Surrender of a Confederate Soldier

Art on Sunday #21 and Random Topic #12 (sacrifice)1

Artist: Julian Scott (1846–1901)
Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 19.5 × 15.5 in (49.5 × 39.4 cm)
Current location: Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gallery Description:

At the age of fifteen, Julian Scott lied about his age to enlist in the Union army. He rose from drummer boy to infantryman, and for his service he earned the Congressional Medal of Honor. After his discharge he became an artist, initially focusing on images of heroic moments of sacrifice during the war. He painted this Confederate soldier with dignity. The raised white flag is simultaneously a surrender of the individual, his family, the Confederate cause, and the Southern way of life. The soldier’s wife cradles their infant child, while the enslaved man with them looks away, perhaps envisioning the changes in his own future. Scott imbued this work with respect for his Confederate counterpart, sounding a hopeful note for the future. (Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum )


  1. This week’s Art on Sunday post was “inspired” by random topic selection “sacrifice” which was searched in Flickr. The image selected was found in my images, uploaded August 3, 2016.


america, american history, art, art on sunday, civil war

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Hilary Oct 23, 2016

    Hi Mike – it is evocative and shows respect for the poor man, his family, their future and the slave-worker tied to them; interesting to learn a little about Julian Scott … cheers Hilary

    • Mike Oct 23, 2016

      Hi Hilary — it’s kind of a bittersweet image. For many, the confederate cause and the white southern way of life evolved into the lost cause set of beliefs that allowed the North and the South to reconcile. Unfortunately, the reunion was whites only and at the expense of the freedmen. The lost cause is the faux heritage that lead some in the South to fly and flaunt the Confederate battle flag.

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