Civil War Battlefields

Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields
(http://www2.cr.nps.gov/abpp/cwsac/cws0-1.html)

The Battlefield Sites
Some 10,500 armed conflicts occurred during the Civil War ranging from battles to minor skirmishes; 384 conflicts (3.7 percent) were identified as the principal battles and classified according to their historical significance.

Class A and B battlefields represent the principal strategic operations of the war. Class C and D battlefields usually represent operations with limited tactical objectives of enforcement and occupation.
– 45 sites (12%) were ranked “A” (having a decisive influence on a campaign and a direct impact on the
course of the war);
– 104 sites (27%) were ranked “B” (having a direct and decisive influence on their campaign);
– 128 sites (33%) were ranked “C” (having observable influence on the outcome of a campaign);
– 107 sites (28%) were ranked “D” (having a limited influence on the outcome of their campaign or operation
but achieving or affecting important local objectives).

The 384 principal battles occurred in 26 states. States with fifteen or more include: Virginia (123), Tennessee (38), Missouri (29), Georgia(28), Louisiana (23), North Carolina (20), Arkansas (17), and Mississippi(16).

Some counties, such as Henrico and Dinwiddie counties in Virginia and Charleston County in South Carolina have a great concentration of battlefields. Yet, even in Virginia, where two great armies fought for most of four years, only one third of the counties have any of the principal Civil War battlefields.

Forty three percent of the battlefields are completely in private ownership. An additional 49 percent are under multiple kinds of ownership (e.g., private, state, and Federal). Only 4 percent of the principal battlefields are owned primarily by the Federal, state, or local governments. 2 Nineteen percent (71) of the Civil War battlefields are already lost as intact historic landscapes. Half of the 232 principal battlefields that currently are in good or fair condition are now experiencing high or moderate threats. Most of these sites will be lost or seriously fragmented within the coming 10 years, many very soon. Only one third of the principal battlefields currently face low threats.

The Battle Summaries
This Technical Volume is meant to serve as a quick reference to the historical context and significance of the 384 principal battlefields that the Commission included in its report to Congress. Until now, no single source provided such a uniform level of information for such a comprehensive grouping of key Civil War battlefields. It is the Commission’s hope that this volume will provide preservationists, historians, planners, and political leaders alike with the rudimentary historical data they need to understand and work toward the preservation of these critical components of our national heritage.

Each summary provides basic statistical data on the location, dates, commanders, size, and casualties of each battle. It also indicates the Commission’s ranking of the battle by military importance and the battlefield’s level of priority for preservation. A one paragraph historical narrative describes the circumstances, action, and outcome of the battle.

The data elements for each battle summary are:
Name
The historic name for the battle, based on scholarly assessment. In some cases, the generally accepted name for the battle, sanctioned by the state historic preservation office, has been used.

CWSAC Reference #
A unique reference number assigned to each site. These were developed to aid computerization, because of the large numbers of battlefields in a few states and the duplication of names. The two letters at the beginning of the reference number signify the state, corresponding to the battlefield’s location. The three digits are the unique and arbitrary number for the site within that state. Some numbers are missing, because sites were added or deleted from the list of 384 principal battlefields as significance was determined.

Other Names
Secondary or commonly used names, such as Elkhorn Tavern (Pea Ridge), Bull Run (Manassas), and Sharpsburg (Antietam).

Preservation Priority
A designation made by the Commission based on the level of historical significance, the integrity of the remaining battlefield features, and the level of threat to the battlefield’s existence. For example, IV.1 (Class D) means that the Commission determined that a particular battlefield site was Priority IV: Fragmented Battlefields, All Military Classes, Poor Integrity. (See Table 7, pages 49-53 in the Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefield, for the preservation priority of all the battlefields studied.) Class A, B, C, or D indicates a battle’s (and associated battlefield’s) level of military importance within its campaign and the war. (See page v of this volume for an explanation of each of the four designations.) N/D indicates that no data is currently available to determine the level of threat to the site.

Location
The present day county or city in which the battlefield is located.

Campaign
The larger military operation with which the battle is associated. A chronological listing of campaigns and the battles associated with them can be found at the end of this volume.

Date(s)
The actual day or days during which the battle occurred. Most of the dates appear as provided in the U.S. War Department’s The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 70 Volumes in 128, Washington, DC: The Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.

Principal Commanders
The rank and names of the military commanders for both sides. When more than one individual commanded during a battle, all names are provided. Most of the principal commanders can be found in the U.S. War Department’s Official Records.

Forces Engaged
In most summaries, the particular company, regiment, brigade, division, corps, army, garrison, detachment, or ship. Some summaries, however, indicate the number of troops involved. In both cases, the purpose is to provide an idea of the size of the engagement. Most of the forces engaged were found in the U.S. War Department’s Official Records.

Estimated Casualties
No source exists, either in print or in manuscript, that provides casualty figures for all Civil War battles or even for the 384 principal battles that the CWSAC studied. Some of the casualty figures for the 384 principal battles are unknown; in some instances reliable figures are available for one of the combatants but not for the other. Few casualty figures are definitive; sources often differ in their figures. A variety of sources, both official and commercial, printed and in manuscript, were consulted. All casualty figures were subjected to historical analysis before inclusion in the summaries.
A partial list of sources follows.
Dyer, Frederick. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion . .. Des Moines, IA: Dyer Publishing Company, 1908.
Fox, William F. Regimental Losses in the American Civil War 1861-1865: A Treatise on the Extent and Nature of the Mortuary Losses in the United States . . . Albany, NY: Albany Publishing Company,1889.
Johnson, Robert U., and Clarence C. Buell, eds. Battles and Leaders of the Civil War . . . .4 Volumes. New York: The Century Company, 1887-88.
Livermore, Thomas L.Numbers and Losses in the Civil War in America 1861-65. Reprint. Dayton, OH: Morningside House, Inc., 1986.
U.S. Surgeon General’s Office. Chronological Summary of Engagements and Battles [Civil War]. Washington, DC: The Government Printing Office, 1873.
U.S. War Department. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. 70 Volumes in 128. Washington, DC: The Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.

Description
A historical account or summary of the battle. A variety of sources, both general and specific, published and in manuscript, were consulted in the preparation of these accounts. The general sources consulted include those listed below. More specific published and manuscript sources were also consulted and analyzed.
The Conservation Fund. The Civil War Battlefield Guide. Edited by Frances H. Kennedy. Boston, MA:

Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990.
Great Battles of the Civil War. By the editors of Civil War Times Illustrated. New York: Gallery Books, 1984.
Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War. Edited by Patricia L. Faust. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1986.
Johnson, Robert U., and Clarence C. Buell, eds. Battles and Leaders of the Civil War . . . .4 Volumes. New York: The Century Company, 1887-88.
Long, E.B., compiler. The Civil War Day by Day: An Almanac 1861-1865. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1971.
U.S. National Archives. A Guide-Index to the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Edited and compiled by Dallas Irvine, et al. Washington, DC: The Government Printing Office, 1968-1980.
U.S. Naval History Division. Civil War Naval Chronology, 1861-1865. Washington, DC: The Government Printing Office, 1971.
U.S. Navy Department. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. Multi volumes. Washington, DC: The Government Printing Office, 1894-1927.
U.S. War Department. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. 70 Volumes in 128. Washington, DC: The Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.

Result(s)
The victor in the battle, if the outcome was definitive. If the outcome was other than definitive, that information is provided.

http://www2.cr.nps.gov/abpp/battles/tvii.htm

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