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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Civil War Trivia--not that there's anything trivial about it ~Tanya Hanson

I've always been fascinated by Civil War stuff...such as Gone with the Wind (both movie and book) and the Jimmie Stewart classic movie Shenandoah.  (I just read that Sam Elliott fell in love with Katharine Ross the first time he saw this movie!)  Recent visits to Gettysburg and Harpers Ferry and Margaret Mitchell's home in Atlanta reinforced its allure. Peeking through a flea market find (Civil War Trivia and Fact Book by Webb Garrison) pointed out some wonderful tidbits that I thought inquiring minds might want to know.

1.  Only 28 percent of the 30,500 miles of railroads in 1860 lay in Confederate territory.
2.  The two warring capitals, Washington DC and Richmond, VA, are only 100 miles apart. 

3.  Seven states had announced their secession at the time of Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration. (Can you name them?**  See below.)

4.  86 percent of the United States’ manufacturing firms were located in the North.

5.  38 percent of the Confederacy’s population were slaves.

6. Diarrhea, including dysentery, was the most common ailment in the camps and claimed the lives of 44,000 Union soldiers.

7.  More than 68 American Revolutions could have been financed for the estimated cost of the Civil War.

8.  During the years of the conflict, 2,778,304 men were enlisted in all the branches of the Union forces.

9.  Four states were classified as “border states”, meaning they remained in the Union but had strong ties to the South. (Can you name them?*** See below.)

10. New Orleans was the Confederacy’s largest city, with an 1860 census of 168,000.

11. New York, with its 1860 population exceeding 800,000, was the North’s largest city.

12. Due to inflation in the Confederacy, the price of a pound of tea was $10.00 by the end of 1862.

13.  On New Year’s Day 1865, 55 percent of the Confederate fighting forces was listed as AWOL.

14. The tallest man in the Union forces was Captain Van Buskirk of the 27th Indiana.  Six feet, ten and one-half inches.

15.  The shorted man in the Union forces was a private in the 192nd Ohio.  Three feet, four inches.

16.  There were 33 states in the Union in 1860.

17.  In 1861, a Union soldier’s monthly salary was $13.

18.  As president of the United States, Abe Lincoln’s annual salary was $25,000.

19.  About 200,000 blacks eventually served in the Union army and navy.

20.  Union regiment, the First Minnesota, lost 82 percent at Gettysburg, the highest percentage of one-battle casualties.

21. By the war’s end, 12,912 graves had been filled at infamous Andersonville Prison. (total deaths is believed much higher.) 

22.  When Harper’s Ferry fell to Stonewall Jackson, he seized 73 cannon and 13,000 small arms from the arsenal there. And 10,000 prisoners.

23. Thirty six (36) horses were needed to pull the six guns of a standard field battery, three pairs in tandem per gun.

24.  Six Confederate generals were killed at Gettysburg.

25.  Black troops participates in 450 battles and skirmishes.

26.  The most popular handgun in the North with about 200,000 manufactured between 1860-1872 was the Colt Army and Navy revolver.

27.  The weight of a shell thrown by a 13-inch mortar (the largest in use then) was 220 pounds.

28.  Three of the 2,300 Federal chaplains, received the Congressional Medal of Honor.

I hope you didn’t mind a history lesson today! Which fact did you find the most interesting?

** South Carolina; Mississippi; Florida; Alabama; Georgia; Louisiana, and Texas.

*** Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri
My latest:


  1. I wanted to throw in some women's history if I may. Although women doctors were denied the right to join the army and serve as doctors, many worked as nurses, but one Dr.Mary Edwards Walker managed to become the only woman to serve in the military as a doctor. (A story worth looking into)

    I also am fascinated with this time period. The pieces of information added to what I had been researching. (Having to do with women doctors and young children who served in the drum and fife corps) Thank you for the history lesson. Doris

  2. Yowzers, Renaissance Women...we do think alike! Dr. Edwards is gonna be my subject next month at Sweethearts of the West blog. A bit of cross-reference last post there featured Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, our nation's first African American doctor.

    I too enjoy this time period...modern in many ways but back-ward thinking in others. Thanks for posting today.

    1. I will look forward to that one. Edwards and Blackwell came up as I was researching the early women doctors in Colorado. So many great little time. (Dang work and life, they do get in the way sometimes, I say smiling) Will check out Dr. Crumpler. Doris

    2. Oh, goodness, Colorado. Wej ust took a driving trip through the state and I fell i love with every square inch. I did my student teaching in Denver eons ago but didn't get out much to explore, and did visit my aunt and uncle in Parachute a while back but...this sure was a trip to remember. Thanks for posting here, Doris.

  3. Tanya, this is so interesting. I love trivia--all kinds of it. But the Civil War still holds such fascination for so many people. I think it always will, too. I can't think of a sadder time in our history, or one that was more interesting, as well.

    Thanks so much for this post, and btw, I loved your post on Dr. Crumpler.


    1. Cheryl, the Civil War was such a tragedy. Visiting Gettysburg, I just FELT all the grief. Still get shivers. There was alight rain that day, like tears....this trivia book was a terrific find. Lots more blog posts in there.

  4. Interesting facts, Tanya. I've done my share of research...and civil war re-enacting...and didn't know most of those. There's so much information about that time period. Its a lot to absorb!.

    1. Hi Lily, I think we all are raised with the big details, study those in schools. It's the day to day facts that remind us of the "regular folks" who suffered. Harpers Ferry is one of the neatest places I've ever been. History still lives there. Thanks for the post.

  5. Wow, Tanya, I really enjoyed reading all these fascinating factoids about the Civil War. Some I knew, but many of them were quite a surprise. Marvelous blog.

  6. THANKS, TANYA -- GREAT SHARING :-) I love trivia!! And anything out of American history is always fascinating. Good job!

    1. llHi Gail, I love historical tidbits, that's for sure. My years teaching American Lit, where history and literature entwine, still live in my heart although I left the full-time classroom a decade ago. So glad you enjoyed the post.

  7. Hi Tanya,
    What a fascinating blog.



    1. Hi Margaret, thanks so much for stopping by. The fact on dysentery was a good one for great-great (there might be another great) grandfather marched with Sherman...but got released due to dysentery before the burning of Atlanta. With much of my heritage being Russian, I love this piece of family Americana, Thanks for the post.

  8. Some of these I knew, the others were interesting. My trip to Gettysburg a few years ago was eyeopening, to say the least. It also jump started a novel outline. It's a modern story but happenings during the Civil War in Pennsylvania still affect the small town. Thanks for the trivia, Tanya.

    Melanie Macek

    1. I so hear you, Feather. The town itself just exudes the past. We had dinner one night in a fabulous historic hotel with food items just like the 1860's. Of course, the Lincoln impersonator reciting the Gettysburg address had us all in tears....

  9. Thanks, Tanya! This was really interesting. Given the statistics, it's hard to understand how Southerners ever thought they could win. Of course, they expected the US government to cave to secession after one or two battles. In fact, the Union was disorganized and lost quite a few encounters at first, which encouraged the South to press on for the disastrous long run. I don't think either side foresaw how adamant Lincoln's determination to preserve the Union would be, and thank goodness for it!

    1. Hi Lorrie, I guess they just reckoned their "Southern honor" wold do the trick. It is hard to imagine the many Southern victories and successes prior to Gettysburg. No wonder Lincoln IMO will always be our greatest president. Thanks for stopping by today,

    2. Fascinating and horrifying facts, Tanya. The percentage of casualties for the Minnesota Regiment at Gettysburg is a shocker. A hundred years from now I think Americans will still be studying the Civil War.