What County suffered the highest casualty rate?

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#1
Professor Jeffrey W. McClurken has collected and analyzed the data concerning Pittsylvania County, Virginia's contribution to the war effort in his book Take Care of the Living: Reconstructing Confederate Veteran Families in Virginia (University of Virginia Press, 2009).

According to his analysis, 79% of Pittsylvania County's military age men served in "front-line" duty (compared to 60% in the South as a whole) and one-fourth of the Pittsylvania County men who served died in service. 24% of county men who served (683 men) spent time in a Federal prison during the war, and 108 of them died in prison. All told, three-quarters of the county men who served were killed, wounded, captured, died of disease or suffered a life-threatening illness during the War.

This has me wondering how those numbers compare to other American counties. Are those numbers matched or exceeded by any other counties? Does anyone know what county has the distinction of bearing the most casualties as a percentage of its military-age population?
 

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AUG

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Good question.

According to Randolph B. Campbell's studies on Harrison County, Texas, 1,724 men and boys ages 13-46 resided in Harrison County in 1860, and 863 (50.1%) entered service sometime between 1861-65. About 53% of teens ages 13-18 and 61% of men ages 19-28 served.

Over one-fifth (20.6%) died in service from battle, disease, or in prisoner of war camps; 12% suffered serious illnesses or wounds but survived and continued to serve; nearly 12% spent time as prisoners of war; and 5% were discharged for disabilities, mainly due to illness. Overall, about half died, were wounded, captured, or suffered from serious illness during the war.

Don't mean to say this is the highest casualty rate, just another example.

Source: "Fighting for the Confederacy: The White Male Population of Harrison County in the Civil War" by Randolph B. Campbell in The Southwestern Historical Quarterly 104 (July, 2000): 23-39. (Can be read Here).

Harrison County was located in what is known as the Piney Woods region of East Texas, just along the Louisiana border, the terrain being very similar to North Louisiana. It was largely settled by slave-owning planters from the Deep South and the plantation economy was very prosperous, so most of the population naturally supported secession.

The county mustered 13 companies, with five recruited in 1861 and eight in 1862. Four of those saw action east of the Mississippi. One company, The Marshall Guards - Company E of the 1st Texas Infantry in Hood's Brigade - had an initial strength of 78 and a total strength of 124, losing 15 men killed in action (19%), 8 deaths due to other causes, 40 wounded (53%), 9 missing, and 11 desertions.
 

Northern Light

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Good question.

According to Randolph B. Campbell's studies on Harrison County, Texas, 1,724 men and boys ages 13-46 resided in Harrison County in 1860, and 863 (50.1%) entered service sometime between 1861-65. About 53% of teens ages 13-18 and 61% of men ages 19-28 served.

Over one-fifth (20.6%) died in service from battle, disease, or in prisoner of war camps; 12% suffered serious illnesses or wounds but survived and continued to serve; nearly 12% spent time as prisoners of war; and 5% were discharged for disabilities, mainly due to illness. Overall, about half died, were wounded, captured, or suffered from serious illness during the war.

Don't mean to say this is the highest casualty rate, just another example.

Source: "Fighting for the Confederacy: The White Male Population of Harrison County in the Civil War" by Randolph B. Campbell in The Southwestern Historical Quarterly 104 (July, 2000): 23-39. (Can be read Here).

Harrison County was located in what is known as the Piney Woods region of East Texas, just along the Louisiana border, the terrain being very similar to North Louisiana. It was largely settled by slave-owning planters from the Deep South and the plantation economy was very prosperous, so most of the population naturally supported secession.

The county mustered 13 companies, with five recruited in 1861 and eight in 1862. Four of those saw action east of the Mississippi. One company, The Marshall Guards - Company E of the 1st Texas Infantry in Hood's Brigade - had an initial strength of 78 and a total strength of 124, losing 15 men killed in action (19%), 8 deaths due to other causes, 40 wounded (53%), 9 missing, and 11 desertions.
When you start to make this kind of statistical analysis by County, it really brings home the tragedy of the war at a level that is more comprehensible than total casualties of war. Half of the young men in a county gone to war and half of those never returned. How does a community recover from such a loss?
 
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#4
When you start to make this kind of statistical analysis by County, it really brings home the tragedy of the war at a level that is more comprehensible than total casualties of war. Half of the young men in a county gone to war and half of those never returned. How does a community recover from such a loss?
It's hard to imagine. And many of those who did return were disfigured or disabled for life.

Is it any wonder the people of the county would want to honor the sacrifice of those men? Wouldn't it be shameful if they didn't?
 

Northern Light

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It's hard to imagine. And many of those who did return were disfigured or disabled for life.

Is it any wonder the people of the county would want to honor the sacrifice of those men? Wouldn't it be shameful if they didn't?
Well, not if it was a choice between building a monument or helping feed the families of those who were wounded and deceased. Looking after the families might be more important. That is likely why those memorials were put up at a much later date, although I can't prove it.
 
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Well, not if it was a choice between building a monument or helping feed the families of those who were wounded and deceased. Looking after the families might be more important. That is likely why those memorials were put up at a much later date, although I can't prove it.
Professor McClurken's book examines in detail how the community acted to help and support the veterans, widows and families of those who served. Quite interesting, and much what you would expect.

In Pittsylvania County the veterans and their families began raising money for a monument almost immediately after the war ended, but the area was impoverished of course and it took many years for it to come to fruition.
 



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