Pontoon Bridge Across the Licking River.” There are a handful of men on a bridge depicted in the drawing. A simple and abstract rendering of a group of soldiers across the river is shown. There is a note near the top of the drawing that says, “Put in more men.” That inscription, to me, was quite peculiar. It made me wonder who Henry Mosler was and what the inscription meant.
Henry Mosler (1841-1920) was a portrait and genre painter as well as a wood engraver, illustrator, and sketch artist. Born in Prussia, he came to the United States with his parents in 1849. His family eventually settled in Cincinnati. There, Mosler apprenticed as a wood engraver and learned the basics of painting. Mosler began his career as a designer and engraver. During 1862 and 1863, Mosler visited several military posts in Kentucky as an artist for Harper’s Weekly, which was one of the most popular periodicals during the Civil War.other Henry Mosler holdings, I came across Mosler’s finished version of his drawing in the form of an illustration from the September 27, 1862 issue of Harper’s Weekly. The title of this image is called “Pontoon Bridge over Licking Creek, Near Covington, Kentucky.”
The inscription from the pencil drawing made perfect sense. The inscription was Mosler’s “note to self.” If you compare his sketch to the published work, it’s clear that Mosler “put in more men.”
Take a look for yourself! What other similarities and differences can you see?
--Beth A. Caffery Carter
KHS Collections Management Assistant