April 12, 2017
William Morris Hunt (1824-1879), Captain William Madigan, c.1866, 55 3/4 x 36 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of Dr. and Mrs. Jack Stoddard Johnson, 1973.
On this day in 1861, the American Civil War began. The war began when Confederate troops, made up of soldiers from the seven initial states that had seceded from the Union to form the Confederacy, bombed Fort Sumter in South Carolina and Union troops therein returned fire. The impetus behind this battle was South Carolina’s demand that United States troops remove themselves from Fort Sumter following South Carolina’s secession. The United States troops, or Union troops as they were called during the war, did not evacuate. The ensuing battle, the Battle of Fort Sumter, was the official beginning of the American Civil War. Over the course of the four-year war, between 620,000 – 720,000 soldiers died, more than American military deaths in World War I and World War II combined.
Today’s artwork of the day shows a portrait of Captain William Madigan, an officer in the Union army who died in battle during the Civil War.