100 Interesting Facts About the American Civil War

1Fried chicken sterotype

The stereotype of African Americans loving fried chicken dates back to the Civil War, as chickens were generally the only animals slaves could raise on their own.

2. General J. Sedgwick's last words during the American Civil War were "they couldn't hit an elephant at this distance," before being shot under the left eye that killed him.

3. The last living American Civil War veteran, Albert Woolson, was alive to see the beginning of the civil rights movement. He died in 1956.

4. In the 1930s the Smithsonian recorded Confederate Civil War veterans reenacting the rebel yell battle cry. This is the only recording of actual veterans doing the yell.

5. Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a National Holiday in 1863 during the Civil War to keep the country together.

6University of Mississippi

Nearly the entire student body and faculty of University of Mississippi joined the Confederate Army during the Civil War and suffered a 100% casualty rate

7. During a major Civil War battle, both armies briefly stopped fighting to watch a fist fight between two opposing soldiers, who had both taken cover in the same place.

8. The first Memorial Day was a funeral held by freed slaves for Union soldiers who liberated them after the American Civil War in 1865

9. Kentucky never seceded from the Union during the Civil War, sent more than twice as many soldiers to the Union Army, and yet of the 74 Civil War monuments in Kentucky 72 are for the Confederacy.

10. In the American Civil War, soldiers were required to have at least four opposing front teeth, so that they could open a gunpowder pouch. Some draftees had their front teeth removed to avoid service.

11Maudie Hopkins

The last surviving Civil War widow (Maudie Hopkins) didn't pass away until 2008. She married an 86-year-old veteran when she was only 19.

12. Diarrhea was the leading cause of death among soldiers in the American Civil War and soldiers had a code of honor against shooting at someone who was pooping.

13. When Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, commander of the all-black 54th Regiment during the American Civil War, died at Fort Wagner, he was stripped and buried with his men as an insult. His father, however, proclaimed that he was proud to know that he rests with his brave and devoted soldiers.

14. During the Civil War, JP Morgan founder bought five thousand rifles for $3.50 each from an army arsenal and sold them to a general in the field for $22 each. The rifles were defective and would shoot off the thumbs of the soldiers using them

15. In the wake of the Civil War, some Confederate sympathizers fled from the United States and founded colonies in Mexico and South America. Several thousand Southerners chose to settle in Brazil, where they established small villages with names like “Americana” and “New Texas.”

16Snowball fights

During the American Civil War, armies would have snowball fights with as many as 10000 people

17. The Gatling gun was invented by a doctor (Richard Jordan Gatling), who noticed that the majority of soldiers died in the civil war due to diseases and not gunshot wounds

18. During the civil war, the Union counterfeited Confederate currency and deliberately gave it away in the South to cause massive inflation

19. The Civil War prison camp Elmira had two observation towers constructed for onlookers. Citizens paid 15 cents to look at the inmates. Concession stands by the towers sold peanuts, cakes, and lemonade while the men inside starved

20. A 9-year-old boy named John Clemm ran away from home to fight in the Civil War. The army adopted him as their drummer boy, being too young to be a soldier. At age 11, he became the youngest noncommissioned officer in Army history, and decades later he retired as the last veteran of the civil war on active duty.

21Wilmer McLean

The first battle of the Civil War took place on the farm of a man named Wilmer McLean. He moved to get away from the violence, but 4 years later Lee would surrender to Grant in Wilmer’s new house. He quoted, "The war began in my front yard and ended in my front parlor."

22. Nathaniel Bedford Forrest, the civil war general involved in the early Ku Klux Klan, had a total of 29 horses shot out from under him during the war. He himself was shot four times, and he defeated over 30 Union soldiers in hand-to-hand combat.

23. The first African-American to receive the Medal of Honor in the Civil War was Sgt. William Harvey Carney who, despite being shot in the face, shoulders, arms, and legs, refused to let the American flag touch the ground.

24. There were 8 African-American men from Southern states elected to Congress in 1870, just five years after the Civil War. Another black man wouldn't be elected from a Southern state for the next 72 years.

25. W.V Meadows was shot in the eye at the battle of Vicksburg during the American Civil War. He survived, and 58 years later coughed the bullet out of his mouth.

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4 COMMENTS

    • I don’t know what the problem is, everything seems alright to me. There don’t seem to be any fact repeated. I think they have corrected it.

  1. Re: #31. Eddie Slovik was the uncle of a friend of mine. It was a real horrible tragedy for the family. Killing someone just to make an example, just doesn’t sit right with me. I still hold a grudge against the U.S. army for this act.

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