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J. Hope

J. Hope

Federal (USV)


James Hope

(1818 - 1892)

Home State: Vermont

Education: Castleton (VT) Seminary

Command Billet: Scout

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 2nd Vermont Infantry

Before Antietam

He came to eastern Canada from Scotland with his father in 1827. Orphaned in 1831 at age 13, he went to Fairhaven, VT and was an apprentice wagon-maker for 5 years.

With money saved he attended the Castleton Vermont Seminary for a year (1839-40) and took up portrait painting. He painted in Rutland, Vermont in 1843, but moved to the more lucrative market of Montreal from 1844 to 1846. Upon leaving Montreal, Hope reestablished in Castleton and devoted himself to landscape painting. Hope send a Castleton landscape to the 1849 exhibition of the American Art Union and by 1854 head work accepted by the National Academy of Design. Thereafter, for more than twenty-five years, he was a frequent contributor to the exhibitions there and a the Brooklyn Art Association. An occasional exhibitor in Boston, he also sent paintings to shows in Philadelphia, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Detroit, Utica, Chicago, and St. Louis.
(excerpted from James Hope, at White Mountain Art & Artists)
In 1860 he was a 41 year old artist at Castleton, Rutland County, VT. He helped organize a company of troops there and was commissioned Captain of Company B, 2nd Vermont Infantry on 15 May 1861.

On the Campaign

"Hope had taken part in a dozen engagements prior to Antietam, but disabled by illness, was assigned to sideline duties as a scout and mapmaker. He recorded in his sketchbook the battle scenes before his eyes, and then after the battle converted his sketches into a series of five large paintings."
(text from National Park Service introduction to an online exhibit of the Hope Paintings)

The rest of the War

He resigned his commission on 20 December 1862 due to illness.

After the War

After the war he gained popularity as a painter of battle scenes. About 1872 he built a studio and art gallery in Watkins Glen, NY and spent the last twenty years of his life there.

References & notes

His service basics from Peck.1 Personal details from family genealogists and the US Census of 1860 and 1880, and the New York State Census of 1875. His gravesite is on Findagrave. His picture from a photograph in the collection of the Antietam National Battlefield Park.

He married Julia Marietta Smith (1820-1906) in September 1841 and they had 5 children.


11/29/1818; Drygrange, Roxboroughshire, Scotland


10/29/1892; Watkins Glen, NY; burial in Glenwood Cemetery, Watkins Glen, NY


1   Peck, Theodore S., Adjutant General, and The Vermont Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, Revised Roster of Vermont Volunteers and Lists of Vermonters who Served in the Army and Navy of the United States During the War of the Rebellion 1861-66, Montpelier: Press of the Watchman Publishing Co., 1892, pg. 36  [AotW citation 29760]