The Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 (oil on canvas) by Sebastian Mayer David - David Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Some Unusual Facts about the American Civil War

Some interesting and unusual facts about “The War of Rebellion” every history trivia buff should have in their arsenal

In the early spring of 1865, the Confederate armies in the South surrendered to the Union in the North and the resistance collapsed, bringing the four year bloodiest fight ever to take place on US soil, to an end. It was the American Civil War.

 

Union army supply base at Cumberland Landing on the Pamunkey River, in Virginia, 1862 (b/w photo) by James F. Gibson - Peter Newark Military Pictures
Union army supply base at Cumberland Landing on the Pamunkey River, in Virginia, 1862 (b/w photo) by James F. Gibson – Peter Newark Military Pictures

1. 2% of the U.S. population was killed in the Civil War, the average age of a soldier being only 23 years old.

Confederate "Duplin Grays", North Carolina, parade at Smithville, May, 1861 - Peter Newark Military Pictures
Confederate “Duplin Grays”, North Carolina, parade at Smithville, May, 1861 – Peter Newark Military Pictures

 

2. Memorial Day was initially known as Decoration Day, in which the surviving soldiers decorated graves on May 26, 1865 when the last Southern troops surrendered, and the ritual has been repeated annually since.

 

Arlington National Cemetary - Hoberman
Arlington National Cemetary – Hoberman

 

3. Three future US Presidents fought in the American Civil War: Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes  and William Mckinley.

 

Major General US Grant with Staff Camp; Line Officers by Henry Alexander Ogden  American Civil War /  Peter Newark Pictures
Major General US Grant with Staff Camp; Line Officers by Henry Alexander Ogden American Civil War / Peter Newark Pictures

 

4. There was a battle on every single day of the four years of the war, resulting in 10,455 military events.

 

Battle of the Wilderness, Attack at Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia, 1865 (oil on canvas) by Alonzo Chappel © Chicago History Museum
Battle of the Wilderness, Attack at Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia, 1865 (oil on canvas) by Alonzo Chappel © Chicago History Museum

 

5. The Civil War was the first time that the national draft was implemented in America.

 

 6. Over 1/ 3 of the Union Army soldiers were immigrants or slaves.

Black troops of the Union Army on picket duty in Virginia during the American Civil War 1864 / Peter Newark Military Pictures
Black troops of the Union Army on picket duty in Virginia during the American Civil War 1864 / Peter Newark Military Pictures

 

7. Arlington National Cemetery was originally Robert E. Lee’s estate.  It had been turned into a cemetery by the Union soldiers to remind him of the death and destruction he had caused.

 

Lee's Surrender at Appomattox Court House/ Tom Lovell / National Geographic Creative
Lee’s Surrender at Appomattox Court House/ Tom Lovell / National Geographic Creative

 

8. Before the start of the war in 1860, Mississippi and South Carolina had more slaves in their populations than free citizens.

 

Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 / Abraham Lincoln / Gilder Lehrman Collection
Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 / Abraham Lincoln / Gilder Lehrman Collection

 

9. The 13th Amendment is made up of 48 words, reflecting the fact that the Civil War lasted 48 months.

 

10. The youngest soldier to fight in the war was 9 years old, explaining why one of the war’s 25 nicknames was “The Boy’s War”.

 

Civil War, Young Soldiers From The Union Army / Omniphoto
Civil War, Young Soldiers From The Union Army / Omniphoto

 

11. Both the Union and the Confederate armies forbade women to enlist. However, many women did fight by disguising themselves and enlisting as men.

 

12. The Union and the Confederate armies both used hot air balloons during the Civil War.

 

Balloon near Gaines' Mill, Virginia, 1862
Balloon near Gaines’ Mill, Virginia, 1862

 

Find Out More

See artefacts, weapons and uniforms from the Civil War Archive, all available for licensing through Bridgeman Images.

Read more about The American Civil War on the Bridgeman Website.

All images in this article are sourced from bridgemanimages.com. Contact the Bridgeman sales team at nysales@bridgemanimages.com for more information regarding licensing, reproduction and copyright.

Save

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*