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The two sides had the opportunity and the motivation to keep fighting for four years.

The new rifle-barrelled artillery enabled long-range gunnery.

Military medicine was almost non-existent - if you were wounded, you probably died.

The casualties seemed especially high, because America was a young country with a small population.

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13y ago
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15y ago

Think about it.... Americans were fighting on BOTH sides. Then this was about the period of history where the weapons were getting more accurate and the medical field was still in its infancy. Armies were larger in the American Civil War than in the Napoleonic War only 50 years earlier.

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14y ago

The death toll was indeed extraordinarily high in the Civil War. This is due to several factors. One is that every person who died in the war was an American. Another is that while military tactics remained nearly the same as in Napoleonic times, the weapon technology was so advanced that the tactics became unreasonable. Instead of a gun that was accurate only at, say, seventy-five yards away, the Springfield rifle carried by most infantry men had a range of 300 to even 500 yards, though were obviously not accurate out to the 500 yard mark. The Sharps carbine, used by the cavalry and most famously by Berdan's Sharpshooters, had just as long a range, but was accurate even farther. There are accounts of sharpshooters effectively killing at up to a mile away. Cannons loaded with grapeshot decimated troops. Grapeshot effectively turned a cannon into a giant shotgun. Gatling guns were invented during this time as well. War causes rapid advancement in military technology, and the Civil War is a perfect example of how that effects casualty rates. It was not until the very end of the war that trench warfare was put into effect. Napoleonic tactics and advanced weaponry were a disastrous combination.

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13y ago

For one, the tactics used were outdated, and based on the capabilities of the smoothbore musket, which had an effective range of about 50 metres. The rifled muskets commonly used, on the other hand, could reach out and touch someone beyond 500 metres. Additionally, just about everyone fighting in that war was an American soldier - whether they were fighting for the Union or the Confederacy. Even the seccesionist South referred to itself as the "Confederate States of America".

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12y ago

A civil war is fought within a country, rather than by sending troops elsewhere; it therefore involves everyone in that country. The Vietnam War (for example) was fought in Vietnam (spilling over into Cambodia, just a bit) and the civilian casualties were Vietnamese; in the Civil War the civilian casualties were American. Civil wars are also generally more desperately fought, and represent a more total commitment. The US could afford to lose the Vietnam War and did lose it, as it turned out. The US never made a total commitment to that war. But the Civil War was fought to the bitter end. Both sides were totally committed to winning, and would sacrifice any number of lives to do so. Consequently, there were a lot of deaths.

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15y ago

Easily I think because it was American vs. American war. We were fighting against our selves essentially. Not a foreign enemy.

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15y ago

during many battles cannon were used in large numbers. the cannon fired grapeshot, which is like buckshot. when fired it cut down lines of fontal charging infantry.......

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15y ago

Weapons were improving, while fighting tactics remained archaic.

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11y ago

the attacks were more brutal

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Q: Why did civil war have more casualties than other wars?
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The majority of casualties other than the obvious war casualties came from being in captivity, starvation, and hypothermia.


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According to recent numerical research and records, the north had a few more casualties than the south during the Civil War, or the battle between North and South. The south suffered 490,309 soldiers killed, wounded, captured or missing, while the north suffered 596,670.


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