"The Battle of Lookout Mountain"
attibuted to James Walker ca.1863-64
Oil on canvas, 22 x 31 inches (canvas), 30 x 39 inches (frame)
The view at the left middle ground is Moccasin Bend on the Tennessee River. The Union forces are the mixed command under General Joseph Hooker: a greater part of the 11th Corps, part of the 2nd Division of the 12th Corps, one company of the 5th Tennessee Calvary, and part of a company of the 1st Alabama Cavalry. There are numerous tiny Confederate flags throughout the mountainside. The display of the correct Corps insignia would imply that the artist was there during the battle.
James Walker, born on June 3, 1819 in Northamptonshire, England, was a historical painter whose works can be found in the permanent collections of the U. S. War Department Building, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the California Historical Society and the Tennessee State Museum among others. Not much is known of his training, although it has been said that he studied in New York City. He was well known as a military painter and he was known to spend long hours at the sites of Civil War battles and interviewing survivors. Walker’s family settled near Albany, New York in 1824 and later moved to New York City. He went to New Orleans as a youth and traveled to Mexico City where he was living when the Mexican War began. He hid for six weeks within the city before escaping to the American lines where he joined the American forces as an interpreter under General Winfield Scott. Walker was the only American painter present during the siege of Mexico City. He returned to New York City in 1848 and, after visiting South America, established a studio there. Walker worked in Washington, DC, from 1857-62 where he painted the “Battle of Chapultepec” which is now in the U. S. Capitol. Walker completed a number of government- commissioned works, one of which was placed in the Senate. He was also commissioned by General Hooker to render the “Battle of Lookout Mountain”. He worked in Washington again in 1883-4 and had a studio in the Corcoran building. In the early 1870s he opened a studio in San Francisco where he focused on Mexican culture of early California. He died in Watsonville, California on August 29, 1889.
Comprehensive biographical information about the artist available upon request