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20% increase to civil war death toll

by Greg Bernhardt
Tags: civil, death, increase, toll
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Greg Bernhardt
Apr11-12, 10:09 AM
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A study suggests a previously widely accepted death toll of the US Civil War may actually be way under the mark. How many did perish in this conflict, fought before the era of modern record-keeping and DNA identification?

The study was published in
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Apr18-12, 06:34 PM
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At least 6 of my 8 great-great-grandfathers served in the civil war- but only one died in the war (my great-great-grandfathers were all born before the civil war started).
Apr18-12, 08:47 PM
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2 of my G4 fathers were in the Civil War. 1 was in the 7th Iowa and fought and was wounded at Pea Ridge. He had wrist and shoulder wounds, sounds like he was standing and holding a weapon to his shoulder when hit.

The other, well it is history now, was in Chivington's 3rd Colorado Calvary. They are noted only for the Sand Creek Massacre. Karma rules, he was murdered in Texas in 1873.

Apr18-12, 09:39 PM
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20% increase to civil war death toll

This increase might be far too low. There were lots of soldiers that were picked up in local recruiting efforts, for instance, with poor documentation. Low-ranking soldiers were often cannon-fodder back when battles were fought on open fields with ranked artillery. It was common for them to have to face grape-shot, and even chain-shot and bar-shot (more commonly used against naval ships). The CW was very messy and bloody.

I have a historian friend whose on-line name is related to this type of warfare and who has written numerous books on this subject. We can't dismiss the viciousness of the tactics used in the CW and say "that was in the past" because the use of such destructive shot was pervasive.

Please be advised that "buck and ball" was an acceptable load to use in CW muskets. Such a load was made up of a paper-wrapped cartridge using large musket balls (buck) along with smaller shot (balls). The intent was to cause as many wounds as possible, even if you didn't kill the enemy. If you could wound as many as possible and cause infections, you could tie up the enemy's support-systems. Our youngsters don't ever learn this stuff in their sanitized history studies. It's a shame, because perhaps we could drop support for some of the support for warring factions around the world. Things haven't changed much in 150 years...

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