Watch Night (1862-63)

31 December 2021

A very happy New Year to both of my readers!

I hope you’ll appreciate this timely symbol of the most significant outcome of the 1862 Battle of Antietam – the issue of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Watch Night: a New Year’s tradition still alive in Black churches today.

This evocative painting is by William Tolman Carlton (1816-1888). He presented it to President Lincoln in July 1864. That copy has been lost, but this one, probably an earlier study, is in the White House Historical Association collection today. It’s online from

The illustration below, based on that painting, is a CDV in the collection of the Library of Congress. Published by Heard & Moseley, 10 Tremont Row, Boston, MA, it’s been widely reproduced.

Please Leave a Reply