The Civil War was fought at the end of the middle Ages; therefore the Medical Corps was unqualified in all fields of medical care. Little was known about what caused disease, how to stop it from spreading, or how to cure it. Surgical techniques ranged from the tough to easy. Underqualified, understaffed, and undersupplied medical corps, who was often referred to as quacks and butchers by the press, took cared of the men in the Civil War. During this period a physician received minimal training.
They did not have the practical training which is require today and experience in was usually taught on the job. Health care during the civil war lead to many needless deaths and has been remember until today. Leo Rosenhouse, a writer for several publications, has written an article which depicts a horrid description of the medical conditions and struggles during the civil war. After a single year, 17,000 union soldiers have been wounded and the demand for surgeons was prominent. After a day of fighting, 700 union solders lay on the battlefield crying for aid only to see a handful of medics with little supplies to assist them.
The risk of surgery was tremendous, due to the high rates of post-surgical infection. Unsanitary hospitals and camps housed the wounded soldiers all in the same area, which was a breeding ground for infections and the spread of diseases. Soldiers from rural areas were not immune to childhood diseases such as mumps, measles and chickenpox’s. This would result in a camp having an outbreak of measles. Soldiers faced other various diseases such as malaria, camp itch, typhoid and dysentery.
They were more likely to get these diseases if the didn’t keep up with their hygiene, insects and vermin, exposure, lack of clothing or shoes, or poor intake of food and water. They had no knowledge of the causes of any diseases. There were too few surgeons to handle the huge numbers of sick and wounded. Many rural soldiers became sick because for the first time they were in a large group of people and had no immunity to diseases such as chickenpox, smallpox, scarlet fever, measles, mumps, and coughs (Jenny Goellnitz, Paragraph 3). These epidemics ran rampant through many units.
A soldier dies of typhoid fever and is lifted out of his bed. Throughout the Civil War, camps scenes like this occurred on both sides of the fight as soldiers faced death from campsite diseases. In fact, 221, 791 Union soldiers died from disease compared to 62, 916 deaths from action. Medical records from the Confederate Army do not provide this precise of a number, along with how many men died from a particular disease, but it is estimated that 160,000 men died from disease or wound infections. Soldiers suffered from diarrhea or dysentery the most, but typhoid, malaria, typhus, sexually transmitted diseases, and scurvy were rampant as well in the crowded camp settings.
Medical boards let extremely unqualified students practice medicine due to much needed help for wounded soldiers on the battlefield. “Some ten thousand surgeons served in the Union and about four thousand served in the Southern Confederacy (Cunningham 1958).” By far, the deadliest thing that faced the Civil War soldier was disease and infection. For every soldier who died in battle, two died of disease (Cunningham 1958). Among the long list of terminal and fatal diseases that plagued the battlefield as well as the operating table and hospitals were dysentery (a severe form of diarrhea which was very common among the soldiers), measles, small pox, malaria, pneumonia, and “camp itch” which was caused by skin disease and insects. Malaria was usually brought on by camping in damp areas, where mosquitos were prone to.
The election of Lincoln, secession of the southern states and the Confederate States of America Constitution set the stage for the bloodiest and saddest war in American history. Before the Civil War even began the nation was divided into four very distinct regions; Northeast, Northwest, Upper south and the Southwest. With two fundamentally different labor systems, slavery in the south and wage labor in the North, the political, economic and social changes across the nation would show the views of the North and the South. The civil war was based on the abolitionists' ideas of emancipation and liberation of slavery the North wanted the war in order to create a society without slavery. The North's aggression to control the south lead to the where were it was no longer tolerable for the South.
The institution of slavery had been in place since the first colonies were established in the Americas. Early in American history, when the Constitution of the United States was drafted, slavery was also part of the institution. The southern states wouldn’t have ratified the Cons if slavery were outlawed. The Constitution of the United States was held to be the most holy of documents regarding law. Yet even these “high principled people” and “educated and sophisticated hierarchs” that approved and created the constitution left grievous discrepancies that later cause a terribly bloody war.
This war was fought in the minds of great men like Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee and the end of the war was the beginning of a slavery free nation. The American Civil War was a horrible event in the history of the world which started from three main causes: slavery, disputes over states' rights, and because of the division which existed between the South and the North. April 12, 181 was a day that would forever live in the history of the United States. On this day, the Southern troops of the Confederate States fired the first shots of the American Civil War on Fort Sumter in Charleston, S.C. (World Book 614). Before this day, Americans had an abiding faith in the politics and the democratic ideals on which this new country was based.
“This Lincoln always publicly condemned the abolitionists who fought slavery by extra constitutional means – and condemned also the mobs who deprived them of their right of free speech and free press.” (Holfstadter, Lincoln and the Self-Made Myth) Other than that, the North had the upper hand in nearly all aspects that really mattered in times of war. With this information it is clear that without Lincoln’s conservative political stands a “Quick War” would have been much more realistic. Either way, the North had won the Civil War before it began. While the North thought about attacking and invading, the South thought about defending and causing attrition. As the Civil War came underway the South’s military, smaller than the North’s, would take heavy blows from the decisions of the Confederacy.