Many artists are recognized for their contemporary work on Civil War topics. Those illustrating naval actions or scenes, however, are few in comparison with those who covered military actions and events ashore. Civil War marine artists include Alfred R. Waud, Xanthus Russell Smith, and Conrad Wise Chapman. A member of that group, though generally unrecognized as such, is Robert Fulton Weir. While Weir did not leave behind a body of work that would make him prominent, he did illustrate scenes that depicted his personal observations of the sectional conflict.
A search for adventure spurred Weir early in his life. Born at West Point, New York, in 1836, he seemed to have all he would need for contentment. His father, Robert Walter Weir, was an accomplished Hudson River School landscape painter and served as a professor of drawing at the U.S. Military Academy for 42 years.
Richard Rush et al., eds., Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1894–1914).
Marian Wardle, ed., The Weir Family, 1820–1920: Expanding the Traditions of American Art (Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England, 2011).
“Robert Weir Dead,” The New York Times, 18 January 1905.
“Robert Walter Weir, Jr.,” Swann Auction Galleries, catalogue.swanngalleries.com/asp/fullcatalogue.asp?salelot=2241+++++288+&refno=642772&image=1.
Robert Weir Papers, Pearce Civil War Collection, The Pearce Museum, Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas.
Robert Weir Papers, G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic, CT.
Robert Weir, Approved Pension Applications of Widows and Other Dependents of Civil War and Later, 1861–1910, Certificate 17195, M1279, National Archives, Washington, DC.