Total War: March to September 1864

Death of a Cavalier

How many men were lost in May 1864?

Thanks to the pileup of battles—the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, as well as any number of skirmishes—it is difficult to put an exact number on it, but it seems likely that the North suffered 40,000 men killed, wounded, or missing during May. The South probably suffered about 28,000.

Only in retrospect, with 150 years of hindsight, can we say that the North could “afford” such losses. On the human and personal level, no nation or people can ever afford such casualties, but even in the heat of the moment, the lists seemed insupportable. Major-General John Sedgwick was the most prominent casualty, but several brigadier-generals lost their lives, and once one descends to the level of captain, the losses simply become enormous. Most of the newspapers refrained from criticizing General Grant, but they were right on the verge.


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