The Civil War - already considered the deadliest conflict in American history - in fact took a toll far more severe than previously estimated. That's what a new analysis of census data by Binghamton University historian J. David Hacker reveals. View a video clip on the University's YouTube site.
Hacker says the war's dead numbered about 750,000, an estimate that's 20 percent higher than the commonly cited figure of 620,000. His findings will be published in December in the journal Civil War History.
"The traditional estimate has become iconic," Hacker says. "It's been quoted for the last hundred years or more. If you go with that total for a minute - 620,000 - the number of men dying in the Civil War is more than in all other American wars from the American Revolution through the Korean War combined. And consider that the American population in 1860 was about 31 million people, about one-tenth the size it is today. If the war were fought today, the number of deaths would total 6.2 million."
The 620,000 estimate, though widely cited, is also widely understood to be flawed. Neither the Union nor the Confederacy kept standardized personnel records. And the traditional estimate of Confederate war dead - 258,000 - was based on incomplete battle reports and a crude guess of deaths from disease and other non-combat causes. Although it is impossible to catalogue the fate of each of the 3 million or more men who fought in the war from 1861 to 1865, some researchers have tried to re-count deaths in selected companies, regiments and areas. But Hacker says these attempts at a direct count will always miss people and therefore always underestimate deaths.
"There are also huge problems estimating mortality with census data," Hacker explains. "You can track the number of people of certain ages from one census to the next, and you can see how many are missing. But the potential problem with that is that each census undercounted people by some unknown amount, and an unknown number of people moved in and out of the country between censuses."
However, new data sets produced in the last 10 years or so, instead of giving the aggregate number of people in certain age groups, identify each person and his or her age, race and birthplace. Hacker realized that civilian deaths were so low relative to soldiers' deaths that he could compare the number of native-born men missing in the 1870 Census relative to the number of native-born women missing and produce an estimate from that.
Hacker looked at the ratio of male survival relative to female survival for each age group. He established a "normal" pattern in survival rates for men and women by looking at the numbers for 1850-60 and 1870-80. Then he compared the war decade, 1860-70, relative to the pattern.
His new estimate of Civil War deaths contains a wide margin: 650,000 to 850,000, with 750,000 as the central figure.
Pulitzer Prize-winner James McPherson, the preeminent living historian of the war, says he finds Hacker's estimate plausible. "Even if it might not be quite as high as 750,000, I have always been convinced that the consensus figure of 620,000 is too low, and especially that the figure of 260,000 Confederate dead is definitely too low," McPherson says. "My guess is that most of the difference between the estimate of 620,000 and Hacker's higher figure is the result of underreported Confederate deaths."
Like earlier estimates, Hacker's includes men who died in battle as well as soldiers who died as a result of poor conditions in military camps. "Roughly two out of three men who died in the war died from disease," Hacker says. "The war took men from all over the country and brought them all together into camps that became very filthy very quickly." Deaths resulted from diarrhea, dysentery, measles, typhoid and malaria, among other illnesses.
McPherson says the new figure should gain acceptance among historians of the era. "An accurate tally - or at least a reasonable estimate - is important in order to gauge the huge impact of the war on American society," he says. "Even if the number of war dead was 'only' 620,000, that still created a huge impact, especially in the South, and a figure of 750,000 makes that impact - and the demographic shadow it threw on the next two generations of Americans - just that much greater."Back to top
Students get first-hand lesson in Chinese business culture
By Steve Seepersaud
Last spring, some School of Management students learned how business is conducted in the world's largest emerging market. However, during a recent two-week stretch, the same group of students saw their classroom lessons play out in real time.
Xiujian "Jerry" Chen, a visiting assistant professor in SOM, took a group of 14 students to China in August, a trip that served as the culmination of his course "Doing Business in China: An Emerging Market or a Modern Country in the Making." The trip - with stays in Beijing, Tianjin and Xi'an - included visits to companies such as Bayer and Hewlett-Packard, where students had the opportunity to network with American and German expatriates serving in top-level management roles, and learn about the importance of the Chinese market in their global strategies.
In addition, Chen wanted students to get a macroeconomic perspective, seeing what China has done right in the last three decades. He says China has grown tremendously, and many people have been lifted out of poverty. However, because about 200 million people live with limited resources, maintaining a 10-percent annual growth rate is a priority for China. With all the success it has achieved, the nation has a number of economic challenges to deal with in the coming years.
"Low-cost labor doesn't exist in China anymore, because the labor cost increases by 20 percent every year," Chen says. "Chinese consumers want western brand names. And, even though these products are made in China, they're more expensive in China than in the United States. Also, China needs its own brand names. More patents need to be developed, and that will lead to a more sophisticated economy."
In the Beijing markets, students had a difficult time shopping, Chen says, because they had to acclimate themselves to local customs as well as weed out counterfeit goods.
"They were driven crazy by all of that," Chen says. "The students want a more predictable shopping experience. They had to constantly validate whether the products they were shopping for were authentic, and had a hard time trusting what they were buying." He says the fast-growing counterfeit economy in China shows that intellectual property protection still has a long way to go.
Melissa Wolkis, who graduated from SOM in May with a master's degree in accounting, says she learned a great deal during the trip.
"I had always heard about a developing country in classes or in the news, but I didn't fully understand what this meant until I visited China," says Wolkis. "Because of this, I have a completely different perspective on business operations in China, in the U.S. and in the world. I would like to travel to other emerging markets because of my experience on this trip."
"The culture in China is very different from anything I had ever seen, and I thought it was eye-opening to see the level of poverty that was so prevalent throughout the country," says Jessica Kikel, a graduate student in accounting from Northport, N.Y. "I know I personally came home with a greater appreciation for what I have here in America."
Daniel Harris, an accounting student from Staten Island, says he found the meals to be the most enjoyable and educational part of the China trip.
"Lunch and dinner were served at round tables, where everyone can easily interact in the conversation," Harris says. "One night, we ate dinner at a local family's residence. Sitting down and eating at their home, in their natural environment, hearing their stories and seeing how they live, was the most valuable experience for me."
Chen says that he plans to take SOM students to China again next summer, and the trip will include time in Shanghai, the commercial and financial center of China.
Computer-aided engineering lab opens
By Ashley Smith
The Sept. 22 opening of the new Computer-Aided Engineering Instructional Laboratory, equipped by a $25.9 million software gift from Siemens PLM Software, will give students in the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science one more tool in their repertoire to be successful in today's highly competitive, global environment.
The 1,100 square-foot teaching laboratory, located in the Engineering Building in the center of campus, is equipped with 20 thin client workstations, an instructor workstation and three flat screen televisions for projecting materials and presentations. The lab offers students – from freshmen to the doctoral level – experience with more than 30 software titles used in industry today and will enable them to develop, model and analyze solutions in a virtual environment.
"This lab is going to enhance the portfolio of our students," said Krishnaswami "Hari" Srihari, dean and distinguished professor of the Watson School. "It gives them access to the best and latest software, so whether they go to work or on to graduate school, they have the most recent tools to work with."
Watson School students are being introduced from year one to CAE software. In class and through projects and research, students will create and model objects such as hydraulic pistons − choosing the quality and type of material, from plastic to brass to titanium – and manipulate them on a three-dimensional axis. They will also create virtual environments to evaluate how a workplace can be made more efficient or safe for workers.
Srihari credited the collaborative effort of the faculty and staff in the Watson School, individuals across Binghamton University, and industry partner, Siemens, for bringing the lab to life, and for closing a critical instructional gap.
Through a special partnership between the University's divisions of External Affairs, Academic Affairs, and Administration, the Watson School was able to rehab space in the Engineering Building to house the laboratory. This in turn provided a home for the Siemens gift, a cornerstone of the University's Bold. Brillant. Binghamton comprehensive gifts campaign.
Hulas King, director of GO PLM & Global CR at Siemens and a 2009 recipient of the Watson School's Founders Award, spoke of the growing partnership between Binghamton University and Siemens.
"Each time I come back, I look at the campus and see the growth and the commitment," he said. "We all want to join in and do what we can for the students because they are the ones who are going to need to hit the ground running. And the technology that you're introducing is in some instances even better than what our clients are currently using."
University to host sexual homicide conference
By Gail Glover
The Office of Continuing Education & Outreach will hold the First Annual International Multidisciplinary Collaborative Conference on Violence Research and Evidence-Based Practice: Sexual Homicide, on Nov. 7 and 8, at the Holiday Inn Arena and Convention Center in downtown Binghamton.
Speakers include Michael Stone, author of The Anatomy of Evil and host of the Discovery Channel television series Most Evil: Mark Safarik, formerly of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit and host of the Cloo channel's upcoming crime series, Killer Instinct; Robert Morton of the FBI's National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, Behavioral Analysis Unit; Ann Burgess, an internationally recognized pioneer in the assessment and treatment of victims of trauma and abuse; Dallas Drake, co-founder of the Center for Homicide Research; and C. Gabrielle Salfati, director of the Investigative Psychology Research Unit.
The conference will provide an opportunity for professionals, faculty and students to learn from and collaborate with sexual homicide experts. This conference will be of special interest to criminologists, law enforcement, corrections officers, criminal law professionals, psychologists, psychiatrists, forensic nurses, forensic scientists, medical examiners, social workers, anthropologists and sociologists. Serving as a network forum for sexual homicide experts, the conference will also broaden research, teaching and practice opportunities.
Registration for the conference is $160 for general registration and $100 for law enforcement, as well as for Binghamton University students, faculty and staff. Registration includes breakfast and lunch both days. The deadline for registration is Nov. 1.
The conference is sponsored by the Department of Continuing Education at Binghamton University and is made possible, in part, by funding from the Academic Program and Faculty Development Fund.
Social work adds faculty member
By Eric Coker
Suk-Young Kang, assistant professor of social work, specializes in gerontology, social justice and Asian immigrant elder caregiving.
From Seoul, Korea, Kang received his undergraduate degree in social welfare from Seoul National University and his master's and doctorate from Columbia University.
He previously taught at Arizona State University and the University of Texas at Arlington.
At Binghamton University, Kang will teach Evaluation of Social Work Practice and Human Behavior in the Social Environment I.
New faculty member joins GSE
By Eric Coker
Loretta Mason-Williams, assistant professor of special education in the Graduate School of Education, previously taught at the University of Wisconsin-Osh Kosh.
She received her undergraduate degree in elementary education/special education from the University of Dayton and received her graduate degree in special education from the University of Maryland.
Mason-Williams specializes in the distribution of special education teachers; equity issues; and the economics of education.
At Binghamton, she will teach Special Education Content for Area Teachers. Mason-Williams enjoys running, reading and cooking.