Friday, June 25, 2010


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VIII. Size of the Civil War Armies

Union Army------------- Total-------Present-----Absent

January 1, 1862---------575,917-----527,204-----48,713
January 1, 1863---------918,191-----698,802-----219,389
January 1, 1864---------860,737-----611,250-----249,487
January 1, 1865---------959,460-----620,924-----338,536

Confederate Army--------Total------Present------Absent

December 31, 1861------326,768-----258,680-----68,088
December 31, 1862------449,439-----304,015-----145,424
December 31, 1863------464,646-----277,970-----186,676
December 31, 1864------400,787-----196,016-----204,771
March 30, 1865---------358,692-----160,198-----198,494

IX. Wartime and Post-War Costs of the Civil War:

Wartime Cost of the Civil War (estimates)

North: $6,190,000,000
South: $2,099,808,707
Total: $8,289,808,707

Post-War Costs of the Civil War (estimates)

By 1906, $3,000,000,000 had been spent on pensions and other benefits for former Union Army and Navy soldiers and sailors. By the time the last payment to a Civil War veteran was made in 1959, cost of Union Army and Navy pensions exceeded the total cost of the war. The pension figures do not include state benefit payments to former Confederate veterans. The total cost of the war can be said to have amounted to at least $17,000,000,000, a figure that includes wartime expenses, loan and interest costs, and postwar benefit payments to Union and Confederate veterans.

Costs of Compensated Emancipation

If, by contrast, a payment of $500 per slave had been made in 1861 to the holders of the 3,950,511 slaves then living in the United States to buy the freedom of those slaves, the cost would have been $1,975,255,500. A additional payment of $500 to each former slave to give him or her a start in life would have brought the total cost for compensated emancipation to $3,950,511,000- which would have been at least $4,300,000,000 less than the combined wartime expenses (1861-1865) of North and South.

[Sources of statistics and bibliography included in last installment of this article.]

Thomas A. Pearson, Reference Librarian
Special Collections Department
St. Louis Public Library

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