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"Shenandoah Autumn" by Mort Kunstler

Signed & Numbered Limited Edition Print

The Official Gods and Generals Collection Third in a Four Print Special Series from the Official Artist of the Motion Picture Gods and Generals

Image size: 17" x 28"

Edition size: 950 S/N

Issue price: SOLD OUT (When this is sold out it will only be available on our secondary market--check then for the current price and availability--800-237-6077)

By late 1862, General Thomas J. Jackson and General J.E.B. Stuart were giants in gray — revered in the South and reluctantly respected in the North. Only General Robert E. Lee was held in higher esteem. “Stonewall” Jackson and “Jeb” Stuart had bequeathed heart and hope to the embattled people of the South, while repeatedly frustrating Northern strategies for conquering the Southern homeland. Stuart had literally ridden circles around the enemy, while providing invaluable intelligence as the “eyes” of General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Jackson had turned the tide at First Manassas where he emerged from obscurity to become the mighty “Stonewall” and then had thoroughly humiliated his foes in the Shenandoah Valley and at Second Manassas.

A daring attempt by Lee to capitalize on the Southern victories had been thwarted weeks earlier on the bloody fields of Antietam. Now, the Army of Northern Virginia was regrouping and preparing to repel another Northern assault — which they knew would surely come soon. In early November, Jackson and his troops were encamped east of Winchester, Virginia, and the General established temporary headquarters on the grounds of Carter Hall Plantation.

It was there on November 4, 1862, that Jackson received a visit from General Stuart, who was fresh from battle and a hard night’s ride. Jackson promptly ordered his headquarters cooks to feed the weary warriors. “Nothing was better calculated to restore our good spirits than the summons to the General’s large breakfast-table,” recalled Major Heros von Borcke. Within hours, Stuart and his staff were back in the saddle and bidding goodbye to their host. They left Carter Hall much better for their time spent as General Jackson’s guests. “The good cheer had the happiest effect on Stuart, who enlivened our repast with abundant anecdote and the recital of many a joke,” recalled von Borcke. The laughter and cheer would prove fleeting — ahead lay hard days, heavy fighting and tragic ends for both Jackson and Stuart. Within months, mighty “Stonewall” would be dead, followed in 1864 by the dashing General Stuart. For the moment, however, Jackson and Stuart — like General Lee — were giants of heroic stature in the South this Shenandoah autumn.

Mort Künstler’s Comments

On November 3, 1862, General “Stonewall” Jackson established his headquarters on the grounds of Carter Hall Plantation near Millwood, Virginia, which was located about 11 miles east of Winchester. Carter Hall was the imposing home of Virginia planter Nathaniel Burwell. When Jackson and his staff arrived at Carter Hall, Burwell offered to turn over his home to Jackson, but the general refused. He did not want to inconvenience the Burwell family, and instead ordered his headquarters tent erected in a nearby grove of trees.

Carter Hall exists today, and I chose it as the backdrop for Shenandoah Autumn because of its elegant beauty. Today, the spirit of help and hospitality demonstrated by Carter Hall’s owner in 1862 continues — the 240-acre estate and home serve as world headquarters for Project Hope, the acclaimed humanitarian organization. Project Hope became world famous in 1960, when it sent a white hospital ship around the world administering to the needy. Today, its work continues on a greater scale with land-based hospitals in thirty countries. At its world headquarters, the Carter Hall grounds and home have been carefully preserved and remain just as beautiful as their cause is noble.

On November 4th, Jeb Stuart visited Jackson at Carter Hall for a strategy meeting, and it is that visit that I chose to portray. It gave me the opportunity to not only feature the house at Carter Hall, which is rarely seen by the public, but to also depict two almost mythic Southern leaders during the height of the Civil War. The setting also gave me the chance to paint the beautiful autumn colors of the Shenandoah Valley. It was a rare and remarkable moment — Jackson and Stuart at Carter Hall — and I’m pleased to be able to recreate the memorable event as art.


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