25 Interesting Facts About The American Civil War

The American Civil War was a major conflict during the 19th century between the United States of America and the Confederate States that seceded from the Union shortly before the outbreak of war. In this article, you can find out 25 interesting facts about the Civil War that you may not have known.

1. South Carolina was the first state to secede from the United States, doing so on August 20th, 1860
2. About 3.2 million men (10% of the population) enlisted to fight in the US Civil War between 1861 and 1865
3. Brothers Thomas Leonidas Crittenden and George Bibb Crittenden were both Generals during the US Civil War but on opposing sides. George was a Confederate Army Major General and Thomas Leonidas was a Union Army Major General
Brothers Confederate Major General George Bibb Crittenden and Union Major General Thomas Leonidas Crittenden
George Bibb Crittenden (left) and Thomas Leonidas Crittenden (right)
Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
4. Virginia was the state that had more significant battles than any other (123)
5. The largest battle of the American Civil War was the Battle of Fredericksburg with 201,000 soldiers fighting
6. An estimated 620,000 soldiers died during the American Civil War
7. The oldest soldier to enlist during the American Civil War was Curtis King, who was 80 when he joined the Union Army on November 9th, 1862
8. 7 US Presidents were veterans of the American Civil War

These are:

  • Andrew Johnson
  • Ulysses S. Grant
  • Rutherford B. Hayes
  • James A. Garfield
  • Chester A. Arthur
  • Benjamin Harrison
  • William McKinley
9. The tallest soldier of the Civil War was Confederate Captain Martin Van Buren Bates who was 7ft 9in (2.36m) tall
Martin Van Buren Bates - The Kentucky Giant in circa 1871
Martin Van Buren Bates, circa 1871.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
10. The term “Galvanized Yankees” was used during the American Civil War to describe Confederate prisoners of war that would swear allegiance to the United States and join the Union Army
11. The highest-ranking military officer to be killed during the Civil War was Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston, who died on April 6th, 1862 during the Battle of Shiloh
12. Of the 3,535 Medal of Honors awarded, 1,523 were given out during the U.S. Civil War
13. By the end of the Civil War, 10% of the Union Army was African-American men despite making up less than 1% of the Northern population
The men in this picture are from Company E, 4th United States Colored Infantry. Theirs was one of the detachments assigned to guard the nation's capital during the American Civil War, 1864
African-American soldiers of Company E, 4th United States Colored Infantry Regiment at Fort Lincoln, circa 1864.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
14. Around two-thirds of military deaths during the American Civil War were from disease
15. The Confederate States had 3 different capital cities during the US Civil War. The first was Montgomery, Alabama, then Richmond, Virginia, and finally Danville, Virginia
16. The Union and the Confederacy used hot air balloons for aerial reconnaissance during the US Civil War
17. The average age of a Union Army soldier was 25.8 years old
Unidentified young soldier in Union uniform with bayoneted musket next to a rifle stack. photographed during the American Civil War
Union Army soldier, 1861-1865.
Credit: Library of Congress // Public Domain
18. The Battle of Gettysburg was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, with an estimated 51,000 casualties
19. Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address was just 271 words long
20. The bloodiest day of the U.S. Civil War was September 17th, 1862 when both sides received a total of 22,700 casualties during the Battle of Antietam
21. Private John J. Williams is widely recognized as the last person to be killed during the US Civil War. He was killed at the Battle of Palmito Ranch near Brownsville, Texas on May 13th, 1865.
Portrait of John J Williams, the last person to be killed during the American Civil War
Private John J. Williams, circa 1865.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
22. The American Civil War was the first time a submarine was successfully used to sink an enemy ship, when on February 17th, 1864, Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley sank the USS Housatonic
23. Brigadier-General Stand Watie was the last Confederate States Army general to surrender, doing so on June 23rd, 1865
24. Albert Woolson was the last known veteran of the American Civil War, dying at the age of 106 on August 2nd, 1956
25. Despite fighting ending in May 1865, legally the American Civil War did not end until August 20th, 1866 with a proclamation from President Andrew Johnson

RELATED ARTICLE: American Civil War True or False Quiz


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