Monday, July 4, 2011

Band of Brothers

Band of Brothers, a 12x24 oil by Shirley Fachilla.

The small town of Franklin, Tennessee was the location for one of the last great battles of the American Civil War. The Battle of Franklin was a horrible defeat for the Confederacy. In five hours of fighting, it sustained 6,252 casualties among them, 14 generals.
During the battle, Southern forces launched wave after wave of frontal assaults upon an entrenched Union line that held the higher ground. First-hand reports say that bodies were stacked like cordwood in front of the Union breastworks.
I find it amazing that the soldiers continued such a hopeless attack. The only explanation I can imagine is that they were indeed a “band of brothers” just as Shakespeare described in his great play Henry V, as Tom Hanks later commemorated in his World War II series of the same name and as go the lyrics of the Confederate anthem Bonnie Blue Flag.
The men who made up the Army of Tennessee were battled-hardened veterans. That day, they fought not for a cause or even for those back home instead they fought for one another. Their loyalties lay with the men to their left and right. They fought for their brothers.
My painting is done from a photo reference of a reenactment at Carnton Plantation in Franklin earlier this year. I used the photo and the place to reconnect with the men and boys who fought so long ago.

Carnton is hosting an art show and sale to benefit the Battle of Franklin Trust. The Chestnuts, Plein Air Painters for the Land, will have a collection of paintings for the event. My painting Band of Brothers will be among them. If you’re in the area, I hope you can come by. The dates and times are: Friday and Saturday, July 15 and 16, 10 to 7 and Sunday, July 17, 12 to 5.
The place is Carnton Plantation, 1345 Carnton Lane, Franklin, Tennessee 37064.


  1. Beautifully done Shirley and quite a complex subject. You nailed it!

  2. Thank you, Pam and Carol.
    I really wanted to do something complex because I usually do single figures from life. This was a challenge but because it was also quite meaningful to me, very fulfilling.

  3. Shirley, this painting is powerful! The workmanship is outstanding, but you have made it more than a painting. It tells an important story of a time in our history. It's very moving! Thank you for the background information. Fascinating.

  4. Carol, doing the painting became something of an emotional experience for me.
    It also inspired a bit of studying of local history!

  5. Wow Shirley, this is fabulous, I love the shadow color on the horses!

  6. Thanks, Dana. They really did seem blue in the shadows and of course, the orange field sets off that blue tone.

  7. Congrats on being in the show. I can see why this wonderful painting was chosen!

  8. This is wonderful! Be proud of this one!


Is it too early to send an invitation?

Pieces by (clockwise from left to right) : Susan Harlan, Janet Garner, Shirley Fachilla, Mike Martino and Topper Williams. So many ...