Civil War (detail of painting 'First Battle of Bull Run' by Kurz & Allison)

Civil War

Americans battled over preserving their Union and ending slavery. Both sides envisioned easy victories after eleven Southern states seceded and war broke out in 1861. But the bitter, ruthless fight lasted four years, and proved to be the nation’s bloodiest and most divisive conflict. More than three million Americans saw battle: 529,332 lost their lives; another 400,000 were scarred, maimed, or disabled.