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Federal (CIV)

Edwin Forbes

(1839 - 1895)

Home State: New York

Command Billet: Newspaper Artist

Branch of Service: Civilian

Unit: Army of the Potomac

Before Antietam

Born John Edwin Forbes, he trained as as an artist beginning at 18, sprecializing in portraying animals and landscapes, and joined Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper at 22 when the War began in early 1862. He was with the Army of the Potomac for most of its action into the siege of Petersburg, in 1864.

On the Campaign

He was with the Army on the Maryland Campaign. See some of his work in the Battle Illustrations gallery.

The rest of the War

He continued to make art for the rest of his life, with a studio in Brooklyn for most of that time. He built a considerable body of work, primarily etchings, on military subjects based on his War work, and later returned to landscapes. He published two major collections of drawings and etchings: "Life Studies of the Great Army" (1876) and "Thirty Years After, An Artist's Memoir of the Civil War" (1890).

References & notes

Bio basics from Appleton's 1, with further details from William J. Cooper, Jr., in his introduction to the 1993 edition of Thirty Years After from the LSU Press. There are a number of online references to the artist as Edwin Austin Forbes, but it's not clear when or if he adopted a new middle name.


1839; New York City, NY


03/06/1895; Brooklyn, NY; burial in Green-wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY


1   Fiske, John, and James Grant Wilson, editors, Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, 6 vols., New York City: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889, Vol. 2, pg. 498  [AotW citation 215]