Civil War Casualties

How Many Died in the Civil War?

Dead at Spotsylvania, 1864.

Dead at Spotsylvania, 1864.

A casualty is someone injured, killed, captured, or missing in a military engagement. The Civil War had plenty of all these. The casualty totals in the Civil War can only be treated as estimates. The exact numbers cannot be exactly known.

Due to exhaustive research by many credible and earnest Civil War scholars, the casualty numbers presented here can be considered to be as accurate as possible. I have relied on trustworthy sources for the numbers and statistics I share in this post. The exact number of Civil War casualties will forever be a topic for debate.

One fact we can be certain of regarding Civil War casualty counts, the carnage of the Civil War was immense. War and disease provided the Grim Reaper with all he desired.

Let us not neglect to know that the cold numbers and statistics shown in this post are facts that represent real people. People who fought in a vicious war, who bled red blood whether they were clothed in blue or gray. People who lost limbs or were severely disfigured, people who died miserable, slow deaths of disease or injury, people who perished instantaneously in groups during battle, or slowly had life ebb away as they sprawled alone and incapacitated in the aftermath of a major battle or minor skirmish. Many died agonizing and feverish deaths of disease. These numbers are human beings.

Do We Know How Many Died?

Dead at Petersburg, 1864-1865.

Dead at Petersburg, 1864-1865.

The quick and simple answer is that no one knows for sure exactly how many died in the Civil War, neither for the North or the South. An estimate of the deaths in the Civil War is 623,026. This means that of men of service age, one out of eleven men died during the Civil War years between 1861 and 1865.

Below is a chart showing how the Civil War compares in total deaths to other wars:

Deaths in American Wars

War Deaths
Revolutionary War 4,435
War of 1812 2,260
Mexican 13,283
Civil War 623,026
Spanish-American 2,446
World War I 116,516
World War II 406,742
Korea 54,246
Vietnam 57,939


How Many Casualties in the Civil War?

For both sides in the Civil War, 471,427 can be considered as a minimum number of those wounded. When added to the estimate of 623,026 deaths, the total estimate of Civil War casualties is 1,094,453.

Greatest Union Battle Losses

Date. Battle Killed Wounded Missing Aggregate
July 1-3, 1863. Gettysburg 3070 14497 5434 23001
May 8-18, 1864. Spotsylvania 2725 13416 2258 18399
May 5-7, 1864. Wilderness 2246 12037 3383 17666
Sept. 17, 1862. Antietam (+) 2108 9549 753 12410
May 1-3, 1863. Chancellorsville 1606 9762 5919 17287
Sept. 19-20, 1863. Chickamauga 1656 9749 4774 16179
June 1-4, 1864. Cold Harbor 1844 9,077> 1816 12737
Dec. 11-14, 1862. Fredericksburg 1284 9600 1769 12653
Aug. 28-30, 1862. Manassas(++) 1747 8452 4263 14462
April 6-7, 1862. Shiloh 1754 8408 2885 13047
12/31/62 Stone’s River 1730 7802 3717 13249
June 15-19,1864. Petersburg (Assault) 1688 8513 1185 11386

+ Not including South Mountain and Crampton’s Gap.
++ Includes Chantilly, Rappahannock, Bristoe Station, and Bull Run Bridge.
Source of table: William E. Fox, Regimental Losses in the American Civil War, 1861-1865

The Union Armies lost 110,070 killed or mortally wounded, and 275,175 wounded; for a total of 385,245. This does not include the missing in action. Of the 110,070 deaths from battle, 67,058 were killed on the field and the remaining 43,012 died of wounds.
This table shows how this loss was divided among the different arms of the service:

Service Officers Enlisted Men Total Ratio of Officers to Men
Infantry 5461 91424 96885 01:16.70
Sharpshooters 23 443 466 01:17.70
Cavalry 671 9925 10596 01:14.70
Light Artillery 116 1701 1817 01:14.60
Heavy Artillery 5 124 129 01:24.80
Engineers 4 72 76 01:18.00
General Officers 67 —- 67 —-
General Staff 18 —- 18 —-
Unclassified —- 16 16 —-
Total 6365 103705 110070 01:16.20

Source of table: William E. Fox, Regimental Losses in the American Civil War, 1861-1865

The losses in the three main categories of Union troops were:

Class Officers Enlisted Men Total Ratio of Officers to Men
Volunteers 6078 98815 104893 01:16.20
Regulars 144 2139 2283 01:14.80
Colored Troops 143 2751 2894 01:19.20
Total 6365 103705 110070 01:16.30

Source of table: William E. Fox, Regimental Losses in the American Civil War, 1861-1865


Class Officers Enlisted Men Total Ratio of Officers to Men
Volunteers 2471 165039 167510 02:06.70
Regulars 104 2448 2552 01:23.50
Colored Troops 137 29521 29658 04:35.50
Total 2712 197008 199720 02:12.60

Source of table: William E. Fox, Regimental Losses in the American Civil War, 1861-1865

Deaths in the Union Army, from all causes, as officially classified.

Cause Officers Enlisted Men Aggregate
Killed, or died of wounds 6365 103705 110070
Died of disease 2712 197008 199790
In Confederate prisons 83 24783 24, 866
Accidents 142 3972 4114
Drowning 106 4838 4, 944
Sunstrokes 5 308 313
Murdered 37 483 520
Killed after capture 14 90 104
Suicide 26 365 391
Military executions 267 267
Executed by the enemy 4 60 64
Causes known, but unclassified 62 1972 2034
Cause not stated 28 12093 12121
Aggregate 9, 584 349, 944 359528

NOTE: The deaths from accidents were caused, principally, by the careless use of fire-arms, explosions of ammunition, and railway accidents; in the cavalry service, a large number of accidental deaths resulted from poor horsemanship.

Source of table: William E. Fox, Regimental Losses in the American Civil War, 1861-1865


A severe facial wound suffered in the Civil War.

A severe facial wound suffered in the Civil War.

James B. Fry, United States Provost Marshal-General, provides a report in 1865-1866 that includes a tabulation of Confederate losses. Fry’s report is compiled from the muster-rolls which are on file in the Bureau of Confederate Archives. This report is incomplete, as Confederate records can be, and often are, spotty. For example, in these records the Alabama rolls are mostly missing. Nonetheless, the numbers are worth noting. From General Fry’s report, the following tables were created by William E. Fox in his Regimental Losses in the American Civil War, 1861-1865:

STATE Officers En. Men Total
Virginia 266 5062 5328
North Carolina 677 13845 5522
South Carolina 360 8827 9187
Georgia 172 5381 5553
Florida 47 746 793
Alabama 5 538 552
Mississippi 52 5685 5807
Louisiana 70 2548 2618
Texas 28 1320 1348
Arkansas 54 2061 2165
Tennessee 99 2016 2115
Regular C. S. Army 35 972 507
Border States 92 1867 1959
Totals 2086 50868 52954

Source of table: William E. Fox, Regimental Losses in the American Civil War, 1861-1865

Died of Wounds
STATE Officers En. Men Total
Virginia 200 2319 2519
North Carolina 330 4821 5151
South Carolina 257 3478 3735
Georgia 50 1579 1719
Florida 16 490 506
Alabama 9 181 190
Mississippi 75 2576 2651
Louisiana 42 826 868
Texas 13 528 541
Arkansas 27 888 915
Tennessee 49 825 874
Regular C. S. Army 27 441 468
Border States 61 672 733
Totals 1552 20324 21570

Source of table: William E. Fox, Regimental Losses in the American Civil War, 1861-1865

The Horror of the Civil War: Wounds, Dying, and Death

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Andrew Johnson Drunk at Lincoln’s Second Inaugural

“Andy ain’t a drunkard.“

Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural on March 4, 1865 was held on a miserable, windy, rainy, and muddy day in Washington, D.C. The inaugural ceremonies were planned to be held outside, but were moved inside to the Senate chamber because the weather was so bad.

“The inauguration went off very well except that the Vice President Elect was too drunk to perform his duties & disgraced himself & the Senate by making a drunken foolish speech. I was never so mortified in my life, had I been able to find a hole I would have dropped through it out of sight.”
— Senator Zachariah Chandler.

Note: You may read about Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural in this post.

Vice President Hannibal Hamlin was retiring, and Tennessee Democrat Andrew Johnson would now be inaugurated as Abraham Lincoln’s vice-president. The Senate chamber’s 1800s ventilation system was poor and it could not handle the added moisture from the wet and soaked clothes of the people attending the ceremony. The Senate chamber was muggy and sticky, it was a very uncomfortable place to be on this poor-weather inaugural day in Washington, D.C.

Andrew Johnson was in poor health during the weeks before Lincoln’s inaugural. He’d been suffering from typhoid fever, and his travel from Nashville to Washington only added to his physical discomfort and weakness. Now, shortly before the inaugural, Johnson wasn’t feeling well at all, so he downed three glasses of “medicinal” whiskey to prepare himself before entering the uncomfortable Senate chamber. As Andrew Johnson walked into the chamber he appeared to be unsteady, and he was leaning on Hannibal Hamlin’s arm.

Usually the vice-president’s inaugural speech is a brief formality on inauguration day. It became obvious to all that the new vice-president was three sheets to the wind as he began his vice-presidential inauguration speech. The stewed Johnson rambled on and on, speaking for seventeen minutes instead of the expected seven. Hannibal Hamlin finally gave a tug on Johnson’s coat-tail, only then did Johnson end his alcohol-impaired inaugural speech.

Andrew Johnson’s sottish inauguration festivities and formalities were not yet complete. As he took the oath of office (which took more time than needed, because Johnson drunkenly rambled with incoherent and slurred speech), Johnson put his hand on the Bible and said in a loud voice; I kiss this Book in the face of my nation the United States.

Johnson then gave the Bible a tipsy kiss. As the now freshly inaugurated vice-president, it was Johnson’s job to swear-in the new senators. Vice President Andrew Johnson was too drunk and confused for this, so instead a Senate clerk performed swearing-in of the new senators.

1864 Republican Presidential Ticket
1864 Republican Presidential Ticket

Andrew Johnson (1808-1875)
During Abraham Lincoln’s 1864 run for a second term as president, Andrew Johnson was his vice-presidential running mate. At this time during the Civil War, Lincoln was an unpopular president and Andrew Johnson, a southern War Democrat and Governor of Tennessee, would give the Republican ticket broader appeal to the important border states. On the Democrat ticket opposing Lincoln and Johnson in the 1864 election were George B. McClellan (the former Union general) and his running mate, George Hunt Pendleton. Abraham Lincoln won the election, but it was not a landslide victory. Lincoln won 55 percent of the total popular vote to McClellan’s 45 percent. Following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, Johnson took the oath of office as president on April 15, 1865.


After the drunken Andrew Johnson had been inaugurated indoors as vice-president, the nasty weather began to clear and improve. Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address could now be given outside as was originally planned. As Lincoln witnessed the soused Andrew Johnson’s Bible kiss, he said to Senator John B. Henderson, who was the marshal for the inauguration: Do not let Johnson speak outside.

Later, President Lincoln remarked regarding Vice President Johnson’s inaugural drunkenness:

It has been a severe lesson for Andy, but I do not think he will do it again.

Lincoln had known Johnson for years and they were friends. To answer concerns expressed by some about Johnson, Lincoln further explained:

I have known Andrew Johnson for many years. He made a slip the other day, but you need not be scared; Andy ain’t a drunkard.

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