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Friday
Dec202013

Mortality in the South during the Civil War

Here's an interesting read: 

http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/national_cemeteries/death.html

 

"In such circumstances, tens of thousands of soldiers died unknown, and tens of thousands of families were left without any consoling knowledge of their loved ones’ fates, circumstances of death, or place of burial.  At least half of the Civil War dead were never identified.  As the war continued, these realities became increasingly intolerable, and Americans worked in both official and informal ways to combat such dehumanization and loss.  Soldiers endeavored to locate, inter, and honor slain comrades; merchants created and marketed identity disks for soldiers; the men themselves pinned their scribbled names to their uniforms before especially dangerous encounters.  Voluntary organizations like the U.S. Sanitary Commission emerged and devoted their energies to compiling lists of killed and wounded from hundreds of Union hospitals, creating records of battlefield burials, and offering aid to families in locating the lost and, for those with means, shipping embalmed bodies home.  Families swarmed to battle sites in the aftermath of engagements to search for dead or wounded relatives, actively seeking information otherwise unavailable to them, hoping to fill what one northern observer called the “dread void of uncertainty.”


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