Diseases During the Civil War Essay

Diseases During the Civil War Essay

Length: 3921 words (11.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

We are all aware of the tragedy that took place in our nation from 1861 to 1865. The Civil War resulted in needless, devastating deaths of thousands of soldiers. What we might not be aware of, however, is the number one killer throughout those years. More soldiers died from this single calamity than battle wounds or blood loss. The catastrophe that tragically affected more soldiers than any other element of the war was disease.

Diseases did not only affect the soldiers in a tremendous way. As I will discuss in greater detail further in this paper, diseases gave an advantage to the Northern side of the war, and this played a role in their victory. Additionally, the treatments and discoveries that were made as diseases were treated led to spillover effects that have changed certain aspects of our lives today, providing advances in the realm of medicine. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how diseases played a larger role in the Civil War than is generally known. Diseases did not affect the soldiers fighting for the Northern side and the Southern side in an equal fashion. In contrast, the Confederate soldiers were hindered much more deeply than the Union soldiers. This gave an advantage to the Union side.

Diseases played a role in the strength of the Union Army and the weakening of the Confederate Army, although it is impossible to say diseases alone were the cause of their victory. After realizing that diseases benefited the Union Army, one begins to wonder why. Why did the Union soldiers survive diseases more frequently that Confederates soldiers? Although that question is pressing and relevant, it is beyond the realm of this paper to thoroughly explain the answer. There were most certainly several factors that pla...

... middle of paper ...

...ed. We cannot find soldiers left on the battlefield and correctly treat their wounds with knowledge that is readily available. We cannot cure diseased men with vaccinations that are now commonly used. In short, the past has been done. What we can do, however, is search for a way to make some good out of this horrendous situation that altered our history. What better way can we honor soldiers who have had their lives taken by diseases than to use discoveries made to save the lives of others? We cannot allow the men whose lives were overcome by sicknesses to die in vain. Soldiers who lost their lives to diseases during the Civil War did not only die for their country, (what else did they die for?). Their tragic deaths have allowed the lives of humanity today to be improved. Diseases during the Civil War did indeed play a bigger role than is commonly recognized today.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Limitations in Civil War Medicine

- From 1861 to 1865, civil war broke loose and resulted in the many deaths of Americans. The blame for this tragedy is not due to the conflict alone, but due to the standards of medicine during the mid 1800s. Today we have the luxury of antibiotics and anesthetics to cure aliments and a much higher chance of surviving an injury or a common disease like malaria. Unfortunately, during the civil war, medical practitioners had to resort to primal methods in saving a civil war soldier’s life. Civil war soldiers lost their limbs and lives to injuries and diseases that would have been avoidable today....   [tags: american history, civil war]

Powerful Essays
1696 words (4.8 pages)

Women During The Civil War Essay

- In the advent of the Civil war in the year 1861, for the first time America witnessed a change dynamics of a War as women willingly joined the course in the fight alongside the men. In fact there are some women who even dressed up like men so that they could only take an active role in the battlefields. The Northern women (Women who fought for the Union) played the role enhancing the shipment of supplies to the troops who were fighting the war. They organized food stuffs which they distributed to the troop members....   [tags: American Civil War, Slavery in the United States]

Powerful Essays
831 words (2.4 pages)

Comparison of Medical Care During The American Civil War and Medical Care During World War I

- Medicine has developed so dramatically over the last century that it is difficult to imagine a world in which its many benefits did not exist. Even as humans manage to eradicate some diseases, a look at history reminds us that there was a time when these and other diseases were rampant, and good health was the exception rather than the norm. There are many comparable time periods that medicine was needed and was used. With each, there were drastic changes to medical procedures and medical rules....   [tags: korean war, vietnam war, battlefield medicine]

Powerful Essays
1469 words (4.2 pages)

The Civil War and Infectious Diseases Essay

- When the Civil War began in April 1861, people knew nothing about infections and what the cause of infections was. The monumental amount of wounded soldiers presented challenges for the naive medical field. A total of 620,000 soldiers died during the Civil War from combat, starvation, and from disease (Civil War Facts, 2014). For every soldier who died in combat, two others died of disease. The reason was due to unsanitary and filthy conditions, untrained and unprepared medical staff. Medical boards were approving inadequate students due to the demand of help needed to treat wounded soldiers....   [tags: mumps, measles and chickenpox]

Powerful Essays
1258 words (3.6 pages)

The Civil War Of The United States Essay

- The notion of civil rights was emphasized in the Fourteenth Amendment in the US Constitution: “States could not deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (Kelly, 2014). This Amendment followed the Thirteenth Amendment that has been ratified after the Civil war in 1865. The Thirteen Amendment made the existence of slavery became illegal, therefore the Act gave all the African-Americans freedom and equality. Furthermore, Fourteenth Amendment gave citizenship to the African-Americans in order to put them under protection of laws....   [tags: American Civil War, Slavery in the United States]

Powerful Essays
1335 words (3.8 pages)

The Battle Of The Civil War Essay

- In 1861, the backwoods of America, a soon to come war will evolve between the northern and southern states where the country will fell separation at its fullest. Where the newly developed country will fight itself after dealing with multiple wars, what can one more do. It turned out to be the bloodiest war in U.S. History. The main cause to the Civil War was that there was a disagreement between the free and slave states on where territories that are not states yet, if they should prohibit slavery in those areas....   [tags: Confederate States of America, American Civil War]

Powerful Essays
1687 words (4.8 pages)

Susie King Taylor And The Civil War Essay

- Susie King Taylor was an African American freed slave who made many contributions during the Civil War. Susie King Taylor is also the only African American women to publish a memoir explaining her experiences serving close to war as a nurse. (Georgia encyclopedia) She was born a slave but was educated secretly, being literate would allow her many opportunities. In 1862 she fled her hometown and landed on an island in Georgia that was occupied by the Union. Her previous education allowed her to organize a school in the town and she became the first black teacher for freed African American students in the South....   [tags: American Civil War, African American]

Powerful Essays
1276 words (3.6 pages)

Slavery During The Civil War Essay

- When something has been free in the past, you don’t necessarily want to pay for it now. So was the case for slavery. After the civil war ended, the labor of slave was lost and the South’s economy was destroyed. After watching this documentary, my perspective on slavery has opened up a lot more, and has made me realize, how we are still seeing modern day version of slavery here in the U.S. and around the world. The definition of slavery has increased in my books and I will never look at slavery the same way again....   [tags: Slavery, Black people, African American]

Powerful Essays
1603 words (4.6 pages)

Civil War Essays

- The Civil War was the fundamental event in America's historical realization. The war fixed two necessary questions which left it unclear by the revolution. The war all started because of rigid differences between the freemen and the slave states over the power of the national government to ban slavery in the regions that had not became states yet. The American Civil War was the biggest and by far the most vicious battle in the Western world between the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 and the beginning of World War I in 1914....   [tags: medicine,health, slaves]

Powerful Essays
1127 words (3.2 pages)

Medicine During the Civil War Essay

- Medicine During the Civil War 1861-1865 When Walt Whitman wrote that he believed the “real war” would never get into the books, this is the side he was talking about (Belferman 1996). Yet, it is important that we remember and recall the medical side of the conflict too, as horrible and terrifying as it was (Adams 1952). Long before doctors and people knew anything about bacteria and what caused disease was the time of Civil War medicine. Doctors during the Civil War (always referred to as “surgeons”) were incredibly unprepared....   [tags: essays research papers fc]

Powerful Essays
1780 words (5.1 pages)