Introduction - Interesting Civil War FactsThe American Civil War is a subject that fascinates many people. It was a horrific war that often pitted brother against brother and often, due to outdated tactics, led to death on a scale that had not been seen before that time. On this page we list kid-friendly interesting and fun facts about the Civil War some of which are well known and other little known facts. In this category of this website, Civil War Facts, we supply information and random facts that do not fall into other categories such as major battles and generals.
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Interesting Civil War Facts
- More U.S. soldiers died in the American Civil War than in World War One, World War Two, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined.
- African America men were not permitted to join the Union Army until 1863; their inclusion greatly helped the North win the American Civil War. Twenty-five African American soldiers would be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their bravery.
- There was a high percentage of immigrants in the Union Army. Approximately one third of the Union Army were immigrants including Irish, German, Italian, Polish, and Scottish.
- One surprising fact about the American Civil War is that approximately two-thirds of the soldiers who died, died from disease not from gunshots or cannon fire as you might expect. The soldier's cramped camps made the perfect breeding ground for such diseases as chicken pox and the measles.
- Fought in July of 1863, the battle of Gettysburg is the largest battle in North American history.
- The bloodiest day in U.S. military history was September 17, 1862; the battle of Antietam.
- Doctors during the war were given the grim nickname "sawbones"; a name earned from the staggering amount of amputations they had to perform.
- Although it was an honor to be asked to carry your regiment's flag into battle it was also often a death sentence. American Civil War battlefields were filled with smoke from gunfire making it very hard to see; soldiers often shot towards the enemies flag which made for a clear indication of where the enemy was.
Civil War Fun Facts
- On March 25th of 1863 the first U.S. Medal of Honor was awarded to six Union soldiers involved in Andrew's Raid in April of 1862.
- The word sideburns originated with Union General Burnside who had very long sideburns.
- Although the official uniform of the Union army was blue and the Confederates gray soldiers often wore what was available. This often caused great confusion on the battlefield due to soldiers not knowing who was on their side.
- If drafted by the Union Army a man could pay a substitute to take his place. The future president Grover Cleveland and the famous financer J.P. Morgan are two men who paid for a substitute.
- The famous poet Walt Whitman served as nurse during the Civil War.
- After Robert E. Lee joined the Confederacy his 1,100-acre Virginia estate, called Arlington, was confiscated by the Union Army. The Union turned it into a cemetery which is now the famous military cemetery; Arlington National Cemetery.