The Peacemakers

In honor of the anniversary of the Confederate surrender to the Union at Appomattox I wanted to post an image of this painting. Named “The Peacemakers” it depicts the principal strategists of the Union, aboard the “River Queen” in what was then territory still claimed by the rebels, City Point, Virginia. In essence, this is a depiction of the process and gravity of grand strategy, and the idealization of how it should work in practice. The Civil War was also the conflict that changed the U.S. Navy from a small force, into a larger and significantly more strategically important one, with Porter playing an equal role to those of Grant and Sherman. All the main elements of the war are represented here, Sherman’s campaigning, Grant’s Army of the Potomac, and Porter’s river wars and the great blockade to strangle the South. What is depicted is the conference wherein the principals were trying to make a plan for how to end the war, and for that was to happen once it did. This is not just a poignant reminder of our history, but it should also be treated as a mnemonic for the importance of coherent strategy and the role of planning for what happens next.1200px-The_Peacemakers_1868