86 Brutal Facts About the American Civil War for History Fans

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1Diarrhea infection

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.


2. 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.


3. 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


4. 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.”


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


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6Gatling gun

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


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


8. 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


9. 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.


10. 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."


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11Nathaniel Bedford Forrest

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.


12. 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.


13. 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.


14. 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.


15. The Confederacy planned to conquer Latin America after a Southern victory in the Civil War.


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16Anesthetic

Despite popular belief, most Civil War amputations were performed with anesthetic.


17. During the American Civil War, Southern children were fed of excuses for why Santa would not be visiting them on Christmas. One of the excuses was that a Yankee had shot him.


18. There was a county in Tennessee that, during the Civil War, decided not to join the Confederacy. Instead, Scott County seceded and formed the Free State of Scott. It didn’t officially rejoin Tennessee until 1986.


19. Major General Peter Hains, a Union officer in the Civil War, Hains reenlisted 15 years after his retirement to become the only soldier to be on active duty in the American Civil War and World War 1


20. Over 20,000 Americans service members deserted during World War 2. Private Eddie Slovik was executed to serve an example to others, the only service member executed for desertion since the Civil War to this day.


21Lieutenant Dixon

A $20 dollar gold coin deflected a bullet that saved the life of Lt. George Dixon of Confederate Army during the Civil War. It forever became his lucky coin. The coin was found 137 years later in the sunken wreckage of the Confederate submarine, H.L. Hunley.


22. The last Union veteran of the American Civil War saw a military that fought with muskets and nuclear weapons.


23. During the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln passed a law allowing wealthy men pay $300 to avoid the draft. This led to New York City draft riots. It was the largest civil insurrection in American history, aside from the Civil War itself.


24. Civil War General Phillip H Sheridan took control of Yellowstone due to 4,000 acres being approved for development. His efforts were successful and Yellowstone was held under military occupation until the National Parks Department was founded in 1916.


25. In 1861, Robert Smalls, a slave took over on a confederate ship and delivered it to the Union. He later was given the ship to command during the Civil War. After the war he bought the house he was a slave in and became a US congressman.

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