The Winds of Winter - Ornament
by Mort Kunstler
The Winds of Winter
“A great source of inspiration for my paintings has been the work of the highly esteemed author and historian, Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr. His new best-selling biography, Stonewall Jackson: The Man, The Soldier, The Legend, is no exception. His vivid description of Jackson's winter expedition from Winchester to Romney, West Virginia, was the primary inspiration for The Winds of Winter.”
The campaign began on January 1, 1862, on a deceptively spring-like day. Many of the inexperienced soldiers chose to leave behind their overcoats. That afternoon, a northwest wind began blowing and the temperatures soon plummeted. The hardships increased along with the bitter cold. The men suffered from lack of food and from inadequate clothing and shelter. Over the course of the two-week march, the troops experienced the most arduous conditions imaginable, including almost impassable roads, freezing temperatures and unrelenting snow, wind, sleet and rain. The horses also struggled. “Icicles of blood hung from the horses,” states Dr. Robertson in Stonewall Jackson.
Directing the grueling march was General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, the Old Testament-style warrior who, by sheer force of his willpower and personality, was able to drive men to do what was considered impossible. The torch held by one of Jackson's aides shows the army strung out across the wintry landscape, and illustrates how far they still have to travel to reach bivouac. This heroic struggle against the elements is what I have tried to portray in The Winds of Winter.
~ Mort Künstler