Some odd and bloody Civil War facts

September 20, 1990|By Michael Hill HC

Some facts and oddities about the Civil War

* Two percent of the country's population, 620,000 people, died in the war, two out of three from disease, not injuries. That is nearly equal to the total number of Americans lost in all other wars the country has fought.

* In two days at Shiloh, there were more casualties than in all previous American wars combined.

* The number of Union soldiers killed, missing or wounded at Antietam -- 12,401 -- was double the casualties of D-Day. With a total of 23,000 casualties, Antietam was the war's bloodiest day.

* The first national paper currency was issued during the Civil War.

* A Confederate private named Henry Stanley was captured at Shiloh, survived the war and eventually went to Africa where he found Dr. Livingston.

* When Gen. George E. Pickett led the Confederate charge at Gettysburg, it was the first time he had taken his troops into combat. He never forgave Lee for sending his men into that slaughter.

* After a long, bitter siege, the Mississippi River city of Vicksburg surrendered on July 4, 1863, one day after Pickett's charge at Gettysburg. The Fourth of July was not celebrated in Vicksburg again until 1944.

When historian Shelby Foote told the granddaughter of Confederate Cavalry Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest -- who had 30 horses shot out from under him during the war, but killed 31 men in hand-to-hand combat -- that he thought the war produced two real geniuses, her grandfather and Abraham Lincoln, she told him, "In my family, we've never thought very much of Mr. Lincoln."

* The last man to die in the Civil War was Pvt. John J. Williams from Indiana. He was killed in a skirmish at Palmito Ranch, Texas, on May 13, 1865, a month after Lee's surrender. It was a victory for the Confederates.

* The first black man elected to the U.S. Senate was Hiram Revels of Mississippi. He took the seat previously occupied by Jefferson Davis.

* After seeing his farmhouse taken over for the Confederate headquarters during the first battle at Manassas, Wilmer McLean decided to move his family out of the line of fire between Washington and Richmond. Three and a half years later, his new house in a small rural town of Appomattox Cross Roads was chosen as the sight for Lee's surrender to Grant.

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