Make your own free website on he immediately began research on the dramatic action in the Cornfield at the September 1862 Battle of Antietam, Maryland. .

THE YEAR 1870 brought Scott a commission from his native state to render a scene from the Civil War showing the Vermont troops in action.  The commission seemed to give Scott license to render the scene of his choice, so he immediately began research on the dramatic action in the Cornfield at the September 1862 Battle of Antietam, Maryland.  At a reunion in Rutland, Vermont, early in 1871, however, Vermont's erstwhile Union officers drew up a formal resolution for presentation to the governor.  It asked that the memorial depict the battle that employed the largest number of Vermont regiments, the October 1864 Battle of Cedar Creek, in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley.

Unfamiliar with the terrain of the Cedar Creek site, Scott made arrangements to explore the area.  The governor of Vermont traveled with Scott to the battlefield along with Colonel Aldace F. Walker, special consultant for the memorial project.  Scott's research did not end with the trip to Virginia, however.  Vermont officers and enlisted men who had fought there had to be interviewed.  Portraits of those involved were required.  Over 200 preliminary drawings were done.  Then Scott began planning the painting itself, ultimately deciding the work would have to be 10 feet by 20 feet.  No one in America manufactured canvas that large at the time, so the artist had to send to Europe for special linen canvas.

When Scott prepared to start work on the painting, he found it was too large for his studio in New York City.  The project's coordinators arranged for a studio up the Hudson River at West Point, and Scott began painting.  There was great public interest in the picture, and the newspapers closely followed the work's progress.  Lieutenant General Philip H. Sheridan and former Major General McClellan visited the studio, along with Secretary of War William W. Belknap; all three men had positive remarks about the painting for reporters.  Although not pictured, Sheridan had a personal interest in the work.  He had been responsible for reforming collapsing Union forces at Cedar Creek and leading them in a final charge that resulted in a pivotal Union victory.

Fully three years after obtaining his commission and after spending some $8,500 on the project, Scott arrived with his painting at the reunion of Vermont troops in Burlington in August 1874.  The work was displayed at City Hall, opening to mostly favorable reviews, then traveled to its permanent home in the governor's reception room at the State House in Montpelier. The state's original contract with Scott was for $5,000, but because that sum was clearly inadequate for the work that was delivered, additional funds were proposed in the legislature.  After much huff and blowing, an additional $4,000 was appropriated in November 1874, netting the artist a mere $500 after expenses.

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