The Civil War was as much of a defining moment for American art as it was for American history. A still-young nation was searching for an appropriate form of history painting to reflect the upheavals of the era at the same time that photography was redefining how historical evens could be captured. Artists struggled to represent the brutal realities of slavery and the hope of emancipation through visual imagery that balanced tradition and innovation. This talk will examine some of the ways in which American artists responded to the conflict both at the time and in retrospect. The presentation will conclude with some remarks about the controversies surrounding Civil War memorials and their ambivalent legacy in our own time.