engraving from his portfolio.“They’re ‘Johnnies,’ boys, as sure as you’re born.” A group of bummers on horse and muleback, huddled in the road, anxiously watching a body of men who have just appeared at a turn in the road. $155.00

18. A RAINY DAY ON PICKET / WASHING DAY - PLATE No. 8
This unframed print measures 24" x 19" is titled "A Rainy Day on Picket" and "Washing Day" and is Plate No. 8 out of 40. It is signed in the lower right corner, "E. Forbes." In excellent condition this is an original engraving from his portfolio. The scene on the left is an infantry-man sheltered behind a pine-tree, with his rifle under his arm to protect it from the rain. On the right is a soldier with his latest wash hung out to dry on the barrel of his rifle. In the distance the column is seen on the march. $145.00

19. A DISTANT BATTLE - PLATE No. 25
This unframed print measures 24" x 19" is titled "A Distant Battle" and is Plate No. 25 out of 40. It is signed in the lower left corner, "E. Forbes." In excellent condition this is an original engraving from his portfolio. Seen at a distance of about six miles. In the foreground is an abandoned breastwork: and on the road to the left a column of troops is seen hurrying toward the sound of distant cannon. $130.00

20. A DISTANT BATTLE - PLATE No. 25
This unframed print measures 24" x 19" is titled "A Distant Battle" and is Plate No. 25 out of 40. It is signed in the lower left corner, "E. Forbes." In excellent condition this is an original engraving from his portfolio. Seen at a distance of about six miles. In the foreground is an abandoned breastwork: and on the road to the left a column of troops is seen hurrying toward the sound of distant cannon. $130.00

21. TRAFFIC BETWEEN THE LINES - PLATE No. 35
This unframed print measures 24" x 19" is titled "Traffic between the Lines" and is Plate No. 35 out of 40. It is signed in the lower left corner, "Edwin Forbes." In excellent condition this is an original engraving from his portfolio. Pickets trading for coffee and tobacco between the fortified lines during a truce. The enemy’s works (protected by abattis and cheveaux-de-frise) are seen in the background, with groups of soldiers on the parapet. $145.00

22. A NIGHT MARCH - PLATE No. 16
This unframed print measures 24" x 19" is titled "A Night March" and is Plate No. 16 out of 40. It is signed in the lower left corner, "E. Forbes." In excellent condition this is an original engraving from his portfolio. The scene depicted is behind the breastworks during a lull in the battle. The troops defending this position of the line are sleeping under their shelter-tents or lounging under the shade of the trees and house. In a tree, beyond the house, a lookout is posted to give warning of the advance of the enemy.
$155.00
23. A THIRSTY CROWD AT THE OLD SPRING HOUSE / A RACE FOR CAMP - PLATE No. 6
This unframed print measures 24" x 19" is titled "A Thirsty Crowd at the Old Spring House" and "A Race for Camp" and is Plate No. 6 out of 40. It is signed in the lower left corner, "E Forbes." In excellent condition this is an original engraving from his portfolio. Two scenes are depicted. On top, the army crossing a river and closing up in column on the hill, while the advance is pushing into the woods, which have caught fire from exploded cartridges. Below, newsboys pass the picket station while on the road to camp with the latest news. $175.00

24. THE PONTOON BRIDGES - PLATE No. 5
This unframed print measures 24" x 19" is titled "The Pontoon Bridges" and is Plate No. 5 out of 40. It is signed in the lower left corner, "E Forbes." In excellent condition this is an original engraving from his portfolio. The scene depicted is the army crossing a river and closing up in column on the hill, while the advance is pushing into the woods, which have caught fire from exploded cartridges. $180.00

25. GOING INTO CAMP AT NIGHT - PLATE No. 21
This unframed print measures 24" x 19" is titled "Going into Camp at Night" and is Plate No.21 out of 40. It is signed in the lower right corner, "E Forbes." In excellent condition this is an original engraving from his portfolio. The scene depicted is the fields on all sides, covered with troops who are engaged in cooking supper, the column in the road marching on and disappearing over the hill in the distance. $175.00

26. GONE OFF WITH THE YANKS/A LAND FLOWING WITH MILK AND HONEY/A SCOUTING PARTY/AN OLD CAMPAIGNER -
      PLATE No. 32
This unframed print measures 24" x 19" is titled "Going into Camp at Night" and is Plate No.32 out of 40. It is signed in the lower right corner, "E Forbes." In excellent condition this is an original engraving from his portfolio. Four separate scenes are epicted
$185.00
27. HOME, SWEET HOME - PLATE No. 24
This unframed print measures 24" x 19" is titled "Home, Sweet Home" and is Plate No.24 out of 40. It is signed in the lower left corner, "E Forbes." In excellent condition this is an original engraving from his portfolio. A scene in winter camp. Two soldiers sitting in front of their quarters, which are built with logs plastered with clay, and covered with canvas. The soldier sitting on the drum is playing the old tune on an improvised fiddle made from a cigar box, while the younger sits leaning against the mud chimney, which is crowned with a ploughshare to keep the smoke from blowing into the tent. $225.00

28. THE COMMISSARY'S QUARTERS IN WINTER CAMP - PLATE No. 2
This unframed print measures 24" x 19" is titled "The Commissary's Quarters in Winter Camp" and is Plate No.2 out of 40. In excellent condition this is an original engraving from his portfolio.The Commissary Sergeant is seen in the foreground weighing out rations of meat for the company cook. The structure on the left is an improvised stable built of pine boughs. $175.00

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