During the Revolutionary War, an estimated 25,000 American service members sacrificed their lives to gain independence from Great Britain. Less than a century later, the fight to preserve the country proved far costlier. Nearly 620,000 Americans were killed in the Civil War, more than in any war involving the United States, before or since.
Over the four years of the American Civil War – from 1861 to 1865 – the majority of military casualties were suffered by Union forces. To maintain the integrity of the Union, federalist states and territories in the Northeast, Midwest, and West Coast mobilzed nearly 2.7 million troops – 360,222 of whom would not return home, compared to an estimated 258,000 Confederate fatalities.
While the conflict drew resources and manpower from nearly every corner of the divided nation, regiments from certain parts of the country suffered unusually high numbers of casualties, reporting battlefield losses in the hundreds with hundreds more dying from disease.
Using data from A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion by Civil War statistician Frederick H. Dyer, first published in 1908, 24/7 Wall St. identified the Union regiments that suffered the most losses in the Civil War. Regiments are ranked by the total number of officers and enlistees who were either killed or mortally wounded in combat. Due to incomplete and missing data, Confederate regiments were not considered.
Newly formed Union regiments in the Civil War were typically made up of about 1,000 troops – 970 enlistees and 30 officers. In each regiment on this list, more than 200 soldiers were killed or mortally wounded in battle. Including death from disease, total fatality counts exceed 600 in some cases. (Here is a look at the states with the highest Civil War death toll.)
The high casualty rates in these regiments are often attributable to their involvement in some of the bloodiest and most devastating battles of the war. Many of these regiments were fielded at one or more of the deadliest engagements of the war, including the Battle of Gettysburg, the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, the Battle of the Wilderness, and the Battle of Antietam, where Union casualties (including wounded) ranged from about 12,000 to 23,000 in each battle. (Here is a look at the most violent Civil War battles.)
The regiments on this list are from states across the Northeast and Midwest, though New York and Pennsylvania were each home to seven, the most of any state. New York and Pennsylvania also supplied more troops for the war effort than any state on either side of the conflict.
Click here to see the Union Army regiments that suffered the most losses in the Civil War.
Click here to read our detailed methodology.
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