Spirit of '76
Archibald McNeal Willard, 1875
Story Truth By: Benji Gabay
I was hiding behind a hill for what felt like hours, so many shots fired. Eventually, it began to get quieter, I had less and less shots. It was hard to tell if I had gone deaf or if the firing had stopped all-together. Slowly I began to hear cheers, and to my excitement they were coming from my side; the American side! I looked at both my mates, Rodger and William, with beaming smiles on our faces and yelled "Freedom!" Without saying another word I threw down my gun and went to pick up my drum I had kept close by as a "moral booster". They both quickly followed me and we slowly began to march forward with the other soldiers, banging on our drums and playing our instruments as loud as we could. I can't explain why i did it. This feeling of excitement and relief just rushed over me at the same time in an indescribable way where the only thing I wanted to do was celebrate. We marched and played for what felt like hour, thinking about the grand future that awaited me. We passed several soldiers, some on the ground, but all were waving their caps in mixture of celebration and salutes to their fellow soldiers. The new chapter for my life, for America, had started and I couldn't wait to see what happened next. That day, July 4th 1776, will always be the happiest day of my life. I couldnt be more proud to be an American.
Happening Truth By: Ariana Braddom
During the war, because of the lack of methods of communication, music was used to communicate long distances. Most of the musicians would have normally been males too young or too old (younger than 16 and older than 50) to fight in the war themselves. They had the responsibility of keeping the army working together by using musical signals to instruct them. During the battles they had to wear clothing that signaled to both armies that they were not a threat and carried no weapons.
When I first heard about the hope for America's revolution. I was eager to join the cause. I didn't know what to expect, but the training was intense. The most memorable thing was the extremely high spirits of everybody that had enlisted themselves. We didn't know what to expect. No fighting had started and training was hard but manageable. That soon changed however, after the battles had started. People started dying. Close friends and family gone to the terrible nature of the war. Our hope started to decline rapidly, fluctuating as the battles continued. After what seemed to be ages later and everything had taken it's toll, renewed spirits came as the war started to turn in our favor. As we began to defeat the great British navy we felt unstoppable. On July 4th, 1776, the war was over. American had finally gained their freedom from England. Celebrations roared throughout our armies and cities in joy of our new freedom. The war was finally over and we could be at peace.
Critique of the Painting By: Amy Lim
The painting, Spirit of '76, depicts the strong sense of patriotism sparked in the citizens during the American Revolution. The three men playing their instruments near the American flag symbolizes their pride for their country. Also, compared to the rest of the painting, the three men are portrayed in great detail, which represents their determination for the people's independence. The man lying at the bottom of the battlefield, and the men in the background are shown saluting to the flag, which displays the pleasure that the men had while they served their country. The flag is revealed from the smoke, which represents how Americans can overcome the worst of times, because of their determination and motivation to do what is right for them. Spirit of '76 emphasizes American patriotism, and the motivation they needed during the revolution.
Identity of the Author By: Bernice Gomez
Archibald McNeal Willard was born in Bedford, Ohio, in 1836. Later in his life, Willard and his family relocated to Wellington, Ohio. Where he held the position of an apprentice for the E. S. Tripp. There he specialized in painting carriages and furniture, which provided him experience in the painting industry. As the Civil War approached, Willard enlisted in the 86th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He used images from the war as an inspiration for many of his works, which incorporated a patriotic interest to a majority of his paintings. He then moved to Cleveland, Ohio to open his studio. Where he created one of his most famous works known as the Spirit of '86. A painting that depicted the patriotism of soldiers during the American Revolution, was what gained Willard's popularity. He continued to paint numerous versions of '86 during the remainder of his life. Willard died in 1918.