Americans were not prepared for the ravages of modern warfare. Early in the war, artists often drew highly romantic and very inaccurate pictures. Soldiers in the field viewed such feats as firing from the saddle with great amusement; they enjoyed seeing illustrations of their exploits almost as much as they enjoyed criticizing their inaccuracies. As the war continued and the carnage mounted, increasingly realistic battlefield sketches conveyed the horrors of war to the northern public.
Source: Harper’s Weekly, June 15, 1861—American Social History Project.