Gordon under medical inspection

Unidentified Artist and McPherson & Oliver1863

Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery
Washington, D.C., United States

Published on Independence Day 1863, in the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg, this issue of Harper’s Weekly featured several articles concerning recent action in the field by black troops fighting for the Union cause.
The uppermost image represents the June 1863 raid along the Combahee River by the Second South Carolina Volunteers (Colored)—led by Colonel James Montgomery, with assistance from Harriet Tubman—that freed hundreds of slaves and resulted in the confiscation or destruction of Confederate-held property and supplies.
The portraits at the bottom of the page illustrate an account of Gordon’s escape from bondage and his subsequent military service. Based on photographs, the images document Gordon’s metamorphosis from fugitive slave to U.S. soldier, punctuated by a view of his horribly scarred back.


  • Title: Gordon under medical inspection
  • Creator: Unidentified Artist, McPherson & Oliver
  • Date Created: 1863
  • Physical Dimensions: w28 x h40.4 cm (Sheet)
  • Type: Wood engraving
  • Rights: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
  • External Link: https://npg.si.edu/portraits
  • Classification: Print

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