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The high casualty rate on the battlefiled has often been attributed to the new rifles and bullets (called Minie balls) that were used in the War Between the States. The bullets were made of soft lead, and they expanded rapidly after entering the body, often destroying organs and shattering bones. Making matters worse, most War Between the States generals had been trained at West Point or other military academies to use shoulder to shoulder formations of two ranks and advance in this formation normally at a rate of no faster than 454 feet in a minute (double quick time). Many had not only been trained this way but had seen those tactics work extremely well in the war with Mexico. It seems that few realized and some even until the end that attacking Mexican conscripts armed with smooth bore flintlocks was an entirely different proposition from attacking American volunteers armed with rifled percussion muskets

The high casualty rate due to disease was caused by the lack of sanitation. They really had little or no knowledge about bacteria, pathogens, and germs. Plus in most cases if you were shot they would just amputate the injured body part. Docotrs rarely cleaned off the tools they were using to amputate with. This spread bacteria to every person that had a body part amputated. So even if you made it through with just losing your arm, there was a good chance you could get an infection from the amputation process.

Finally, when you speak of "casualties" this also refers to prisoners. In the Civil War, prisoners were often taken by the thousands in an attempt to weaken armies.

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โˆ™ 2011-03-08 16:55:26
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โˆ™ 2018-01-21 22:27:37

US Civil War casualties were the result of the many battles and the large size of the armies involved in the battles. It is pure speculation that rifled muskets caused high levels of casualties. Deaths based on disease at various lengths of time after a battle are difficult to use when speaking of individual battles. They are useful in terms of the war's total number of deaths.

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Q: What caused the high casualty rate of soldiers in the US Civil War?
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What contributed to the high casualty rate on the Civil War?

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