25 American Civil War Facts That Will Change Your View On History

Posted by , Updated on September 1, 2015

Did you know that nearly the same amount of lives were lost during the Civil War as during all of America’s other wars combined? In terms of cost, lives lost, and political implications, the American Civil War was one of the most defining moments in American history. These are 25 little known facts about the American Civil War.

25

620,000 American soldiers died during the Civil War

cannonSource: civilwar.org, Image: pixabay
24

That is only slightly less than in all the other American conflicts combined (roughly 640,00 including both World Wars)

Military cemeterySource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia
23

The Union army outnumbered the Confederate army nearly 2 to 1 because the North was more populous (22 million people) than the South (9 million people)

Civil War battleSource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia
22

The Civil War was not just a North American conflict as other countries got involved

world mapSource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia
21

Battles were even fought as far as the coast of France

Civil War naval battleSource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia

20

Although secession wasn't legal, it wasn't illegal either. After the war was over, however, secession was officially made illegal

gavelSource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia
19

Most soldiers were buried where they fell on the battlefield

Civil War battlefieldSource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia
18

Later on many of them were exhumed and moved to national cemeteries but thousands still remain buried beneath the battlefields

Arlington CemeterySource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia
17

Nearly as many men died in prison camps during the Civil War as died during the entire Vietnam Conflict

Civil War prison campSource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia
16

Because germ theory had not been accepted in the medical world yet, two thirds of the fatalities were due to disease

Civil War ambulanceSource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia
15

A white Union private would make 13 dollars per month while a black Union private only made 7 dollars

dollarsSource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia
14

Congress fixed the discrepancy in 1864

Congress during Civil WarSource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia
13

Confederate privates supposedly made 13 dollars per month but in reality they went for long stretches with no pay at all

Civil War battleSource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia
12

Nearly 180,000 African Americans served in the Union army and 18,000 in the Union Navy

African American soldiers during Civil WarSource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia
11

African Americans constituted 10% of the Union army by the end of the war

African American soldiers during Civil WarSource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia
10

Nearly 40,000 of them died

Civil War battlefieldSource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia
9

In their free time soldiers mostly drilled but also wrote letters, played poker, and whittled. One soldier wrote to his wife that "soldiering is 99% boredom and 1% sheer terror"

Civil War campSource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia
8

Meals were scarce and many Confederate soldiers were near starving by the end of the war

Civil War soldiersSource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia
7

The age of the average Union soldier was 25.8. There is no information on the age of Confederate soldiers but it was probably similar. By the end of the war, however, nearly every male both young and old was being pressed into service

Civil War soldierSource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia
6

The Union handed out 1522 Medals of Honor while the Confederates did not have such a distinguishment. Robert E Lee said that the highest honor a soldier could have is being mentioned in his officer's report.

Medal of HonorSource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia
5

Cotton trade with Europe was vital to the southern war effort so there were numerous naval blockades and battles

cottonSource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia
4

The war completely changed naval warfare forever with developments like the ironclad

ironcladSource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia
3

Remember how the South had a population of 9 million? Well nearly half of that was slaves, which led the severely outnumbered Confederacy to institute the first draft in the country's history

Slaves during Civil WarSource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia
2

Both armies, however, typically only drafted the poorer citizens because there were exemptions allowing you to pay your way out of fighting

Civil War soldiersSource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia
1

The last surviving child of a Union veteran is still receiving a Civil War pension

coinsSource: civilwar.org, Image: wikipedia

SEE ALSO: 25 Harry Potter Facts That Will Knock You Off Your Broomstick »

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