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Civil War Little Known Facts


I admit, I took these all from a site called Civil War Fun Facts where they readily admit:

We realize that there was very little, if anything, fun about the Civil War. Many men were permantly disabled, and worse, many died. We have tried to find bits of information that don’t always reflect the trauma of the war, and show a lighter side. To be true to the war, and to show some of the drama, however, we have included some of the bad to horrible facts. We are not trying to make light of these facts, but are trying to show the many aspects of the Civil War.

I tried for some of the more esoteric.

  • At the start of the war, Grant was 39 years old, and Lee was 54.
  • By the end of the war the US Navy sunk 1504 blockade runners.
  • “Sherman’s Neckties” was the name given to railroad rails that were heated over a fire, and bent around a tree. This made them unusable by the Confederates.
  • Possibly the longest pontoon bridge in history was built across the James River during the siege of Petersburg.
  • When treating a patient, Clara Barton had a bullet pass through her sleeve, hit and kill her patient. She later was founder of the Red Cross.
  • Despite his reputation of destruction in his march to the sea, at the end of the war Union Gen William Sherman, was the most lenient of generals offering terms of surrender.
  • 52,000 of the 292,000 men drafted in the August 1863 draft avoided military service by paying a $300 commutation fee. (See here, here, and here)
  • Gen George B McClellan took a portable printing press into the field to print orders.
  • Robert E Lee was opposed to slavery
  • Gen Lee’s wife was a descendent of George Washington. One of Lee’s first staff officers, John A Washington, was a nephew of George Washington.
  • Conf General James Longstreet wore slippers at the battle of Sharpsburg (cause hey, why not?)
  • Confederate General James Longstreet was a supporter of U S Grant for president
  • Thirteen Union officers received the Thanks of Congress award. At the time this was greater than the Medal of Honor
  • At the start of the war field nurses were not admitted into traditional society. Many were not only nurses, but prostitutes.
  • At Spotsylvania, Robert E lee’s horse, Traveller, was spooked and reared up just in time for a canon ball to pass under him. Traveller was usually calm in battle.
  • Arthur McArthur, an 18 year old soldier, fought at Missionary Ridge. He was the father of General Douglas MacArthur.
  • Conf General James Longstreet was the US Army paymaster prior to the war.
  • President Lincoln was willing to promote young officers to positions of importance. Winning battles was more important to him than seniority. President Davis was just the opposite.
  • At Gettysburg, Gen Abner Doubleday positioned him men on Cemetery Ridge, so named because of a cemetery. A sign on the entrance warned that anyone using a gun on the grounds would be prosecuted.A typical 100 man company had one surgeon and two assistantsThe company band would remove wounded for the battlefield. This was not adequate and many wounded stayed on the field and bled to death. Many could have been saved.
  • The average soldier weighed 145 pounds. This low weight was caused by poor diet, long marches, disease, and tough living.
  • Nathan Bedford Forest was the only soldier in the war to enter as a private and end as a Lt Col.
  • It was not until February 19, 1911 that President William Howard Taft signed a bill to erect a memorial to Abraham Lincoln – The Lincoln Memorial.By the end of the war, one fourth of the draft age men of the south were deadIllinois was an important supply center for the Western CampaignMore than 250,000 Illinois men served in the Union Army. Illinois was on of the few states to exceed their quotaA relative of Robert E Lee, Samuel Phillips, served in the Union Navy – both on blockade duty and on the USS Mississippi. He became a rear admiral

    At the ;start of the war the largest artillery pieces shot 6 lb canon balls. This rapidly increase to 10 lb and up to200 lb from mortars

    Seven brothers and brothers-in-law of Mary Todd Lincoln were confederate soldiers

    West Point graduate, Brig Gen Hylan Benton Lyon, Served in the Confederate artillery, the infantry, and the cavalry.

    On March19, 1862, the Monitor and the Merrimac battled to a draw at Hampton Roads. The Union has previously burned and sunk the Merrimac when the South overpowered the Norfolk shipyards. This was to keep it out of the Confederate hands. The South salvaged it and turned it into an ironclad, which they renamed the Virginia

    Stonewall Jackson would not start a fight that might carry over to a Sunday if he could help it.

    After the war Gen Charles W Field of Kentucky, held the position of Inspector General for the Egyptian Army, and door keeper of the US House of Representatives.



  1. Denise Eagan says:

    Wow, I didn’t know any of that. Thanks Isabel!

  2. […] Civil War Little Known Facts « Slip Into Something Victorian The South salvaged it and turned it into an ironclad, which they renamed the Virginia. Stonewall Jackson would not start a fight that might carry over to a Sunday if he could help it. After the war Gen Charles W Field of […]

  3. Loved these tidbits.

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