“The American Juggernaut”

In a dramatic image worthy of Goya or Daumier, the terrible carnage of Grant’s campaign against Lee in Virginia during the summer of 1864 is represented by an enormous cannon mounted on a gun carriage with studded wheels, rolling unchecked over the bodies of hapless Union troops and leaving their mangled forms in its train. The “American Juggernaut” looms ominously out of roiling clouds of black smoke, driven onwards by the Three Furies of Greek tragedy, who hold aloft flaring torches. This powerful image expresses the uneasiness that many Europeans felt over the mounting death toll across the Atlantic, which led many to urge a British attempt to mediate a peace settlement on humanitarian grounds, even as the War entered its final stages.”

Punch, Volume 47, September 3, 1864, pp. 96 – 97

1 comment… add one

  • Brendan Bossard May 22, 2012

    It fascinates me that Grant was criticized for his “insensitivity” to casualties, especially during the final stages of the War in the East. He was faced with one of the wiliest and most determined generals in Lee. Lee and his soldiers were quite a handful despite being greatly outnumbered. If it weren’t for Grant’s own determination and skill, Lee may have escaped to fight an indefinite guerrilla war.

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