After the Civil War which had claimed the lives of 620,000 and wounded some 480,000 people, many American artists and writers took stock of both the grief and the moment of reunification. Mount’s hopeful scene of a girl in Confederate red holding a white surrender kerchief and a boy waving a victorious American flag from atop one of the most venerable local landmarks, a boulder on the Setauket green, seemed appropriate. In Whitman’s Drum-Taps, published that same spring, the flag spoke more to a deeper sacrifice:
Flag of stars! Thick-sprinkled bunting!
Long yet your road, fateful flag!—long yet your road,
and lined with bloody death!