Which of the Union states contributed the most in helping the north win the civil war?

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NedBaldwin

Major
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Feb 19, 2011
Location
California
I am going to make a case for my state of birth: Massachusetts.

I am of the opinion that for the US the most perilous month of the war was the first one. After Lincoln issued his proclamation on April 15th, state troops began to move. Massachusetts moved with a little more speed and vigor than some of the others. Quote from the Preface to the book "History and Complete Roster of the Massachusetts Regiments, Minute Men of '61 who Responded to the First Call of President Abraham Lincoln, April 15, 1861, to Defend the Flag and Constitution of the United States and Biographical Sketches of Minute Men of Massachusetts" (by George Warren Nason, 1910):

"To the fact that Massachusetts had for years maintained a military force known as Volunteer Militia, the members of which were somewhat accustomed to the use of arms, and inured in some degree to the discomforts of the tented field, may be accredited the salvation of the nation in the early spring of the year 1861. There can be no question that the appearance of the Sixth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in Washington, and the arrival of the Third and Fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry at Fortress Monroe, saved those important points from attempted capture by the disloyal men whose creed was slavery and States' rights before freedom and Union. The prompt arrival of the Eighth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry preserved the Naval Academy and the frigate Constitution at Annapolis, Md., and opened the way to the succor of the nation's capitol, obstructed in other directions."
 
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Meade answered the question in this utterly spurious letter - but it does have a point.... Pennsylvania clearly contributed the best, the brightest and the most to the Union effort. Modest Meade does not even include himself!


PENN IS MIGHTIER WITH THE SWORD

To Mrs. George G Meade
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, BERLIN, MD., July 18, 1863.

I try to send you a few lines every chance I can get, but I find it very difficult to remember when I have written. The loss of Reynolds and Hancock is most serious; their places are not to be supplied. However, with God's help, I will continue to do the best I can. You ask me about Grant and the manner in which his victory at Vicksburg is lauded above my own at Gettysburg. It is difficult for me to reply. There is a tendency at Washington to elevate the reputations of certain Ohio men, which is at variance to facts.

Wade of Ohio, from his lofty perch on the Committee on the War, considers that victory relies upon him alone, a view shared by Secretary Stanton of Steubenville, Ohio except that his name be substituted for Wade. It was our fellow Philadelphian, McClellan who built the army in the east, saving Washington, and was never defeated by Lee, whom the western commanders have not yet faced. I saw no Ohio politicians in the Peninsula nor yet at Antietam.

Worthy as Grant is, he would still be scratching moskeeto bites at Yazoo Pass, were it not for Admiral David Dixon Porter, of Chester Pa., who opened the Mississippi for him. His vessels were fitted with the gun invented by John Dahlgren, a Philadelphian whose genius equipped the entire navy, making possible the blockade of the south and the control of all the waters.

Lancaster, Ohio may have produced Sherman but there can be no-one to deny that Lancaster, Pa. had the better of it in John Reynolds, who prepared the ground for my victory at Gettysburg, and who could have supplied my own place in command. No army of ours could last but a week if not for the brilliant achievements of Herman Haupt, another Philadelphian, and the scrupulous honesty of Quartermaster Meigs, born in the south but raised in our own fair state.

I have heard of an Ohio man named McCook, a Major General called a fighter, but the record shows near-route at Perryville and route at Stones River, both times as part of armies poorly lead by Ohioans, Buell and Rosecrans. Among the more successful generals from Ohio must be counted Bushrod R Johnson, who fought bravely at Donelson, Shiloh, Perryville and Stones River, proudly wearing his confederate gray uniform.

The army is moving to-day over the same road I took last fall under McClellan. The Government insists on my pursuing and destroying Lee. The former I can do, but the latter will depend on him as much as on me, for if he keeps out of my way, I can't destroy.

(The last three sentences are genuine Meade)
 

AUG

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They all did their part well. Though New York naturally fielded the most troops, having the largest population at the time, and I believe Pennsylvania provided the second largest number of troops. Most of the men in the Army of the Potomac were from those two states. In the Western theater, Illinois fielded many regiments that served in the Army of the Tennessee and Army of the Cumberland.
 

bdtex

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They all did their part well. Though New York naturally fielded the most troops, having the largest population at the time, and I believe Pennsylvania provided the second largest number of troops. Most of the men in the Army of the Potomac were from those two states. In the Western theater, Illinois fielded many regiments that served in the Army of the Tennessee and Army of the Cumberland.
Very well said sir!
 
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Burning Billy

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Pennsylvania was one of the most important. Over 360,000 Pennsylvanians served in Union armies or the U.S. Navy, and it supplied nearly all of of the Union's smokeless coal and 80% of the iron. Both the Phoenixville Iron Works and the Fort Pitt Works produced over 1,000 pieces of artillery each, and factories in the Pittsburg area were responsible for about 10% of all artillery projectiles produced by the Union during the war.

Probably only New York had a greater contribution, and Ohio was closely behind in manpower supplied.

Those three states could probably be roughly compared to North Carolina, Virginia, and Alabama respectively.
 
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johan_steele

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Countries, states, generals, muskets & canon do not win wars. Men win wars; men of flesh & blood & iron conviction.

Can any one state lay claim to being the most valuable? In all honesty , no. Was Iowa or Wisconsin the best because they provided the highest percentage? No. Was New York the most valuable because they provided the most troops? No.

It was the US soldier from the United States who ground Johnny Reb down. Men in trenches or marching from hell to breakfast with brutally effective cannoneers placing shot & shell where it could do the most damage.

The old adage of the shoe was lost for want of a nail and the horse was lost for want of a shoe rings very true in regards to our civil war. While the CS made Herculean efforts to build arms & supply men they were grossly outmatched by a US that understood the need for that nail & built a QM system the equal to any in the world and by wars end fielded better than a million men to smash a rebellion.

In the end it was men who won the war & went back home to keep on keeping on that made the United States a nation worth something.
 

leftyhunter

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los angeles ca
Pennsylvania was one of the most important. Over 360,000 Pennsylvanians served in Union armies or the U.S. Navy, and it supplied nearly all of of the Union's smokeless coal and 80% of the iron. Both the Phoenixville Iron Works and the Fort Pitt Works produced over 1,000 pieces of artillery each, and factories in the Pittsburg area were responsible for about 10% of all artillery projectiles produced by the Union during the war.

Probably only New York had a greater contribution, and Ohio was closely behind in manpower supplied.

Those three states could probably be roughly compared to North Carolina, Virginia, and Alabama respectively.
You forgot to include Old Overholt Rye. A necessary and vital medicinal tonic proudly made in the Keystone State.
Leftyhunter
 
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Jimbo_Poke

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Jan 28, 2015
I don't want to demean the brave men like those of the 14th Brooklyn, or 69th NY, and many other brave New Yorkers. There was just too much copperhead activity plus draft riots in New York, so that knocks that states contributions down a notch in my opinion. I would say Pennsylvania or Ohio for gross contribution. Per capita I am thinking Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, or Vermont.
 
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