Death of those wounded

Georgian183

Private
Joined
Apr 17, 2021
Hey yall. We have all read casualty figures for battles far and wide, but something about them has always "nagged" at me. I understand that some of those listed as missing, could have either been captured, killed (but not located), lost (to rejoin their unit later), etc. The wounded figures all battles, seem to outnumber those killed by a wide margin. What is never followed up on is how many of those wounded actually died as a result. Is anyone aware of research or a study having been done that estimates (each battle would probably vary slightly depending on a variety of factors) on average how many wounded recovered or died?
 

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
Member of the Month
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Not on a vast scale, but several years ago a member of my genealogical group filled in for a summer as town clerk. She compiled a list of all men who had served in the Civil War AND who died within 5 years of 1865. When I did my work on town soldiers, I compared her list with a list of those who had been discharged for disability.

If I could do this, I'm sure that it's been done elsewhere.
 

rpkennedy

Lt. Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
May 18, 2011
Location
Carlisle, PA
Hey yall. We have all read casualty figures for battles far and wide, but something about them has always "nagged" at me. I understand that some of those listed as missing, could have either been captured, killed (but not located), lost (to rejoin their unit later), etc. The wounded figures all battles, seem to outnumber those killed by a wide margin. What is never followed up on is how many of those wounded actually died as a result. Is anyone aware of research or a study having been done that estimates (each battle would probably vary slightly depending on a variety of factors) on average how many wounded recovered or died?

It also depended on which side one is looking at because they counted differently. The Confederates counted as wounded anyone who suffered any kind of injury, no matter how minor, while the Union generally only counted those who needed some kind of medical treatment.

In addition, the Confederates would count those who were mortally wounded in the "wounded" category unless they died relatively quickly and the Union generally counted these men as "killed".

Generally speaking, a good rule of thumb for the wounded is that around 15% would die of their wounds but that number will understandably fluctuate a bit battle-by-battle.

Ryan
 

Tom Elmore

1st Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Some wounded at Gettysburg died several months after the battle so an arbitrary cut-off date might make sense. That particular battle is so well studied and documented, it's possible to trace the fate of the wounded with considerable accuracy using a resource like Busey and Busey's Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg and Union Casualties at Gettysburg. Personally I've never attempted such a laborious study.

When a soldier goes missing during a battle and never shows up registered in some hospital or prison, he is presumed to have died and been buried as an unknown. Of course every rule has exceptions: Private Mias A. Wilson of Company F, 16th North Carolina was listed as missing and also as a deserter at Gettysburg, and the above-cited reference lists him as presumed killed since he never turned up in any Federal record. However, he was actually taken in by a local family and lived out his new assumed life as a Pennsylvania farmer.
 

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
Member of the Month
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
When a soldier goes missing during a battle and never shows up registered in some hospital or prison, he is presumed to have died and been buried as an unknown
Alas, one of my unsuccessful research studies was a local man who was a USCT officer. He simply vanished.
 
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