Oil on Canvas Portrait


Brigadier General John D. Imboden


Description and Photograph





     Virginia native John Imboden rose from humble beginnings in Staunton, Virginia to become a teacher, author, politician, warrior, lawyer and industrialist.

     Imboden was instrumental in planning the capture of the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry even before Virginia’s secession.  The plan was being executed even as the secession convention was in session.  At Manassas Imboden distinguished himself and, subsequently, formed his own command known as the First Virginia Partisan Rangers.  His command served under Stonewall Jackson at Cross Keys and Port Republic.  His natural leadership ability propelled him to the rank of Brigadier General by January of 1863.  In July of 1863, General Lee entrusted General Imboden to safely return the Army of Northern Virginia’s ambulance, ordnance and supply trains to Virginia under very trying circumstances after the battle of Gettysburg.  He well fulfilled the trust placed in his care and under a lesser officer the trains and by extension, the Army would have been lost.

     General Imboden is best known for his famous cavalry raids into what is now West Virginia, and his skilled defense of the Shenandoah Valley, earning him the sobriquet “Defender of the Valley”.  The General defended the Valley until struck down with typhoid in the fall of 1864.  He never regained sufficient health to return to the arduous service of a cavalry commander.  He served out the remainder of the War overseeing Confederate prisoner of war camps.

     After the War, he practiced law in Richmond, before getting involved in the mining industry in southwest Virginia, where he founded the town of Damascus.

     The General’s oil on canvas portrait was painted by the General’s wife, Florence Imboden in 1894, one year before the General’s death.  The beautifully lifelike portrait well illustrates what an able and accomplished artist Florence Imboden was. The work is signed by the artist on the reverse, lower left of the canvass.

     The framed dimensions are forty-one by thirty-four inches.  The painting has been professionally cleaned and conserved.  The cleaning and conservation brought out the rich color and detail.



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