The next series of Andersonville Irish Spotlight posts will share some of the results from work we carried out during the Andersonville Irish Project trip to the National Historic Site. It was a visit facilitated by grant funding from the Andersonville POW Research Grant Program made possible thanks to the Friends of Andersonville, as well as project funding received from the Consulate General of Ireland in Atlanta.This post is the first of two focusing on the work and life of one of the most influential Irish emigrants to pass through Andersonville- the soldier turned artist, Clareman Thomas O’Dea.Still just a teenager when he passed through the walls of the prison in 1864, twenty years later Thomas completed a monumental illustration of the camp as he remembered it. When published, it became a national sensation. To this day, it remains the most recognisable (and most used) artistic depiction of Andersonville Prison.
The next post will focus on the details of Thomas’s service and the rather remarkable process by which he created his famed work. Suffice to say here that he intended for the illustration to depict the camp as it was on 1st August 1864, the beginning of the prison’s deadliest month. Below we introduce ourselves to O’Dea’s achievement by taking a detailed look at the image itself. There is a particular focus on sharing detailed views of the small vignettes he surrounded his depiction with, elements that are every bit as striking as the representation of the camp itself.
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