"The Civil War Death Toll, Reconsidered"

Professor of History Nicholas Marshall on the Times' "Disunion" blog

(April 16, 2014) – "What did the Civil War’s death toll mean to those who lived through it?" asks Marist Associate Professor of History Nicholas Marshall in "The Civil War Death Toll, Reconsidered," his current The Journal of the Civil War Eraarticle on The New York Times "Disunion" blog.

Marshall goes on to consider the answer, challenging some of the assumptions of current scholarship from eminent historians.

While the scale of the war dead was indeed staggering – approximately 750,000 soldiers – Marshall argues that the impact of that death toll on those who experienced the war may not have been as dramatic as the number itself.

To suggest that it has, Marshall writes, "violates one of the central codes of historical analysis: avoid presentism" and fails to adequately account for "the context of death and dying in the period."

The article was adapted from Marshall’s article, “The Great Exaggeration: Death and the Civil War,” published in The Journal of the Civil War Era, Vol. 4, No. 1 (March, 2014).