Wednesday, July 3, 2013


For the 150th anniversary of the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, here’s a picture from Billy and the Rebel, a Gettysburg story by Deborah Hopkinson that I illustrated that came out in 2005. It was one of two Ready-To-Read Civil War books we did together, the other being From Slave to Soldier

To research the book I visited a Gettysburg reenactment with an old friend who was there doing his own research; with his colleagues, he was there collecting notes, reference images, and sound effects for a computer game. I can’t, in all honesty, say that the battle reenactment was terribly impressive to watch; inevitably, maybe, it just felt so staged. But if one followed a path into the trees at the edge of the field, and then crossed over a small stream, and kept going, one emerged into another field, enclosed and hidden from the rest of the world, and there were the campsites, a neat field of white canvas tents and small fires and men preparing quietly for the day, and 150 years seemed to fall away. It was remarkable and strangely moving. 

An essay by Robert Hicks in the Times today, “Why the Civil War Still Matters,” offers interesting points about the battle and its relevance to modern America. You can read it here

More links: Billy and the Rebel, From Slave to Soldier, and Deborah Hopkinson.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Brian!

This book was based on first-person accounts of a young deserter who took refuge with a Gettysburg family, though it was ficionalized. I have always loved your pictures for it.


Deborah Hopkinson

Brian Floca said...

Thank you, Deborah! And I've always been glad for the chance to illustrate that story!


Charmain said...

This is cool!