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Southern Spaces
A journal about real and imagined spaces and places of the US South and their global connections

Winslow Homer and the American Civil War

Duke University
Published March 4, 2011


In his book Near Andersonville: Winslow Homer's Civil War, Peter H. Wood offers an in-depth exploration of Winslow Homer's painting "Near Andersonville" (1866). In this illustrated lecture at Emory University, Wood relates the history of this once-lost painting and Homer's relationship to the Civil War. His close reading relates the iconography of “Near Andersonville” to major military and political events of the Civil War and the 1864 presidential election.


Part 2Wood details the history of Winslow’s painting, “Near Andersonville.”

Part 3Wood explains Homer’s possible motivations for painting “Near Andersonville

Part 4Examining soldiers in the painting, Wood offers a brief history of Andersonville Prison and the Battle of Petersburg

Part 5Wood suggests theories for the diverging sets of planks in the lower portion of Homer’s painting

Part 6Wood ponders several features in the painting: gourds, the building, the woman’s clothes and her mixed race lineage


Peter H. Wood is an emeritus professor of American history at Duke University. A former Rhodes scholar and Guggenheim Fellow, he is the author of several books on early American slavery, including Black Majority, published by Knopf in 1974, and Strange New Land, published by Oxford University Press in 2003. Near Andersonville: Winslow Homer's Civil War (Harvard University Press, 2010) is his third book on black images in the work of Winslow Homer. Professor Wood's Emory lecture was presented on February 22, 2011.

Peter Wood, Near Andersonville:Winslow Homer's Civil War, 2010.