Of all the states that elected to secede during the American Civil War, which one had the largest number of citizens who actually fought for the Confederacy? I would also be interested if anyone could find which state had the largest number of casualties.
One would think that the answer was Virginia (the most populous Confederate state), but the answer apparently was North Carolina on both counts (contribution and casualties).
"Which Confederate state supplied the most troops" and "fought for the Confederacy" are slightly different questions. Tennessee actually supplied the second largest total of troops--more than North Carolina--from any Confederate state. But more than 30,000 of those fought on the Union side. (And not including 20,000 African-Americans.)
An issue which may be particular to East Tennessee is that many men served both sides. In my research on Hawkins County, Tennessee, I have so far found that nearly 8% of the men who served in Confederate regiments at first later served in Union regiments. While a few joined US Volunteer regiments for frontier duty, most deserted their Confederate TN regiment and enlisted in a Union TN regiment.
Just to back up Wladimir's post of the inaccuracy of the numbers. Josh Howard a North Carolina Historian stated in this article
North Carolina is only believed to have sacrificed the most men to the war. The article linked above is from 2010 where he set out to figure out if this was true or not. However as of now he has completed a study that attempts to put the myth to rest.
After a year+ of work it looks like he came to a conclusion. He states that the North Carolina death toll would be closer to 32000-35000. Also when taking into account the inaccuracy of other military records from other states it looks like North Carolina still comes out on top.
From this article
He also concludes that:
Extra Interesting Info:
He did debunk the myth that the first casuality for the south was that of soldier from North Carolina.
As far as Union states go, this table seems to provide accurate information. However, the info on Confederate army is very incomplete. You can find statements that North Carolina supplied the most soldiers (125,000) to the Confederate army all over the Internet. The original source seems to be a speech from 1904 by Hon. Theodore F. Davidson in Raleigh:
Given the nature of this speech, it is probably not the most reliable source of information - and it doesn't actually claim directly that North Carolina supplied more soldiers than any other state. In fact, if you search hard enough you will also find statements about Tennessee and Texas as the states that contributed the most soldiers to the Confederate army (not backed by numbers). For comparison one would need to at least look at the number of soldiers supplied by Virginia but that number is very hard to find.
I finally found the book The numerical strength of the Confederate army from 1912 which lists the stated numbers of enrollment into the Confederate army:
The book goes on to compare these numbers with the actual population and comes to the following conclusion:
For us this means: If you look at the "official" numbers then the state that supplied the most soldiers was Virginia. The sources claiming otherwise apparently took the statement "North Carolina supplied many soldiers" and turned it into a superlative. As to the real numbers: I'm not sure whether they are known by now, I couldn't find anything resembling a reliable source.