Few sketches survive from the period in which Henry Mosler served as an aide-de camp in the Civil War. He typically prepared his drawings in a sketchbook in the field and sent them to his editor at Harper's Weekly.
His small diary measures 15 by 8 cm or 6 by 2.5 in. It's roughly the size of a dollar bill or a smart-phone. And, it's a slim volume; only 37 pages remain.
Yet, one can find a few pencil drawings amid the pages of handwritten daily entries, addresses, and other lists. One is this line drawing of a streetscape.
When compared with his published illustrations, it is clear that this was a study of the streetscape of Danville, Kentucky. Details of the buildings make it evident. Consider the similar roof lines, steeples, facade compositions, fenestration, and massing.
In his diary, Mosler noted:
Today we namely the 9th Indiana Ky were ordered to advance as skirmishers to Bardstown We advanced only a short distance when the Rebel opened a brisk fire our skirmishers returned the fire bravely we drove them fighting through Danville The citizens not at all frightened waved the Union Flag and Handkerchiefs while the Bullets were flying The reception was grand People where so overjoyed that they stopped our horses and forced us shake hands before we passed in the evening we returned to our old Camp where we rested well all night being rather cold.
Harper's Weekly published a brief note of explanation from Mosler as a companion piece to the image.
Danville, October 14, 1862.
To the Editor of Harper's Weekly:
Inclosed please find a sketch of the reception of the Ninth Indiana Regiment at Danville, Kentucky, after driving the rebels nearly five miles, fighting their way through town,which was held by the rebel John Morgan and his force of cavalry. The Ninth fought gallantly, commanded by the brave Colonel W. H. Blake. We captured, including prisoners in hospitals, about 500, who were all paroled. The Union feeling and exhibition of joy when we entered was never equaled. This is also the residence of General Fry and General Boyle. The town contains about 3000 inhabitants. The Ninth Indiana was greatly complimented by their General, W. L. Smith Commanding, General Nelson's Division.
Yours respectfully, Henry Mosler