Interesting Facts About Civil War

Civil War: The American Civil War was an armed conflict fought between two sections of US society. North was a group of 20 Free states and 5 Border States that were loyal to the union and South was a breakaway group of 11 rebel states that formed an independent Confederation. The war was fought from 1861 till 1865, when North eventually triumphed and union restored to its original shape. Civil war brought radical changes in American society and shaped the future course of American nation. Stated below are some interesting facts about the civil war.

Civil war is the bloodiest war ever fought in the history of United States. With an estimated 210,000 combat related deaths and 620,000 total casualties, civil war exceeds even Second World War in terms of American fatalities.

  • An average of 600 men died every day during the war.
  • During the war United States lost 2% of its total population. Confederate states alone lost 30% of their population aged between 18 and 40.
  • Interestingly, more men were lost to diseases than combat. Military camps on both sides were rife with diseases like malaria, chicken pox, small pox, diarrhea and measles.

Although there was an age limit of 18 years to join Union army, almost 10,000 soldiers were below the minimum age limit. The youngest soldier in the war was a nine year old boy in Confederate army from Mississippi. Due to the presence of a large number of young boys in the ranks, civil war is often called ‘The Boy’s War’.

  • 17th September, 1862 is still the bloodiest day in American military history. A total of 5000 soldiers died on this day in Battle of Antietam. Battle of Gettysburg is the bloodiest battle in American Military History.
  • Of all the American states, Virginia saw most action during the civil war. A total of 2100 skirmishes took place inside Virginian territory during the war.
  • Robert E Lee, the famous Confederate General and commander of Army of Virginia was offered command of Union forces at the start of the war. He declined the offer as he did not want to fight against the people of his home state of Virginia, by then a part of confederation.

Among the Civil War veterans were three future US presidents. They were Ulysses S Grant, Rutherford B Hayes and William McKinley.

  • During the war years (1861-65), the numbers of orphans in United States more than doubled.
  • Of all the able bodied military age men in North, about 1/3rd served during the war. However, almost 2/3rd of South’s male population served in the military during the war.
  • Nearly 300,000 horses were killed during the conflict. 3000 horses perished in Gettysburg alone.
  • Only about 1% of soldiers in the civil war were regulars. Remaining were all volunteers.
  • South Carolina was the first state to announce secession on December 20, 1860.

Nearly 1/3rd of Union Army comprised of immigrants. The most numerous were Germans who were 10% of the total strength.

  • Union confiscated Robert E Lee’s estate during the war and turned it into a cemetery. It is known today as Arlington National Cemetery.
  • Both Union and Confederate armies did not allow women to be recruited. However, 250 to 400 women fought the war ‘disguised’ as men.
  • By the time General Lee surrendered, Confederate currency had tremendously depreciated. It took 1200 Confederate dollars to buy 1 US dollar.