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:

KILLED OR DIED OF WOUNDS
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

DIED BY DISEASE. NOT INCLUDING DEATHS IN PRISONS.

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.
DEATHS FROM ALL CAUSES:

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

DEATHS IN CONFEDERATE ARMIES

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:

Killed
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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9 thoughts on “Civil War Casualties

  1. This article of Andrew Johnson’s drunkeness is just too funny. Can you imagine if that would happen in 2011. Very interesting history. Lee.

  2. As an American citizen that is studying war, having fought in the Vietnam War, I say that our country went through a horrible and tragic civil war during the 1860s.

    The total deaths may never be accurately known, but one American killing another for the actual cause of the war was unnecessary and downright insensible. Since the beginning of our Nation, America has only been at peace for 30 years.

    I can only surmise that this trend will continue, to make the 1% of this Nation’s richest, more wealthier, without taking bids as it did in the Iraq Wars.

    It is asked, when did “all men are created equal”, ever realized in America — and continues to be brushed under the rug? The founding fathers of this Nation should have written, the most wealthiest of our Nation, the top 1%, are the only ones “created equal”, because we see the other 99% of our population bending to the elite 1%.

  3. This site would be best used to show respect for the loss of life and limb. Not to berate others with liberals, out of touch with reality veiws. Raymond, you are the 1% trying to convince 99% of your socialistic agenda.
    I beleive this site is to teach us how inhumane and horrible the civil war was.

  4. Mr. Docker,

    Thank you for your comments regarding your opinion.

    However, I don’t recall ever asking for your opinion! Opinions are just like…….., we all have one. I didn’t ask for your opinion and your insinuation about my not having respect for the dead military in war is in itself very distasteful to me and burns my face.

    My first sentence in my comment was very much in align with the horrific nature of war. My other comments was right on, but one or two statements you deem socialist, does not make a socialist with an agenda.

    I have no agenda, nor do I desire one, other than to awake people like you to what has happened to these Divided States of America. But these sleeping citizens shall one day be awaken prior to the crap hitting the fan when they will be killed on the streets of America by Americans again.

    Marines and other military personnel fight for our Constitution against “all enemies, both foreign and domestic”. I deem myself a patriot, but even a patriot has the right to speak his mind in a public forum when he sees his beloved Country going down the tubes.

    And, Mr. Docker, if you and others don’t see America going down the tubes, there are some people out in La La Land that would be more than happy to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge.

    Maybe you should attempt to read and decipher the Constitution, or what’s left of it, regarding people like you attempting to take the freedoms away from the citizens of the Divided States of America — like free speech in a public forum.

    I am not socialist one iota and you are the first person to ever accuse me of one. I am only an outspoken human being desiring to be treated like you desire to treat the dead — with respect.

    I am also a Vietnam War and Cold War Marine that doesn’t like to be addressed the way you did me, with the tone you did.

    Tell me, Mr. Docker, did you ever serve in the Military? Did you ever go to war? Did you ever see dead Marines and soldiers come from the battle field, almost every day that you were in a war zone? Or did you run somewhere or get deferment after deferment to stay out of the war, letting men like me fight for your liberties?

    I saw the dead heroes being dropped off at the morgue, almost every single day by my squadron.

    So, Mr. Docker, you can take your unwanted comment about my “respect” along with your right to state whatever you desire, and jam it where the sun doesn’t shine into an aperture or orifice of your body that no one cares to see.

    Just as you made your opinions known to me, I am now making my opinions known to you, in the same forum.

    Furthermore, never address me by name again as I will construe it to be harassment and if I were you, I would also determine what any person is all about prior to addressing him or her in an open forum. I tell it like I see it, and like it is also recorded in History books.

    Ignorance is bliss, Mr. Docker, but ignorance is no excuse to attempt to pull the wool over people’s eyes by revealing your ignorance.

    I am not a socialist by any means of the stretch of the imagination. What I am is a United States Marine Corps, Vietnam and Cold War Veteran that takes offense to what you stated. Sixty-six of my fellow comrades-in-arms were killed in Vietnam and the Korean Wars and someone with the likes of you dares to call me down and state what you did about me in a public forum.

    I would like to give you a lesson, just like you attempted to give me. War is hell, whether it is the Civil War or just a war with a banana republic. It causes more than physical wounds that may never heal.

    So if I were you, I would be very careful in what you say to someone you do not know and only hypothesize about, making an unsound judgment by stating what you did.

    Mr. Docker, have you been to war, have you ever had to experience the effect of war, not only to

  5. If anyone has to be taught that war in inhumane and how horrible the Civil War was, may God have mercy upon their souls.

  6. War, any war, is hell for the victims that are wounded, that are killed, that are maimed, and for those that see and do things which they would never do outside of war. Some injuries are unseen and can actually show up many years after the victim has been injured.

    War is also devastating to those left behind, lives put on hold because a government has called their love one to duty, having the wife of the called, to go on without her husband and do what she can to keep a family together while he is gone.

    War is hell when the government refuses to honor their own contract with those that served. That my readers has been a reality as it has been for every war that America has ever fought in. I ask, how does this action by our government honor the dead military personnel and those that still live maimed and changed for life?

  7. Is there a published list of those Enlisted Union Soldiers who were executed along with reason for such punishment?

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