America's most DEADLIEST War Ever

Not to many people in my work know much about American History and they were shocked to learn that this war had more deaths than any other American involved War.

The Price in Blood!
Casualties in the Civil War
At least 618,000 Americans died in the Civil War, and some experts say the toll reached 700,000. The number that is most often quoted is 620,000. At any rate, these casualties exceed the nation’s loss in all its other wars, from the Revolution through Vietnam.
The Union armies had from 2,500,000 to 2,750,000 men. Their losses, by the best estimates:
Battle deaths: 110,070
Disease, etc.: 250,152
Total 360,222
The Confederate strength, known less accurately because of missing records, was from 750,000 to 1,250,000. Its estimated losses:
Battle deaths: 94,000
Disease, etc.: 164,000
Total 258,000
The leading authority on casualties of the war, Thomas L. Livermore, admitting the handicap of poor records in some cases, studied 48 of the war’s battles and concluded:
Of every 1,000 Federals in battle, 112 were wounded.
Of every 1,000 Confederates, 150 were hit.
Mortality was greater among Confederate wounded, because of inferior medical service. The great battles, in terms of their toll in dead, wounded, and missing is listed on this site:
The Ten Costliest Battles of the Civil War.

    Some of the great blood baths of the war came as Grant drove on Richmond in the spring of 1864- Confederate casualties are missing for this campaign, but were enormous. The Federal toll:

The Wilderness, May 5-7: 17,666
Spotsylvania, May 10 and 12: 10,920
Drewry’s Bluff, May 12-16 4,160
Cold Harbor, June 1-3: 12,000
Petersburg, June 15-30 16,569

I read this about the accuracy of rifle fire, no wonder there were more deaths caused by disease than on the battlefield.

Firing on both sides was so inaccurate that soldiers estimated it took a man’s weight in lead to kill a single enemy in battle. A Federal expert said that each Confederate who was shot required 240 pounds of powder and 900 pounds of lead.

This even puts the ammo consumption during the Vietnam War into perspective I guess.

Was everything by musket or did they have bullets back then the way we have today? I saw a movie on the civil war and I beleive only the officers had handguns. I also notice in ww2 that only the officers had handguns too. I wonder if this was a thing to do with being an officer or if it was just too expensive to give every soldier a handgun in addition to their combat gear. maybe the weight?

The short answer is both. By the middle of the conflict, the Union alone had fielded dozens of types of firearms, but the gradual transition from musket to rifle took place and by the end of the War, both sides were equipped primarily with muskets like the “1861 Springfield.” But rifled firearms including the “Spencer Repeating Rifle,” which was sort of the AK-47 of its day, were introduced in small numbers.

As for pistols, they were largely useless as they are today in a battlefield situation save for either as a backup, close quarters weapon or for use by the cavalry…

Yep. Try hitting something at typical battlefield ranges (50-100m) with a pistol and you’ll see why nobody whose job it is to shoot at people carries one. Officers and senior NCOs are usually too busy to shoot anyone, so may occasionally carry pistols.

Not to mention one of the biggest reasons you probably carry an Enfield is that those carrying pistols also tend to be sniper-magnets. They figure that even if you’re not an officer or senior NCO, you might be some sort of a specialist worth shooting.

I imagine that anyone riding a horse was a sniper-magnet though into the Civil War, though we do see the beginnings of junior officers armed differently than their men when on foot…

ah the civil war or the war of southern independence as i like to call it one of my favorite subjects to talk about im currently in the scv which is a fantastic organization

The counter-argument is that officers should not be issued with rifles in case they injure themselves or, worse, someone else on their own side. Rifles should be issued only to troops who know how to use them properly, which automatically excludes officers, which is why they are issued only pistols and even then only grudgingly. :smiley:

In terms of combat deaths it appears that the Civil War only ranks second in Americas wars behind the 1941-45 conflict. However, relative to population the losses seem very heavy.