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Born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of a manufacturer of musical instruments, Rufus Fairchild Zogbaum grew up in New York City. He studied at the Art Students League, then with Leon Bonnat in Paris. Influenced by the French artists Detaille and De Neuville, he specialized in American war illustrations: of the Civil War, the skirmishes with the Indians, and the Spanish-American War. In 1884 Zogbaum traveled to Montana to sketch military life on the frontier. The result of this and later trips to Montana, as well as an 1888 tour in Oklahoma was a series of illustrations for articles in "Harper's Weekly", and in books including his own "Horse, Foot and Dragoons, Ships and Sailors" and "All Hands". In the 1890s Zogbaum concentrated on naval and military subjects, such as "Seige at Vicksburg", a dramatic interpretation of one of the major battles of the Civil War.
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