Oil on canvas. 76.83 x 61.28 cm • 30 1/4 x 24 1/8 in. Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.
American artillery captain John Henry, the twenty-year-old son of Virginia governor Patrick Henry, had distinguished himself in battle [at Saratoga in 1777]. After the cataclysm died down, he wandered the field, staring at the faces, the blue lips, dead staring eyes and glistening teeth, of men he had known. The sight unhinged him. He broke his sword in half and went
raving mad. He disappeared for months and never fought again.