Reposing Cold and Silent - The VMI Cadet Battery
Signed and Numbered
by Cathleen Lawless
22 by 28 inches
$315 framed and matted
$150 print alone
Note Cards Available: pack of 8, $15.95
The Cadet Battery was cast in 1848 specifically for VMI. The four six-pounder cannon were manufactured to be 300 pounds lighter than their service counterparts to enable artillery training by the young VMI Cadets, and were painted red to further distinguish them from standard pieces. Artillery instruction at VMI prior to the Civil War was taught by, among others, Major Thomas J. Jackson. Between 1851 and 1861, Jackson instructed over 400 cadets in artillery tactics; those cadets would become the officer corps for the artillery of the Army of Northern Virginia.
The Cadet Battery saw action in the Civil War; they were on the field with Jackson at First Manassas where he was forever immortalized as "Stonewall." The guns were used in battle by the Rockbridge Artillery, first commanded by Captain William Pendleton, who would later command the Artillery Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia. Pendleton, an Episcopal Priest, is credited with naming the four six-pounders Matthew, Mark, Luke and John because they "spoke a strong gospel."
Artist Cathleen Lawless was moved during a January 2003 visit to the Institute by the stunning incongruity between their past and present. Her brother, Jim Conrad, graduated from VMI in 1978. Their frozen stillness on that day belied their loud and violent history. The converging pattern of the bright red carriages against the brilliant white snow caught the artist's eye, not as weapons of war, but as an intriguing composition of color and contrast. She sought to memorialize in watercolor the color, the contrast, the past and the present as she saw them that cold January day.
" Reposing Cold and Silent" is the result. Juried into the Virginia Watercolor Society's 2004 Annual Exhibition, the painting captures the unlikely beauty and quiet solitude of Jackson's Battery in a manner befitting the irony of their names: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Its soft evocation of the VMI colors, red, white and yellow, bind together alumni who for over 150 years have equated Jackson's Battery with the omnipresent legend of Stonewall himself. It is a window into both the past and present at VMI, depicting icons of history that have known both war and peace, in its own way representative of the uniqueness of the VMI experience.
Please email the museum store ordering or for additional information