History

5 things you never knew about the Civil War

A study of the history of the United States is incomplete without reference to the Civil War. The Civil War (1861–1865) set American against American. It has been the cause of the greatest number of documented episodes in the history of the United States.

Civil War trivia asserts that the conflict between the United States and 11 Southern States was the deadliest war on American soil. It claimed about 620,000 soldiers’ lives and about 2 percent of the total population of the time. Civil War history, historians, and aficionados have written many books, articles and reenacted battle sagas.

What caused the Civil War?

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This is a question many still debate in the public domain, with several schools of thought asserting their views. However, James McPherson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, provides a more explicit narrative of what caused the war. According to him, “The Civil War started due to uncompromising differences between the Northern States, mainly the free and slave states over the power of the national government to disallow slavery in the territories that had not yet become states.”

In the 1860 election, Abraham Lincoln ran on a pledge to block the institution of slavery in the territories. In retaliation, a Confederate States of America was created by seven Deep South states that separated from the Union. During the Lincoln Administration, the Confederate secession from the Union was invalidated, and the legality was never fully established. They feared that it would discredit democracy by creating a dangerous example that would lead to the dissolution of the United States into individual countries.

What were the bloodiest battles of the Civil War?

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The Battle of Gettysburg

  • Location: Pennsylvania
  • Casualties figure: 51,112 (U.S. 23,049/C.S. 28,063)
  • Date: July 1-3, 1863

The Battle of Chickamauga

  • Location: North Georgia
  • Casualties figure: 34,624 (U.S. 16,170/C.S. 18,454)
  • Date: September 19-20, 1863

The Battle of Chancellorsville

  • Location: Virginia
  • Casualties figure: 30,099 (U.S. 17,278/C.S. 12,821)
  • Date: May 1-4, 1863

The Battle of Spotsylvania

  • Location: Virginia
  • Casualties figure: 27,399 (U.S. 18,399/C.S. 9,000)
  • Date: May 8-19, 1864

The Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg)

  • Location: Maryland
  • Casualties figure: 26,134 (U.S. 12,410/C.S. 13,724)
  • Date: September 17, 1862

The Battle of the Wilderness

  • Location: Virginia
  • Casualties figure: 25,416 (U.S. 17,666/C.S. 7,750)
  • Date: May 5-7, 1864

The Battle of Second Manasas

  • Location: Virginia
  • Casualties figure: 25,251 (U.S. 16,054/C.S. 9,197)
  • Date: August 29-30, 1862

What caused casualties of the Union Army during a battle?

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According to Mark Hughes in The New Civil War Handbook, the causes of casualties of the Union Armies during battles are:

  • Musketry – 50.6%
  • Unknown – 42.1%
  • Cannon – 5.7%
  • Pistol/Buckshot – 1.2%
  • Saber – 0.2 %
  • Bayonet – 0.2%

How many soldiers fought and died in the Civil War?

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The total number of soldiers deployed from both armies of the North and South were 2,128,948 and 1,082,119 respectively. By the end of the war, the total number of soldiers that died from both sides was approximately 620,000. However, a recent study put the figure closer to 850,000.

How much pay did the soldiers receive?

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There are discrepancies in the amounts white and black union soldiers received as salaries until 1864, when Congress rectified it. White Union soldiers collected $13 a month, while their black counterparts got $7 a month. The Confederate Army paid their soldiers $11 a month. It was common that they sometimes went for long stretches with no pay.

The United States has since remained united after the Confederates called for a ceasefire in April 1865. Civil War history reports that the total number of people that both armies lost within those four years remains the second highest in the history of the nation.