Artist: Attributed to Frederick Kemmelmeyer (ca. 1755–1821)
Date: after 1795
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 22 3/4 x 37 1/4 in. (57.8 x 94.6 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, 1963
Accession Number: 63.201.2
On October 16, 1794, President George Washington called on 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 Scotch-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 centralized government and as a reminder of Washington’s power.