How do deaths in the Civil War compare to all other American wars?

The scale of death that was wrought by the Civil War, the first modern war, is hard to fathom.

Number of deaths per day in the Civil War: 425

Deaths in ten days: 4,250

In comparison, we lost four thousand soldiers in the recent long (13 years) Iraq-Afghanistan war. The Civil War saw that many deaths in just ten weeks.

The Revolutionary War lasted eight years, resulting in sixteen thousand deaths. In comparison, the Civil War saw that many deaths in an average five-week span.

Source: Civil War Trust infographic

Gen J.E.B. Stuart dies from his mortal wounds at Yellow Tavern, on May 12, 1864

“The Battle of Yellow Tavern was fought on May 11, 1864, at a vital crossroads in Henrico County, only six miles north of the Confederate capital of Richmond during the American Civil War (1861–1865). Part of Union general-in-chief Ulysses S. Grant’s Overland Campaign in the spring of 1864, the cavalry battle resulted from Philip H. Sheridan’s quest to track down the famous Confederate trooper J. E. B. Stuart and “whip” him. Stuart, like Robert E. Lee, preferred to be on the offensive and immediately set out after Sheridan, but by the time he caught up with him at an inn called Yellow Tavern, his outnumbered force was hard-ridden and tired. The Confederate cavalry fought hard for a full day, and as Stuart rode up and down the front lines in the driving rain to rally his men, a Michigan sharpshooter shot the general in the side. Fitzhugh Lee then took command, but was forced to withdraw. Stuart died the next day . . .”

Text excerpted above and full article from The Encyclopedia of Virginia

See this article by The Civil War Trust too.

Yellow Tavern Illustration

An artist’s rendering of the Battle of Yellow Tavern depicts the opposing forces engaged on horseback. While much of the fighting along the Telegraph Road between Lomax and Merritt was dismounted, the climax of the battle prior to Stuart’s wounding was characterized by mounted charges and counter-charges.

The Civil War averaged 425 deaths per day, for four years!

This InfoGraphic focuses on deaths and casualties in the Civil War.

How many deaths a day took place during the American Civil War (1861-1865)?

There were about 425 deaths every day during the Civil War. That’s like a ‘911 incident’ happening once a week roughly . . . for FOUR straight years.

To read more on the burial of the Civil War dead see:

The Burial of the Civil War Dead, Meg Groeling.

Here’s the full InfoGraphic.

Soldier from 63rd Indiana writes of Franklin-action detail

I recently attended the Civil War Show in Nashville and acquired several letters from a 63rd Indiana soldier named Addison Lee Ewing. Ewing was from Haubstat, Indiana and enlisted on 5/1/62, mustering in to Company C of the 63rd Indiana Infantry with the rank of 1st Sergeant. He resigned on 4/6/65 due to disability.

During his service he saw three promotions: 2nd Lt on 10/2/86, 1st Lt on 6/24/64, and finally to Captain on 10/1/64 (As of Co. I). He transferred from Company C to I on 11/6/64.

The 63rd Indiana became part of the Army of the Ohio in December 1862, staying with that organization until February 1865 when it was assigned to the Department of North Carolina.

The 63rd Indiana saw action at Second Bull Run, East Tennessee, Rocky Face Ridge and Resaca; Dallas, Lost Mountain, the Atlanta Campaign, and Hood’s Tennessee campaign, including Franklin and Nashville.

At Franklin (30 November 1864), the 63rd Indiana served on the far left Union flank with Israel N. Stiles’s brigade, along with the 120th and 128th Indiana regiments. These three Indiana regiments faced the onslaught of the Confederates under Scott and Featherston that fateful day.

120thIN_Franklin_map copy by you.

I’ve written extensively on these Indiana regiments previously on this blog. Hundreds of Confederate soldiers from Alabama and Mississippi lost their lives trying to breach the Union left flank near the Nashville-Decatur Railroad as it buttressed up against the Harpeth River.

By the time of the Battle of Franklin, Addison Lee Ewing was Captain of Company I of the 63rd Indiana Infantry. I’ll say more soon, but here is a partial transcript of the letter Lee wrote to his wife on December 22nd, from Nashville (1864).

. . . Day before yesterday [would have been the Dec 20th], we was up at Franklin where there are hundreds of new made graves filled by the enemy. I went up into the old Breastworks where we lay and all over the front of our Brigade which is pretty well doted with rebble graves at our place there is 14 of Co. K of Miss[issippi] laying in a row. I see one grave marked Lt. J.P. See (sic), 55th Tenn. [This was J.P. Seed]. There are horses laying around almost on our works . . . .

I’m researching this more so come back soon to continue reading more about Lee’s accounts of Franklin and Nashville.

If citing this letter please use: Addison Lee Ewing letter (December 20, 1864). From the Kraig McNutt Civil War Collection.

Franklin, Tennessee community commemorates the 144th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin

A good size crowd of Williamson County residents showed up at the Carter House location near downtown Franklin tonight (11.30) to commemorate the 144th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin.  There were 10,000 luminaries (white bags with a lighted candle) to symbolize the 10,000 casualties from the battle that took place 30 November 1864.

Historian and author Erik A. Jacobson spoke for about ten minutes.

Part One

Part two

The Civil War bands played the Star Spangled Banner

Here are some pictures of the event.

PB300025.JPG by you.

PB300028.JPG by you.

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Historian Jacobson talks about Battle of Franklin action that took place on the site of recent land acquisition

Eric A. Jacobson, Carnton historian, and author of the best-selling For Cause and for Country, spoke on Friday, June 19th, 2008, at the Franklin’s Charge press conference. He gave great detail on the action between the Federal and Rebel soldiers on the very site of the property that was just purchased by Franklin’s Charge. It is believed that the epicenter of the Battle of Franklin took place precisely on this spot.

December 3rd New York Times account of the Battle of Franklin

FROM NASHVILLE

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The Position of the Opposing Armies.

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NO FIGHTING SINCE WEDNESDAY

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Hood Demonstrating Toward Murfreesboro

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Further Details of the Battle of Franklin

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THE REBEL GENERAL CLEBURNE KILLED

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The Rebel Loss Fully Six Thousand — Our Loss One Thousand

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GEN. THOMAS MASTER OF THE SITUATION

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Nashville, Friday, Dec. 2

I have received full accounts of the late battle at Franklin, and its antecedents, which was one of the the most brilliant in its general results of the war. For three days sharp skirmishing was kept up during the retirement of our army from Duck River to Franklin, during which time a multiplicity of exploits and successes resulted to the Federal arms.

Gen. Cox conducted the rear guard, and on the 29th ultimately achieved a splendid victory over the rebels at Spring Hill, while General Wilson’s cavalry gained a series of important successes over Forrest’s advance, under Roddy, on the pike between Turner’s and Spring Hill.

During the afternoon of the 30th ultimately the rebel army was sorely pressed under Hood, who had Cheatam’s and Stewart’s corps, and a portion of Dick Taylor’s command, numbering in all over 22,009 men. Owing to Cox’s gallant check at Spring Hill, and portion of the Fourth and Twenty-third Corps were enabled to gain Franklin early in the day, where they threw up a line of breastworks, extending from one end to the other of the curve in the river, behind which our entire infantry command took position.

At precise four o’clock (afternoon) the entire rebel force made a charge, and succeeded in making a temporary break in our centre, commanded by Wagner. With characteristic impetuosity the soldiers composing Cheatham’s Corps dashed into the breastworks, and cooperating with the attacking party on their left, attempted to envelop and destroy our right. In the nick of time the troops of Wagner were rallied, and throwing their whole force on the rebel column, drove back the storming party in great disorder, capturing several hundred prisoner. Four hours after the rebels charged on these lines, but were repulsed as often with great slaughter.

The rebels numbered at least two to our one, as nearly half of the Fourth and Twenty-third Corps were in reserve. The rebels loss in killed is three times ours, while their wounded is at least six times as large as ours. The wounded of our men are mostly in the head, arms and body.

The artillery fire of the enemy was great precision, but their ammunition consisted chiefly of shot and shell, while for two hours immense quantities of more murderous missles were hurled with fearful fury into the rebel lines. All the attempt of the rebels to gain a permanent advantage were frustrated, and at dark the Federal position was uncharged, while the rebels retired, under cover of the woods, south of the Columbia pike.

The rebel loss, as before stated, is fully 6,000, including over 1,000 prisoners, an unsual number of whom were officers. Our loss reached a total of about 1,000.

An artillery duel was kept up till nearly midnight, when our troops commenced crossing Harpeth River, bringing all our trains and paraphernalia over in safety before daylight.

The army then retired to within four miles of this city, at which point our frontline confronts the enemy. The falling back of the army is in accordance with the programme, and the battle at Franklin, although of the most brilliant kind, was an impromptu affair, and brought about owing to the necessity of checking the rebel advance to secure a safe crossing of the river by our troops.

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LATER

Nashville, Friday, Dec. 2

Additional reports received increase the magnitude of the late victory at Franklin. Thirty stands of colors were captured by our forces. The Forty-ninth Indiana captured five, the Eighty-eighth Illinois three, Reilly’s old brigade eight, and the Twenty-third Corps captured four.

Gen. Stanley, commanding the Fourth Corps, had a very narrow escape, having had a horse killed under him, and was shot in the right shoulder, the ball travelling the back and going out of the left shoulder. He is in the city, and though suffering considerably, is still attending to duty.

It is confirmed that Gen. Cleburne, of Tennessee, is killed.

Gen. Kimball, commanding the Second Division of General Stanley’s Corps, in the heat of the battle passed a rebel Major-General, who told him he was mortally wounded. His men succeeded in carrying off his body.

It is believed that Hood’s main army is threatening Murfreesboro. Forrest’s rebel cavalry is demonstrating on our front and right flank.

Commander Fitch is here with a fleet of boats and Iron-clads. Sufficient forces have arrived to insure not only the safety of Nashville, but another Union victory, is case of a battle, under any circumstances.

The military men all unite in the opinion that Gen. Stanley and Schofield conducted the retirement from Pulaski in the face of the enemy with admirable skill, and crowning all with a magnificent Union victory at Franklin.

Todd Carter, 20th TN Infantry, mortally wounded at Franklin

Todd Carter March 24, 1840 – December 2, 1864

Todd Carter was returning home to his native Tennessee and native Williamson County with the Army of Tennessee in the fall of 1864, with his fellow soldiers in the 20th Tennessee Infantry (C.S.A.).
He was mortally wounded at the Battle of Franklin (30 November 1864) on the very land his father owned. He was carried from the field and died on December 2, 1864.

Image credit: The Williamson County Historical Society

Todd Carter – Home at Last

“I am almost home! Come with me, boys!
They could hear Tod shout above the noise
Of the cannons’ boom , and shreiking shells,
The exploding bombs, and Rebel yells!

The Battle rages until near midnight;
The women prayed. By dawn’s faint light
They found him lying among the dead;
He was wounded in the charge he led.

He was carried through the garden gate,
While they sobbed in words, compassionate,
“Our sad hearts ached as the long years passed,
Now our brother has come home at last!”

Written by a descendant of Todd Carter, Dr. Roslie Carter.

Stonewall Jackson died May 10, 1863

Stonewall Jackson died on May 10th 1863 at a field hospital near Guiney Station, VA, about 30 miles from Chancellorsville where he was taken from the battlefield on the evening of May 2nd after having been accidentally shot by fellow Confederate soldiers tragically.

Jackson would spend his remaining days bed-ridden in Thomas C. Chandler’s plantation office, having refused an offer from Chandler to use is personal residence.

At first it seemed he might recover nicely from the wound, just losing his left arm. Jackson’s left arm had to be amputated by Dr. Hunter McGuire. But his situation turned mortal as the days wore on. He had symptoms of pneumonia and complained of a sore chest. Since he was carried roughly from the battlefield, even being dropped from the stretcher at one point, it was thought by the doctor that his chest pain was related to the rough escort to the field hospital. He died of complications due to pneumonia on May 10th.

His final words, spoken in a delirious state were:

“Let us cross over the river and rest in the shade of the trees.”

He may have been dreaming of his childhood home at Jackson’s Mill. Upon learning of Jackson’s death Robert E. Lee told his cook William:

“William, I have lost my right arm,” and “I’m bleeding at the heart.”

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The plantation office building, site where Stonewall Jackson died (Guinea Station, Virginia)

“Death removed him from the scene at the apogee of a military fame enjoyed by no other Civil War figure. His passing at a high point in Confederate success was the greatest personal loss suffered by the wartime South. Jackson became the first icon, the ultimate offering for the Southern cause. Death at the hour of his most spectacular victory [Chancellorsville] led to more poems of praise than did any other single event of the war. Jackson was the only dead man to be pictured on Confederate currency – and his likeness graced the most expensive note: a $500 bill.”

– [Robertson, Stonewall Jackson, 1997: ix].