Thursday, July 08, 2010

We've all seen the stats.

Time and again you come across them. And yet, every time you take a moment to consider them thoughtfully, they seem even more remarkable.

At least 620,000 soldiers lost their lives in the war, 2 percent of the American population in 1861. If the same percentage of Americans were to be killed in a war fought today, the number of American war dead would exceed 6 million. The number of casualties suffered in a single day at the battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, was four times the number of Americans killed and wounded at the Normandy beaches on D day, June 6, 1944. More Americans were killed in action that September day near Sharpsburg, Maryland, than died in combat in all the other wars fought by the United States in the 19th century combined.

[from the article "Out of War, A New Nation," by James McPherson. Caption for photo above: "an 1870 engraving of the Battle of Gettysburg, possibly Pickett's charge. (Library of Congress)" Prologue magazine, Spring 2010]


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Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post; I've just come across your blog and look forward to reading more.

The stat of six million dead from projecting the total number of American dead is sobering, especially if you consider that we're talking about six million men.

The result probably would be something akin to what Germany, France, or Great Britain (not to mention the USSR) from World Wars One and Two. Look what happened to the population statistics of those countries decades after those wars - negative population growth. Chilling to imagine that here in the US.