Unparalleled Casualties – The Cost of Valor

Posted: April 24, 2014 in Civil War
Tags: , , , , ,


Soldiers of the 2nd Wisconsin Infantry Regiment

According to “Wisconsin losses in the Civil War” compiled by Charles Edward Estabrook, 1915, 275 of the 1203 soldiers of the 2nd Wisconsin Regiment died while serving. 105 were killed in action; 62 died of wounds; 62 died from disease. One died in a fall less than a month before Gettysburg. Other sources differ slightly, but most are comparable. Wikipedia says the regiment saw 315 total deaths.

These numbers do not include those who were wounded and survived. They also don’t show those that were wounded multiple times, perhaps as many as three or four, before finally succumbing or being no longer fit for duty and sent home.

In a war that saw one soldier in ten killed in action and one soldier in three die of disease, the 2nd Wisconsin Regiment suffered 3.4 soldiers killed for every one that died of disease. It was through their blood that they forged their iron.

Included among the deaths from disease is John A Thompson, who is listed in the roster as being simply from “Wisconsin.” Thompson was murdered sometime in March of 1864. If anyone has more information on that story, please share!

  1. Tom Schultz says:

    The most remarkable thing to me is that for the first years of the war this was a volunteer army of ordinary citizens sustaining these casualties. Then, when their enlistments ran out in 1864, a large part of the Army of the Potomac re-enlisted. Truly, the last full measure of devotion.

  2. swamiyesudas says:

    A few men make decisions, then goad others with words like ‘Patriotism’ and ‘Duty’ and such. And People Die. Unnecessarily. …Thanks for posting this. Here’s wishing for a Time when there would be No Wars.

  3. Anna says:

    Thank you for sharing this information. It is truly amazing how many re-enlisted after seeing all of the horrors of war.

  4. Your writing is intensifying and keeps ones boots dug into the earth –
    War in and of itself is horrifying – the Civil War – put an intimate face on the enemy and it was their brother…
    all the research you’re doing must be fascinating…

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