Washington Reviewing the Western Army, at Fort Cumberland, Maryland, after 1795
Attributed to Frederick Kemmelmeyer (German, ca. 1755–1821)
Oil on canvas; 22 3/4 x 37 1/4 in. (57.8 x 94.6 cm)
Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, 1963 (63.201.2)
On October 16, 1794, Washington called upon the militia at Fort Cumberland, Maryland, to suppress a rebellion in western Pennsylvania. The conflict was precipitated by the 1792 excise laws regarding the sale of distilled spirits. The Scottish-Irish immigrants who made their living from the sale and barter of whiskey deemed the laws discriminatory and their protests turned into full-scale riots. Upon Washington's arrival to review his troops, the resistance vanished. The episode went down in history as one of the crucial early tests of central government and as a reminder of Washington's power.