The Civil War marked an inflection point in U.S. history like no other. Fought less than a century after the country won independence from Great Britain, the war pitted free, federalist states in the North against anti-federalist, slave states in the South – with nothing less than the preservation of the Union at stake.
The only conflict in U.S. history that did not involve any foreign military powers, the states and territories of the divided country raised massive armies to support their respective causes. And virtually every American had friends, relatives, or neighbors who had joined the fight.
All told, as many as 3.9 million enlisted during the war, according to the National Park Service. Against a population base of 31.4 million in 1861, the year the war started, more than one in every 10 Americans fought in the Civil War.
Using data from A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion by Civil War statistician Frederick H. Dyer, first published in 1908, as well as The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Database maintained by the National Park Service, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states where the most Americans enlisted during the Civil War. In our analysis, we also included Western territories that were not yet states and Washington, D.C.
Throughout the war, the secessionist Confederate states in the South were outgunned and outmanned by the pro-Union states and territories in the Northeast, Midwest, and West Coast. With a larger population that covered a larger expanse of the country, Union enlistment totalled about 2.7 million. Meanwhile, estimates of Confederate enlistment range from 750,000 to 1.2 million. Four of the five states that enlisted the most troops during the conflict were on the side of the Union. (Here is a look at the cities and towns destroyed during the Civil War.)
Though the Union ultimately prevailed following Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Courthouse in April 1865, Northern states suffered greater casualties than the South over the course of the war. An estimated 642,000 Union troops were killed, compared to 483,000 confederate soldiers. It is important to note, however, that the higher Northern casualties are largely due to the Union’s larger fighting force, and that as a proportion of all troops, more Southerners died than Northerners. (Here is a look at the most violent Civil War battles.)
Click here to see the states that sent the most troops to the civil war.
Click here to see our detailed methodology.
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