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The Last Meeting of Lee and Jackson, 1869
Everett B.D. Julio (1843-1879)

View Artist Bio
Oil on canvas
9 x 6 feet
Signature Details: Julio St. Louis Mo. 1869
Status: American Civil War Museum Collection, Richmond, Virginia

Stonewall Jackson once said that he would "follow blind folded" his commanding officer General Robert E. Lee. The admiration which these  two soldiers--the greatest military leaders to serve the cause of the Confederacy--bore each other was mutual and deep indeed. According to legend, they met for the last time at Chancellorsville, Virginia, the night of May 1, 1863. General Hooker was pressing down the Rappahannock with great speed, and the Confederate generals decided to divide their forces, leaving Lee to meet the enemy head-on while Jackson was to make a wide arc and attack from the rear. Before daylight on May 2 Jackson began his last march. He struck the rear of Hooker's right flank, routing the eleventh corps and forcing it to retreat across the river. Returning to camp from the front that night, Jackson rode between Confederate lines and was accidentally shop three times in the arm by a North Carolina picket. When he subsequently heard that Jackson's arm had to be amputated, Lee remarked, "Jackson has lost his left arm, but I have lost my right arm." Jackson never recuperated. He contracted pneumonia and deteriorated rapidly. He died at Guiney's Station on May 10.

Historians maintain that a meeting between Lee and Jackson never occurred on the night of May 1; but so persistent and fond was the alleged meeting in the hearts and minds of Southerners that an enterprising artist from abroad created his masterpiece when he put that legend to canvas in his St. Louis studio. Everett B.D. Julio was the artist who completed "The Last Meeting" four years after peace was signed at Appomattox Court House. An early reviewer of the picture described it thus:

Lee sits erect upon his favorite iron gray charger, and is evidently conversing earnestly about the approaching battle.  His right arm is extended, while with his left hand he grasps firmly the bridle.

Jackson sits upon his light sorrel charger in an easy, somewhat negligent manner, and is listening thoughtfully to the enunciations of the chief he loved so well. His right hand rests upon the cropper and hold his fatigue cap, which had been doffed, doubtless, in salutation.The likenesses have been declared faultless by those who were familiar with the originals, and we pronounce that of General Lee the best extant.1

Lee himself was pleased with the picture. In a letter written from Lexington, dated November 1, 1869, he thanked Julio for the photograph of the painting that he had sent him, only complaining that the glass had broken in transit, but remarking that "the effect is spirited and the execution book."2

It was Julio's intention to sell the painting by subscription (each subscriber paying one dollar, and in return receiving an engraving of the picture) and then to give it to General Lee.  The money so generated was at first collected by General Beauregard,3 but one year later and after Lee's death, the cause was taken over by the "ladies" of New Orleans whose purpose was to suspend the painting in the Memorial Chapel at Washington and Lee University where Lee's ashes were enterred.4

The painting was on view for one year beginning in January 1870 in the art gallery of Messrs. Wagener and Meyer's, No. 166 Canal Street, in New Orleans.5 After that it probably was toured about the South in a continuing effort to raise money to cover the artist's costs. It was favorably reviewed when it was shown in Richmond in late 1873.6 Back in New Orleans and on  public display in the armory of the Washington Artillery, it remained the talk of the town for many years. Mark Twain went out of his way to see it, and he described it in his Tales of the Mississippi.

Referring to prints made after "The Last Meeting" Ellen Foley wrote in The New Orleans State on February 17, 1924:

Copies of `The Last Meeting of Lee and Jackson' are scattered throughout the South and there are many Southern men and women that cannot recall the first time they saw the portrayal of the incident, so much a part of their memories has it become.

Engravings, lithographs and photographic reproductions of this picture were at one time plentiful. The first engraving, (the plate for which is included in the exhibition), made as a means of raising money for the donation of the painting to General Lee and, after his death, to Washington and Lee University, was cut by Frederick Halpin. Halpin was a native of Worcester, England, who immigrated to the United States about 1842. He worked briefly for engraver Alfred Jones of New York before establishing his own shop in that city.7

Engraver Halpin and painter Julio seem to have collaborated closely on the preparation of prints of "The Last Meeting."  Julio certainly had the opportunity to approve the prints before they were published. An engraver's proof of "The Last Meeting," signed in pencil by Julio, was on the New York print market in 1961.8

Julio, who was European by birth, adopted the South of his own. He was born on the island of St. Helena in 1843 to a Scottish mother and a Spanish father who was at the time working for the British government.9 Unfortunately little is known of his early life. He was in Boston by 1863, the year in which he attended lectures given by the eccentric physician, sculptor, and painter Dr. William Rimmer at the Lowell Institute.10 The following year he went to St. Louis where it seems he worked for the next six years. It was there that "The Last Meeting" was completed in 1869. Toward the end of that year Julio went to New Orleans, taking the nine-by-six foot canvas with him. The picture was a tremendous critical success, though unfortunately the sale of Halpin's prints did not make it the financial success that Julio had envisioned.

He decided to enhance his business with additional art instruction in Paris. To raise the money needed for the trip his friends organized an auction of his work, but not before the auction could take place the body of work (which did not include "The Last Meeting") was purchased by the Southern Club of New York.11

Julio returned to New Orleans intending to establish an art school there, but he found there to be little interest in such an enterprise. He placed a notice in The Daily Picayune on December 30, 1875, to the effect that he had opened his studio at 60 Carondelet Street where the visitor was invited to see the paintings he had done in Europe. European works of art were avidly collected by Orleanians in the gilded age, so an American artist who could paint in the latest European fashion had an edge up on his local contemporaries.

Julio did not abandon American subjects entirely; rather, he turned for inspiration in the late seventies to the landscape around him.  He submitted "Harvest Scene", a view of a sugar plantation, to the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. One of his best paintings, according to a New Orleans critic, was a Texas sheepherding scene painted in 1878.12 But like so many artists working in the South at the time, portraiture remained his bread and butter. He placed an advertisement in the New Orleans Democrat on February 23, 1877, stating that he would paint portraits "from life or from pictures of the deceased."

Julio contracted tuberculosis and left New Orleans on July 4, 1879, to try to regain his health in the drier climate of northwest Georgia. He died at the age of thirty-six on September 15, 1879, in Kingston, Georgia.13 Cynthia Seibels

1The Daily Picayune. January 20, 1870. Courtesy The Historic New Orleans Collection.

2Letter from Robert E. Lee, Lexington, Virginia, to Mr. E.B.D. Julio, November 1, 1869, as quoted in The Daily Picayune, January 15, 1871. Courtesy The Historic New Orleans Collection.

3The New Orleans Bee, February 20, 1870. Courtesy The Historic New Orleans Collection.

4The Daily Picayune, January 6, 1871. Courtesy The Historic New Orleans Collection.

5The Daily Picayune, January 20, 1870, and Ibid.

6A review in the Richmond Enquirer as quoted in New Orleans Republican, January 3, 1874. Courtesy The Historic New Orleans Collection.

7George C. Grace and David H. Wallace, The New-York Historical Society's Dictionary of Artists in America, 1564-1860. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1979, p. 286.

8The Old Print Shop Portfolio, March 1961.

9There is some discrepancy over the nationality of Julio's father, due to an unfortunate lack of primary source material on the artist's early life. His obituary, which appeared in the New Orleans Times, September 17, 1879, maintains that his father was Spanish. An article in the New Orleans States, February 17, 1924, gives the information that his father was Italian. Both courtesy The Historic New Orleans Collection.

10250 Years of Life in New Orleans: The Rosemonde E. and Emile Kuntz Collection and the Felix H. Kuntz Collection, New Orleans:  Louisiana State Museum, p. 67.


12Obituary, The Daily Picayune, September 17, 1879. Courtesy The Historic New Orleans Collection.

13Obituary, The New Orleans Times, September 17, 1879. Courtesy The Historic New Orleans Collection.

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This essay is copyrighted by the Charleston Renaissance Gallery and may not be reproduced or transmitted without written permission from Hicklin Galleries, LLC.

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