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cannonfodder
02-17-2007, 06:53 PM
Please bear with me- this is my 1st post!
While reading a book about the 44th Mass. the author describes the census he took of his company (F). The men were measured in their stockings, which accounts for the average being somewhat below standard. All men are set down as "drinking" who are not conscientiously opposed to the use of the ardent spirit in any form and under all circumstances.
Of 98 officers and privates, in politics, 65 were straight republicans, 14 conservative republicans, 3 radical republicans, 11 union, 3 democrats, 1 abolitionist and 1 undecided.
32 worship as unitarian, 21 are congregationalist, 19 methodist, 14 episcopal, 8 as baptist and 4 as universalist.
The average age of the company is 32 years 7 months. The youngest being 17 and the oldest is 40 years old.
The average height is 5 ft 7 in. The shortest man being 5 ft 3 in and the tallest is 6 ft 1 inch
The average weight is 137 lbs with the heaviest at 165 and the lightest at 115 lbs.
57 smoke and 44 do not. There are 6 married men and 3 widowed and 16 engaged.
Occupations are as follows- 37 merchants, 4 clergymen, 8 lawyers, 5 farmers, 4 literateurs, 2 physicians, 2 engineers, 2 printers, 2 cabinetmakers, 2 machinists, 2 musisians, and 1 of each of the the following- chemist, soldier, shoemaker, manufacturer, provision dealer, banker, stone mason,blacksmith, sailmaker, tea broker, baker, druggist, expressman, jeweler, salesman, bookkeeper, and 10 are undecided.
There are also 16 graduates and undergrads, all from Harvard.
Bear in mind, this was a 9 month regiment, mostly from Boston mustered in July 1862 and mustered out June 1863

Hank Trent
02-18-2007, 09:54 AM
The average age of the company is 32 years 7 months. The youngest being 17 and the oldest is 40 years old. The average height is 5 ft 7 in. The shortest man being 5 ft 3 in and the tallest is 6 ft 1 inch
The average weight is 137 lbs with the heaviest at 165 and the lightest at 115 lbs.
57 smoke and 44 do not. There are 6 married men and 3 widowed and 16 engaged.


Great set of statistics! Is the average age really 32? Not that that's surprising in itself if the recruiting was targeted at older men, but only nine of 98 were ever married? That seems reasonable for a usual average age in the low 20s since many would be below normal marrying age, but odd for so many thirty-somethings. Unless unmarried men tended to enlist and married men stayed home.

Concerning the weights, most of the men seem to be in occupations not requiring physical labor, so the excuse for not being overweight because "they did more hard physical work back then" doesn't seem to apply in this case, unless the weights were taken after they'd been in the army a while.

For what it's worth, the recently-posted photo of the 34th Mass here: http://www.authentic-campaigner.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9263 (different regiment, I know, but still) shows a group of men that look like they'd average about that weight for their height.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

cannonfodder
02-18-2007, 10:58 AM
What I found surprising was the weight of the soldiers. These were well fed, semi-upper class citizens of Boston. The author had written this census 3 months after being mustered in. I wonder what some half starved confederate farmer from South Carolina weighed?
As far as age, My great-great-great uncle Pvt. John B. Newcomb ( KIA battle of Maryes Heights, May 3rd, 1863) was 19 when he enlisted with the Mass. 7th in 1861.(3 yr regiment) My great great grandfather Pvt. Otis Litchfield was 34 when he volunteered for the 43rd Mass. in 1862.(9 mo. regiment)
I guess alot of the gung ho kids got scooped up early in the war whereas the old men went with the 9 month units later.

ElizabethClark
02-18-2007, 11:11 AM
Moderating Bonnet On:

Mr Fodder, please remember to configure your automatic signature file so your first and last names show up in your postings. If you need help with it, shoot me a private message and I'll be glad to assist.

Mod Bonnet OFF.

:)

Thanks for sharing a great set of information about a specific group of men!

Curt Schmidt
02-18-2007, 06:52 PM
Hallo!

Just a set of "other numbers" form an old post:

From: Fox’s Regimental Losses

The muster-rolls are provided with a column in which is entered the age of each recruit. From the figures in this column it appears that the mean age of all the soldiers was 25 years. When classed by ages, the largest class is that of 18 years, from which the classes decrease regularly to that of 45 years, beyond which age no enlistment was received. Of 1,012,273 recorded ages taken from the rolls, there were 133,475 at 18 years; 90,215 at 19 years, and so on. The number at 25 years of age was 46,626; and, at 44 years, 16,070.
The muster-rolls also state the nativities of the men; from which it appears that, in round numbers, out of 2,000,000 men, three-fourths were native Americans. Of the 500,000 soldiers of foreign birth, Germany furnished 175,000; Ireland, 150,000; England, 50,000; British America, 50,000; other countries, 75,000.
The average height of the American soldiers, as shown by the records of the recruiting officers, was 5 feet 8 1/4 inches. The men from Maine, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Kentucky, were slightly above this figure. The West Virginians averaged 5 feet 9 inches in height. The general average would have been greater had it not included the measurements of recruits from 17 to 20 years of age, who evidently had not attained their full stature when their measurement was recorded. Out of about 1,000,000 recorded heights of soldiers there were 3,613 who were over 6 feet 3 inches, and among them were some who were over 7 feet.(+)By selecting from the whole Army, there could have been formed regiments and brigades of tall men which would have surpassed the famous giant-guards of Frederick the Great.
But tall men proved to be poor material for a long, toilsome campaign. When, after a hard, forced march, the captain looked over his company at nightfall to see how many men he had with him, the "ponies" who trudged along at the tail of the company were generally all there; it was the head end of the company that was thinned out.
The records of the weights of the soldiers are incomplete; but, such as they are, they indicate that the average weight was 143 1/2 pounds.
The descriptive lists show also the color of hair, from which it appears that 13 per cent. of the soldiers had black hair; 25 per cent. had dark hair; 30 per cent., brown hair; 24 per cent., light; 4 per cent., sandy; 3 per cent., red; and 1 per cent., gray hair.
Also, that as to color of their eyes, 45 per cent. were blue; 24 per cent. were gray; 13 per cent. were hazel; 10 per cent were dark; and 8 per cent were black.
Also, that in complexion, 60 per cent. were light; 33 per cent. were dark; and 7 per cent. were medium.
From statements as to occupation, it appears that 48 per cent. were farmers; 24 per cent. were mechanics; 16 per cent. were laborers; 5 per cent. were in commercial pursuits; 3 per cent. were professional men; 4 per cent. were of miscellaneous vocations.

Yes, a key point is that one WILL find regional, national, ethnic type differences then as now.
And there are also some somewhat unique "regimental" differences sometimes found. Such as the qages found in Hiram Berdan's 1st U.S.S.S. were a little older than what would be expected which some believed was due to more older (read as 30's and 40's) men being more "settled" and "established" to have time to devote to marksmanship, target shooting, and practice in order to better meet the Sharpshooters shooting performance entrance "test."

Curt

Annette Bethke
05-17-2007, 11:26 PM
I just found an interesting quote regarding the Second Texas as they mustered out of Austin Texas. All the Days of My Life, by Amelia E Barr, 1913, page 228.

What a sight it was! Not one man in it weighted under one hundred and eighty pounds, and the majority made the scale beam kick at two hundred pounds. They were all very tall, wiry men, with not one ounce of superfluous flesh on their big frames...

Matt Woodburn
05-18-2007, 02:46 PM
OK, then based on the two posts above that cite height and weight averages (not the Texans), we find the average weight per inch of height to be 2.04 and 2.10 which yeilds and average of 2.07 pounds per inch of height. Let's see what that looks like:

5' 4" (64") 132.5 lbs.
5' 5" 134.6
5' 6" 136.6
5' 7" 138.7
5' 8" 140.8
5' 9" 142.8
5' 10" 144.9
5' 11" 147.0
6' 0" 149.0
6' 1" 151.1
6' 2" 153.2
6' 3" 155.3
6' 4" 157.3
6' 5" 159.4

OK, unless you're a Texan, if you weigh more than 160 pounds, you're a fatass by Civil War soldier standards. And I thought getting my weight to 155 at 5' 9" was going to be good. Humph! There was a post on the AC years ago, prior to one of the crashes, that had height and weight averages out of a hospital in the south that yielded 2.25 pounds per inch of height. See all of you out jogging!

Stef5735
05-19-2007, 10:17 AM
Though no data on weights, this info follows up on Cannonfodder's stats for a nine month unit from Boston for the period July 1862 to June 1863. Here are stats from my ancestor's nine month unit from Baltimore, also a port town; the unit was formed in November 1862 of draftees:

84 soldiers' places of birth with 1 no data given:
61% of unit born Maryland, 30% born Baltimore Co./City
7 counties in Maryland, with Baltimore County/ City one category and the most soldiers represented
6 states: Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island
7 countries: US, Canada, England, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, New Foundland

Occupations:
1 Not Given, hatter 1, powder maker 1, wheelwright 4, laborer 13, butcher 1, hardware merchant 1, jewelry maker 1, merchant 1, machinist 1, carpenter 6, blacksmith 7, tinner 2, clerk 4, painter 1, bricklayer 2, paper maker 2, tanner 1, varnisher 1, farmer 19, shoemaker 2, brickmaker 1, stonemason 4, weaver 2, barber 1, druggist 2, sailor 1, and millwright 1.

My ancestor was age 22 and 5 feet 8 3/4 inches tall. He was a shoemaker born in Maryland; the other shoemaker in the above data was age 21 and born in Ireland (he later deserted). Later, a third shoemaker age 45 and born in Germany joined the unit. Since shoe wear and tear was significant, I picture my ancestor and these two other men sitting in camp mending shoes.

Later, my ancestor enlisted in a 3 month company that was also formed in Baltimore. The captain was a German-born saloon keeper who prior to the war made wooden venetian blinds. Also in the company were box makers.

My husband's ancestor and his brother also enlisted in a port town-- Mobile, AL. Though I don't have comprehensive stats on their unit, it included foreign-born soldiers.

Still off the topic of weights, I thought it was interesting how Cannonfodder's original set of data indicates what portion of the unit smoked.

Lone Guard
05-20-2007, 05:52 PM
OK, then based on the two posts above that cite height and weight averages (not the Texans), we find the average weight per inch of height to be 2.04 and 2.10 which yeilds and average of 2.07 pounds per inch of height. Let's see what that looks like:


6' 2" 153.2

OK, unless you're a Texan, if you weigh more than 160 pounds, you're a fatass by Civil War soldier standards. And I thought getting my weight to 155 at 5' 9" was going to be good. Humph! There was a post on the AC years ago, prior to one of the crashes, that had height and weight averages out of a hospital in the south that yielded 2.25 pounds per inch of height. See all of you out jogging!

Uh oh..... :(

Hank Trent
05-20-2007, 07:49 PM
Let's see what that looks like:

To try to put those weights in perspective... In the middle part of the range, those are normal weights, not underweight, according to modern online calculators like this one http://www.halls.md/body-mass-index/av.htm

However, according to that page, a 5'7" man weighing 139 lbs. would be smaller than 73% of modern 20-somethings, and smaller than 91% of modern 40-somethings. So a person of that weight today would indeed look thin, compared to average, even if he wasn't, health-wise.

For a visual picture, Matt, remember "Fitz" at Immortal 600? That was my size.

For the higher heights, those weights start getting underweight, but if we go by the original post and assume the tallest man at 6'1" was also the heaviest at 165 lbs., he's still within normal range on that calculator, though 75% of modern Americans in their 20s would weigh more than him.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

rdykes
09-08-2009, 09:53 PM
I know this thread is old but I'm new to the forum and have been trying to read up on alot of previously discussed topics. I'm 6'2" and weigh 225 which means I'm huge and need to lose some weight. Any good civil war diets out there besides eating hardtack and marching 20 miles a day?

Auld Pelty
09-08-2009, 11:36 PM
I know this thread is old but I'm new to the forum and have been trying to read up on alot of previously discussed topics. I'm 6'2" and weigh 225 which means I'm huge and need to lose some weight. Any good civil war diets out there besides eating hardtack and marching 20 miles a day?

Not for the first 6 weeks. ;)

sf46
09-08-2009, 11:40 PM
To try to put those weights in perspective... In the middle part of the range, those are normal weights, not underweight, according to modern online calculators like this one http://www.halls.md/body-mass-index/av.htm

However, according to that page, a 5'7" man weighing 139 lbs. would be smaller than 73% of modern 20-somethings, and smaller than 91% of modern 40-somethings. So a person of that weight today would indeed look thin, compared to average, even if he wasn't, health-wise.

For a visual picture, Matt, remember "Fitz" at Immortal 600? That was my size.

For the higher heights, those weights start getting underweight, but if we go by the original post and assume the tallest man at 6'1" was also the heaviest at 165 lbs., he's still within normal range on that calculator, though 75% of modern Americans in their 20s would weigh more than him.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

Do you think some of this could be attributed to diet? Now I'm not saying that the average American these days is exactly healthy in trms of diet, but a lot of those height/weights from the unit surveys seem under weight and unhealthy. I think the average American these days cold be healthier because of better access to healthier diets, than the average man's access to those same foods back in the day.

Clsinclair
09-09-2009, 08:12 AM
Following are the ages of my ancestors when they entered service:

John Sinclair ggg - 54 and 58 when paroled
James Sinclair gg- 21 (son of John)
John Smith Crenshaw ggg - 43 - Killed at age of 46
Burrell Hancock ggg - 35 paroled at age of 39
Henry Hancock gg - 15 - (son of Burrell and in company of 16 year olds)
Albert Stack ggg - 42 - Killed at the age of 45, height was 5'10"
William Walker ggg - 45
William Copeland ggg - 41 - Killed at age of 43
John Prescott ggg - 44 - Killed at age of 47

It only makes sense that these men were fit and weigh much less than we do. Everything was manual and and they did physical labor every day. Of my ancestors that survived the war all lived to be in their 80's.

Sgt Scotti
09-09-2009, 12:28 PM
I think there is something else to think about; diet wise, if your trying to lose some weight or justify our ancestors' skinniness. I believe this is pretty easy to accomplish but thats just me. Whether these men were at home on the farm or campaigning through the many wildernesses of the south what was their fluid intake like? Im pretty sure they didnt have freshly squeezed tropicana, or V8, or a "Diet" Coke with their morning cigarette. Water was about it. Maybe a fresh glass of milk here and there, and a cup of coffee in the morning, and I dont mean a quadruple mocha choco late. Try going for about 2 weeks doing nothing but drinking water, even a cup of black coffee in the morning. Just watch the weight you will drop and keep off if you stay with this routine.
Obviously there is exceptions to every rule; liquor, juices, etc were available. But to the average male from the country or small towns I wouldnt think it was that big.

lojafan
09-10-2009, 01:17 AM
According to these posts, I need to do a few extra sit-ups and skip that second helping along with dessert!

Cove Rebel
09-30-2009, 11:49 AM
To get me to these weights I'd have to spend a month in Andersonville! Holy cow I can only dream of being 155 lbs again! But oh what a nice dream!

talkToTheHat
10-01-2009, 08:20 PM
Be very careful making calculations like weight per inch, that doesn't work, Taller people are wider and deeper, not just stretched upwards.

Body Mass Index provides a relationship between weight and height for the same body type, it's what the World Health Organisation use as an indication of obesity but remember it does not differentiate between muscle mass and fat.

In SI units (kilogrammes, metres)

BMI = Weight / (Height^2)

In pounds and inches

BMI = (Weight * 702) / (Height^2)

Our 5'7 137lb average comes in with a BMI of 21.5. The WHO thinks that below 19.5 is an indication of malnutrition and above 25 is an indication of obesity.

The following heights and weights correspond to a BMI of 21.5
Height Weight for BMI=21.5
5'4" 125.27
5'5" 129.21
5'6" 133.22
5'7" 137.29
5'8" 141.42
5'9" 145.61
5'10" 149.86
5'11" 154.17
6'2" 167.47
6'3" 172.03
6'4" 176.65
6'5" 181.33

This is less radical but still gives an indication of how wiry an average soldier must have been. Remember there would have been a natural variation in build, with BMIs ranging from maybe 15 to 30 following a roughly normal distribution (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normal_distribution).

A high BMI doesn't always imply fat, it can also mean high muscle mass, it should be noted that a large proportion of athletes have a body fat ratio of below 15% but a BMI of more than 25.

Childhood diet is the reason for increase in average height, with better vitamin content (Nikolai Lunin (1881) made the first key discoveries, chemical isolation of vitamins 1909-1941), and decreased incidences of overall food shortages.

This thesis is probably relevant to the matter of diet http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-05262005-122146/unrestricted/CivilWarDiet.pdf

I have to say I'm more than a bit worried about where this thread might be going, but if reenacting is your own reason for a fitness/weight-loss plan then by all means go ahead, but make sure your targets are realistic and safe.

508preach
10-04-2009, 10:40 PM
Well 3 months into the Army doesnt tell of their weight before they went in. My first 3 months in the military I lost 60 pounds. So at this point we have to take in that these men have lost some weight, and probably alot have lost a substantial amount. They were doing more strenuous work, they had a different diet than in the civilian world, and they were marching everywhere. If this census had been taken at the time of their enlistment I'd give at least a 20 pound difference in weight. Seeing as they were mostly from a higher class that is. MHO

jones56ga
10-14-2009, 03:18 PM
My 5xG. Uncle, A. O. Atkinson, was 21 when he enlisted in Cobbs legion in 61'. In the summer of 63' he writes home: " I am in good health, I suppose my weight to be 175 pounds now". He was right at six feet tall. Now I know he didn't have a bathroom scale on hand, but He could have made a pretty good guess.

As far as a diet, I started counting calories. I am 6'1" and so 2600 + or - per day is my magic number, and ive gone from 265lbs to 185lbs.

Prodical Reb
10-14-2009, 10:20 PM
OK, then based on the two posts above that cite height and weight averages (not the Texans), we find the average weight per inch of height to be 2.04 and 2.10 which yeilds and average of 2.07 pounds per inch of height. Let's see what that looks like:

5' 4" (64") 132.5 lbs.
5' 5" 134.6
5' 6" 136.6
5' 7" 138.7
5' 8" 140.8
5' 9" 142.8
5' 10" 144.9
5' 11" 147.0
6' 0" 149.0
6' 1" 151.1
6' 2" 153.2
6' 3" 155.3
6' 4" 157.3
6' 5" 159.4

OK, unless you're a Texan, if you weigh more than 160 pounds, you're a fatass by Civil War soldier standards. And I thought getting my weight to 155 at 5' 9" was going to be good. Humph! There was a post on the AC years ago, prior to one of the crashes, that had height and weight averages out of a hospital in the south that yielded 2.25 pounds per inch of height. See all of you out jogging!

I don't think that is so bad. Remember back all those years ago when I turned 16 and got my first drivers license; I was 5' 9" and weighed a scale tippin' 143 lbs. 6 years later when I joined the Army in 1987, I was 6' 0" and weighed 165 lbs and had a 28 inch waist in modern jeans. I'll never see that end of the curve again unless the end of civilization as we know it comes about and I'm left as a survivor!

Kyle O'Brien
05-15-2014, 02:01 PM
Sorry to necro an old post but I found this very interesting. Almost all other sources I have seen state the average size and weight of CW soldiers were 5.8 and 143 pounds. I'm 5.8 I have been running for the past 6 months with 140lbs being my goal which I hit 3 weeks ago (im now 138). This was a motivation for both personal reasons and so that I could look the part of a CW soldier in my appearence and not just my uniform.

hireddutchcutthroat
05-17-2014, 12:44 PM
Here is what I looked like at 19 years old 5'8" 135 pounds, occupation machinist. :cool:47152

Pvt Schnapps
05-18-2014, 07:22 AM
I've had some weight loss success this year by avoiding processed foods and cutting my drinking back from toxic to merely excessive.