Civil War statistics


A few statistics about the war. There were issued ten calls for troops, for a total of 2,763,670 men. At first the South was called upon, but not thereafter. These calls were distributed among the States according to population; and 2,772,408 responded, while 86,724 paid commutation money. But, as some of these men enlisted twice or more, it is estimated that the actual number of men who enlisted on a three years' basis numbered 2,320,272, of whom 186,097 were colored. The regular army, in the war, consisted of about 67,000 men. Some of the volunteers served but a short time, in cases of emergency. The average number of Federal troops present in the field during 1862-3-4 and '65 was 600,000; the largest number being 800,000 in May, 1865. The average number absent from the army for various causes was about 250,000; so that the total army rose steadily from 575,917 on January 1, 1862, to 1,000,516 on May 1, 1865. Altogether there were 1,981 regiments in the three armies, 498 separate companies, and 232 separate batteries, or about 2,072 regiments, if all had been properly organized and consolidated.

The losses of the army have never been accurately determined. There were many persons who deserted and have never been accounted for; many who were killed or died in prison, of whom no record was kept; but three different estimates by various bureaus do not greatly differ. Phisterer's estimate, though now believed to be somewhat too low, is as follows: Killed in battle, 44,238; died of wounds, 49,205; died of disease, 186,216; unknown, suicides, etc., 24,710; total, 304,369.

The latest estimates give the loss as high as 360,000.

There were 2,261 engagements of all kinds, and in 148 of these the Federal loss was 500 or more.

The following table gives the losses in the principal battles of the Civil War. The figures are the total for killed, wounded, and missing, as given in Phisterer's Official Record:

Battle. Union. Confederate. Bull Run 2,952 1,752 Shiloh 13,573 10,699 Seven Pines and Fair Oaks 5,739 7,997 Seven Days Battles 15,249 17,583 Second Bull Run 7,800 3,700 Antietam 12,469 25,899 Perryville 4,348 7,000 Fredericksburg 12,353 4,576 Murfreesboro 11,578 25,560 Chancellorsville 16,030 12,281 Gettysburg Campaign 23,186 31,621 Chickamauga 15,851 17,804 Chattanooga 5,616 8,684 Wilderness 37,737 11,400 Spottsylvania, etc. 26,461 9,000 Atlanta 3,641 8,499 Franklin 2,326 6,252 Nashville 2,140 15,000 Surrendered at the close, about 100,000

The statistics for the Confederate army are not so easy to give, because many of the records have been destroyed, and because many of the records have been destroyed, and because not all of the calls for troops were met. At first States' rights were recognized by calling for State troops, but this soon became unsatisfactory, and the Confederate army was organized. Under the various calls for troops and the many acts of legislation by the Confederate Congress every able-bodied man in the Confederacy was, sooner or later, called into the service, and finally boys and old men were pressed into service for garrison duty. It is believed that 750,000 men, in all, were regularly enlisted, armed, and equipped; but probably not 500,000 were ever in the service at one time, while the real number of effectives must have been considerably less. Yet the disparity in effectiveness between these two armies was not so great as the figures suggest. The Confederates were always, with a few exceptions, in their own territory and generally behind works. The Confederates never won a victory outside their own borders, not even in the border States of Kentucky or Maryland, nor did they have any important successes in Tennessee. The Federal army was obliged to keep up a long line of communication from its base of supplies, and this constantly depleted the firing line. The great Confederate victory in the West was at Chickamauga. In the East the victories were in defending their capital. Both sides fought with great valor, and the end did not come until the fighting power of the South had gone. It is believed that the Confederate army lost over 200,000 men killed, died of wounds or disease. There is one excellent authority who claims, on the basis of the few returns available, that the loss was at least 300,000, and perhaps more, making a total sacrifice of nearly 700,000 men.

Financially, both sections were in great trouble much of the time. War is terribly expensive. The North had more resources than the South, but at first it had little credit and no cash. The Morrill tariff bill, passed in 1861, provided for a war revenue, but it was only a drop in the bucket. The Secretary of the Treasury was authorized to borrow, but lenders were few. The whole nation was for a time in a dazed condition. Secession, so long threatened, had come, and many loyal persons believed that it was not possible to maintain the Union by war and preferred a peaceable separation. Others feared that a war would be useless, as Europe would interfere on behalf of the South, because almost all the cotton in the world came from within her borders, and to shut off this commodity would cause so much distress that international law would be strained to force an outlet for this great staple. Could the Confederacy have had a steady outlet for cotton it could have kept up the struggle much longer.

It was with this purpose in view that Mr. Davis sent Mason and Slidell to Great Britain and France; but the failure was as complete as was an appeal to the Pope at Rome, who made the abolishment of slavery a sine qua non of recognition. This of course was impossible. The Confederacy first resorted to loans guaranteed by cotton, and for a time their loans sold well; but when cotton was no longer allowed to leave the country except as captured by the Federals, there was difficulty in making loans on any good basis. The Confederate expenses were enormous, because of the great risk in getting in supplies from abroad. There were few good mechanics in the South, and few foundries; the Tredegar Iron Works, at Richmond, was the only first-class establishment of its kind in the Confederacy. When loans from the States and bond sales failed to raise money, resort was had to paper currency, which was issued in large amounts. Just how much was current will never be known. The workmanship on the notes was poor, and counterfeits in the North were easily made, so that the South was swamped with paper money. It declined steadily with the fortunes of the Confederate arms, and after the war it became, along with the bonds, entirely worthless. Many of these bonds were held abroad. In fairness it can be said that the finances of the Confederacy were never well handled, even considering all the difficulties involved.

The Federal Government was more fortunate. After a short period of gloom and despair the Northern people resolved to stick together. A meeting of the leading bankers was held and money was furnished for a time almost as called for. The Treasury also issued interest-bearing notes for small denominations, but even these were not sufficient for the strain. When it was found that there was to be a long and bloody war, entirely original measures were taken. The National Banking system, substantially as it now is, was established. This had the two-fold effect of marketing bonds and providing currency for the needs of the people. Income and internal revenue taxes were laid on many articles. Specie payments were suspended, but no great disaster came. Finally, non-interest-bearing Treasury notes to the amount of nearly $450,000,000 were issued to pay war expenses. They were never on a par with gold, falling to about 40 per cent at one time, but fluctuating according to the success of the Federal arms. After the war they rose in value rapidly, but did not reach par until 1878. During the most trying part of the war Mr. Chase was at the head of the Treasury, but, on the death of Chief Justice Taney, succeeded him and Hugh McCullough became Secretary. During the war most of the bonds were sold through the agency of Jay Cooke, of Philadelphia -- the fourth man from that city to finance our Government in a war. By August, 1865, the National debt, which was only about $80,000,000 in 1860, had reached $2,845,000,000. About $800,000,000 was raised during the war by customs duties, internal revenue, and direct taxes.

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