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Chapter 11: list of battles, with the regiments sustaining the greatest losses in each.

It is intended in this chapter to give a list of the battles and minor engagements of the war in their chronological order; and, with each battle or engagement, a statement of the regiments which sustained the greatest loss in that particular action. The figures thus given have been compiled from the Official Records of the Rebellion, either already published or in process of publication, by the War Department at Washington. The statement of the loss in each case is based on the nominal lists made out by the regimental commandants at the close of the action, and which are still preserved on file at the War Department. These nominal lists have, in many instances, been revised and corrected in accordance with subsequent information. Where it has been ascertained that captured or missing men have been killed or wounded; or that men reported as killed were, among the captured, and were still alive; or that men reported as missing were stragglers, who reported for duty soon after,--these lists and their totals have been amended accordingly.

These lists are made out in “Killed, wounded, and missing,” and show the casualties as reported at the close of the action. Consequently, the mortally wounded are included with the wounded. This fact must be borne in mind, as it will be needed, at times, in accounting for a seeming discrepancy,--cases where a regimental historian, or others, places the number of killed at a higher figure, they having included with the killed those who died of wounds.

Among the missing there must have been many wounded men, and many who were killed. The captured men are also included under this head, and, in many cases, the missing ones were all, or nearly all, prisoners. Then there are cases in which the missing were, for the most part, killed or wounded, the nominal lists not having been amended accordingly.

The nature or history of the battle will, generally, throw some light on the fate of the missing. From Fredericksburg and Cold Harbor but few of the missing ones ever returned; they fell close to the enemy's works, and in the repulse, or swift retreat, were left to be buried by the enemy. But, in actions like Ream's Station or Poplar Spring Church, the history of the fight tells of flanking movements with large captures of prisoners from certain divisions, and the student justly infers that the missing were captured men, as an examination of the muster-out-rolls will show.

In the following lists of greatest losses in particular actions, the regiment named first, although having the largest number of casualties, did not always sustain the greatest loss of life. The number actually killed, as increased by the death from wounds, will be found in the regimental sketch,--if one of the “Three Hundred fighting regiments;” or, if the number of those killed and died of wounds exceed fifty, it will appear in the table given on pages 17-22.

It will be found interesting to note these differences between the number of “killed or died of wounds,” and the number of “killed” as stated in the casualty lists of “killed, wounded, and missing.” The comparison will, in many cases, account for the missing; as, many who were borne on the nominal lists as missing were subsequently recorded on the muster-out-rolls as killed in that particular action.

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