Monday, July 2, 2012

Heavy Union Regimental Losses in the Trans-Mississippi

Many people assume that regiments serving in the trans-Mississippi suffered inconsequential losses in the battles fought there. But not necessarily….William F. Fox’s Regimental Losses In The American Civil War  (1898) contains a grim table titled “Maximum Of Regimental Loss In Killed And Died Of Wounds In Particular Engagements.” For some unaccountable reason, the table did not include notable losses by two regiments serving in the trans-Mississippi; these regiments have been included by me and are denoted by asterisks. Here is the revised list of the ten Union infantry regiments that suffered the highest losses in particular engagements:
*39th Missouri Infantry: 123 killed (Centralia, Missouri)
5th New York Infantry: 117 killed (2nd Manassas)
15th New Jersey Infantry: 116 killed (Spotsylvania)
*79th U. S. Colored Infantry [1st Kansas Colored]: 111 killed (Poison Springs, Arkansas)
49th Pennsylvania Infantry: 109 killed (Spotsylvania)
15th Massachusetts Infantry: 108 killed (Antietam)
1st Kansas Infantry: 106 killed (Wilson’s Creek, Missouri)
1st Missouri Infantry: 103 killed (Wilson’s Creek, Missouri)
9th Illinois Infantry: 103 killed (Shiloh)
18th U. S. Infantry: 102 killed (Stone’s River)
Fox’s table continues on for several more pages. Here are some other unusually high losses sustained by regiments serving in the trans-Mississippi:
20th Wisconsin Infantry: 88 killed (Prairie Grove, Arkansas)
32nd Iowa Infantry: 86 killed (Pleasant Hill, Louisiana)
7th Iowa Infantry: 74 killed (Belmont, Missouri)
9th Iowa Infantry: 74 killed (Pea Ridge, Arkansas)
19th Iowa Infantry: 72 killed (Prairie Grove, Arkansas)
26th Indiana Infantry: 52 killed (Prairie Grove, Arkansas)
Later in his book, Fox included some tables listing high casualty rates for cavalry regiments and artillery batteries:
3rd Iowa Cavalry: 27 killed (Pea Ridge, Arkansas)

 2nd Massachusetts Battery (Nims): 1 killed, 18 wounded, 1 missing (Mansfield, Louisiana)
*1st Independent Battery, Iowa Light Artillery (Jones): 3 killed, 14 wounded (Pea Ridge, Arkansas) [* indicates that Fox did not include this battery in his listing]

My suspicion is that there are other units (particularly cavalry and artillery) that should be included in this listing. The losses of Confederate units in the trans-Mississippi are more difficult to determine, but at some point I will work on assembling such a list.

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