Speaking to Specters

Manassas graphic artist Allan Guy chose the perfect photo to use as a logo.

The article below reads, “However, it was a soldier’s haunting eyes that inspired him to create a logo that will define the area’s sesquicen­tennial, or 150th anniversary, commemoration of the Civil War.”

I was reminded of my poem “Speaking to Specters,” a response to a young man’s mature contemplation of death, the Civil War and where we might go after we fall.  Here are the first lines:

“Through your ageless eye

I understand your replies

to what you most fear:”


Civil War logo spreading rapidly


Manassas graphic artist Allan Guy creates logo

How do you put a face on the commemoration of a war that left 600,000 Ameri­cans dead and that still sparks emotional debate?

It was a challenge for graphic artist Allan Guy.

However, it was a soldier’s haunting eyes that inspired him to create a logo that will define the area’s sesquicen­tennial, or 150th anniversary, commemoration of the Civil Wa r.

Prince William County and Manassas are planning extensive events for the ob­servance in July.

Guy, a Manassas artist whose work spans the world, said he tried to put a human face on the conflict.

“I wanted to give some hu­manity to what went on here,” he said. “This is not just a date in a history book.” He had the dual challenge of creating a logo that would adorn everything from pub­lications, advertising, sta­tionery, street banners and T­shirts and of formulating a recognizable brand that would bring together tens of thousands of visitors from diverse backgrounds and ge­ographic areas.

Guy did not initially de­cide to make a face the focal point of his logo design, in­stead exploring imagery such as period flags, buttons and even belt buckles.

But when he began searching through Library of Congress images of men and women of the Civil War era, he knew had the centerpiece of his design.

“I searched through a lot of images — men and women — with compelling faces, but this boy’s eye just shot out at you,” he said. “The kid has the combina­tion of age and eyes that are most direct.

“A face like that is beyond comparison to even a period object or historic house. I wanted to make sure it had warmth, because all too of­ten history seems dead and gone.”

Those haunting eyes do belong to a real-life Confed­erate soldierfrom Georgia — William Sanford Askew — who, as fate would have it, never fought in the battles of Manassas that were the ma­jor conflicts at the start of the war.

When he had chosen a face for the design, Guy looked to Civil War-era mili­tary medals and buttons for inspiration to complete the logo.

“The type in the logo is ac­curate, but it is a modern in­­terpretation that is reflective of time,” he explained.

“During the Civil War, a graphic would have been much simpler.”

The artist used Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to combine images on his com­puter to create complexities that would not have been possible with pen and ink.Guy’s strong connection to Manassas and interest in history also gave him inspi­ration for the design.

“I grew up in Manassas,” said the son of noted artist Richard Guy and commu­nity volunteer Shirley Guy. “My people were in Loudoun County during the Civil War, trying to stay away from the bullets, so it does make me interested in what went on here.”

Although he began his professional career in New York after earning a degree in fine arts from East Carolina University, Allan Guy felt the lure of the South pulling him home. He returned to start his own business in Manas­sas several years ago.

Guy estimated that he has completed hundreds of lo­gos and merchandising de­signs for clients across the globe, some while working for the nation’s top brand­design firms in New York.

Anyone who has picked up a case of A&W root beer, poured a glass of Bacardi rum, squeezed toothpaste from a tube of Colgate, seen the distillery at Mount Ver­non or worn a Battles of Manassas shirt from the Manassas Museum would have seen a small sample of his work.

“You know, I’ve done things in Pakistan and Brazil and all over the world,” Guy said, “but they are not as special as coming home and doing something for your home town.”

When imagining what it will be like to see his design adorning banners, signs, shirts and publications in the coming months, Guy smiled.

“I’m going to be speech­less and extremely proud,” he said.

Confederate Private William Sanford Askew, Company A (Newman Guards), 1st Georgia Infantry, is shown in a photograph taken between 1860 and 1865. { C­ourtesy o­f t­he L­ibrary o­f C­ongress}

Askew: the soldier in the logo
William Sanford Askew, of Coweta County, Ga., the soldier in Allan Guy’s logo for the Civil War sesquicentennial, was 20 years old when he enlisted in Company A of the 1st Georgia Volunteer Infantry in May 1861.

He was later promoted to a full 4th corporal after his service in Virginia.

Askew was mustered out of his unit on Aug. 21, 1861, for unknown reasons.

Then, on May 2, 1862, Askew mustered into F Company of the Georgia 16th Battalion Cavalry un­der Gen. John Hunt Morgan.

Morgan led a series of raids against Union soldiers, and Askew is believed to have been captured during one of the battles.

He was first listed as a prisoner of war on Dec. 4, 1863, in Knoxville, Tenn. At some later date he was transferred to Camp Morton in In­dianapolis, a Union prison camp where squalid conditions and dep­rivation greeted Confederate prisoners.

Although Askew was transferred at some point to the Fort Delaware prison camp, conditions were un­likely to have improved as about 2,700 Confederates died there.

Askew was finally patrolled on Feb. 15, 1865, at Fort Delaware and formally exchanged at Boulware’s Wharf (outside Richmond) on March 10, 1865.

After surviving the war, he re­turned to Georgia to marry his first wife, Samantha, in 1867, and had two daughters and a son.

After her death, he married sec­ond wife, Sarah, in 1879 and had three more sons and a daughter.

As late as the 1880 census, Askew listed his occupation as a farmer. By 1900, he said he was as a con­tractor/ builder and, by 1910, he called himself president of his company. His son Eugene later owned the Wholesale Lumber Co. Askew died in Newnan, Coweta County, Ga., in April 1917, and is buried there in a grave that marks his Confederate service.

— Submitted by the Manassas Museum

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s