The War Of The Civil War

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Over the course of the Civil War, approximately three million men (and a handful of women disguised as men) served in the armed forces. By comparison, before the war, the U.S. Army consisted of only about 16,000 soldiers. The mobilization that took place over the four years of the war touched almost every extended family North and South and affected the far reaches of the country that had split in two. By war’s end, approximately 620,000 men had died, an estimate that is currently undergoing scrutiny as historians question whether it is too low. As it is, this figure translates to a rate of death six times that experienced by Americans during World War II. The horrific, and largely unanticipated, number of casualties suffered by Northern and Southern soldiers during the Civil War devastated people throughout the country and influenced public life for years to come. Most Civil War soldiers volunteered to fight, although some signed on as conscripts (the Confederacy began to draft men in April 1862; the Union in March 1863). North and South, men joined companies formed in their communities. Within their companies, they served beside relatives, friends, and neighbors. Within their regiments, which were formed from ten companies, soldiers served with men from their state. Despite these ties, desertion was an ongoing problem for both sides (about 200,000 Union men and about 100,000 Confederates abandoned their posts), though it had a greater effect on the smaller Confederate

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