The Cost of the Civil War
The approximately 10,455 military engagements of the American Civil War, including naval clashes, accidents, suicides, sicknesses, murders, and executions resulted in total casualties of 1,094,453 during the Civil War. The Union lost 110,100 killed in action and mortally wounded, and another 224,580 to disease. The Rebels lost approximately 94,000 as a result of battle and another 164,000 to disease. Even if a soldier were to survive a wound, any bullet, shrapnel, or foreign invader that hit bone in either an arm or a leg almost invariably necessitated amputation. The best estimate of Union army personnel wounded is 275,175; naval personnel wounded, 2,226. Surviving CSA records indicate 194,026 wounded.
In dollars and cents, the U.S. government estimated in January, 1863 (2005) that the war was costing $2.5 million($46,225,594.27) daily. A final official estimate in 1879 totaled $6,190,000,000 ($118,404,076,787.84). The Confederacy spent perhaps $2,099,808,707 ($40,165,736,895.54). By 1906 another $3.3 billion ($73,884,852,989.23 ) already had been spent by the U.S. government on Northerners' pensions and other veterans' benefits for former Federal soldiers. Southern states and private philanthropy provided benefits to the Confederate veterans. The amount spent on benefits eventually well exceeded the war's original cost.
Inflation affected both Northern and Southern assets but hit those of the Confederacy harder. Northern currency fluctuated in value, and at its lowest point $2.59 ($30.58) in Federal paper money equaled $1 ($11.81) in gold. The Confederate currency so declined in purchasing power that eventually $60-$70 ($767.52) equaled a gold dollar ($11.81).
The physical devastation, almost all of it in the South, was enormous: burned or plundered homes, pillaged countryside, untold losses in crops and farm animals, ruined buildings and bridges, devastated college campuses, and neglected roads all left the South in ruins.
Some of the figures from the reading, converted to today's dollar:
National Income, 1861: $4,300,000,000 Today: $88,333,412,601.41
Per Capita Income, 1861: $140 Today: $2,875.97
National Debt, 1865: $2,600,000,000 Today: $30,700,754,219.75
Amount Received From Loans, 1865: $2,600,000,000 Today: $30,700,754,219.75
Amount of Taxes Received, 1865: $667,000,000 Today: $7,875,924,255.60
Government Bonds Sold by Jay Cooke, 1861: $320,000,000 Today: $6,573,649,309.87
Profit for Jay Cooke, 1861: $800,000 Today: 16,434,123.27
Soldiers Pay, 1861: $11.00 per Month Today: $225.97
Soldiers Pay, Black, 1861: $8.00 Today: $164.34