: How many people died in the civil war
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“The traditional estimate has become iconic,” historian J. David Hacker said. “It’s been quoted for the last hundred years or more. If you go with that total for a minute—620,000—the number of men dying in the Civil War is more than in all other American wars from the American Revolution through the Korean War combined. And consider that the American population in 1860 was about 31 million people, about one-tenth the size it is today. If the war were fought today, the number of deaths would total 6.2 million.”
How exactly did the number 620,000 enter the history books? According to Hacker’s paper, which will be published in the December 2011 issue of “Civil War History,” an estimate for the Union Army’s death toll—279,689—was deduced shortly after the conflict ended from battlefield reports and muster-out rolls, in which each regiment recorded, often imprecisely, the names and fates of its members. That figure was increased to 360,222 in the early 20th century to reflect applications by widows and orphans for pensions and survivors’ benefits, which could be claimed whether a soldier had been killed in battle, succumbed to his injuries later on or died of disease. (Historians believe that two-thirds of fatalities among soldiers serving in the Civil War were due to illness.)
The tally of Confederate Army deaths produced in the late 19th century—258,000—was based on even shakier methodology, as the two Union officers who spent decades attempting to calculate it openly acknowledged. The official and unofficial reports they used did not account for men who died of their wounds off the battlefield, and pension and benefit requests were not taken into consideration. Moreover, while the number was adjusted to include probable deaths from disease and accidents, the estimators assumed that Confederate troops had suffered from illness at the same rate as their Union counterparts. Subsequent research, however, has shown that Southerners, who largely hailed from rural areas with low population densities, were less likely to have been exposed to infections prior to the war and were therefore at greater risk of contracting them; they also had a less adequate supply of clothing, food and medicine.
One hundred fifty years after the Civil War began, most historians recognize that many deaths were never reported for a variety of reasons, including efforts by some commanders to understate casualties, the participation of non-enlisted guerilla fighters and the prevalence of chronic diseases that claimed lives long after hostilities ended. To achieve a more accurate number, Hacker studied newly available microdata samples from the 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 censuses. Looking at the native-born white population between the ages of 10 and 44, he calculated the ratio of male survival relative to female survival for the 1850-1860 and 1870-1880 decades. He then compared the average of this ratio to the 1860-1870 decade, during which the Civil War took place. The difference allowed him to estimate the excess proportion of males who failed to survive the 1860s compared to the preceding and subsequent decades.
Hacker then factored in comparable death rates for foreign-born white troops and existing estimates of mortality among black soldiers. Rounding to the nearest 50,000, he arrived at a probable range of 650,000 to 850,000 deaths, which averages out to 750,000. This number is 20 percent higher than the commonly cited count of 620,000. If Hacker is correct, one out of 10 white men who were of military age in 1860 died as a result of the Civil War—not one out of 13, as the traditional figure implies.
Although this census-based method does not distinguish between Union and Confederate deaths, Hacker was able to discern patterns for various regions of birth. For instance, he concluded that mortality was significantly higher for white males between the ages of 10 and 44 born in the South (13.1 percent) and in the slave-holding border states of Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware (12.7 percent) than for those born in the free states and territories (6.1 percent). At a more granular level, 22.6 percent of Southern men who were between the ages of 20 and 24 in 1860 lost their lives because of the war, according to Hacker’s findings.
Hacker believes that his analysis will help illuminate how the Civil War ravaged the American population even after the bloodshed ended, taking a massive human and economic toll on the nation. “An accurate tally—or at least a reasonable estimate—is important in order to gauge the huge impact of the war on American society,” he said. “Even if the number of war dead was ‘only’ 620,000, that still created a huge impact, how many people died in the civil war in the South, and a figure of 750,000 makes that impact—and the demographic shadow it threw on the next two generations of Americans—just that much greater.”
Readers reply: which monarchs would have lived longer if modern medicine had been available?
Which British monarchs would have survived their illness or wounding if today’s medical knowledge had existed then? (Bonus question: which monarchs would we have had but for illnesses that are now easily preventable?) Jane Shaw
Send new questions to [email protected].
Richard I died of sepsis and gangrene 11 days after being shot in the shoulder with a crossbow bolt; modern antibiotics would almost certainly have saved his life. If he had lived, John would not have come to the throne and lost most of England’s holdings in France, nor would the barons have rebelled and forced John to seal Magna Carta (and subsequent kings to reissue it). The modern world, spectrum pay my bill by phone just England, would be a very different place as a consequence. RichWoods
Richard was 41 when he died, with no legitimate heirs. If he hadn’t died then, there’s a high chance he’d have got himself killed in some other military misadventure and John would have ended up in charge anyway. Plus, a large part of why John lost so much French territory was that he couldn’t afford to defend it, in large part because of debts Richard had accrued by getting captured on the way home from the Crusades. It’s not really clear whether Richard living a few years longer would have made any difference to that. Also, John got a papal bull nullifying Magna Carta almost immediately. Subsequent kings only reissued it as a means of placating rebellious barons – they would presumably have had to have signed a similar treaty with the barons if it had never existed.
As to which people might have become monarchs if they’d had access to modern medicine, Edward the Black Prince died from the effects of dysentery he contracted on campaign. He was an extremely popular figure in England and presumably would have made an effective (if brutal) ruler, and his disease could be easily cured today. Prince Arthur Tudor – Henry VIII’s older brother – died aged 15 at Ludlow castle after contracting some kind of respiratory infection, possibly tuberculosis or influenza. He’d have a high chance of survival today. Prince Henry Stuart – Charles I’s older brother – died of typhoid fever aged 18, so never got to reign as King Henry IX. He would probably have been put right by a strong course of antibiotics. It’s fascinating to think that two of the most pivotal rulers both ernest hemingway and f scott fitzgerald were English history only became king through their elder brothers’ misfortune. There are some obvious forks British history could have taken given modern medical intervention. ProjectXRay
John, signing a treaty and immediately trying to nullify it? He wasn’t an ancestor of our current leader, was he? tpnrty
If Arthur had not died we’d all still be speaking Latin and divorce would be illegal. Plus, Hilary Mantel might not have won two Bookers. lisamarie3
Had Edward I’s eldest surviving son not died at the age of 10, England would have had a King Alfonso and we would all be significantly better at football. ButtockMcscruttock
Albert, Queen Victoria’s consort, would have almost certainly have survived his tragic early death with modern how many people died in the civil war and treatment. If he had lived, maybe Victoria wouldn’t have been such a misery and maybe Albert’s diplomatic skills would have eased some of the tensions in the wider European family of monarchy, which contributed to the first world war. Cassandraknows2
I’m less interested in monarchs and more in composers. Mozart and Mahler almost certainly died of eminently treatable infective illnesses that would have been easily survivable today. Imagine all that music that we have never heard. Peter Neville, Powys
William the Conqueror ruptured his internal organs on the pommel of his saddle when his horse jumped a wall in Normandy and he subsequently died. Surgical intervention would almost certainly have saved him. But that’s only the beginning of the story. By the time he was transported to Caen Cathedral for his funeral he was as ripe as a camembert. While lying in state there, the gases trapped in his abdomen escaped with a loud hissing sound and the stench sent the crowd of assembled mourners fleeing from the cathedral. rumblestrips
Henry V died of dysentery at 35 during the siege of a French castle. Despite all the lionising of him by Shakespeare and the rest, he remains a might-have-been of history. Had he lived, he would have become king of both England and France within a year. The Wars of the Roses would have been much less likely and the Tudors certainly wouldn’t have risen to the throne. It’s unlikely an English-French dual monarchy would have endured beyond his death, but it’s certainly an interesting what-if. Ionic_bond
Alexander, prince of Scotland – son of King Alexander III of Scotland – died of an unspecified fever in 1284 at the age of 20. Although I don’t know what kind of fever it was, I assume that modern medicine could have saved him. He would have succeeded his father as king, the Scottish lords wouldn’t have asked Edward I of England to choose a new king for them, William Wallace would have lived his life out as a minor member of the Scottish nobility and Braveheart would never have been made. BellaTheCook
Folic acid added to her diet might have prevented Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII, from succumbing to anaemia and dying in childbirth. Which might in turn have prolonged Henry’s life, stopped him from relying on Empson and Dudley, and perhaps given him a clearer, less grief-addled head when it came to preventing Catherine of Aragon from marrying his second son. She could have been sent back to Spain, Henry VIII could have made a better marriage, had a son, and … perhaps no Reformation. Not that I’m against the Reformation. Asurea
Supposing Richard III’s wife and son could have been cured of whatever natural cause they died of? Nobody able to spread nasty rumours about how he had murdered his wife in order to marry his niece; a legitimate male heir still around; Henry Tudor might have thought twice, and we’d have had the King in the North for a bit longer than two years. SpoilheapSurfer
Edward VI, the male heir that Henry VIII so desired, died at 15 most probably of TB, which could be easily treated today. A longer reign would have avoided the subsequent bloody turmoil of his successor, Mary, and perhaps led to a more Protestant religious settlement (compared with the compromise enacted under Elizabeth I) being established in England with the survival of its most vocal proponents (Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley, all executed by Mary). Even more critically, if he had wed and sired an heir, the Tudor dynasty might have continued for a lot longer, and the Stuarts would probably have never come to the throne (and hence no subsequent personal or political union with Scotland, or civil war/Cromwell). deepsubs
The accounts of Queen Caroline’s death are harrowing (wife to George II). She had suffered an umbilical hernia at the birth of her final child pirates of the caribbean at worlds end davy jones death 1724 and, in November 1737, it was discovered that part of her small intestine was poking through the opening. Her doctors cut off the part that was protruding, thus making it impossible for anything to pass through her body. She died days later, in agony. It was definitely a case of “died of the doctors”. One of her daughters suffered from the same condition. PMWoolley
Princess Charlotte, the daughter of George IV, died in childbirth along with her son. If she had survived, there would have been no Queen Victoria whose numerous children married into all the European royal families. Imagine: no Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and no Tsarina Alexandra bringing haemophilia into the Russian royal family. Whatduck
Mary II died at age 32 from smallpox; her husband, William III, five years later from pneumonia. If they had lived much longer it is possible that the house of Hanover might not have ascended the English throne. Floppyears
Modern medicine might actually have saved Anne Boleyn. Henry is thought to have suffered a brain injury in a fall, which affected his temperament. Before it, he was intelligent, reasonable and generous. After his fall he suddenly became suspicious and aggressive. An MRI scan and brain surgery might have succeeded. Anne would not have been executed and might have had a healthy son. No Bloody Mary with Catholic persecutions but sadly no Elizabeth I either. But we might still be ruled by Tudors now instead of a German family. Shân Morgain, Newport
Surely King Arthur would have been fine with modern antidepressants and psychotherapy: “No Arthur, there is no (living) lady in the lake, no magic sword and Merlin is a wise man, not a ‘wizard’.” Walter Mennekens
- Causes of the Civil War
- Outbreak of the Civil War (1861)
- The Civil War in Virginia (1862)
- After the Emancipation Proclamation (1863-4)
- Toward a Union Victory (1864-65)
- PHOTO GALLERIES
The Civil War in the United States began in 1861, after decades of simmering tensions between northern and southern states over slavery, states’ rights and westward expansion. The election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 caused seven southern states to secede and form the Confederate West valley city library utah of America; four more states soon joined them. The War Between the States, as the Civil War was also known, ended in Confederate surrender in 1865. The conflict was the costliest and deadliest war ever fought on American soil, with some 620,000 of 2.4 million soldiers killed, millions more injured and much of the South left in ruin.
WATCH: Civil War Journal on HISTORY Vault
Causes of the Civil War
In the mid-19th century, while the United States was experiencing an era of tremendous growth, a fundamental economic difference existed between the country’s northern and southern regions.
In the North, manufacturing and industry was well established, and agriculture was mostly limited to small-scale farms, while the South’s economy was based on a system of large-scale farming that depended on the labor of Black enslaved people to grow certain crops, especially cotton and tobacco.
Growing abolitionist sentiment in the North after the 1830s and northern opposition to slavery’s extension into the new western territories led many southerners to fear that the existence of slavery in America—and thus the backbone of their economy—was in danger.
Did you know? Confederate General Thomas Jonathan Jackson earned his famous nickname, "Stonewall," from his steadfast defensive efforts in the First Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas). At Chancellorsville, Jackson was shot by one of his own men, who mistook him for Union cavalry. His arm was amputated, and he died from comerica bank locations in livonia mi eight days later.
In 1854, the U.S. Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which essentially opened all new territories to slavery by asserting the rule of popular sovereignty over congressional edict. Pro- and anti-slavery forces struggled violently in “Bleeding Kansas,” while opposition to the act in the North led to the formation of the Republican Party, a new political entity based on the principle of opposing slavery’s extension into the western territories. After the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Dred Scott case (1857) confirmed the legality of slavery in the territories, the abolitionist John Brown’s raid at Harper’s Ferry in 1859 convinced more and more southerners that their northern neighbors were bent on the destruction of the “peculiar institution” that sustained them. Abraham Lincoln’s election in November 1860 was the final straw, and within three months seven southern states–South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas–had seceded from the United States.
EXPLORE: Ulysses S. Grant: An Interactive Map of His Key Civil War Battles
Outbreak of the Civil War (1861)
Even as Lincoln took office in March 1861, Confederate forces threatened the federal-held Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. On April 12, after Lincoln ordered a fleet to resupply Sumter, Confederate artillery fired the first shots of the Civil War. Sumter’s commander, Major Robert Anderson, surrendered after less than two days of bombardment, leaving the fort in the hands of Confederate forces under Pierre G.T. Beauregard. Four more southern states–Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee –joined the Confederacy after Fort Sumter. Border slave states like Missouri, Kentucky and Maryland did not secede, but there was much Confederate sympathy among their citizens.
Though on the surface the Civil War may have seemed a lopsided conflict, with the 23 states of the Union enjoying an enormous advantage in population, manufacturing (including arms production) and railroad construction, the Confederates had a strong military tradition, along with some of the best soldiers and commanders in the nation. They also had a cause they believed in: preserving their long-held traditions and institutions, chief among these being slavery.
In the First Battle of Bull Run (known in the South as First Manassas) on July 21, 1861, 35,000 Confederate soldiers under the command of Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson forced a greater number of Union forces (or Federals) to retreat towards Washington, D.C., dashing any hopes of a quick Union victory and leading Lincoln to call for 500,000 more recruits. In fact, both sides’ initial call for troops had to be widened after it became clear that the war would not be a limited or short conflict.
The Civil War in Virginia (1862)
George B. McClellan–who replaced the aging General Winfield Scott as supreme commander of the Union Army after the first months of the war–was beloved by his troops, but his reluctance to advance chase checking 200 new account bonus Lincoln. In the spring judy holliday images 1862, McClellan finally led his Army of the Potomac up the peninsula between the York and James Rivers, capturing Yorktown on May 4. The combined forces of Robert E. Lee and Jackson successfully drove back McClellan’s army in the Seven Days’ Battles (June 25-July 1), and a cautious McClellan called for yet more reinforcements in order to move against Richmond. Lincoln refused, and instead withdrew the Army of the Potomac to Washington. By mid-1862, McClellan had been replaced as Union general-in-chief by Henry W. Halleck, though he remained in command of the Army of the Potomac.
Lee then moved his troops northwards and split his men, sending Jackson to meet Pope’s forces near Manassas, while Lee himself moved how many people died in the civil war with the second half of the army. On August 29, Union troops led by John Pope struck Jackson’s forces in the Second Battle of Bull Run (Second Manassas). The next day, Lee hit the Federal left flank with a massive assault, driving Pope’s men back towards Washington. On the heels of his victory at Manassas, Lee began the first Confederate invasion of the North. Despite contradictory orders from Lincoln and Halleck, McClellan was able to reorganize his army and strike at Lee on September 14 in Maryland, driving the Confederates back to a defensive position along Antietam Creek, near Sharpsburg.
On September 17, the Army of the Potomac hit Lee’s forces (reinforced by Jackson’s) in how many people died in the civil war became the war’s bloodiest single day of fighting. Total casualties at the Battle of Antietam (also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg) numbered 12,410 of some 69,000 troops on the Union side, and 13,724 of around 52,000 for the Confederates. The Union victory at Antietam would prove decisive, as it halted the Confederate advance in Maryland and forced Lee to retreat into Virginia. Still, McClellan’s failure to pursue his advantage earned him the scorn of Lincoln and Halleck, who removed him from command in favor of Ambrose E. Burnside. Burnside’s assault on Lee’s troops near Fredericksburg on December 13 ended in heavy Union casualties and a Confederate victory; he was promptly replaced by Joseph “Fighting Joe” Hooker, and both armies settled into winter quarters across the Rappahannock River from each other.
After the Emancipation Proclamation (1863-4)
Lincoln had used the occasion of the Union victory at Antietam to issue a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all enslaved people in the rebellious states after How many people died in the civil war 1, 1863. He justified his decision as a wartime measure, and did not go so far as to free the enslaved people in the border states loyal to the Union. Still, the Emancipation Proclamation deprived the Confederacy of the bulk of its labor mall of america flight deals and put international public opinion strongly on the Union side. Some 186,000 Black Civil War soldiers would join the Union Army by the time the war ended in 1865, and 38,000 lost their lives.
In the spring of 1863, Hooker’s plans for a Union offensive were thwarted by a surprise attack by the bulk of Lee’s forces on May 1, whereupon Hooker pulled his men back to Chancellorsville. The Confederates gained a costly victory in the Battle of Chancellorsville, suffering 13,000 casualties (around 22 percent of their troops); the Union lost 17,000 men (15 percent). Lee launched another invasion of the North in June, attacking Union forces commanded by General George Meade on July 1 near Gettysburg, in southern Pennsylvania. Over three days of fierce fighting, the Confederates were unable to push through the Union center, and suffered casualties of close to 60 percent.
Meade failed to counterattack, however, and Lee’s remaining forces were able to escape into Virginia, ending the last Confederate invasion of the North. Also in July 1863, Union forces under Ulysses S. Grant took Vicksburg (Mississippi) in the Siege of Vicksburg, a victory that would prove to be the turning point of the war in the how many people died in the civil war theater. After a Confederate victory at Chickamauga Creek, Georgia, just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, in September, Lincoln expanded Grant’s command, and he led a reinforced Federal army (including two corps from the Army of the Potomac) to victory in the Battle of Chattanooga in late November.
Toward a Union Victory (1864-65)
In March 1864, Lincoln how many people died in the civil war Grant in supreme command of the Union armies, replacing Halleck. Leaving William Tecumseh Sherman in control in the West, Grant headed to Washington, where he led the Army of the Potomac towards Lee’s troops in northern Virginia. Despite heavy Union casualties in the Battle of the Wilderness and at Spotsylvania (both May 1864), at Cold Harbor (early June) and the key rail center of Petersburg (June), Grant pursued a strategy of attrition, putting Petersburg under siege for the next nine months.
Sherman outmaneuvered Confederate forces to take Atlanta by September, after which he and some 60,000 Union troops began the famous “March to the Sea,” devastating Georgia on the way to capturing Savannah on December 21. Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina, fell to Sherman’s men by mid-February, and Jefferson Davis belatedly handed over the supreme command to Lee, with the Confederate war effort on its last legs. Sherman pressed on through North Carolina, capturing Fayetteville, Bentonville, Goldsboro and Raleigh by mid-April.
Meanwhile, how many people died in the civil war by the Union siege of Petersburg and Richmond, Lee’s forces made a last attempt at resistance, attacking and captured the Federal-controlled Fort Stedman on March 25. An immediate counterattack reversed the victory, however, and on the night of April 2-3 Lee’s forces evacuated Richmond. For most of the next week, Grant and Meade pursued the Confederates along the Appomattox River, finally exhausting their possibilities for escape. Grant accepted Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 9. On the eve of victory, the Union lost its great leader: The actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington on April 14. Sherman received Johnston’s surrender at Durham Station, North Carolina on April 26, effectively ending the Civil War.
Battle for Marib: Why is it crucial in Yemen war?
The northern city is a key front between the Yemeni government -- supported by a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition -- and the Iran-backed Huthi rebel fighters.
Here are four important points about the battle for the strategic and oil-rich province, which is considered pivotal in Yemen's seven-year civil war.
The city is the last northern bastion of the internationally-recognised government, which was driven from the capital Sanaa by the Huthis in 2014.
Just 120 kilometres (75 miles) east of Sanaa, Marib sits at a crossroads between Yemen's southern and northern regions, commanding a highway to Saudi Arabia.
The surrounding province boasts oil and gas reserves, making it a major economic prize. The Safer oil refinery is only one of two in Yemen, with a capacity to produce 10,000 to 20,000 barrels per day.
Marib is considered one of the most significant historic sites on the Arabian Peninsula, according to UNESCO, and surrounded by rugged mountains and valleys.
It is said to have been the capital of the ancient Saba kingdom, best known for the legendary Queen of Sheba.
How close are the rebels?
The Huthis have previously claimed they were on the outskirts of the city, but two pro-government military officials said the rebels were still 30 kilometres west and north of the city, and 50 kilometres to the south.
The rebels began a major push to seize the city in February and, after a lull, they renewed their offensive in September.
Thousands of rebels and pro-government fighters have been killed, according to reports from both sides.
Military officials say Huthi fighters are launching daily attacks from the west, north and south.
"They are sending thousands of fighters on armed trucks -- and sometimes motorcycles -- and using their drones to try to capture one village after another, until they reach the city," one official said.
The Saudi-led coalition, which has propped up the government since 2015, has reported carrying out frequent air strikes on the Huthis in recent weeks, boasting of casualties in the thousands.
The Huthis rarely comment on their losses, and AFP cannot independently verify the tolls.
Will Marib fall?
Despite the Huthis' advances, the government claims it is certain that the city won't fall into rebel hands.
Government troops have been digging tunnels around the city to give it further protection, military officials said.
"Marib has resisted and will keep on resisting," the province's governor Sultan al-Arada told local media.
"Marib, with the help of the coalition, will counter this assault."
But if the Huthis do take Marib, they would control the north -- and could push on and capture other provinces.
It would also give them significant leverage in any negotiations with the government.
Huthis have military reasons to capture Marib but it is also a matter of "pride and image", said one of the two military officials.
"They will continue no matter how many fighters they lose," the official said.
Thousands flee conflict
As the fighting rages, civilians are caught in the crossfire, suffering heavy casualties. Thousands have also been forced to flee their homes.
In October, at least 22 people were killed when a Huthi missile hit a mosque south of the city, and 13 others died when a missile demolished a tribal leader's home in the same area.
The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has warned that "escalating hostilities since early September" have caused "civilian casualties, renewed displacements and further restricted civilians' movements."
Some 40,000 people have been forced to flee since September, UN refugee agency spokeswoman Shabia Mantoo said.
© 2021 AFP