Introduction to terms and definitions found throughout the encyclopedia.



The act of leaving one's military post with no intention to return. The North and South were each plagued by desertion throughout the Civil War, especially after long or bloody campaigns or battles.


A military unit of men larger than a regiment or brigade and smaller than a corps. During the Civil War a division equaled 3 brigades (12,000 - 15,000 men) in the Union Army, and 4 -5 brigades (16,000 - 30,000 men) in the Confederate Army. Divisions were usually commanded by a major or brigadier general.


A debilitating intestinal disease fostered by poor sanitary conditions, which killed thousands of soldiers and affected the outcome of several battles during the Civil War.

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Ohio Civil War Central: An Encyclopedia of the American Civil War