The Maryland Office of Tourism Development is creating an app for “Civil War Trails”. Artist Shelley Wilson did a painting titled “First Blood” several years ago and will be featured in the new app. The app is available through iTunes. Search on Maryland Civil War Trails. The app is free. You’ll be surprised how much great information is in there.
The painting is of the Baltimore Riot in which the first four deaths of the Civil War occurred. Most of the soldiers had not even received their uniforms yet.
Trains would come in to President Street Station, the cars disassembled and pulled by horse teams to Camden Yards Station, where they would be reassembled and proceed on their way. The attack occurred while the train cars were being disassembled.
To make the painting as authentic as possible, the artist attended many civil war reenactments and soldiers posed for the painting. Shelley also visited the B&O Rail Museum in Baltimore to photograph the train cars that were used at the time of the riot. Re-enactors were given permission to board the train and pose for the scene. The painting took two years to research and complete.
The building in the painting (President Street Station) is now the Civil War Museum, located near Fells Point. For the grand opening, the artist signed autographed envelopes. It was 1997 – long ago. The painting has been sealed in a box ever since. Finding a new use for the painting in this age of technology and “mobile devices” has brought life back into this piece of artwork.