The campaign of 1776 was one continued series of disasters. . . . When the conflict was ended, General Washington walked his horse over the field, to see that the wounded were properly attended to. Among them he observed an officer . . . in the hostile uniform, and upon inquiry found that it was Col. Rahl, commanding officer of the enemy. He immediately called one of his aids-du-camp, Col. Wm. Smith, and gave him the memorable order: "Smith, take charge of this gentleman; see him carefully and kindly conveyed to a house; call our best surgeons to his assistance, and let us save his life if possible." Col. Rahl died in the afternoon, but the memory of this act should never die. . . . The artist chose this subject, and composed the picture for the express purpose of giving a lesson to all living and future soldiers in the service of his country, to show mercy and kindness to a fallen enemy,--their enemy no longer when wounded and in their power. In the afternoon, the army re-crossed the Delaware, with the trophies of their victory, and the next day, the prisoners and artillery which had been taken, were marched off to Philadelphia, where their arrival caused the most unbounded joy. [Pp. 6-9; excerpted from a detailed discussion of the historical circumstances of the event.]
Catalogue of Paintings, now exhibiting in Wadsworth Gallery, Hartford. Hartford: Press of Case, Lockwood & Company. 1863.