To understand the impact of a recent study that suggests some 750,000 Americans perished during the War Between the States, rather than the 620,000 figure that’s been accepted for more than a century, consider this:
Given the current US population, the new figure would be the equivalent of 7.5 million dead today.
“The Civil War left a culture of death, a culture of mourning, beyond anything Americans had ever experienced or imagined,” David Blight, a Civil War historian at Yale University, told the BBC. “It left a degree of family and social devastation unprecedented for any Western society.”
Historian J. David Hacker of Binghamton University SUNY published a paper late last year in Civil War History revealing the new figure, based on demographic methods and sophisticated statistical software he used to study newly digitized US census records from 1850 to 1880.
Hacker began by taking digitized samples from the decennial census counts taken 1850-1880.
Using statistics software SPSS, he counted the number of native-born white men of military age in 1860 and determined how many of that group were still alive in 1870, according to the BBC.