22 1/4 x 32 1/4 in. (56.5 x 81.9 cm)
Framed: 34 1/4 x 44 3/16 in. (87 x 112.2 cm)
Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
In 1870, the House Committee on Military Affairs commissioned artist and retired Army General Seth Eastman to paint 17 views of important forts across the country, in commemoration of the Civil War's end. Fort Jefferson, a massive, isolated structure located in the Dry Tortugas Islands, was surrounded by shark-infested waters and was utilized as a Federal prison during the Civil War. Acquiring colorful nicknames due to its oppressive conditions—including “Gibraltar of the Gulf” and “America’s Devil’s Island”—Fort Jefferson hosted court-marshaled Union soldiers; Confederate prisoners of war; and later, accused Lincoln assassination conspirators.