Monday, March 28, 2011

Civil War Death Counts Revisited

I stumbled across this just now and found it interesting. A couple of researchers are "recounting" deaths from the Civil War. If their current research holds up in appears Virginia will now have the most losses in the Confederacy. Currently accepted numbers show North Carolina having the most deaths in the Confederacy with over 40,000.

Read the full article here.

So what do you think? Is this really much ado about nothing? I know states take/took pride in the number of soldiers sent off to battle but are these recounts really needed and do they prove anything? Well, yes and no in my opinion. As historians it is only proper that the most accurate and honest information be provided to readers. In that regard YES these counts are important and maybe other states will have their numbers evaluated. There is no doubt more to be learned here. However, in the same vein that makes us question original government counts should we not have the same skepticism over modern counts? We all resources consulted? How accurate and complete are these sources? Are the same methods being used by historian A as by historian B? If not does this sku their findings? Finally though, can we ever really know a true number? Of course not. In that regard maybe it is best to just let sleeping soldiers lie.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like another argument between Virginia and North Carolina brewing. The two states argue over how many served during the war, how many died during the war, and who got the farthest at Gettysburg. Why can't each state be happy with the role they played?