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civilian deaths civil war

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by elliswa, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. elliswa

    elliswa Guest

    In trying to estimate civilian deaths in the Civil War there has been, surprisingly, little careful work. McPherson’s 'Battle Cry of Freedom" (1988) estimates about 50,000 civilian dead. I think that this is certainly too low.

    One source (http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/wars19c.htm) has the following to say about blacks alone:

    "General Howard, Freedmen's Bureau, estimated that 25% of African-Am. lost their lives by the war. [But] Ransom/Sutch estimated that 1.6% of African-Am. died as a direct result of the war. [based on the 3.5M blacks in the CSA, this would come to around 56,000 civilian [black] deaths. Howard's est. would be 875,000 d.]"

    I can’t credit Howard’s estimate that more slaves died than soldiers on both sides. Still, it is very possible that a figure much higher than the Ransom/Sutch estimate for black deaths could be the case.

    Taking McPherson’s low estimate (he seems unaware of Howard’s and Ranson/Sutch’s estimates,) and adding to it only the Ranson/Sutch low estimate for blacks alone, we still have over 100,000 civilian deaths - if we assume that whites and blacks suffered in equal numbers. But that too may be too low, for whites and blacks alike – especially if Howard’s estimate has any weight at all.

    One roughly analogous 19th century conflict is the Napoleonic Wars. Wikipedia estimates 2,500,000 military personnel died in Europe and 1,000,000 civilians were killed in Europe and in colonies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleonic_Wars_casualties).

    If the American Civil War proportions were similar, that would yield about 250,000 civilian deaths. That may be too high – since in the Napoleonic Wars civilians seem to have been deliberately targeted more often (for example, in Spain) than in the Civil War.

    Still, since even in the Napoleonic Wars, as in the Civil War, most civilian deaths were collateral, an estimate of 250,000 civilian dead might be a good upper benchmark.

    I would guess that a figure of 200,000 - 250,000 civilian dead would be not far wrong. I would also guess that blacks suffered proportionately more than whites (although perhaps not more in absolute numbers) since their conditions of life were likely to be more difficult.

    Dr. William Ellis
    Georgia Sixth likes this.

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  3. KeyserSoze

    KeyserSoze 1st Lieutenant Forum Host

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    I would guess that a figure of 200,000 - 250,000 civilian dead would be not far wrong.

    Where and how?
  4. matthew mckeon

    matthew mckeon Brigadier General Moderator

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    I don't know if the Napoleonic Wars offer a useful guide to CW casualities, although I'm not an expert. The Napoleonic Wars lasted a lot longer for one thing, and in Spain and Russia, the civilian population was deliberately targeted by the French military, and in Spain, the guerilla war was more sustained and wide spread, compared to Missouri, the longest and most brutal guerilla warfare in the Civil War.
  5. KeyserSoze

    KeyserSoze 1st Lieutenant Forum Host

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    Bear in mind as well that about the time the American Civil War was entering its final stages, the Taiping Rebellion in China was also wrapping up. Deaths resulting from that conflict are conservatively estimated at 20 million.

    The fact is that as rebellions go, I can think of no other example where the losing side suffered less and was incorporated back into the body politic faster than the Southern states.
  6. Rob9641

    Rob9641 Captain Civil War Photo Contest
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    I don't think it's possible to tally the civilian deaths. First you have to define them - does it count if they caught disease by caring for wounded and died 3 months after the battle went thru? If so, you can add quite a few from Sharpsburg, Gettysburg, and anywhere wounded were left behind for the locals to care for. Does it count if your baby died because you couldn't get enough food because of the war effort? Does it count if you killed yourself because your lover died fighting? Do you count the guy a few years ago who found an old unexploded shell and accidentally set it off trying to work on it?
    Nathanb1 likes this.
  7. Bomac

    Bomac Sergeant

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    Deaths resulting from that conflict are conservatively estimated at 20 [The fact is that as rebellions go, I can think of no other example where the losing side suffered less and was incorporated back into the body politic faster than the Southern states.[/QUOTE]


    Incorporated but with serious scrutiny.

    I tend to agree with McPhersen's low numbers, but I'm willing to put it a little higher, around 70,000.
    Still low compared to Napoleon.
  8. M E Wolf

    M E Wolf Brigadier General Moderator

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    Civilian is a very generalized term and a huge umbrella.

    Other than recording what civilians came through military hospitals/field hospitals, it would be difficult to really have a count, especially when sickness followed the armies around, conditions and such.

    Here are just a few examples from the Military Medical Histories from the Civil War, Surgeon-General's Offices of the time:

    CASE 829.--Willis Marshall, contraband; age 16; admitted from Chattanooga September 4, 1864. Chronic Diarrhoea. Died, September 5th. Autopsy the same day: The right lung was stuffed with tubercles and entirely disorganized; it was strongly adherent to the thoracic parietes. The left lung contained numerous isolated tubercular deposits. The pericardium contained eight ounces of serum. In the liver and spleen there were a number of small tubercular masses. The kidneys and intestines were apparently normal. The abdominal cavity contained twenty ounces of serum.
    --------
    Medical/Surgical History--Part II, Volume I
    Class I.--Zymotic Diseases.--Chapter I.--Diarrhoea And Dysentery.
    Section III.--Fatal Cases Of Diarrhoea And Dysentery, With Accounts
    Of The Morbid Appearances Observed.
    CASE 864.--John Thomas; dark mulatto; age 13; admitted January 22, 1866, with feet and legs frost-bitten to the knees. Stimulating liniments were applied and stimulants given internally; generous diet. January 28th: Mortification of the left leg has taken place, with line of demarcation half way to the knee. Amputation was performed, by Acting Assistant Surgeon A. R. Abbott, at the upper third of the left leg. The toes of the right foot sloughed off; the bones were removed by nippers. January 29th: Symptoms of jaundice. To take dilute nitric acid and fluid extract of gentian. February 23d: Symptoms of tuberculosis. Cough-mixture, milk-punch and extra diet. Died, March 28th. Autopsy ten hours after death: Height four feet six inches; weight about fifty pounds; much emaciation; rigor morris well marked. The left leg exhibited a stump a few inches below the knee; all except the first phalanges of the toes of the right foot are wanting. The head was not examined. The right lung weighed twenty-four ounces; its lower lobe was firmly adherent to the pleura costalis and the diaphragm; all the lobes were firmly interadherent and contained large masses of crude tubercles; in the anterior portion of the lower lobe there was a mass of tubercle containing a cavity the size of a walnut; the posterior portion was hepatized; the left lung weighed ten ounces, was slightly adherent to the pleura costalis, and contained many tubercles; there was no fluid in the pleural cavities. The pleura costalis was dotted with numerous deposits of tubercles. The bronchial glands were much enlarged and filled with tubercles. The pericardium contained four ounces of fluid. The heart was fatty and weighed five ounces; all its cavities contained white fibrinous clots; the endocardium was thickened; there was a large deposit of adipose tissue on the surface of the organ. The liver was firmly adherent to the diaphragm, coated with lymph superiorly, and filled with tubercles; it weighed thirty-three ounces. The spleen was large and weighed seven ounces and a half; it was firmly and a half; it was apparently normal. The stomach was contracted, its mucous membrane thickened. There were tubercular ulcers throughout the small intestine, particularly in the lower portion of the ileum, where Peyer's patches were ulcerated through to the peritoneal coat. The caecum and upper portion of the large intestine exhibited healed ulcers; the rectum contain&l a number of large ulcers which were cow?red with pseudomembrane. The kidneys were congested and weighed three ounces and a halt each. The bladder and genital organs were normal.--Hospital Steward Samuel S. Bond. [Nos. 771 to 773, Medical Section, Army Medical Museum, are from this case. No. 771 is a portion of the small intestine from just above the ileo-caecal valve, showing tubercular ulceration of the last Peyer's patch and of several of the solitary follicles. There are a few small tubercles on the peritoneal surface corresponding to the ulcers. No. 772 is a portion of the rectum, with patches of superficial ulceration coated with thick pseudomembrane. No. 773 is the right lung of the same patient, infiltrated with large cheesy masses of yellow tubercles.]

    ---------
    Medical/Surgical History--Part III, Volume I
    Chap. IX.--On Diseases Attributed To Non-Miasmatic Exposures.
    I.--Diseases Of The Respiratory Organs.
    IX.--Pneumonia.
    CASE 147.--Richard Bush, colored; age 13; admitted May 27, 1864, with pneumonia. Died July 18. Post-mortem examination: Both lungs were extensively adherent and appeared to be in the third stage of pneumonia, presenting also tubercular deposits, especially in the upper lobes. A gallon of serum was found in the chest and abdomen.--Hospital, Alexandria, Va.
    ---------
    Medical/Surgical History--Part II, Volume I
    Class I.--Zymotic Diseases.--Chapter I.--Diarrhoea And Dysentery.
    Section III.--Fatal Cases Of Diarrhoea And Dysentery, With Accounts
    Of The Morbid Appearances Observed.
    CASE 863.--Frank Williams; dark mulatto; age 14; admitted May 24, 1865, suffering from scrofulous ophthalmia. Symptoms of phthisis pulmonalis were first noticed about the middle of October. There was marked dulness on percussion on the left side beneath the clavicle and over the second, third and fourth ribs; expectoration very copious during the last four weeks; haemorrhage occurred very profusely for the first time, February 4, 1866, about 5 P.M. The boy died in three or four minutes. Treatment: Cod-liver oil, whiskey, nourishing diet, milk-punch, etc. His Diarrhoea was not troublesome except during the two or three days preceding death. Autopsy twenty-two hours after death: Body well formed; height four feet nine inches; some emaciation; rigor mortis well marked; weight about 80 pounds. The brain weighed forty-four ounces; its membranes were congested, its substance firm; there were two ounces of fluid in the posterior fossae of the cranium. The right lung was firmly adherent to the pleura costalis, filled with crude tubercles and vomicae, and weighed fifteen ounces; there were three ounces of fluid in the right pleural cavity in the left lung was firmly adherent at all points, its lobes interadherent; it weighed twenty-three ounces; in the upper lobe of the left lung was a large vomica the size of a goose egg, which was filled with coagulated blood; tubercles and smaller vomicae were scattered throughout the lungs. The left pleural cavity contained an ounce of fluid. The bronchial glands were very much enlarged. The heart was small, slightly fatty, and weighed five ounces; all its valves were thickened. The pericardium contained eight ounces of fluid. The liver weighed forty-one ounces, was adherent at all points, its anterior surface coated with lymph; on section it was found to be very fatty and congested, presenting the nutmeg appearance, and contained some tubercles. The spleen weighed four ounces, was adherent at all points, and filled with tubercles. The pancreas and kidneys were normal; the latter weighed three ounces each. The mesenteric glands were very much enlarged. The stomach was normal. Two large tubercular ulcers were found in the ileum near the ileo-caecal valve. The rest of the small intestine was normal. In the caecum a few of the solitary follicles were enlarged. A large tubercular ulcer, involving the mucous and muscular coats, was found in the ascending colon; on the peritoneal surface opposite this ulcer there were numerous minute tubercles; a similar but much larger ulcer was found in the transverse colon; with these exceptions the large intestine was normal. The abdominal cavity was filled with serum, and the intestines were slightly adherent to the abdominal peritoneum. The large intestine was three feet and a half long, the small intestine nineteen feet. The urino-genital organs appeared healthy.--Hospital Steward Samuel S. Bond. [Nos. 720 and 721, Medical Station, Army Medical Museum, are from this case. No. 720 is a portion of the transverse colon, showing a number of minute follicular ulcers; near the middle of the piece is a largo tubercular ulcer running obliquely to the axis of the gut. On the peritoneal surface opposite the nicer are a considerable number of minute tubercles; a few others are scattered on other portions of the peritoneal surface. No. 721 is a portion of the omentum containing a large number of minute tubercles.]
    ------------
    continued
  9. M E Wolf

    M E Wolf Brigadier General Moderator

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    Medical/Surgical History--Part III, Volume I
    Chap. IX.--On Diseases Attributed To Non-Miasmatic Exposures.
    I.--Diseases Of The Respiratory Organs.
    IX.--Pneumonia.
    CASE 75.--Isaac Williamson, Government employé; age 14; was admitted Oct. 26, 1864, with the eruption of measles well out, and affected with whooping-cough which had troubled him for some months. Broncho-pneumonia set in, and death occurred November 5. Post-mortem examination: The brain was healthy. The right lung was hep-atized throughout, passing into the gray stage in the apex; the lower third of the left lung also was hepatized; the bronchial tubes were inflamed and choked with bloody sputa. The heart and abdominal viscera were healthy.--Hospital No. 8, Nashville, Tenn.
    -----------------
    Medical/Surgical History--Part II, Volume I
    Class I.--Zymotic Diseases.--Chapter I.--Diarrhoea And Dysentery.
    Section III.--Fatal Cases Of Diarrhoea And Dysentery, With Accounts
    Of The Morbid Appearances Observed.
    The next twenty cases are from the case-book of the GENERAL FIELD HOSPITAL, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Assistant Surgeon Charles C. Byrne, U. S. V., in charge:
    CASE 822.--Emmanuel Tucker, contraband; age 15; admitted from the field July 18, 1864. Chronic diarrhoea. Died, August 27th. Autopsy the same day: The right lung was normal. The whole of the upper lobe and portions of the lower lobe of the left lung were hepatized. The heart, spleen and kidneys were normal. The liver contained a number of small abscesses about a quarter of an inch in diameter. No evidences of disease were discovered in the intestines.
    -----------
    Medical/Surgical History--Part II, Volume I
    Class I.--Zymotic Diseases.--Chapter I.--Diarrhoea And Dysentery.
    Section III.--Fatal Cases Of Diarrhoea And Dysentery, With Accounts
    Of The Morbid Appearances Observed.
    CASE 745.---Samuel K. Smith, citizen, Maury County, Tennessee, (rebel:wink: age 57; admitted from prison hospital January 4, 1864. Rheumatism. Died, January 29th, of chronic dysentery. Autopsy twenty homes after death: Body moderately emaciated. There were tolerably strong pleuritic adhesions on both sides. The posterior portion of the middle and lower lobes of the right lung was in the stage of red hepatization; the posterior portion of the loft lung was in the stage of gray hepatization. The heart weighed nine ounces and a half; its valves were slightly thickened. The liver was fatty; it weighed three pounds eleven ounces, and was very yellow and soft. The spleen weighed three ounces and a half and contained a few small calcareous deposits. The kidneys were healthy; the right weighed three ounces, the left three, and a half. The stomach was slightly inflamed. The small intestine contained four lumbricoid worms which averaged ten inches in length. In the large intestine there were numerous large ulcers.
    --------------
    Medical/Surgical History--Part III, Volume I
    Chap. IX.--On Diseases Attributed To Non-Miasmatic Exposures.
    I.--Diseases Of The Respiratory Organs.
    IX.--Pneumonia.
    CASE 57.--J. H. Mathews, Government employé; age 58; was admitted March 30, 1864, with measles, the eruption just appearing. Next day the patient was quite hoarse and had cough with mucous expectoration; the eruption was well marked. He became nostalgic on the 8th, his cough troublesome, expectoration muco-purulent, pulse frequent and feeble and tongue clean and red. Next day the tongue was dry and brown, and there was a good deal of febrile excitement with diarrhœa. Death took place on the 13th. Post-mortem examination: The cerebral membranes were congested and contained a slight effusion, but the ventricles were empty. The right pleural cavity contained fourteen ounces of sero-fibrinous liquid; the right lung was congested generally and hepatized in its upper lobe; the parenchyma of the left lung was healthy; the mucous membrane of the bronchial tubes was congested and thickened. The heart was normal. The mucous membrane of the colon was congested; the other abdominal viscera normal.--Surgeon Francis Salter, U. S. Vols., Chattanooga Hospital, Tenn.
    -------------------
    Medical/Surgical History--Part II, Volume I
    Class I.--Zymotic Diseases.--Chapter I.--Diarrhoea And Dysentery.
    Section II.--Reports And Extracts From Reports Relating To
    Diarrhoea And Dysentery.
    Fatal Cases.
    CASE 76.--John G. Jones, citizen of Georgia; age 60; admitted June 4, 1864. Chronic Diarrhoea. The patient was much debilitated and his ]eft hand was paralyzed. The passages averaged one to the hour; the abdomen was painful, no appetite. There is no record of his treatment until he was put upon the solution of bromine in September. September 29th: Is very. weak; the flux continues unchecked. September 30th: the passages are small and bloody; complains of sick stomach. Died October 1st. No autopsy. Acting Assistant Surgeon H. F. Gilbert.
    ----------------
    Medical/Surgical History--Part II, Volume I
    Class I.--Zymotic Diseases.--Chapter I.--Diarrhoea And Dysentery.
    Section III.--Fatal Cases Of Diarrhoea And Dysentery, With Accounts
    Of The Morbid Appearances Observed.
    CASE 746.--Joseph B. Bean, citizen, Catoosa County, Georgia, (rebel:wink: age 65; admitted from Provost Marshal January 10, 1864. Dysentery. Died, January 29th. Autopsy twenty hours after death: Body moderately emaciated. There were strong pleuritic adhesions on the left side posteriorly. The lower lobe and posterior portion of the upper lobe of the left lung were in the stage of red hepatization. The heart weighed nine ounces and a half. The aortic semilunar valves were calcareous, and the arteries of the body were everywhere atheromatous and calcareous. The liver was fatty and weighed throe pounds. The spleen weighed six ounces. The kidneys weighed four ounces each. In the large intestine there were numerous small ulcers. --Surgeon C. W. Homer, U. S. V. [Nos. 310 to 312, Medical Section, Army Medical Museum, are from this case. No. 310 is the heart laid open to expose the valves. The aortic valves are the seat of calcareous deposits, and there are calcareous atheromatous patches in the aorta just above the valves. The other vessels are healthy. No. 311 is the arch and a part of the descending aorta, presenting numerous atheromatous patches with calcareous deposits in many places. No. 312 is the lower part of the descending aorta with a part of the common iliacs. In this part of the vessel the atheromatous disease is present in a higher degree, and fibrinous clots, derived from the blood, adhere to many of the roughened patches.]
    -----------
    Medical/Surgical History--Part III, Volume I
    Chap. IX.--On Diseases Attributed To Non-Miasmatic Exposures.
    I.--Diseases Of The Respiratory Organs.
    IX.--Pneumonia.
    CASE 21.--Samuel Bingham; citizen of Georgia; rebel prisoner; age 66; admitted Feb. 26, 1864, with pulmonary emphysema. Died March 16. Post-mortem examination: A quart of serum in each pleural cavity; lower lobe of right lung collapsed and covered with lymph; bronchitis on both sides. Ossific deposits in mitral valve. Liver sixty-one ounces, fatty; spleen six Ounces and a half, soft; kidneys normal.--Hospital No. 1, Nashville, Tenn.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I suspect someone would have to go through the entire records recorded by the Union Medical/Surgery Corps. This won't include the Confederate Military/Surgery history; any town, city or state private doctors/surgeons who treated individuals either on contract with the military or private practice.

    Hope this only information I have is useful.

    M. E. Wolf
  10. Karen Lips

    Karen Lips Sergeant Major

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    When I first joined this forum, I read on some thread that an estimated 50,00 civilians died of starvatio alone..
  11. M E Wolf

    M E Wolf Brigadier General Moderator

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    Karen Lips, ma'am;

    I bumped the "Southern Civilian Deaths" ...
    You should be able to see it in this category of Forums ma'am.

    M. E. Wolf
  12. wilber6150

    wilber6150 Brigadier General Moderator

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    I believe that was a thread on Sherman's march and the statement was found to be without any supporting evidence..Supposedly 50,000 civilians starved because Shermans men ate all the food in the area or something like that..There was also another thread that described the deaths of thousands of escaped slaves in camps, but I don't remember which way the evidence pointed as to its truthfulness..
  13. Karen Lips

    Karen Lips Sergeant Major

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    I figured civilians starved to death because most of the food went to the soldiers and the women left at home were mostly unable to produce crops.
  14. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    I tend to doubt the starving part, but would believe that scarce nutrition opened the door to disease.

    I'd also assign a hefty number to the camps where fleeing slaves were kept.
  15. B Peach

    B Peach First Sergeant

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    In testimony given before Congress, Judge Sharkey described the devastating impact which the "armies of freedom" and the "great emancipator" had upon the black race:

    "I believe that there are now in my State very little over half the number of freedmen that were formerly slaves, certainly not more than two-thirds. They have died off. There is no telling the mortality that has prevailed among them; they have died off in immense numbers. I should say that very little more than half the amount of land that was under cultivation before the war will be under cultivation this year." Before the Joint House and Senate Committee of Fifteen, 39th Congress, in the spring of 1866, reprinted in Hans. I., Trefousse (ed.), Background for Radical Reconstruction, Little, Brown, & Co., Boston, 1970, pp. 27-29.


    Miss had 436,000 slaves in 1860, if sharkey was right, thats 130,000 negro civilian deaths in Miss alone.

    J R Grahem when looking at the issue of negro civilian deaths came to 400,000 from deatha nd starvation.
    Georgia Sixth likes this.
  16. elliswa

    elliswa Cadet

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    From William Ellis: Since I first posted this thread, I have contacted Dr. Ransom (of Ransom/Sutch: One Kind of Freedom: The Economic Consequences of Emancipation), and asked him if he has an estimate for total civilian deaths. I am waiting for his reply.

    Now, I agree with those who doubt that civilian deaths can be calculated exactly. Still, studies of most wars in the last two hundred years have yielded estimates of civilian deaths (check the Wikipedia articles on any number of wars for a quick overview, and lists of sources) and our Civil War was certainly responsible for some. Civil War historians have generally not tackled this issue. McPherson and Ransom/Sutch, to their credit, are exceptions.

    By civilian deaths, I meant what most historians mean: deaths among the civilian population caused by the hardships (disease, low nutrition, and the like) that the war entailed, not only civilians killed by military action. Of the latter, there were few in the Civil War.

    Some replies questioned the analogy I suggested with the Napoleonic Wars, which is fair enough. But the Crimean War is a near-contemporary war of camparable ferocity and duration and military numbers. The new study of it (2011) by Orlando Figes does tackle the issue of civilian deaths, and, without coming up with an exact number, he does suggest civilian deaths were in the hundreds of thousands.

    I should add that the question of the number of civilian deaths, in itself, is not an ideological issue, although results will surely raise important moral issues. Still, it is first of all an important empirical question, and deserves careful attention, which so far it seems rarely to have received among established historians.
    Dave Wilma and Georgia Sixth like this.
  17. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l

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    elliswa,

    A very thoughtful and well presented post.

    I look forward to any new information you can find and present here on this topic.

    Good luck with your inquiries.

    Sincerely,
    Unionblue
  18. elliswa

    elliswa Cadet

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    Regarding civilian deaths in the Civil War: here is some interesting data from the US census bureau (http://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation). Of course it is not conclusive, but it is suggestive.

    From 1840 to 1880 the US population increased by over 13% every decade with one exception, the decade that includes the Civil War - 1860 to 1870 - when the rate of increase was 12.2%. Total population from tab01: 1840: 17,063,353; 1850: 23,191,876; 1860: 31,443,321; 1870: 38,558,371; 1880: 50,155,783.

    I don’t believe that there is any mystery why the rate of increase lowered in that decade – the Civil War is the reason. But do military deaths account for the entire decline?

    When one looks at the South, the results suggest not. From 1840 to 1880 the South also grew on the average of 13% every decade, with one exception - 1860-1870 - when the rate of increase was only 11%. From Tab04 (the census evidently counted as Southern some states that did not join the Confederacy, but that I doubt that this affects the argument I will make):

    1840: 6,950,729; 1850: 8,982,612; 1860: 11,133,361; 1870: 12,288,020; 1880: 16,516,568.

    These rates in the South are roughly the same for both races.

    White: 1840: 4,308,752; 1850: 5,630,414; 1860: 7,033,973; 1870: 7,863,209; 1880: 10,555,427
    Black : 1840: 2,641,977; 1850: 3,352,198; 1860: 4,097,111; 1870: 4,420,811; 1880: 5,953,903.

    In the decade of the Civil War, the Southern White population increased by 11% (down 2% from the rate of increase in the decades before and after) and the South Black population increased by 10.8% (down 2.4% from the rate of increase in the decade before, and down 2.2% from the rate of increase in the decade after).

    Well, we know that Southern Whites lost 250,000 killed as soldiers in the Civil War – and that probably goes far to providing the reason for the decline of the rate of increase among whites.

    However, Southern Blacks did not suffer comparable battle deaths. (When Blacks fought, they fought almost always for the North, many or most of them coming from there: about 37,000 died according to this source: http://www.mrnussbaum.com/civil_war/african_americans.htm).

    Yet the rate of population increase declined among Southern Blacks just as much as among Southern Whites. In fact, it declined slightly more.

    This suggests that the decline of that rate, among Blacks, is owing to civilians deaths. If the 250,000 Southern White military deaths account for the decline of the rate of increase among Whites, that would suggest that civilian deaths among Blacks account for the decline of the rate of increase among the Black population. And the proportionate number would be about 160,000 - much higher than the Ransom/Sutch estimate of 56,000 (and very much higher than would be the case in the global estimate, for both races, of McPherson).

    In fact, I doubt that the decline in the increase rate among Whites is owing only to military deaths. I think that Southern White civilian deaths were likely quite substantial and a partial cause of the relative decline. Still, Southern Black civilian deaths certainly must have been very substantial, even if 160,000 should be too high an estimate.

    These census statistics do not yield an exact estimate, but they do add some circumstantial weight to the idea that total civilian deaths must have been well over 100,000, and possibly much higher than that.
    Regarding civilian deaths in the Civil War: here is some interesting data from the US census bureau (http://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation). Of course it is not conclusive, but it is suggestive.

    From 1840 to 1880 the US population increased by over 13% every decade with one exception, the decade that includes the Civil War - 1860 to 1870 - when the rate of increase was 12.2%. Total population from tab01: 1840: 17,063,353; 1850: 23,191,876; 1860: 31,443,321; 1870: 38,558,371; 1880: 50,155,783.

    I don’t believe that there is any mystery why the rate of increase lowered in that decade – the Civil War is the reason. But do military deaths account for the entire decline?

    When one looks at the South, the results suggest not. From 1840 to 1880 the South also grew on the average of 13% every decade, with one exception - 1860-1870 - when the rate of increase was only 11%. From Tab04 (the census evidently counted as Southern some states that did not join the Confederacy, but that I doubt that this affects the argument I will make):

    1840: 6,950,729; 1850: 8,982,612; 1860: 11,133,361; 1870: 12,288,020; 1880: 16,516,568.

    These rates in the South are roughly the same for both races.

    White: 1840: 4,308,752; 1850: 5,630,414; 1860: 7,033,973; 1870: 7,863,209; 1880: 10,555,427
    Black : 1840: 2,641,977; 1850: 3,352,198; 1860: 4,097,111; 1870: 4,420,811; 1880: 5,953,903.

    In the decade of the Civil War, the Southern White population increased by 11% (down 2% from the rate of increase in the decades before and after) and the South Black population increased by 10.8% (down 2.4% from the rate of increase in the decade before, and down 2.2% from the rate of increase in the decade after).

    Well, we know that Southern Whites lost 250,000 killed as soldiers in the Civil War – and that probably goes far to providing the reason for the decline of the rate of increase among whites.

    However, Southern Blacks did not suffer comparable battle deaths. (When Blacks fought, they fought almost always for the North, many or most of them coming from there: about 37,000 died according to this source: http://www.mrnussbaum.com/civil_war/african_americans.htm).

    Yet the rate of population increase declined among Southern Blacks just as much as among Southern Whites. In fact, it declined slightly more.

    This suggests that the decline of that rate, among Blacks, is owing to civilians deaths. If the 250,000 Southern White military deaths account for the decline of the rate of increase among Whites, that would suggest that civilian deaths among Blacks account for the decline of the rate of increase among the Black population. And the proportionate number would be about 160,000 - much higher than the Ransom/Sutch estimate of 56,000 (and very much higher than would be the case in the global estimate, for both races, of 50,000 by McPherson).

    In fact, I doubt that the decline in the increase rate among Whites is owing only to military deaths. I think that Southern White civilian deaths were likely quite substantial and a partial cause of the relative decline. Still, Southern Black civilian deaths certainly must have been very substantial, even if 160,000 should be too high an estimate.

    These census statistics do not yield an exact estimate, but they do add circumstantial weight to the idea that total civilian deaths must have been well over 100,000, and possibly much higher than that.
    Dave Wilma and Georgia Sixth like this.
  19. elliswa

    elliswa Cadet

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    I am sorry about partial the duplication in what was already a long post. I will preview next time
  20. elliswa

    elliswa Cadet

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    I should have previewed my dyslexic apology too
  21. Rob9641

    Rob9641 Captain Civil War Photo Contest
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    Thanks for the statistics. Of course, immigation was still going on during the CW - despite the nasty war, people were still moving into the US (one branch of my own family arrived from Ireland in 1862). That's going to offset the damage caused by the war.

    Maybe someone with a supercomputer can track every human being from 1860 to 1870, but that's about what it would take to get a good figure on civilians killed, IMO.

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