Civil War Toy Soldier Project

It has been a very busy stretch of time and opportunities for writing have been limited. I will be catching the Blog up with some of the work that my Civil War students and I have undertaken. One exciting project was our attempts to replicate the work of the artist, Vic Muniz. While subbing for a colleague in my school’s Art Department, I caught a quick image in a movie of Muniz’s portrayal of the iconic photograph of Edwin Jemison with plastic toy soldiers. With over half of my students away on Senior Shared Life where they volunteer outside of school for 2 weeks, I thought the remaining students and I would attempt our own Toy Soldier Project.

Below is a historic photograph of Private Edwin Jemison and the Muniz portrayal. Jemison is known to most Civil War enthusiasts as the hauntingly, youthful looking Confederate who suffered a grizzly death at Malvern Hill.
Private_Edwin_Francis_JemisonMuniz toy soldier

My students decided that we should portray a historic photo that represents Wisconsin soldiers so they chose this Iron Brigade soldier with the signature tall Black Hat. It was a great addition to our discussion on Civil War photography. The project took two class periods with some fine-tuning before and after school. We printed a very feint image of the photo on paper that measured 6′-0″ x 9′-0″ and used approximately 500 soldiers. We were amazed at how the project turned out. This will certainly be a project that we will replicate during the MUHS Summer Civil War Institute.


MUHS toy soldier

MUHS “Toy Soldier” Iron Brigade Portrait (2014)


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