Artists James Walker and Theodore Davis of Harper’s Weekly sketch at Chattanooga
Two seated artists work outside of a tent on a smoky hillside. A third figure chops wood at lower right.
James Walker (1819-1889) and Theodore Davis (1840-1894) were “Special Artists” for news magazines such as Harper’s Weekly and Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly, illustrating news reports from the front. Here, the artists are working on Lookout Mountain, the scene of “The Battle above the Clouds” in November, 1863. The three leading American papers to dispatch special artists after war broke out in 1861 were Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, Harper’s Weekly, and The New York Illustrated News. Winslow Homer, who worked for Harper’s Weekly, and a number of other artists got their starts in this fashion, as artists accompanying a newspaper correspondent to the front. None of these papers were available to the Confederate population, as circulation to the South stopped in May, when mail between the areas ceased. The Southern Illustrated News was established in the South after the war had raged for over a year, but it never hired an artist to work in the field.