30 August 2011

N.C. Civil War history might need a rewrite

We know as genealogists, the more research you do, the more you learn. Sometimes what we learn refutes what we thought we knew.  This article is a case in point.  As we celebrate the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, it talks about examining the records of those soldiers from NC who died while serving in the Civil War – the results were not what the researcher expected to find.

“For more than a century, North Carolina clung to a pair of Civil War distinctions thought sacred: It sent the first Confederate killed in battle, and it sacrificed 40,275 men - the most in the South.

Only part of that may still be true.

On the 150th anniversary of the war's first shots, a new state study pulls together the scattered, error-riddled records of North Carolina's Civil War dead and shows the following:

·        A Virginia captain beat Pvt. Henry Lawson Wyatt, a 19-year-old from Tarboro, to the grave by nine days;
·        North Carolina's casualty list is actually closer to 32,000, possibly 35,000 if you count those still missing from the records and lumped into the "probable" category. Whether that's the highest is unclear;
·        The war killed about a quarter of the state's men of military age. More died of typhoid fever and chronic diarrhea than bullets. Some even died of spider bites and lightning strikes.

The point of the study isn't to debunk any points of pride, said Josh Howard, the study's author and a historian with the state Office of Archives and History. He started the study six years ago assuming the 40,275 figure was accurate.” …

Read the full article.



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