This rather awkward composition was probably among Miller’s early sketches, for he included a version of it in the leather-bound portfolio that he provided for Stewart shortly after he returned to Baltimore. As a setting for the image, he quoted a passage from Byron’s The Corsair:
There was a laughing devil in his sneer,
That raised emotions both of rage and fear;
And where his frown or hatred darkly fell,
Hope withering fled,–and Mercy sighed farewell.
In his description of the Walters copy of the picture, Miller philosophically talked of “people who delight in war,” and how “it is almost useless to preach the blessings of peace” to those “who are instructed from youth in its principles, and practice.” In other words, Miller saw this man as representative of a warrior society. “If a relative or member of their tribe is killed, they will listen to neither palliation [n]or justification, but pursue relentlessly any member of the offender’s company, to have their revenge…. In this sketch,” he explained, “an Indian has secured the scalp-lock of his enemy, and is making good his escape,–for this honor awaits him in his camp, and it often presents a strong claim for the post of a chief or brave.” (Ross, 1968, text accompanying plate 192)
LL: After the Battle / making off with the Scalp-lock
The artist; by descent to Louisa Whyte Norton; [Old Print Shop, New York, NY, 1947]; [?]; present owner