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|AS, read "The Civil War and the Limits of Destruction" by Mark Neely. It examines the exact question you are asking by comparing the Civil War to the Mexican War and the Indian Wars. Neely comes to the conclusion that the Civil War was actually less brutal than the American wars that immediately preceded and followed it. His explanation is that the Civil War was primarily fought by white protestants against white protestants and that the combatants accorded civility to their enemies that they did not to Mexican catholics and American Indians. I think he went a bit far (since I think that combatants in the Civil War felt much more deeply about the outcome Civil War than the others), but he does have a strong thesis. Hope that helps.