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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Beware Unreliable Alabama Archives Figures

Recently, I've been seeking statistics on Confederate regiments to help me put into perspective the killed and mortally wounded in the 12th Virginia Infantry, the Petersburg regiment, compared with other units.  One place this has taken me is to the website of Alabama's archives, which states at http://www.archives.alabama.gov/referenc/alamilor/8thinf.html that the 8th Alabama lost 300 killed or mortally wounded of 1,377.  That the Alabama Archives express killed and dead of wounds exclusively in round numbers while giving unrounded totals of disease deaths, leads me to credit instead a recent history of the 8th Alabama indicating that the 8th lost 226 killed or dead of wounds out of 1,421 enrolled.  Linda L. Green, First, for the Duration:  The Story of the Eighth Alabama Infantry, C.S.A., (Westminster, Md., 2008), 201.  It appears that Ms. Green actually counted.  I have looked at the Alabama Archives for casualty figures on one regiment after another, and I have yet to see one which does not express killed or mortally wounded in round numbers.  The figures from the Alabama Archives are not trustworthy.  The 8th Alabama was a great regiment and its losses require no exaggeration.