Homepage of Company H, 4th Texas Infantry

These little bits of trivia are taken from various sources, most notably the Ken Burns' PBS Civil War mini-series.  Some you have probably heard of or read somewhere, and some you may not have known about.  I may add more as I think of them.

-The little town of Winchester, Virginia, changed hands 72 times during the Civil War

-A Kentucky senator could be proud of two sons who made general- one for the North, and one for the South

-The 14th Tennessee Infantry started out in May of 1861 with 960 men on its muster roll.  By the first day of Gettysburg there were 365 left.  By the third day of Gettysburg they were down to 60 men left.  By the end of the battle there were only 3.

-In 1863 a Confederate officer instrumental in repelling a Union naval flotilla off of Galveston, Texas, boarded the lead Union ship.  There he found his son, a Union naval lieutenant, dying on the deck. 

-The state of Missouri had 43 regiments at the Siege of Vicksburg- 24 in the Union Army, and 19 in the Confederate Army.

-The 1st Texas Infantry suffered 82.7 percent casualties during the Battle of Sharpsburg, one of the highest casualty rates suffered by a Confederate regiment during the entire war.

-At the Battle of Frederickburg the Union's Irish Brigade charged the stone wall there.  The Confederate soldiers of the 24th Georgia who shot them down were Irish too.

-Confederate General Jeb Stuart's father-in-law was a Union officer pursuing him during a raid.  When Stuart learned that his father-in-law was chasing him, he said that his father-in-law "will regret it but once.  And that will be continuously."

-At the Battle of Cold Harbor 7,000 Union soldiers fell in 20 minutes

-During the spring of 1865 Robert E. Lee was called upon by several subordinates to consider surrendering his battered army to Ulysses S. Grant.  Lee asked what the country would think of him if he did so.  One of his subordinates said, "Damn the country!  There IS no country!  There has been no country for a year or so!  YOU are the country to these men!"

-Union General Ulysses S. Grant could only recognize two tunes.  "One was 'Yankee Doodle'," he said, "and the other wasn't."

-Upon hearing a messenger spreading the word of Lee's surrender in April of 1865, one Union soldier in a western Union army told the messenger, " You're the sonofabitch we've been looking for all these four years!"

-At Appomattox some surrendering Confederate soldiers broke their rifles and swords against trees rather than surrendering them to the Union Army.  Some even tore apart their battleflags and distributed the pieces among themselves, rather than surrender their flags to the Union Army.

-1 out of 4 Southern men of military age had died during the Civil War

-In 1866, one-fifth of the entire state budget of Mississippi was spent on artificial limbs.

-The city of Vicksburg, Mississippi did not celebrate the 4th of July for 86 years after the war.

-At the start of the Civil War, a young officer was marching his men when he came to a wooden fence that was in his way.  Not knowing the command to march his men around the fence, he ordered his men to break ranks and "reform on the other side of the fence."  ( It's interesting to note that I have actually heard a story that it was actually Abraham Lincoln who did this when he was a captain of volunteers during the Black Hawk War.  I'm sure it also happened during the Civil War.)

-When South Carolina voted to secede in December 1860, one Southern politician said that "South Carolina is too small for a republic, and too large for an insane asylum."

-Before the Civil War began, a congressman from Alabama volunteered to use his handkerchief to wipe up all the blood that would be spilled in the war, not realizing that the war would last four years instead of three months, as it was originally thought by both sides.

-When a Union Army was defeated in 1862 and the defeated Union soldiers were retreating, a Union general tried to rally his men.  He asked them,"Stop!  Don't you love your country?"  One soldier running away answered,"Yes, by God.  And I'm trying to get back to it as fast as I can."

-After the Battle of Cold Harbor in June 1864, when learning of another assault that was planned on the Confederate lines, one New Hampshire captain said, "I will not lead my men in another such charge, even if Jesus Christ himself should order it."

 -In 1862 after the Seven Days’ Battles were over and George McClellan retreated to the protection of gunboats at Harrison’s Landing, he told Lincoln that he had “not lost the battle, but merely failed to win.”

-Between 620,000 to 700,000 men died in the Civil War.  That was 2% of the population at the time.

-The Civil War was known by many names: The War Between the States, the War Against the States, The War of Northern Aggression, the War of Secession, the War for Southern Independence, the Second American Revolution, the Late Unpleasantness.  

-Disease was the chief killer of the war, taking two for every one man killed in battle.

-Confederate General George Pickett, famous for Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg, attended from 1842 to 1846.  His appointment to West Point was procured for him by none other than Abraham Lincoln, an Illinois lawyer and politician at the time.  All during the Civil War, Pickett refused to let anyone talk ill of Lincoln in his presence, as Lincoln was the one who got Pickett into West Point.

-Union and Confederate soldiers fraternized with each other in between battles and partied together between the lines, most of the time without their officers knowing about it.  They left behind all their prejudices and hate for a few hours of camaraderie and friendship.  They would trade Yankee coffee for Virginia tobacco, and share bottles of alcohol together.  After a few hours of this they would all return to their own lines, ready to kill each other the next day.

-Of the 15,000 Confederate soldiers in the three divisions that went against the Union Army in Pickett’s Charge on the third day of Gettysburg, 7,000 were killed, wounded, missing, and captured.  The losses in Pickett’s division alone were staggering.  All 15 of Pickett’s regimental commanders were hit.  16 of 17 field officers in Pickett’s division were also down.  So were 8 of his colonels.  Pickett’s three brigadier generals- Richard Garnett, James Kemper, and Lewis Armistead- were also down.  Armistead was mortally wounded and captured, Kemper was badly wounded and brought back to Confederate lines by his own men, and Garnett’s body was never found; only the broken hilt of his sword.  When General Lee told Pickett to rally his division, Pickett, tears streaming down his face, replied, “General Lee, I have no division.”  Years after the war Pickett blamed Lee for the destruction of his division, saying, “That old man had my division slaughtered.”

-It is estimated that between 50,000 to 100,000 black soldiers fought in the Confederate armies.  They were never sanctioned by the Confederate government; this was on a state-by-state basis in the South.  Louisiana seems to have been the state that many of these Black Confederates came from.  They enlisted for the same reason as white soldiers: the defense of their homes against an invading army, and loyalty to their states.  Most of them were freed blacks; some were slaves and servants who followed their masters into battle.  Some did die in battle.  Most of these Black Confederates donned gray uniforms and carried rifles, and served in the same units as white troops. 

-At the Union’s prisoner of war camp in Illinois, called Camp Douglas, there was silent unofficial order that any black man wearing a Confederate uniform who entered the camp as a prisoner was to be shot on sight.  Why such an unofficial order was issued when one of the latter war aims was to end slavery, no one knows.  Perhaps the prison guards saw these black men, who they were trying to make free men in the latter part of the war, who were wearing Confederate uniforms, as committing treason. 

-Three of Abraham Lincoln’s brothers-in-law were Confederate soldiers.  Mary Todd Lincoln herself owned slaves while living in the White House.

-Some Confederate units at the end of the Civil War had no survivors.  Company F of the 4th Virginia Infantry, of the Stonewall Brigade, was one of them.  Every single soldier in that company had been killed or wounded before Lee surrendered in April 1865.  Company B of the 1st Texas Infantry, of Hood’s Texas Brigade, also had no survivors by April 1865.  Company F of the 6th North Carolina Infantry took 100% casualties at Gettysburg, as did the University Greys, Company A of the 11th Mississippi Infantry.

-Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia on April 9, 1865.  The official surrender came on April 12, where the Confederate Army would surrender their weapons and battleflags.  After the Confederate Army ceremoniously surrendered their arms, the Union Army broke ranks and filtered into the Confederate Army, praising the soldiers who fought against them.  They shared food with the hungry Confederates, and the soldiers then partied together to celebrate the end of the war.

-Clara Barton, a famous Civil War nurse and founder of the Red Cross, worked in a field hospital at Antietam that was so close to the fighting that a stray bullet passed through her dress and killed the wounded soldier she was attending.

-There were many causes of deaths in the Civil War.  If a soldier died from a cause that the doctors could not identify, they said that the soldier died from “consumption.”  Some soldiers’ deaths were listed as “nostalgia.”