The Civil War in one spectacular chart

Lest you think complex infographics are a modern invention, numerous websites have resurrected a century-old chart with a mind-boggling amount of information on the Civil War.

Chart of the American Civil War
Click on the image for a closer look.

The Comparative Synoptical Chart Company submitted its creation to the Library of Congress back in 1897. You can still see the faint red stamp by the library’s Register of Copyrights dated Dec. 11, 1897. J. Kellick Bathurst compiled the information.

The so-called historical time chart notes that “this history of the Civil War is drawn to a time scale of months, and the location of all events is entirely governed by this scale.”

It is so densely packed with information that you could spend days poring over the details. Some of the things that jumped out at me: The war cost the federal government $3.4 billion and cost the Confederate government another $3.5 billion — and we’re talking about 19th century money. The cost to local governments in the Northern states was a further $735 million. Unfortunately, many Confederate records were lost, so there is no corresponding dollar amount for the cost to Southern states.

Chart of the American Civil War
Click on the image for a closer look.

And it was interesting to see that New York state contributed the most men to the federal army, followed by Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The chart is a marvel. I would love to know whether it found a wide audience back in 1897. Perhaps history teachers hung it on classroom walls as a sort of visual CliffsNotes guide for young scholars.

You can find an image of the full chart on Slate.com.

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