Diseases During the Civil War Essay

Diseases During the Civil War Essay

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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...


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...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.

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