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But did I read that right? The class started with 48 but ended with 10? Typo?
In response to teacher Andrew Gibson's comment during his address to the students that the 1st Minnesota suffered "...a devastating cost of 80 percent in casualties" during their defense of Cemetery Ridge July 2, 1863 at Gettysburg. While the figure of 82% casualties is engraved on the unit monument off South Hancock Avenue at Gettysburg, the figure has been a disputed item for many years. In 1982, Richard Meinhard of Winona State University in Winona, MN calculated that between 250 - 270 men were involved in the charge, with at most 173 killed or wounded, a casualty rate of between 64% and 69%. Still impressive numbers, but not near the 82% claimed on the monument. Also, while the bravery and gallantry of the 1st Minnesota is not in question, without the reinforcements sent in from the 82nd New York and the 15th Massachusetts (Worcester County) regiments to that spot on the battlefield, the Union line may have in fact fallen that day.
Editor: Hey Andy, thanks for the information. Authoritative numbers for casualties during the Civil War are hard to pin down, particularly since regiments were rarely fully manned after the first year. Certainly that and anecdotal history informed earlier calculations. I'll have to check out Meinhard's work.
I'm so pleased with the North Adams School system for supporting this unusual school. No matter what the size of the graduating class, the students benefited and I'm certain they will achieve their goals.