Despite this close and personal awareness of human mortality, Americans during the Civil War had a radically different set of experiences with death than previously. The total number of deaths for both the North and the South, in the four-year period, was over 600,000.
If such resources as pine coffins or burial containers were available, and time permitted, soldiers would be placed in them before being put in the ground, a procedure that rarely occurred in the early years of the war.
Even more astonishing than the overall mortality rates for the entire conflict are the number for particular battles: During the three-day battle at Gettysburg, for example, 3,155 Union soldiers died; at Antietam, during one day of fighting, the Union lost over 2,000 young men.
The carnage left on these and other sites, for both sides, boggles the mind, and must have been overwhelming to Americans viewing photographs, visiting battlefields, or reading detailed accounts in newspapers.
More demographic information is available for the Northern armies than for the Confederacy, which did not have the resources to keep accurate records on soldiers.
According to some historians, roughly one out of sixteen white males in the North between the ages of sixteen and forty-three lost his life during the war.