Ten Interesting Facts…The American Civil War

Ten Interesting Facts

Studying the American Civil War can be fascinating. Read these ten interesting facts. Below you will find links to a printable version. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find a staggered flip chart organizer and timeline to use during your study of the Civil War. 

Get the handouts for this post including the timeline foldable organizer in printable format.

1. Lincoln’s Hat Shot

In August 1863 while Abraham Lincoln was heading home from the White House, someone took a shot at him. The bullet went through his hat. Lincoln asked the guards to keep the incident quiet because he did not want to worry his wife.

2. Fort Sumter

The first confrontation of the Civil War took place on April 12, 1861, when Confederate troops attacked Fort Sumter beginning the war. The war ended on April 9, 1865, when Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House. The beginning and end dates were used in creating the title of the Civil War novel Across Five Aprils.

3. Deaths

Approximately 625,000 men died in the Civil War. This is more than any other American War.

Major U.S. War U.S. Deaths Date
American Revolutionary War 25,000 1775 – 1783
Civil War 625,000 1861 – 1865
World War I 116,516 1917 – 1918
World War II 405,399 1941 – 1945
Korean War 36,516 1950 – 1953
Vietnam War 58,209 1955 – 1975
Gulf War 258 1990 – 1991
Afghanistan War 2,229 2001 – Present
Iraqi War 4,800 2003 – 2011

Get the handouts for this post including the timeline foldable organizer in printable format.

4. Size of the Armies

The Union Army had 2,100,000 soldiers. This was almost twice the size of the Confederate Army of 1,064,000.

5. Number of Slaves

Of the 9 million people living in the Southern States, 3.4 million were slaves. Two states actually had more slaves than free people: Mississippi and South Carolina. These slaves were worth more than 2 billion dollars.

6. Uniforms

During the first few battles of the Civil War, soldiers did not have regular uniforms. This made knowing who was the enemy difficult.

7. Disease

More men died from disease than in the actual fighting.


Top Ten Causes of Military Deaths

Cause Confederacy Union
1. Killed in action 54,000 67,000
2. Dysentery/Diarrhea 50,000 45,000
3. Wounds 40,000 43,700
4. Typhoid 30,000 34,800
5. Prison 26,100 31,200
6. Pneumonia 17,000 20,000
7. Malaria 20,000 10,000
8. Smallpox 8,000 7,000
9. Tuberculosis 7,000 7,000
10. Measles 6,000 5,2000


8. Worst Battles

The bloodiest day in U.S. military history took place at Antietam on September 17, 1862, when more than 5,000 soldiers died.

Top Bloodiest American Civil War Battles

Battle / Date / Place Commanders Forces Engaged Winner Casualties
July 1-3, 1863
Robert E. Lee (S)
George G. Meade (N)
75,000 (S) 82,289 (N) North North: 23,049
South: 28,063
Total: 51,112
Sept. 19-20, 1863
Braxton Bragg (S)
William S. Rosecrans (N)
66,326 (S) 58,222 (N) South North: 16,170
South: 18,454
Total: 34,624
May 1-4,1863
Robert E. Lee (S)
Joseph Hooker (N)
60,892 (S) 133,868 (N) South North: 17,278
South: 12,821
Total: 30,099
May 8-19
Robert E. Lee (S)
Ulysses S. Grant (N)
50,000 (S) 83,000 (N) South North: 18,300
South: 9,000
Total: 27,399
Antietam (Sharpsburg)
Sept. 17, 1862
Robert E. Lee (S)
George B. McClellan (N)
51,844 (S) 75,316 (N) Draw North: 12,410
South: 13,724
Total: 26,134
May 5-7, 1864
Robert E. Lee (S)
Ulysses S. Grant (N)
61,025 (S) 101,895 (N) Draw North: 17,666

9. Age of the Soldiers

The average Civil War soldier was 23 years old. He averaged 5’8” tall and weighed about 143 pounds.

10. Slaves Escaping

Before the Civil War, approximately 5,000 slaves tried to escape each year. Once the Civil War began, about 5,000 slaves tried to escape each month.

Ten Interesting Facts for Kids about the American Civil War

Ten Interesting Facts for Kids about the Civil War

All 3 handouts for this post have been merged into one for your convenience. All 3 links go to the same pdf. This handout includes the following:

Ten Interesting Facts . . . The American Civil War

Free Printable American Civil War Timeline Organizer

Civil War Timeline

Free Staggered Flip Timeline the Civil War With Answer Key
Free Staggered Flip Timeline the Civil War With Answer Key

Want to learn more?

Check out Famous People Interviews. This post goes over a class project in which students dressed up as famous people and were interviewed as if they were these people by classmates. This great project helped students learn details about historical people our teaching standards required the students to learn.  A timeline template is provided with this post. A sample completed timeline is provided for Abraham Lincoln.

You might also be interested in I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863

Permanent link to this article: https://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=158


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    • Heather on October 7, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Hi Ms. Miller,

    I would like to start by telling you how much I absolutely love using your novel studies to teach my 5th grade class. We just finished Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and are getting ready to start City of Ember. I recommend you to all of my colleagues as well and my principal is amazed by your work! I was wondering if you have any plans of doing any historical based novel studies. There is a really great book called Jeffersons Sons that I would love to teach to tie in the social studies curriculum but I can not find a unit on it anywhere and quite honestly at this point in my career and life I am not comfortable creating my own. Any chance you could help me out?

    • Olivia on November 27, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Thank you so much! This Civil War Organizer is a life saver, and you are a saint to provide it for free.

    • Charlotte Bock on January 9, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    I would love a copy of your Civil War foldable for my 5th grade class.
    Thank you,

    1. Just click on the image of the foldable organizer and it will download.

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