The Portraits

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Zebulon Pike

Unidentified Artist
Copy after
Charles Willson Peale, 15 Apr 1741 - 22 Feb 1827
Zebulon Montgomery Pike, 5 Jan 1779 - 27 Apr 1813
c. 1813
Stipple engraving on paper
Sheet: 25.1 x 20.2cm (9 7/8 x 7 15/16")
Mat: 45.7 x 35.6cm (18 x 14")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number
Exhibition Label
In 1805, while stationed in St. Louis, Missouri, Zebulon Pike led a small expedition through the upper Mississippi region, hoping to discover the source of the Mississippi River. His maps and journals became the first printed account of the land newly acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. Pike's second assignment sent him south and west, searching for the headwaters of the Red and Arkansas rivers. It was during this expedition that he tried unsuccessfully to scale the Colorado peak that was named after him. After his promotion to brigadier general in 1813, Pike was fatally wounded while leading the successful attack of York, Canada, during the War of 1812. This print, based on an 1808 oil portrait by Charles Willson Peale, supplied the demand for his image. Pike's explorations made him famous, but his death made him a hero to many Americans.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection