Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Adolph G. Metzner (1834-1918)

The most recent issue of Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History (Winter 2011), the magazine of the Indiana Historical Society, features an article about Adolph G. Metzner, a German-born artist who served on the side of the Union during the Civil War. The cover and most of the contents of this issue commemorate the sesquicentennial of Indiana's involvement in the Civil War.

Born in 1834, Metzner enlisted in Indianapolis in 1861 and served in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia. Along the way, he drew and painted pictures of what he witnessed. Traces displays several pieces of artwork in full color, from a burlesque camp scene to one of the most gruesome images I have ever seen published in an American magazine. The images are drawn from the same sources used in the publication of a book called Blood Shed in This War: Civil War Illustrations by Captain Adolph Metzner, 32nd Indiana by the author of the article in Traces, Michael A. Peake.

Metzner returned to Indianapolis after the war and worked as a pharmacist. He later gave up pharmacy for research and industry in the field of ceramics. He died in New Jersey in 1918 but is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.

The name of the article, by the way, is "Adolph G. Metzner: Entrepreneur, Soldier, and Artist." And rather than steal any thunder from the book, the magazine, the article, or the author, I will simply refer you to them, each one as you like.

Copyright 2015 Terence E. Hanley

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