The South and her contributions to the US military since the American Civil War

Posted on October 9, 2011 by


I have no doubt that the South has, through the years since the American Civil War, contributed significant numbers to the ranks of the US military… and has much to be proud of, for her contributions. But, when it comes down to a break-down of numbers… has the South contributed more than the geographic area that was “the North” that existed during the American Civil War? I’m going to be generous, and say I’m defining “the South”, here, as a geographic area that falls under the old Mason-Dixon line rules… and I’m not even going to split-up the numbers based on the fact that some states (Oklahoma) didn’t exist yet at the time of the Civil War, were divided and didn’t secede and contributed a significant number in Union blue to the Civil War (Maryland and Kentucky, as examples), or went Union before the close of the war (West Virginia). Honestly, in this respect, I’m being very generous. However, I have my doubts that, as military-oriented as some make out the South to be, the region supplied more soldiers,  per capita, for America’s wars than any other region of the United States. As a Southerner, I’ve heard much talk about this over the years, but I’ve never seen stats to back it up… and, frankly, one has to consider that we’re dealing with two very specific regions that are defined, only in terms of the Civil War era, and can’t include other areas that are defined in different ways, culturally. Heck, for that matter, even the North and South had a more complex system of cultures, during the war… New England vice the portion of the North considered more a part of the mid-west, for example.

In August, 2010, while visiting the National World War I Museum, in Kansas City, it was an eye-opener to see the contributions of people to the ranks, broken down by state.

Sorry, but had to break this into two images in order for the readers to actually see the complete exhibit piece…

Regretfully, the photo that I took is not as clear as I would like, but one can easily see, at the top of the list (the top four) we have significant numbers from New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio, that just about top all of the Southern states, combined.

So, we have stats for WW1, but I’m curious… does anyone out there have stats… and no, I won’t entertain “guesstimates”… for the Span-Am War, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, etc., etc.?

Update: If the South didn’t contribute more in actual numbers, “per capita”, did it contribute more, over the years, in the different wars, per percentage of population?