What was the bloodiest war in American history? Most people with at least a little knowledge of history would quickly say that it was the Civil War (1861-65), and they would certainly be correct overall. In recently-updated numbers, it is thought that over 750,000 Americans died in the Civil War from battle wounds, diseases and other causes. In a single day at the battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, almost 27,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, and missing.
However, when historians go farther back in time and include colonial wars and look at casualties per capita, the correct answer would be the much-lesser known conflict known as "King Philip's War" (1675-76). While a significant two-point-five percent of the US population perished in the Civil War, five percent of New England's white settler population died during King Philip's War, during which 13 towns were destroyed and 600 dwellings were burned by the natives. A larger, indeterminate number of the native population also died in the war. A hundred thousand pounds, an enormous sum of money in those days, was expended by the colonies in defeating the Indians.
Throughout history, there have been men of war and men of peace, but few have actually had a war named after them. One of them was Pontiac, also known as Obwandiyag, an Odawa chief who left his mark on history by continuing the battle against the British after their official triumph during the French and Indian War. While modern historians question how important Pontiac's role was in shaping America's destiny, his leadership during Pontiac's War was seen at that time as important enough to warrant significant articles and even a few 18th century books.
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