GETTYSBURG SKETCH OF THE JACOB SWISHER FARM BY 9TH MASS BATTERY VETERAN & ARTIST RICHARD HOLLAND

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Item Code: 955-48

This full page black and white sketch was done looking north at the farmhouse of Jacob Swisher on the Taneytown Road. The house is located just south of the Artillery Ridge Campground. Sketch meas. approx. 7.75 x 4.50 inches.

This well done sketch shows the details of the house as well as one of the smaller out buildings and highlights the white picket fence that ran along the eastern edge of the Taneytown Road passed the house. Holland captured the correct rise in the road and for scale has included two men at the top of the hill in the road and one walking along the road with a hoe closer to the viewer.

Bottom of sketch bears the title “JACOB SWEISER ON TANEYTOWN ROAD NEAR ROUND TOP.”

Research shows that the house was used as a hospital for Hay’s 3rd Division of the 2nd Corps.

This sketch was done by Richard Holland when he returned to Gettysburg as a part of the 9th Massachusetts Battery Monument Committee in 1884.

Included with sketch is a facsimile copy of the front inside cover of the sketchbook to which is glued three newspaper articles regarding the 9th Massachusetts Battery monument at Gettysburg.

Richard Holland was born to Michael and Joanna Holland in Ireland on March 15, 1842. He came to the United States with his family at age 12 and settled in North Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Eventually Holland became an apprentice to Captain Lucius Richmond and learned the trade of a painter in which profession he was engaged when the Civil War began.

The now 21 year old Holland enlisted in the office of the selectman of North Bridgewater on July 29, 1862 and was assigned to the 9th Massachusetts Light Battery. At the time of his enlistment Holland was described as being 5’ 6 ½” tall with blue eyes, black hair and a dark complexion.

The 9th Massachusetts Battery served with the 5th and 9th Corps of the Army of the Potomac. Private Holland served as the #4 crewman on a gun in the left section of the battery and was responsible for priming and firing the gun on command. He was present with the battery throughout its service being engaged at Gettysburg, Mine Run, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Bethesda Church, Totopotomoy, Petersburg, Weldon Railroad, Hatcher’s Run and the pursuit of Lee. The batteries heaviest loss occurred at Gettysburg where they were very heavily engaged on July 2nd on the Trostle farm. During that action they lost 8 men killed, 19 wounded and 1 missing. Holland was mustered out at the close of the war on June 6, 1865 and brought home with him a sketchbook in which he had kept drawings of people and places related to his service.

He was married twice. The first time to Miss Cecilia Pray in May of 1866. Sadly she died at age 36 of heart disease in April of 1880. The couple had two children, Charles born August 9, 1870 and Mary Cecilia born October 3, 1872.    Mr. Holland married for the second time on July 1, 1882 to Marietta M. Monk. The couple had no children.

After the war Holland resumed his trade as a painter. He became known for his skill graining and later in frescos. His paintings were found in churches throughout the area of his hometown as well as in the Brockton City Hall in Brockton, Massachusetts. His work in the town hall was considered “handsome and spirited.” The frescos depict the battle between the USS KEARSARGE and the CSS ALABAMA, Fort Sumter, the Monitor and the Merrimack, the 12th Massachusetts Battery going into action at Antietam, a Union drummer boy and a mounted cavalry scouting party led by his former employer Lucius Richmond.

Aside from the Brockton Town Hall, Holland also became known for smaller canvas paintings of still life, landscapes etc... However he avoided portraiture in which he felt he did not excel.

In 1884 he returned to Gettysburg as part of a commission to look into the placement of a memorial to the 9th Massachusetts Battery. While there he added to his wartime sketchbook numerous views of the Gettysburg battlefield.

Holland was a member of the Fletcher Webster Post #13 of the GAR and Appomattox Regiment of the Union Veteran’s Union. He was known for lending his artistic talents to any organization he was a member of and without payment.

When he died of pneumonia on January 12, 1906 he was remembered as a helpful, modest, unassuming and kind person. He is buried in Union Cemetery in Brockton, Massachusetts.

Holland’s military records accompany this item.  [ad]

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