Approximately 620,000 Americans died in the Civil War, including battle deaths and deaths from disease. About 360,000 were Union troops, and about 250,000 were Confederate troops. The Battle of Gettysburg was by far the bloodiest battle of the Civil War with about 50,000 casualties in three days compared to the second-bloodiest battle, the Battle of Chickamauga, which had 34,000 casualties in two days.
Animals such as horses and mules also suffered during the war. More than one million were killed in the war. At the Battle of Gettysburg, about 1,500 horses and mules died.
Battlefield conditions were horrible for soldiers and animals. Artillery would bombard the opposing lines prior to an attack. During an attack, soldiers often would be ordered to assault the enemy by marching straight at them. The rifles used during the Civil War could only be shot once before being reloaded with gunpowder and bullets. Soldiers often had to rely on their bayonets during a battle.
How does war impact a society?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and evaluate the impact of this event on the local community and the soldiers involved.