By Gary W. Gallagher, Ph.D., The college of Virginia

During the 4 years of fighting in the American polite War, the armies of the unified States and also the Confederacy suffered1.7 million casualties (killed or wounded)in combat. Shockingly, nearly17 percent of these casualties developed in simply ten horrifying battles. Read listed below for a perform of the ten bloodiest battles of the civil War.

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At the fight of Fredericksburg, Union soldiers constructed a pontoon bridge throughout the Rappahannock flow while under fire from Confederate sharpshooters (Image: by Kurz & Allison, art Publishers, Chicago, U.S. – Library that Congress/Public Domain)

10. The battle of Fredericksburg

Date: December 11—15, 1862Location: Fredericksburg, VAUnion Casualties: 12,653 (1,284 killed)Confederate Casualties: 4,201 (408 killed)


The battle of Fredericksburg is tenth top top our list of the bloodiest Civil battle battles. ~ above December 11, 1862 Union engineers began to press pontoon bridges throughout theRappahannockriver outside of the city that Fredericksburg in the Confederate state the Virginia. Union artillery had largely destroyed the old city that Fredericksburg, yet the ensuing fight of Fredericksburg top top December 13 was a Union disaster. Unon basic Ambrose Burnside’s hopes to get around Confederate general Robert E. Lee’s ideal flank (heldby Stonewall Jackson) came to nothing because of bad execution, although the Union forces an extremely nearly damaged through.


On the Confederate side, perhaps the greatest result of the project was that it sealed Lee’s position as the great military idol of the Confederacy.


The federal commander resorted tounimaginative frontal attacks againsta very strong Confederate place onMarye’s Heights. The Union lost heavilyand obtained nothingtactically or strategically as the an outcome ofthis battle. The military returned come its pre-battle lines, and also the north public expressed good indignation about the battle and also the Republican direction the the war. The collection of seemingly meaningless frontal assaults versus well-positioned Confederates do the loss at Fredericksburg every the more bitter, and also the well known “Mud March”in January finished Burnside’s quick tenure at military headquarters. The after-effects of Fredericksburg marked a low allude for the military of the Potomac.


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9.Battle that Stone’s River

Date: December 31, 1862—January 2, 1863Location: Murfreesboro,TNUnion Casualties: 12,906 (1,677killed)Confederate Casualties: 11,739 (1,294 killed)


In so late December, just after Christmas, Union general William S. Rosecrans’s military of the Cumberland marched towards Bragg’s military of Tennessee, which put a quick distance south east of Nashville close to Murfreesboro. The Confederate mounties harassed his advance. Rosecrans nonetheless made rapid development in this unusual (for the polite War) winter campaign.


The militaries made call on December 30. Both leaders planned come hit the other’s ideal ank. Fighting on December 31 favored the Confederates. Rebel general Braxton Bragg released his attacks an initial and journey Rosecrans’s military back. Rosecrans exhibited an excellent courage and steadiness in placing together a protective line, and also one that his subordinates, Philip Sheridan, held his department together come stabilize the line. Bragg informed Richmond the he had won a victory.

After a job of tense inaction, fighting top top January 2 favored the Union. Bragg ordered desperate frontal attacks that were quickly repulsed. Bragg decided to retreat deeper right into southeast Tennessee top top January 3–4, 1863.

Stones flow or Murfreesboro to be a bloody, however essentially indecisive, armed forces contest. Casualties for the Union and also Confederacy consisted of the highest linked percentage because that any significant battle the the war. The two armies cleared up into winter quarters and left the strategic case in middle Tennessee comparable to what that was before the battle.


8. 2nd Battle of Bull Run

Date: august 28–30, 1862Location: Manassas,VAUnion Casualties: 14,462 (1,747killed)Confederate Casualties: 11,739 (1,294 killed)


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Following the defeat of Union in ~ the gateways to Richmond, Lee’s army inflicted another bloodyloss on an additional Union military at second Manassas, thoroughly demoralizing the phibìc (Image: by Gale Research. Detroit, MI/Library the Congress/Public Domain)

The 2nd Battle of Bull Run followed Union command Geroge B. McClellan’s retreat from Richmond ~ the failed 7 Days battles that ended the Peninsular Campaign versus Richmond.

The early stage confrontation pitted Lee versus a separate army headed by Union basic John Pope, whobrought a harsher kind of war to Virginia. He endangered to execute guerrillas, arrest citizens that harbored irregulars, and also drive from their houses civilians in Union lines that refused to take it the oath that allegiance. He additionally vowed to take whatever his military needed indigenous civilians, thus earning the enmity the white Southerners in Virginia. Pope plan a project toward the rail junction at Gordonsville that would certainly sever Lee’s rail relations to the Shenandoah valley via the Orange and also Alexandria and also the Virginia main Railroads.

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Lee reaction to Pope’s movements by very first reorganizing his military into two “wings”, climate dividing and also then reuniting the again. Conferedate general James Longstreet’s soup of Lee’s military kept one eye ~ above McClellan below Richmond. Stonewall Jackson’s soup marched to fulfill Pope follow me the Rappahannock river.


Jackson defeated component of Pope’s army at Cedar mountain on august 9, 1862. The probed follow me the Rappahannock after Pope’s troops withdrew. Lee and also Longstreet join Jackson follow me the Rappahannock after McClellan to be recalled to Washington.

The reunited military of northern Virginia defeated Pope’s military at 2nd Manassas (August 28–30). Jackson’s wing flanked the Federals, ruined their key supply base at Manassas Junction, and also engaged castle on the old Manassas (Bull Run) battlefield. Longstreet’s wing arrived on the battlefield the opposite Pope’s left flank. Pope no realize the these CSA pressures had arrived to challenge him. The Confederates ceded a decisive assault on respectable 30 that drove the Federals native the field. The Union troops i was withdrawn in an excellent order ago to the defenses that Washington, D.C. Pope was eliminated from command and also posted come Minnesota to fight the Sioux; McClellan to be reinstated by Lincoln as the ar commander.


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Though a resounding win for the Confederacy, Stonewall Jackson’s fatality at Chancellorsville to be a destructive loss because that the military of northern Virginia (Image: by Publisher – Kurz and also Allison in Chicago, IL/Library of Congress/Public Domain)

After the devastating loss at Fredericksburg, several of Burnside’s subordinates, including Joseph Hooker, lobbied v Congress for a change of command. Lincoln replaced Burnside v “Fighting Joe” Hooker. Hooker originally showedgreat promise as commander that the Armyof the Potomac. He lugged a mix of talent and extreme ambitious to his post. He shown formidable business skills, reinvigorated the military of the Potomac, and also planned a brilliant attack that gained off to a promising start in late April. Correcting Burnside’s shortcomings in plenty of areas, Hooker improved distribution of supplies and also medical care.

He also developed a strategy planthat shifted the bulk of his army to an beneficial position behind theConfederate lines in ~ Fredericksburg bythe finish of April. Lincoln wanted him tofocus ~ above Lee’s army, no on Richmond. Hooker planned a cavalry raid toward Richmond, demonstrating v a large force in Lee’s front and also swinging the mass of his army about Lee’s left flank and also in behind his positions.

But Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson countered Hooker’s moves with a dazzling an answer that seemed to drain all energy and also daring indigenous the commonwealth commander. Having actually seized the initiative, the badly outnumbered Confederates won a exceptional victory that sent out the Union military reeling back throughout the Rappahannock river in beforehand May.

Hooker’s planning and also splendid early on movements reach a shattering orgasm in the battle of Chancellorsville on may 1–4. Hooker abandoned his attack intentions once Lee (after dividing his forces) attacked on might 1 instead of retreating towards Richmond. On may 2, Lee split his military againas “Stonewall” Jackson marched about Hooker’s ideal flank and also delivered a crushing attack against the XI Corps. Jackson was fatally wounded through his own men while return from night reconnaissance. On may 3–4, Confederate attacks against two components of Hooker’s military persuaded the Union commander to retreat back throughout the Rappahannock.

6. The battle of Shiloh

Date: April 6–7, 1862Location: Hardin County,TNUnion Casualties: 13,047(1,754 killed)Confederate Casualties: 10,699 (1,728 killed)


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The fight of Shiloh set a new standard for brutality in the Civil battle (Image: by Thure de Thulstrup/Public Domain)

Shiloh (or Pittsburg Landing) unravelled as a chaotic battle that collection a brand-new standard because that slaughter and ended in Union victory. The Confederate development from Corinth was slow and poorly masked, and also the schedule for the attack was as well optimistic, for this reason Confederate basic P.G.T. Beauregard counseled southern Commander Albert SidneyJohnston to call off the attack.

Union command Ulysses S. Grant’s military was surprised by the Confederate strikes on April 6, 1862. The Confederates drive Grant’s army earlier to the financial institutions of the Tennessee river in the morning fighting. The fighting to be savage; the facility ofthe Union line controlled to host out in a point out that came to be known together “the Hornet’s Nest.” The hold-up in the Confederate breakthrough enabled Union general Don Carlos Buell to come increase to sustaining distance throughout the Tennessee River. Thousands of green soldiers on each side failed come fight well.

Grant, wilhelm Tecumseh Sherman, A.S. Johnston, and other an elderly officers likewise made a variety of mistakes: Grant and Sherman were sloppy in taking precautions against a Confederate attack. Johnston mismanaged the Confederate attacks on April 6 and failed come seize Pittsburg Landing. Johnston was wounded if on the Confederate right and also died at about 2:30 p.m. Command devolved top top Beauregard, who referred to as off the strikes in the evening.

Grant’s resolve and also Buell’s reinforcements ultimately won the day for the Union. On 7 April, Beauregard, unsupported and also with no reinforcements indigenous Confederate basic Van Dorn, was unable to prevent Union counterattacks. Grant’s pressures regained the ground shed the work before, and Beauregard exit the field. Casualties at Shiloh gone beyond those endured by americans in all previous wars combined. The carnage shocked people in both the North and the South.

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5. The battle of Antietam

Date: September 17, 1862Location: Sharpsburg,MDUnion Casualties: 12,410 (2,108killed)Confederate Casualties: 10,316 (1,567 killed)


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(Image: through B. McClellan/Library of Congress/Public Domain)

Following his win at second Manassas, and after dispatching Stonewall Jackson to capture Harper’s Ferry, a federal arsenal, Lee reunited and also concentrated his nearly 35,000-man army near Sharpsburg, Maryland (along Antietam Creek, a tributary of the grape max River). One division (A. P. Hill’s) continued to be in Harpers Ferry come guard 12,000 Union prisoners. Union basic George B. McClellan, with nearly 70,000 men, launched heavy assaults in three sectors the the battlefield. His goal to be to grind Lee down and cut him turn off from the potomac River, his line of retreat. The Union strikes were no coordinated, however. A. P. Hill’s Light division made a forced march from Harpers Ferry and also arrived over time to revolve the birds of the battle.

Lee barely hosted his place on September 17 and also remained top top the field for another day before retreating across the Potomac. The fight resulted in nearly23,000 casualties, do this the bloodiest single day in U.S. History. Photographs native the battlefield brought about a sensation.

4. Fight of the Wilderness

Date: might 5–7, 1864Location: Spotsylvania County,VAUnion Casualties: 17,666 (2,246 killed)Confederate Casualties: 11,033 (1,477 killed)


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The fight of the Wilderness started a cable of huge, bloody battles the bled Lee’s Army and also would at some point drive the Confederates right into Petersburg, VA where give would besiege castle (Image: by Kurz & Allison/Library that Congress/Public Domain)

The battle of the Wilderness was the an initial major battle in what became called the Overland Campaign, which verified to it is in the many severe fighting that the entire war, as approve steadily thrust Lee in the direction of Richmond in a bid to destroy Lee’s army and also capture the Confederate funding city. Lee assaulted Grant on might 5 together the Union military marched southern through the
area the scrub woodland known as the Wilderness
of Spotsylvania. Provide counterattacked along
the Plank Road and Turnpike. There to be a gap in between the 2 wings the Lee’s army. James Longstreet’s very first Corps had not got to the battlefield. The first day ended with Lee’s army in a fragile position.

Grant resumed heavy strikes on might 6. Lee’s army almost broke top top A. P. Hill’s finish of the line and also Lee risked his life to rally his troops. Longstreet arrived just in time to repair the line. Confederate flank strikes gained success on both end of Grant’s line, but Longstreet was badly wounded, accidentally shooting by his own troops. This to be a great loss come the army of northern Virginia. The 2nd day’s fighting ended with the lines essentially where they had been at dawn. Fires in the woods killed many of the injured men, who couldn’t be rescued by their comrades.

3.Battle of Chickamauga

Date: September 18–20, 1863Location: CatoosaCounty,GAUnion Casualties: 16,170 (1,657 killed)Confederate Casualties: 18,454 (2,312 killed)


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(Image: by Kurz & Allison/Library of Congress/Public Domain)

The battle of Chickamauga gave Confederate basic Braxton Bragg a striking tactical victory. Union general Rosecrans focused his military just south of Chattanooga in the valley of Chickamauga Creek by September 18. Bragg’s reinforced military of Tennessee, which through its almost 70,000 guys outnumbered Rosecrans’s army of the Cumberland, struck on September 19 and also 20. Bragg wanted to cut Rosecrans turn off from Chattanooga. Then Bragg planned come trap and also envelop Rosecrans. Fighting started on the September 19 together it had actually at Gettysburg, through a cavalry and also infantry skirmish the escalated right into a general engagement. There to be no decisive result after the very first day.

Confederate strikes on September 20, although not developing as planned, shattered component of the Union line; the breakthrough was spearheaded by Longstreet’s forces. After Rosecrans and about one-third of the Union military fled the field, George H. Thomas carried out a tenacious defense ~ above Snodgrass Hill top top the Union left and also withdrew in an excellent order. Return it was a tactical victory, Chickamauga failed come convey any kind of long-term benefit to the Confederates.

2.Battle the Spotsylvania Courthouse

Date: may 8–21, 1864Location: SpotsylvaniaCounty, VAUnion Casualties: 18,399 (2,725 killed)Confederate Casualties: 12,687 (1,515 killed)


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Fighting at the Mule shoe salient throughout the fight of Spotsylvania Courthouse was amongst the most intense the the entire war (Image: through Thure de Thulstrup/Library the Congres/Public Domain)

After the horrifying fighting at The fight of the Wilderness, grant pressed southward fairly than retreating. Union troops cheered him once they realized they would proceed the campaign; the Confederates were surprised by Grant’s relocate to their best flank. The militaries collided again in the battle of Spotsylvania Court residence on might 8–21. Poor Union movement allowed Lee’s military to collection up a defense in ~ Spotsylvania simply in time to block Grant’s advance.

The Confederates set up field breastworks; part of your line was an exposed salient dubbed the “Mule Shoe.” Grant placed assaults on may 8–9 that Lee’s troops conveniently repulsed, however a Union assault under Emory Upton damaged through the west confront of the “Mule Shoe” important on might 10. Absence of reinforcements and coordination limited Union success; Grant identified to launch an assault against the “Mule Shoe.”

Grant assaulted the “Mule Shoe” through 20,000 troops on may 12. The Federals appreciated initial success, but the Confederates counterattacked and stabilized the line. Hideous fighting ensued for twenty hrs at the northwest arc of the “Mule Shoe,” later called the “Bloody Angle.” Lee created a brand-new line in ~ the basic of the salient and also occupied the on the morning of may 13. Miscellaneous engagements between May 13 and May 21 yielded no decisive result, and also the armies proceeded southern after Spotsylvania, having reached no clean decision.

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1. Battle of Gettysburg

Date: July 1–3, 1863Location: Gettysburg,PAUnion Casualties: 23,049(3,155 killed)Confederate Casualties:estimated 25,000


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Pickett’s charge during the battle of Gettysburg led to a casualty price of over 50% for the 12,500 attack Confederate soldiers (Image: through Thure de Thulstrup/Library that Congress/Public Domain)

The armies made call near Gettysburg top top June 30 and also fought the largest battle of the war on July 1–3, 1863. The first day to be a to mark Confederate success, despite the reality that Lee’s forces were not concentrated or coordinated. Two Union infantry corps to be badly mauled. The Federals just controlled to cave on to high ground south of Gettysburg. Meade himself arrived on the field that night; more troops native both sides also arrived.

Lee continued the tactical attack on the second day (July 2). He has been much criticized for this decision. Despite poor execution, Lee’s strikes pushed the Union defenders come the border on both end of Meade’s line. Lee an installed a last major tactical offensive recognized as Pickett’s charge on the 3rd day. Yet this charge against the Union facility was no his very first plan. The failed completely, and almost one-half of the attackers came to be casualties.

Overall, casualties in the battle were enormous. At least 25,000 Confederates fell, representing virtually one-third of the army. One-third (12 the end of 53) the Lee’s generals to be killed, wounded, or captured. Much more than 20,000 Federals fell; Meade’s subordinate command additionally suffered heavy losses.

Common inquiries Aboutthe Bloodiest war of the civil War


Q: What fight resulted in the single bloodiest work of the polite War?

The Battle of Antietam is generally considered the single bloodiest work of the civil War.


Q: What polite War fight had the many casualties?

Again, the Battle the Antietam declared the most person lives of any type of battle in the Civil War.


Q: which state suffered the most casualties in the civil War?

New York suffered around 46,534 deaths of your soldiers, according to the 1866 commonwealth report topping out among all states.

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Q: how black soldiers passed away in the polite War?

It is estimated that the the approximately 179,000 black males who fought in the polite War, 40,000 black soldiers died either from epidemic or disease.