The daily struggles and the mundane details of Civil War soldier life allow us to relate to (and learn from) these men across a span of 150 years.
The risk of falling ill was highest for new recruits, with each passing year in service affording growing immunity. Common viruses and infections included typhoid fever, malaria, pneumonia, tuberculosis, pox (both small and chicken), scarlet fever, measles, mumps and whooping cough.
Camp provided a soldier’s first test of survival, especially for men from rural precincts. A Civil War-era encampment was not known for its wide-open spaces and fresh air. It took little time for an army to alter a landscape by the sheer mass of its presence. Verdant pastures became a muddy mess in no time under the feet of thousands of soldiers and horses. With little understanding of sanitation, camps were notoriously nasty abodes; lice were rampant, and dysentery, often caused…
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