Edgar H. Klemroth sketches (1864)

Collection processed and finding aid created by Rob S. Cox, February 1998, and Meg Hixon, February 2014
Graphics Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: Edgar H. Klemroth sketches
Creator: Klemroth, Edgar H.
Inclusive dates: 1864
Extent: 45 pages
Private Edgar H. Klemroth drew this collection of "Very Rough Sketches" while serving in the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment near Winchester, Virginia, during the winter of 1864-1865. The sketches depict soldiers, horses, army camps and headquarters, equipment, African Americans, and winter scenes.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu

Access and Use

Acquisition Information

1990. P-1506.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation

Edgar H. Klemroth Sketches, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Edgar Halstead Klemroth was born in New York City on September 24, 1837 and worked as a book binder in Philadelphia in the years before the Civil War. He enlisted in the 17th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment before joining the 6th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Cavalry Volunteers' Company A of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry Division as a Corporal on August 24, 1861. Klemroth was tried in a General Court Martial held by the 6th Regiment for absence without leave. He was accused of leaving on September 13, 1862, the night before a minor battle near Jefferson, Maryland, after visiting a surgeon for heart palpitations. He then traveled to Washington D.C. during his unauthorized departure and did not return to duty until October 8, 1862. Klemroth pleaded not guilty to leaving the area but pleaded guilty to absence without leave, arguing that he followed orders, ended up lost, and went to D.C. in hopes of finding his unit. He was found guilty of the charges, reduced in rank from corporal to private, and his monthly pay was reduced by six and a half dollars for six months. Klemroth reenlisted on January 1, 1864, and by August of 1864, he was on "detached duty", serving under General Torbert in the Shenandoah campaign. On August 7, 1865, he was discharged from the army as a Private of the 2nd Pennsylvania Provisional Cavalry Regiment.

After the war, Klemroth lived in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Mary Quinn, and their four children, John, Louisa, William, and Edgar. After Mary's death in 1886, he remarried Florence Shick on October 19, 1887. Following the war, Klemroth worked as a government architect, frequently supervising the construction of federal buildings across the country. He was also an active member of both the Washington Architectural Club and the Union Soldiers' Alliance. Klemroth died at the age of 96 on May 5, 1934, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Collection Scope and Content Note

Private Edgar H. Klemroth drew these "Very Rough Sketches" (45 pages) while serving in the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment during General Philip Henry Sheridan's campaign in Shenandoah from August 1864 to March 1865. Klemroth later presented them to Captain Rudulph Ellis of the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry. The materials include pencil sketches, ink drawings, and wash drawings; a few of the pages contain more than one image. The original black leather binding (15.2 x 24.5 cm) is included in the back of Volume 3. Underneath some of the sketches are faint, hand-written lines of poetry pulled from works of various poets. Klemroth's illustrations show a variety of military scenes, including army camps, winter headquarters near Winchester, and wagons and supply trains in the Virginia countryside. Many sketches highlight the hardships of camp life. Soldiers are shown on horseback and at leisure, sometimes eating, talking, or watching equestrian and mule races. Images 26 and 27 feature soldiers firing during a skirmish, and another (image 10) shows a dog mourning over its dead Confederate owner's body. African Americans, including a young boy and men racing on mules, appear in a few of the drawings. Portraits of General Philip Henry Sheridan, General George Custer, Captain Rudulph Ellis, Brigadier General David Allen Russell, First Lieutenant John Spreadbury, and men in Klemroth's regiment (including scouts) are also present. Some of the items are dated November 1864 or December 1864, and some have descriptions of images written on the back.

Subject Terms

  • Prints shelf.
Visual Subjects:
  • African Americans--Virginia.
  • Custer, George A. (George Armstrong), 1839-1876.
  • Military camps--Virginia--1860-1870.
  • Military headquarters--Virginia--1860-1870.
  • Military life--Virginia--1860-1870.
  • Russell, David Allen, 1820-1864.
  • Shenandoah (Va.)
  • Sheridan, Philip Henry, 1831-1888.
  • Soldiers--United States--1860-1870.
  • United States. Army. Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment, 6th (1861-1865)
  • Virginia--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
  • Winchester (Va.)
Genre Terms:
  • Drawings (visual works)
  • Pen-and-wash drawings.
  • Sketches.

Contents List

Container / Location Title
Volume   1 [I.12a]  
Edgar H. Klemroth sketches, Volume 1 [series] [view images]
1. Very Rough Sketches, Presented to Captain R. Ellis by Edgar H. Klemroth
2. Demoralized condition of the 2d Cavalry Division, in the Shenandoah Valley. The Inspecting officer, on his Tour of duty, approaches a sentry (dismounted cavalry) who appears to be in doubt, either as, to the officers Rank, or the proper manner of saluting
3. A few Domestic Comforts for the officers. This Indicates a forward movement the few little House-hold chattels on the wagon are being conveyed to a place of safety in case the Regiment might return; the Trooper in the rear has kindly loaned his horse (by command of his officer) to make up the team
4. The misfortunes of war. This indicates a retro-gate movement, the small citizen on the tall horse on the left is Wilson; reporter, for the Herald, the tall man on the very small horse in the center is Genl Custar's [Custer] Adjutant General, his own horse being shot, and his magnificent saddle and bridle in the hands of the Enemy who are following up close, the Individual in the rear is supposed to be OKeefe of Genl Sheridan's staff, horse killed also, but more fortunate than the Prussian he has secured his saddle &tc
5. Shenandoah  Nov. 1864. Returning from a Raid. This was another backward movement, the General marched his Troopers to Jackson's Hill, and, as the Rebels obstinatly refused to get out of the way, marched them back again, the melancholy aspect of the staff is caused by the intense cold
6. Head Quarters, General Sheridan, near Winchester Va.  Nov. 1864
7. A darkey mule race
8. The Forge
9. [Untitled sketch showing two soldiers standing with a dog and two horses]
10. The Rebel soldier's dog
11. Winter Amusement, a race at Army Hd. Qrts., Red Eye wins
12. Moss, the Scout
13. Having a high old time, winter amusements.
14. an official character
15. Pat!
16. The Cook!
17. News Boy!
Volume   2 [I.12b]  
Edgar H. Klemroth sketches, Volume 2 [series] [view images]
18. Preparing Breakfast
19. [Untitled sketch showing a saddler at work]
20. Moss the Scout
21. Fishing for the bean!
22. An Indignant starving animal mistakes the inspector for the Quartermaster
23. A Virginia pike team
24. The game afoot
25. Cooking Coffee/The trooper of the Shenadoah
26. Skirmishing mounted Rebel Cavalry
27. Skirmishing dismounted
28. [Untitled sketch showing an elderly man leaning on his walking stick and a hooded woman]
29. A live Johnny leaving the Confederacy
30. Short allowance of canvas
31. Winter Quarters/letter man
32. Old Spread/Ellis/Sheridan/Russell
33. Genl Sheridan
Volume   3 [I.12c]  
Edgar H. Klemroth sketches, Volume 3 [series] [view images]
34. Genl Custer
35. Army Train
36. Head Quarters, Genl Torbert, near Winchester Va. Nov. 1864
37. Carrying water, near Winchester Va.
38. Winter in the Army, Soldiers "snaking" a log
39. Lieut Spreadbury, A.A.I.G. Cavalry. M.M.D., December 1864
40. [Untitled sketch of a soldier saluting his superior officer]
41. Capt Ellis' Quarters
42. [Untitled sketch of a soldier standing in the wind]
43. Shoo Fly
44. [Untitled sketch of cavalry crossing a river]
45. [Untitled sketch of two groups of cavalrymen peacefully meeting in the countryside]

Additional Descriptive Data

Related Materials

The Rev. S.L. Gracey's Annals of the Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry contains a history of Klemroth's regiment.

Havard University's Houghton Library holds sketches done by Klemroth.

Reproductions of Klemroth's work appear in Issac R. Sherwood's ca. 1888 publication The army grayback: a reminiscence.


Clements Library. "Shenandoah 1864: 'Very Rough Sketches' by Edgar Klemroth." In The Quarto vol. 1, no. 1 (1994): 5-7.