Extraordinary Records of the American Civil War


Lieutenant General
- ★★★ -
Managing Member & Webmaster
Apr 1, 1999
Martinsburg, WV
This article is a compendium of American Civil War Records. Entries are filed by type. This list is intended to be comprehensive. New suggestions, and corrections are encouraged by replying to the thread below.

Civil War Battlefield "Firsts"
  • First Shot Fired in the War:
    • On April 12, 1861 at 4:30am, by the order of General P. G. T. Beauregard, and command of Captain George S. James, Lt. Henry S. Farley pulled the lanyard attached to a mortar on the beach near Fort Johnson, South Carolina, sending the first shot at Union held Fort Sumter.
    • OR - Maybe George Edward Haynesworth, should be credited for firing a cannon from Morris Island at the merchant ship Star of the West, on January 9, 1861
  • First Prisoner-of-War of the American Civil War:
    • Lt. John Worden is placed under arrest in Pensacola, Florida on April 15, 1861 by Confederate Braxton Bragg
  • First Use of a Machine Gun: at least 5 instances, including...
    • The Ager Gun
    • The Williams Gun
    • The Gatling Gun
  • First Use of a Turreted Gun in Combat:
    • The Monitor at the Battle of Hampton Roads, April 1862
  • First Use of a Anti-Personnel Contact Mine:
    • CS Brig. Gen. Gabriel J. Rains developed mines in 1862, using them in the Peninsula Campaign against the advancing Union Army
  • First Use of an Observation Balloon:
    • Both US and CS forces attempted to use balloons to spy on opposing forces
  • First Aircraft Carrier:
    • USS George Washington Parke Custis. A balloon was attached to it and used for observation in 1861.
  • First Use of Anti-Aircraft Guns:
    • 3" Rifled Cannons were rigged by digging in the trails for a high angle of fire in an attempt to shoot down observation balloons during the Peninsula Campaign, this trial was unsuccessful at hitting it's target.
  • First Mass Produced Rifle to use an Integrated Cartridge on the Battlefield
  • First Use of Repeating Rifles on Field of Battle: including 2 arms accepted into service by the Union Army
    • Spencer Repeating Carbine
    • Henry Rifle
  • First Use of Mounted Railroad Artillery: Several examples can be found...
    • The most famous example is the 13-inch mortar, "The Dictator"
  • First Man Killed in the Civil War:
    • Union Pvt. Daniel Hough of Co. E., 1st Artillery from Premature Discharge during Fort Sumter evacuation ceremonies.
  • First Man Injured by Hostile Action:
    • Nicolas Biddle, a black orderly in Co. A, 27th Pennsylvania, struck by a brick thrown by Southern sympathizers in Baltimore on April 18, 1861
  • First Man to Die by Hostile Action:
    • Union Pvts. Sumner Needham, Luther C. Ladd, Anderson O. Whitney, & Charles A. Taylor of the 6th Massachusetts, and a dozen rioters in Baltimore, during an attack by a secessionist mob, April 18, 1861
  • First General Officer Killed:
    • C.S. Brig. Gen. Robert S. Garnett, killed at Corrick's Ford, Virginia (today WV) on July 13, 1861.
  • Most American Deaths in Battle over a Single Day:
    • The Battle of Antietam, 7,650 American soldiers were killed in combat in a single day
  • Youngest Combat Death during the American Civil War:
    • Drum Major Charlie King of Company F of the 49th Pennsylvania was mortally wounded at the Cornfield during the Battle of Antietam at the age of Thirteen
  • First Confederate Death at Gettysburg:
    • Henry Raison, 7th Tennessee Infantry
  • First Union Death at Gettysburg:
    • Cpl. Cyrus W. James, Co G., 9th NY Cavalry
  • Most Deadly Battle of the Civil War:
    • The Battle of Gettysburg, with between 46,000 and 51,000 casualties for both sides combined over the three days of fighting.
  • General with Most Mounts Killed Under Him:
    • C.S. Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, 29
  • Only sitting U.S. senator ever to be killed in a military engagement:
    • Edward Dickinson Baker from Oregon, killed at Ball's Bluff on October 21, 1861
Extraordinary People
  • Longest Last Named General Officer:
    • US Brig. Gen. Alexander Schimmelfennig, 14 letters
  • Tallest Union Soldier:
    • Capt. Van Buskirk, 27th Indiana, 6' 10.5"
  • Shortest Union Soldier:
    • Private in the 192nd Ohio, 3' 4"
  • Youngest Union General During the Civil War:
    • Brig. Gen. Galusha Pennypacker, promoted on April 28, 1865, aged 20 years, 11 months
  • Youngest Soldier in the Civil War
    • John Lincoln Clem joined the 22nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry, Company C in May of 1861, as a Union Drummer Boy, at the age of Nine.
  • Oldest Person to Enlist and Serve in the Union Army during the War
    • Curtis King enlisted in the 37th Iowa Volunteer Regiment (known as the "Gray Beards") in 1863 at the age of 80 years old. He served for a few months, but was discharged due to ill health. He died that same year.
  • Number of Generals named "George Washington": 6
    • George Washington Cullum
    • George Washington Deitzler
    • George Washington Getty
    • George Washington Gordon
    • George Washington Curtis Lee
    • George Washington Morgan
  • First Woman to Unofficially Command a U.S. Military Regiment:
    • Nadine A. Lvova Turchin in the spring of 1862 took command of the 19th Illinois Volunteer Regiment when her husband was sick and being transported by ambulance, an action the men in the unit accepted and followed her lead without disobedience.
  • Only Known Veteran of the Civil War and World War I
    • Peter Conover Hains
Other Miscellaneous Civil War Era Records
  • Most Recorded Artillery Rounds Fired by an Artillery Battery in One Day During the Civil War:
    • 1,342 rounds by the six 10-pdr. Parrott Rifles of the 1st New Jersey Artillery, Battery 'B' at Gettysburg, on July 2nd during the fight at the Peach Orchard.
  • Smallest Field Artillery Gun Accepted into Federal Service:
  • Largest Field Artillery Gun:
    • The 4.5 inch Siege Rifle is considered to be the largest heavy field gun of the Civil War, two batteries accompanied the Army of the Potomac as “heavy” field artillery between 1862 and 1864. The next size piece used, 30-pdr. Parrott Rifle was too cumbersome to move at the same pace with the rest of the army.​
  • Largest Overall Artillery Accepted into Federal Service:
    • Model 1861 U.S. 15-inch Columbiad, also known as the 15-inch Rodman​
  • Largest Experimental Artillery of the War:
  • Largest Artillery Barrage of the War:
    • July 3, 1863 - Gettysburg, Lee orders a massive artillery bombardment prior to the planned infantry assault known as Pickett's Charge. More than 150 guns took part in the hour-long cannonade.​
  • Longest Siege in American Warfare:
    • 10 months, at Petersburg, Virginia​
  • Largest Concentration of Troops in any Civil War Battle:
    • Battle of Fredericksburg with nearly 200,000 troops​
  • Largest Civil War Prison Break:
    • In Richmond, Virginia in February 1864, 109 Union Prisoners of War broke out of the infamous Libby Prison in the middle of the night.
  • Largest surrender of United States troops before World War II
    • Surrounded, with no way to escape, on the morning of September 15th, 1862, Union commander Col. Dixon S. Miles of the Union Garrison at Harper's Ferry relented, and told his men to surrender to Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson's forces. Jackson would secure a prize of 12,000 soldiers, 13,000 arms, and 47 pieces of artillery. Dixon was mortally wounded by a shell before the surrender took place.
  • Largest Military Snowball Fight
    • On January 29, 1863, the largest military snow exchange occurred in the Rappahannock Valley in Northern Virginia. What began as a few hundred men from Texas plotting a friendly fight against their Arkansas camp mates soon escalated into a brawl that involved 9,000 soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia.​
  • First Admiral in the United States Navy
    • David Glasgow Farragut - He was also the first Rear Admiral and Vice Admiral of the U.S. Navy
  • The Last Presentation of an American Civil War Medal of Honor
    • Was posthumously presented to Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing in 2014 by President Obama.
  • Last American to Receive a Civil War Pension:
    • Irene Triplett of North Carolina, died June 1, 2020 at the age of 90. She had been getting a check for $73.13 every month. Her father, Mose Triplett was a Confederate soldier, who had defected to the Union, and being a lifelong disabled child of a Veteran entitled her to the benefit.
More Surprising Facts
  • 4:1, Ratio of "people who attended church weekly in 1860", to "those who voted in the 1860 election"
  • About 20 percent of soldiers who enlisted were under the age of 18
  • The Civil War encompassed about 6,000 battles, skirmishes, and engagements over a period of only 4 years.
  • Was the first war to be widely photographed
  • An estimated 3,000 horses were killed at the Battle of Gettysburg.
  • An ambulance corps was finally established in 1864, before that, there was no effective ambulance corps to transport the wounded to a field hospital or doctor.
  • 2.5% — Approximate percentage of the American population that died in the Civil War
  • Approximately 700,000 soldiers surrendered over the course of the entire Civil War, making the odds of a soldier surrendering to the enemy at some point during their Civil War service, at about one in four, with some surrendering multiple times.
  • Robert E. Lee's Family Arlington Residence was confiscated by the federal government for nonpayment of $92.07 in taxes.
  • In 1877 their oldest son, George Washington Custis Lee, sued the federal government for confiscating Arlington illegally; the Supreme Court agreed and gave it back to him. But what could the Lee family do with an estate littered with corpses? George Lee sold it back to the government for $150,000.
  • The Government estimated the cost of the Civil War at that time was $6.19 billion

This article is a work in progress....
Last edited:


Apr 1, 2011
Isn't the Hunley credited with being the first submarine to sink an enemy warship, the Housatonic in Charleston harbor? I believe there was prior use of submarines, even in the American Revolution, but that none successfully attacked to that extent.