A Brief Note On The American Civil War

1540 WordsJan 27, 20157 Pages
The American Civil War is the bloodiest war in American history, claiming the lives of 720,00 solider and an indeterminable number of civilians. But these four years were a larger battle for survival against a third unseen enemy: disease. A battle that took two out of three soldiers from disease; most commonly pneumonia, dysentery, typhoid, tuberculosis, smallpox and malaria. Malaria was a constant threat to humans in all places with infected mosquitos. As seen in a census map of 1874, before the discovery of malaria’s transmitting host mosquitos, in the marshy land of the coast and rivers of the South malaria caused 14 percent of the deaths. Most at the time believed in the miasma theory where malaria was caused by bad air and humors. This threat indiscriminately effected both the Union and Confederacy as they struggled to produce and utilize the one proven aid; Quinine. With its’ chills, fevers, nausea, diarrhea, profuse sweating and headaches malaria would quickly debilitate a solider and possible lead to his death. Quinine was a crucial factor in the fate of the Civil War from its production, to its implementation and its power over the soldiers, leaders and civilians. In the early 1600s, a new cure-all arrived in Europe introduced by the Jesuits. Made from Peruvian bark it could relieve the symptoms of malaria. However it fell into obscurity as the physicians preferred bloodletting and other ‘cures’. In the mid-1800s, France was the first to
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