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Gathering of the Eagles by Clyde Heron. Historical American Civil art print of General Lee shown with confederate General Joseph E Johnson, Stonewall Jackson before Fredericksburg.

Gathering of Eagles by Clyde Heron.  

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Text for the above print as shown on the certificate:

Mr. Lincoln's "Prince of Procrastination," General George McClellan, had finally been prodded into action. On March 17th, 1862, one day ahead of the deadline imposed by the President, the first of McClellan's divisions embarked at Alexandria. "The worst is over," the general assured his superiors by letter. "Rely upon it that I will carry this thing through handsomely."

His optimism was short-lived. McClellan's peninsula campaign did not go nearly as smoothly as he had anticipated. It was May 24th before his forces occupied the village of Mechanicsville, still some five miles from Richmond. Here his progress was stalled because the Chickahominy River was on the rise and he had to put his men to work building no fewer than eleven bridges across the river in a twelve mile stretch south to Bottom's bridge. Then to add to his problems, he received word that General McDowell's 40,000 men would not be at his disposal as had been the plan.

Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston learned that McDowell was returning to Fredericksburg on the night of May 23rd, a move he knew he had precipitated by an event at Front Royal on May 23rd. A surprise attack by Stonewall Jackson upon General Nathanial Banks had set his main army to flight, half destroyed his wagon train, and in a full scale battle at Winchester, put the Federals into panic.

Now that Johnston did not have to worry about McDowell, he would attack the Federals south of the Chickahominy and overwhelm their left wing before it could be reinforced from across the river. The battle of Seven Pines began at 1.00pm on May 31st, when D. H. Hills division launched a massive attack, overrunning Casey's Federal troops. The battle raged on until dusk and Johnston concluded that the battle would have to continue the next day.

At about 7.00pm he rode toward the front with his young orderly and a staff colonel, seeing to the disposition of his troops. As he neared the edge of the battlefield, Johnston saw the officer duck his head as an enemy shell whistled by, Johnston smiled and said, "Colonel there is no use of dodging, when you hear them they have passed." Just then a Federal musket ball struck Johnston in the right shoulder. A moment later a heavy fragment of shell slammed into the general's chest, knocking him to the ground unconscious.

President Jefferson Davis and General Robert E. Lee greeted Johnston as he was moved to the rear. The severely wounded general had regained consciousness but was growing weaker and was taken from the field.

Davis pressed General Gustavus Smith, the ranking officer, for his plans since he would logically inherit command. Smith's hesitant replies did not suit Davis, and his mention of pulling back even closer to Richmond was unacceptable.

No one was near Lee and Davis as they rode slowly through the swarm of vehicles carrying the wounded into Richmond - not close enough to hear Davis' words which placed Lee in command; however, his most devoted biographer was to render them: "General Lee, I shall assign you to the command of this army. Make your preparations as soon as you reach your quarters. I shall send you the order when you get to Richmond."

Major Generals James Longstreet, A.P. Hill and D.H. Hill were already engaged in the theatre of operations, but before calling these commanders to council, Lee would add one more name to the list. He sent insistent dispatches to Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson urging him to hurry to Richmond. Lee put the order gently, "If you agree," but the compelling haste was clear in every line. Jackson was to conceal his movements and come as swiftly as possible to the capital. It was an order to delight Jackson; he might have written it himself.

At almost the same moment Jackson read Lee's order, General Banks was telegraphing Washington that Old Jack was advancing on him in overwhelming force. Jackson's answer to Lee's summons was not to be an easy task, a fifty-two mile ride in fourteen hours.

It was Sunday, June 27th, and Jackson chose to delay the start of his journey until 1.00am so that he would not break the Sabbath. It would be mid-afternoon before he arrived at Lee's headquarters in the Dabb's farmhouse near Richmond. He found Lee at work and waited for him in the yard, D.H. Hill arrived and was most surprised to find his newly-famous brother-in-law present for the meeting, since he had only yesterday been far down the valley confronting Banks. Yet there he was.

Things were bad, the barbed-tongued Hill told Jackson. His forces were being crushed by McClellan's huge army. There was little food, scarce supplies, and even their cannon were untrustworthy.

Jackson made little reply to his outspoken friend as they went inside. They were soon joined by Longstreet and H.P. Hill. Longstreet, a Union captain when the war came, was squat, stubborn, and becoming deaf at the age of 41. Red-haired A.P. Hill was hot-tempered, but brilliant and had yet to be tested in the field.

Lee began to explain the plan of assault on the Yankees. It was a bold plan, born of desperation in an effort to stave off a siege of Richmond. Lee was but 55. He had held command for just three weeks and had fought no battle beyond giving direction in the final hours of the inconclusive action at Seven Pines. Although there was a gentle authority in his voice, his manner of offering his plan bordered on humility. He spoke as became the man who had lately written on taken command from the wounded Johnston, "I wish his mantle had fallen on an abler man, or that I were able to drive our enemies back to their homes. I have no ambition and no desire to but the attainment of this object, and therefore only wish for its accomplishment by him that can do it most speedily and thoroughly."

Within the next four days, 85,000 Confederates faced 105,000 Bluecoats and emerged triumphant. Union General George McClellan not only lost men and supplies, he lost the initiative. Lee had his first victory. 

 

 

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 Two Spitfire Mk1Bs of 92 Squadron patrol the south coast from their temporary base at Ford, here passing over the Needles rocks, Isle of Wight, in the Spring of 1942.

In Them We Trust by Ivan Berryman. (AP)
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 The Sopwith Dolphin was a radical departure from previous Sopwith design philosophies, embodying a reverse-stagger on the wings, a water-cooled Hispano-Suiza engine and an unusual, but highly popular positioning of the cockpit which gave the pilot unprecedented views. One exponent of this purposeful looking machine was Canadian Major A D Carter who claimed many of his 31 victories flying the Dolphin. He is shown here sending an Albatross to the ground on 8th May 1918 whilst flying C4017. Carter was himself shot down soon after became a prisoner of war. He was killed in 1919 whilst test flying a Fokker D.VII at Shoreham, Sussex.

Major Albert Carter by Ivan Berryman. (GS)
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Magdeburg, Germany, 10th April 1945.  Attacking from behind and above, ObLt.Walter Schuck, Staffelkapitain of 3./JG7, ripped through the massed boxes of 8th Airforce B17s, downing four in a single high speed pass.

Deadly Pass by David Pentland. (P)
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 79 Sqn Hurricane of F/Lt Owen Tracey trying to get airborne again amid explosions from the attacking German Dorniers on 15th August 1940.

Tribute to F/Lt Owen Tracey by Ivan Berryman. (P)
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  B-17G 42-37755 NV-A 325th Bomb Squadron, 92nd Bomb Group from Poddington crash landing in Switzerland on 25th February 1944 after sustaining damage over enemy territory after a raid on Augsburg and Stuttgart.

Safe Pastures by Mark Postlethwaite.
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The leading ace of the mighty Eighth Air Force, Gabby Gabreski. He finished the war with a total of 28 air victories and 2 1/2 enemy aircraft destroyed on the ground by strafing airfields. Gabreski also scored 6 1/2 air victories in the Korean war.

Return From Bremen by Simon Smith.
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 Byron Duckenfield and his 501 Squadron wingman struggle to get airborne in their Hurricanes as the spectacle of the scrambling squadron draws a group of passing motorists out of their vehicle to witness the thunderous noise of the aircraft.

501 Sqn Scramble by Ivan Berryman. (P)
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 A sad, but magnificent sight on 24th October 2003 as the last three British Airways Concordes bring commercial supersonic travel to a close, as they taxi together to their final dispersal at Heathrow.

Concorde Farewell by Ivan Berryman.
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NAVAL PRINTS

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 Flt. Lt. John Alexander Cruickshank in his consolidated Catalina. Winning his Victoria Cross for sinking U-347.

Sinking of U-Boat 347 by Tim Fisher.
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 On the 1st of August 1798, thirteen French ships of the line sat anchored in Aboukir Bay off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt, in support of Napoleon who was inland with his troops attempting to conquer the country. As nighttime approached so did Lord Horatio Nelson and the British fleet. Nelson had been hunting Napoleon at sea for months; at Aboukir Bay he had found the French fleet, trapped and unprepared for battle. Nelsons audacious plan was to attack the French on their unprotected prot side, the plan had its risks; the whole of the British fleet could run aground in the shallows - but Nelson knew the waters too well. The Battle of the Nile was one of the most decisive in the history of naval warfare. By the end of the battle nearly all the French ships were sunk or captured. The 124-gun flagship - and the pride of the French navy - LOrient, had exploded with such ferocity that it halted the battle for over ten minutes. Napoleons ability to dominate the region had been crushed, whilst Nelson was to become a hero throughout the whole of Britain.

Battle of the Nile by Anthony Saunders. (Y)
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 Sunset over Aboukir Bay on 1st August 1798 as ships of the Royal Navy, led by Nelson, conduct their ruthless destruction of the anchored French fleet. Ships shown from left to right. HMS Orion, Spartiate, Aquilon, Peuple Souvrain, HMS Defence, HMS Minotaur and HMS Swiftsure.

Battle of the Nile by Ivan Berryman. (YB)
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 Launched on the Clyde on 1st February 2006, HMS Daring was the first of six Type 45 AAW destroyers ordered for the Royal Navy, the type representing a massive leap forward in technology and capability.  HMS Daring was officially handed over to the Royal Navy on 10th December 2008 and is depicted here in liaison with a Merlin helicopter.

HMS Daring by Ivan Berryman. (P)
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B114AP. HMS Carmania sinking the German armed liner SS Cap Trafalgar off Ilha da Trindade, South Atlantic. 14th September 1914.  By Ivan Berryman.
HMS Carmania sinking the German armed liner SS Cap Trafalgar off Ilha da Trindade, South Atlantic. 14th September 1914. By Ivan Berryman. (AP)
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At 12.30pm on the 21st of October 1805, Admiral Lord Nelson on board his flagship, HMS Victory, breaks the line of the combined French and Spanish fleets.  The Victory is delivering a devastating stern rake to the 80 gun French ship Bucentaure, the flagship of the combined fleets, commanded by Vice-Admiral P. C. J. B. S. Villeneuve.  Starboard to the Victory is the 74 gun Redoutable.  This ship, the Victory and HMS Temeraire, seen left, became locked together soon after, the unequal exchange resulting in the Redoutable having the highest casualties during the entire battle.

Breaking the Line at the Battle of Trafalgar by Graeme Lothian. (AP)
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Showing visible signs of her tangle with British cruisers at the Battle of the River Plate, the German pocket battleship Graf Spee slips into the neutral waters of the Montevideo roadstead accompanied by the Uruguayan gunboat Rio Negro for light repairs. (Damage can be seen on the hull and behind the Conning tower ) . This was to be the last haven for the Graf Spee which was later scuttled at the harbour mouth, her commander Kapitan zur See Langsdorff believing a large British fleet to be waiting for attempted escape into the South Atlantic.

Admiral Graf Spee enters Montevideo by Ivan Berryman. (Y)
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Swordfish of 825 Sqn led by Lt-Cdr Esmonde begin their heroic attack on the battlescruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen as they make their way up the English Channel from Brest during Operation Cerberus on 12th February 1942.  Although all the aircraft were lost and no significant damage was done to the German fleet, all the pilots were decorated for their bravery and Lt-Cdr Esmonde received the first Fleet Air Arm VC to be awarded, albeit posthumously.  The painting depicts the first wave of Swordfish attacking the Scharnhorst with Gneisenau taking avoiding action in the distance.  A German torpedo boat has turned to confront the attacking aircraft.

Attack on the Scharnhorst by Ivan Berryman (AP)
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 Commandos of 1st Special Service Brigade, led by Lord Lovat, are piped past the defenders of the Caen canal (Pegasus) bridge by piper Bill Millin. The bridge was originally taken in a coup de main attack by the gliders of 6th Airborne Divisions D Company, 2nd battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, led by Major John Howard earlier that morning. Shortly afterwards the glider troops were reinforced by 7 Parachute Battalion, and together they held the area against German attacks until the main British forces landing at Sword beach could fight through to join them.

Piper Bill, Pegasus Bridge, Normandy, 13.00hrs, 6th June 1944 by David Pentland. (Y)
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 Men of the US 381st Infantry Regiment, 96th Division supported by the tanks of 763rd and 713th Flamethrower Tank Battalions, during the assault on Yaeju Dake. This escarpment, known as Big Apple was the last in a series of tough Japanese defence lines on the south of the Island.

Taking of Big Apple, Okinawa, 10th - 14th June 1945 by David Pentland. (GL)
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9th (Irish) Field Battery firing on the Run-in-shoot to Queen Beach. They were the first rounds fired at the Normandy Coast, D-Day 6th June, 1944. Queen Beach, one of the 4 sectors of Sword Beach, where most of the landings of D-Day were carried out. The Queen Beach sector which extended for 1.5km between Lion-sur-Mer and the western edge of Ouistretham. The attack was thus concentrated on a narrow one-brigade front. For once the DD tanks and other armour came in exactly on time and ahead of the infantry. The 8th brigade, with the 1st Battalion of the South Lancashire Regiment on the right and the 2nd East Yorkshire on the left.

Operation Overlord by David Rowlands (B)
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 After almost two months of continuous fighting in the front line, remnants of the 12th SS Panzer Division, Hitler Jugend, fall back under incessant air attacks by allied fighter bombers for their final battles in France. In their defense of the northern flank of what is to become the Falaise Gap the new Jagdpanzer IV in particular is to prove a formidable foe to the attacking British and Canadian tanks.

The Falaise Gap, Normandy, 12th - 20th August 1944 by David Pentland.
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 Troops of the 1st Hampshires assaulting Gold Beach during the Normandy Landings. Gold beach was one of the British beaches on D-Day. Gold beach was the western most beach of the British beaches, on D-Day. Gold beach was between two twenty metre high cliffs where German fortifications had been built. The beach had been protected by concrete casemates which took some time to break through. This happened with support form British tanks in the afternoon of D-day 6th June. The British tanks and reinforcements moved off the beaches towards Saint-Come-de-Fresene and Arromanches which were both liberated by 9pm.

D-Day Gold Beach, 6th June 1944 by Simon Smith. (AP)
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 A Tiger I and PAK 40 anti tank gun of the Müncheberg Division, field a final defence of the capital in front of the Brandenburg Gate under the shattered remains of the famous Linden trees. The under-strength division had just been formed the previous month from a mixture of ad hoc units and various marks of tank. Despite this it put up a spirited fight until its final destruction in early May.

Tiger at the Gate, Berlin, 30th april 1945 by David Pentland. (GS)
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 Bastogne, Ardennes, Belgium, 20th December 1944.  Newly arrived 81mm Mortars of 2nd Battalion, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division, fire in support of U.S. Paratroopers defending against German probes to the north of Bastogne.

Fire for Effect by David Pentland.
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 OT34 Flamethrower tank and men of Col. Krickmans 6th Guards Tank Brigade take part in the Soviet counter attacks of 13th-27th September in defence of the southern factory district of Stalingrad before the final offensive in October.

Motherland, The Battle of Stalingrad, September 1942 by David Pentland. (GL)
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