Historian Revises US Civil War Casualty Statistics
show comments
  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    I watched the video, and I didn’t hear the answers I was curious about. In massive bloody wars like the civil war, there is always a refugee problem as civilians leave the areas of combat. At the Time of the civil war there were only 34 states, and the census only measures the people living in the US. So my question is did many of the people missing in the 1870 census just move west to territories and areas which were not states yet? Prof. Hacker shows a graph of Death Rates of men by age, but doesn’t explain if any of those he is counting as dead didn’t run away to avoid the war. How many young men went to Canada, Mexico, Points west, etc… to escape the war? Surely this is the biggest question about using the census to measure war deaths, and he never answered it in the video.

  • I read recently that something like half the able bodied adult males in the South were killed. That sound like an exaggeration to me but still the genetic impact of the war is not to be dismissed: a lot of the most hot-headed, aggressive types were simply wiped away.

  • Government Drone

    I’d heard (probably from Ken Burns’ documentary) that in 1866, postwar Alabama devoted 25% of its state budget for artificial limbs for its injured veterans; even with a small state budget, this suggests quite a lot of bloodshed.

  • Matt

    Hacker, though, admits his numbers are prone to inaccuracies as well—mostly because his sources (poorly administered censuses) are not ideal sources.

    I suppose that this is accurate, but it stands to reason that censuses in the post-war era would have been more exhaustive than antebellum ones, so I doubt that his number will be erroneously low.

  • Zack B

    I can see it now. ‘Hacker raises War Death Toll to 750,000’

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2017 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.