People Tend to Die In Wars – Respecting the fallen soldiers of the Civil War

In this day and age, where America seems to constantly be in war for some vague reason that a vast majority of American citizens barely know about, it’s easy to forget that a lot of people die in wars. In the grand scheme of things, whether it be the acquisition of precious oil, the destruction of Socialism, or good ol’ American global dominance, the deaths of many of our soldiers in the armed forces are often overshadowed.

When we study history, specifically wars, we look at numbers and dates and we only see them as statistics that may be useful in the upcoming unit exam. That’s a mindset that’s hard to shrug off, especially if you’re in an AP history course.

So let’s talk about the Civil War and how a lot of people died in it. Even if we may never know each soldier’s names, by trying to remember them, we respect their worth as human beings.

The devastation at Gettysburg

Personally, I was surprised to find out that the Civil War is the bloodiest American conflict ever with approximately 620,000 military casualties. In perspective, World War II, which is the second bloodiest, had around 405,399 casualties. Research on the Civil War trust website tells me that “approximately one in four soldiers that went to war never returned home.” That’s a really powerful statement. It really drives home just how many men died for a cause that they would never see come to fruition (or failure, depending on your side).

Something we must keep in mind is that both the Union and the Confederate soldiers must be honored. We vilify the Confederate cause so much today, but that does not mean the Confederate soldiers are any less of human beings than the Union soldiers. The Confederate forces were absolutely destroyed at the Battle of Gettysburg, and while we hail the Battle of Gettysburg as perhaps the final battle that clinched the Union’s victory of the war, we must honor the deaths of both the Union and the Confederate soldiers.

If we can remember our troops, no matter “good” or “evil,” that died back then in the Civil War, then I think that’s a good step in remembering those who die today in warfare, “good” or “evil.” Because I believe, in the grand scheme of things, that everybody deserves to be remembered.

Sources

Image: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/ppmsc.00168/

Civil War Trust, . “Civil War Casualties.” Civil War Trust. N.p.. Web. 19 Dec 2013. <http://www.civilwar.org/education/civil-war-casualties.html&gt;.

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8 thoughts on “People Tend to Die In Wars – Respecting the fallen soldiers of the Civil War

  1. The cost of war is unfathomable as so many soldiers die in battle. It’s heart breaking to think that high ranking officials and officers never even set foot on the battlefield, while so many young soldiers are seen as expenditures of war and forgotten. Great post.

  2. After reading this post, I was able to connect to each point not only on an intellectual level, but on an emotional level as well. This definitely helped to shed some light on the true colors and detriments of warfare that too many people have yet to realize. My mind really opened up to a bigger and more genuine picture depicting the truth in the Civil War. Awesome job.

  3. Though a bit dark, I found this post pretty interesting. I can definitely agree that as APUSH kids, we’re pretty disconnected from the true meaning behind big death counts — believing they are just another statistic. The comparison you drew between the Civil War and WWII also surprised me, as I was sure that WWII had been the worse war. More reason to feel thankful to those who wanted to keep the country unified I suppose.

  4. After reading just a few of these posts, my mind will begin to wander and I’ll lose interest but when I read this post I really thought about what you said. I completely agree that both the supposed “good” and “evil” deserve respect for fighting for a cause, whatever it may be. In addition to this I found it very shocking that WWII had less american casualties that the Civil War, especially considering the technology that was present at both times. Overall really nice post!

  5. I agree that we must honor both the “good” and the “evil” soldiers, because even in that statement, we are looking at things from one perspective. Today it is implied that the Union soldiers were “good” and that they fought to preserve justice and freedom and equality which was their way of life, and the Confederate soldiers as the “evil” racist plantation owners who had to be brought down to save the US. While thinking this, I think that we forget that the Confederates thought the same exact thing about the North, and with just a little bit of perspective, I think that it is possible to respect all sides in history.

  6. This is a really good topic because like you said, we overlook the lives lost and just shrug it off after we pass our tests. To us it isn’t a big deal, it doesn’t affect us, but it affected everyone back then. The people who died, the people who were injured, the people who had to watch their friends and fellow soldiers die, and the loved ones back home who never saw them again. It is a really big deal and sometimes we don’t think about it and show those who fell enough respect.

  7. Like everyone, I have to say; this is a really good post. You really captured the readers emotionally and you are right; both the “good” and “evil” soldiers have to be remembered because even though some may not agree with the side they fought for, they still gave up their life for an important cause and that should be recognized.

  8. This is really thought provoking. I love how you said everyone should be remembered. I believe that at the end of the day, these people were fighting for their beliefs and values and the soldier death toll is not just a number. It’s people with lives, and families, and memories and that should be valued.

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