05 Apr 2012

Historians Raise Estimate of Civil War Losses

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Major Innes Randolph’s defiant “I’m a Good Old Rebel” song (1914) boasted of Northern casualties inflicted and expressed regret that Southern resistance had not piled up an even larger score.

I followed old Mars’ Robert
For four year, near about,
Got wounded in three places
And starved at Pint Lookout;

I cotched the rheumatism
A campin’ in the snow,
I killed a chance of Yankees,
I’d like to kill some mo’.

Three hundred thousand Yankees
Is stiff in Southern dust;
We got three hundred thousand
Before they conquered us;

They died of Southern fever
And Southern steel and shot,
I wish we got three million
Instead of what we got.

A new examination of Civil War enumerated losses, reported in the New York Times, contends that Major Randolph came closer to his expressed goal than was previously thought.

For 110 years, the numbers stood as gospel: 618,222 men died in the Civil War, 360,222 from the North and 258,000 from the South — by far the greatest toll of any war in American history.

But new research shows that the numbers were far too low.

By combing through newly digitized census data from the 19th century, J. David Hacker, a demographic historian from Binghamton University in New York, has recalculated the death toll and increased it by more than 20 percent — to 750,000.

The new figure is already winning acceptance from scholars.

Read the whole thing.

One Feedback on "Historians Raise Estimate of Civil War Losses"

W. Kimbell

Mr Zincavage– I’ve said this before, I love your blog and I stop by every day, but I sure wish you had a “like” button…;)


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