General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick New Jersey (1836-1881)
Portrait of an African-American Orderly.
American, probably New Jersey.
Signed and dated, Hugh Kilpatrick, 1868.
Oil on artist board.
22” x 18 ¼”, 27 ¾” x 24” with frame.
Over-all in fine condition, few puncture holes recently restored with minor in-painting. In a period walnut frame with gilt liner.
This extremely rare subject matter of an African American boy, known as the officer’s orderly is seen smiling while tending to the fire with a bellows. Perhaps a glimpse into life during the Civil War, the painting tells a story. Such personal memories or accounts during this period of history are memorialized in this portrait painted by General Kilpatrick in 1868.
Note on reverse of painting:
Having heard my friend, Robert Stickney, tell the story of the Kilpatrick painting many, many times I think the following account is as nearly accurate as possible.
The painting was done by General Judson Kilpatrick after the Civil War and the subject was his orderly who cared for his tent, his uniforms, and prepared his meals.
General Kilpatrick was a resident of Sussex (formerly Deckertown), New Jersey. He was a close friend of Charles E. Stickney owner of the Wantage Press, publisher and editor of local Sussex newspaper, and at one time mayor of Sussex. After the General’s death his widow gave the painting to Charles Stickney. She said, about the bullet holes, “The old coot probably got drunk and used it for target practice.” Kilpatrick was known to be a heavy drinker. Robert Stickney inherited the painting from his grandfather. Charles and I inherited it from Bob when he died on May 18, 1984.
Everett Mc Carter
September 7, 1985
Kilpatrick, Hugh Judson 1836-81. Born Sussex, then Deckertown, New Jersey. American cavalry officer in the Civil war. Graduated West Point 1861. Wounded at Big Bethel, he organized a second regiment of N.Y. cavalry and served in nearly all of the important cavalry operations of the Army of the Potomac, and the Army of Virginia. He distinguished himself at the second battle of Bull Run, at the battle of Brandy Station, Gainesville and in the raid upon Richmond in April 1863. In 1864, he took part in the Georgia campaigns under Sherman. He made many brilliant raids, capturing prisoners and guns and was brevetted brigadier general after capturing Fayetteville, N.C. and major general for his part in the Carolina campaign.
—Colombia Encyclopedia, 1940 Edition
Item ID: WoA-AMP-OB 102