North Carolina's claim that it lost the most men during the Civil War is getting a recount from a state historian who doubts the accuracy of the accepted, 144-year-old estimate.
"The time has come to get it right," said Josh Howard, a research historian with the Office of Archives and History in Raleigh. "Nobody has gone through man by man looking for the deaths."
Howard is reviewing the military records of every Tar Heel who served in the 1861-65 conflict, as the state prepares to mark its sesquicentennial, The News & Record of Greensboro reported Monday.
Since shortly after the war ended, North Carolina has boasted that it sacrificed more men to the Confederate cause than any other state, at 40,275. That's more than twice the death toll of South Carolina, where the war's first shots were fired. It suffered the second-highest toll at 17,682.
"This has sort of been the North Carolina badge of honor," says Keith Hardison, director of the Division of State Historic Sites and Properties. It was "held out as gospel, and it may be gospel. If it is, we need to have the figures to back it up. If it is not, we need to correct it."