Author Topic: Who, What, Why: How many soldiers died in the US Civil War?  (Read 1841 times)

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Online mystery-ak

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Who, What, Why: How many soldiers died in the US Civil War?
« on: April 04, 2012, 01:53:11 PM »
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17604991

3 April 2012 Last updated at 19:37 ET


Who, What, Why: How many soldiers died in the US Civil War?


About 26,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after the Battle of Antietam, making 17 September 1862 one of the bloodiest days in US history

A study suggests a previously widely accepted death toll of the US Civil War may actually be way under the mark. How many did perish in this conflict, fought before the era of modern record-keeping and DNA identification?

The US Civil War was incontrovertibly the bloodiest, most devastating conflict in American history, and it remains unknown - and unknowable - exactly how many men died in Union and Confederate uniform.

Now, it appears a long-held estimate of the war's death toll could have undercounted the dead by as many as 130,000. That is 21% of the earlier estimate - and more than twice the total US dead in Vietnam.

The Civil War began in 1861 when southern slave-holding states, fearing the institution of slavery was under threat in a nation governed by northern free states, seceded from the US after the election of President Abraham Lincoln.

It ended in 1865 with the surrender of the southern, or Confederate forces, to the Union army; slavery was officially abolished by constitutional amendment that year.


Proportionate to the US's 2012 population, 7.5m US soldiers died in the War; above, Arlington Cemetery

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Offline Rapunzel

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Re: Who, What, Why: How many soldiers died in the US Civil War?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2012, 02:42:05 PM »
How many are going to die in the next civil war?

Offline Oceander

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Re: Who, What, Why: How many soldiers died in the US Civil War?
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2012, 08:16:57 PM »
Those who were shot dead on the field of battle fared much better than those who were wounded and died later on.  large bore musket balls fired at relatively low speeds (relative to today's firearms) and medical care more akin to a first-aid kit than a triage or surgery unit left many to die in excruciating pain.

Offline Charlespg

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Re: Who, What, Why: How many soldiers died in the US Civil War?
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2012, 08:32:02 AM »
interesting
i came across this on yahoo(us civil war civilian deaths)

http://www.blog4history.com/2008/06/civilian-casualties-as-a-direct-result-of-the-civil-war/
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Offline Chieftain

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Re: Who, What, Why: How many soldiers died in the US Civil War?
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2012, 09:06:04 AM »
Those who were shot dead on the field of battle fared much better than those who were wounded and died later on.  large bore musket balls fired at relatively low speeds (relative to today's firearms) and medical care more akin to a first-aid kit than a triage or surgery unit left many to die in excruciating pain.

Yep.  Couple that with military tactics that called for marching masses of troops under fire toward the artillery that is shooting at them, as well as charging fixed positions of massed troops firing muskets and rifles en masse, then it is no wonder why the casualty lists are only estimates. 

These battles did not leave nice neat corpses all in a row, ready to be neatly buried in a prepared grave.  We're talking about acres of freshly chopped meat, human and horse, scattered all over the battlefield in various stages of decomposition by the time the remains could be gathered.  People today have little concept of what actual wartime conditions are like in this Country because we have not had open warfare on this soil since the end of the Civil War. 

People today also have no idea of how incredibly brutal and barbaric warfare was during the 1800's and on worldwide.  Accuracy and power of weapons increased exponentially while the tactics to use them effectively took tens of thousands of casualties to learn. 

The mighty British Army was taught about marksmanship the hard way in South Africa by the Boers, who sat up in the hills and cut the British to pieces with their Mauser rifles, which outranged the British muskets and primitive rifles by several degrees of magnitude. 

Read about the Napoleonic Wars, and some of the savage battles that were fought with cannons shooting solid iron balls at masses of marching troops.  The Battle of Trafalgar never had a true accounting of the number of casualties either, since the French and Spanish fleets did not keep accurate records of their crews, and all parties threw the dead bodies over the side during the battle, just to clear the decks.  It is very difficult to sink wooden ships with cannonballs, you slaughter the crews inside them instead by bouncing 6" iron balls around inside like a BB in a tin can; whichever ship loses the most crew first loses the battle, and the ship was taken a prize.

World War I was also incredibly brutal, with casualties on both sides far beyond anything that would be considered acceptable today.  The British Army Officers were infamous for leading charges of men directly into German machine guns, and of course there was the chemical warfare too.

Accurate tolls after major battles are a modern phenomenon and "missing in action" used to be an almost expected outcome.



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Re: Who, What, Why: How many soldiers died in the US Civil War?
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2013, 10:12:39 PM »
« Last Edit: December 07, 2013, 10:18:26 PM by SPQR »

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Re: Who, What, Why: How many soldiers died in the US Civil War?
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2013, 10:26:51 PM »
I have been to Antietam.

Offline Oceander

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Re: Who, What, Why: How many soldiers died in the US Civil War?
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2013, 10:57:15 PM »
The entire US population in 1860 was approximately 31 million, which means that, in approximate terms, the Civil War killed about 2.4% of the entire US population at the time.  For comparison's sake, the US population in 2010 was approximately 309 million, so the number of deaths necessary to equal the percentage killed in the Civil War would be approximately 7.4 million.

That should put some perspective on the devastation caused by the Civil War.

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Re: Who, What, Why: How many soldiers died in the US Civil War?
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2013, 10:58:33 PM »
The entire US population in 1860 was approximately 31 million, which means that, in approximate terms, the Civil War killed about 2.4% of the entire US population at the time.  For comparison's sake, the US population in 2010 was approximately 309 million, so the number of deaths necessary to equal the percentage killed in the Civil War would be approximately 7.4 million.

That should put some perspective on the devastation caused by the Civil War.

That's correct

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Re: Who, What, Why: How many soldiers died in the US Civil War?
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2013, 02:57:39 PM »
I have been to Antietam.
Visiting any of the Civil War battlefields can be a moving experience and I'd encourage everyone here to make the trip if at all possible. We've most recently been to Gettysburg and Manassas (Bull Run) and need to return, as more than just a few hours in one day are nowhere near enough to do them justice. The sites of lesser-known battles, e.g., Rich Mountain, Droop Mountain, etc., also are worth a visit.
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Offline rangerrebew

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Re: Who, What, Why: How many soldiers died in the US Civil War?
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2013, 04:58:54 PM »
I wonder when Obama and the progressives/communists/muslims will close the battlefields and take away another piece of history.  You know it will happen.
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Re: Who, What, Why: How many soldiers died in the US Civil War?
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2013, 06:37:38 PM »
Visiting any of the Civil War battlefields can be a moving experience and I'd encourage everyone here to make the trip if at all possible. We've most recently been to Gettysburg and Manassas (Bull Run) and need to return, as more than just a few hours in one day are nowhere near enough to do them justice. The sites of lesser-known battles, e.g., Rich Mountain, Droop Mountain, etc., also are worth a visit.

I agree.


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