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More demographic information is available for the Northern armies than for the Confederacy, which did not have the resources to keep accurate records on soldiers.

According to some historians, roughly one out of sixteen white males in the North between the ages of sixteen and forty-three lost his life during the war.

During the war years, death was a pervasive element of social life in both the northern and southern sections of the country.

Up until the war, Americans were quite familiar with the presence of death, intimate with its consequences in their own homes and local communities.

Infant mortality hovered around 200 per 1,000 live births, and roughly 10 percent of individuals between one year and twenty-one years died from a wide range of causes.

What counted as proper and appropriate action to usher the dead from the land of the living in an earlier time often proved impossible during the conflict, though in some cases efforts were made to treat the dead with a dignity that evoked prewar sensibilities.

In both the Union and Confederate armies, soldiers attempted to provide some kind of burial for fallen comrades who perished during a battle, even if this meant simply covering bodies with dirt, or placing the dead in common graves.

More threatening to American soldiers during the war than mortal wounds on the battlefield was the presence of disease and infection, which had the potential to seriously reduce the number of fighters on both sides.

Nearly twice as many men died as a result of poor health in camps and hospitals than from wounds inflicted during combat. Afflictions such as diarrhea, malaria, smallpox, typhoid fever, pneumonia, and measles wiped out large numbers of men on both sides of the conflict.

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