Re: Death on the Mississippi
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "slippymississippi" <
> --- In email@example.com, "josepharose" <josepharose@y...>Since they weren't in a bloody swamp I'm not surprised!
> > Mr. Keene:
> > I, unfortunately, don't remember the source which contained the
> > table of deaths due to illness and disease for the first three
> > months of 1863. What I do remember is that the AotP's rate was
> > quite low,
> > the AotC's somewhat higher than average,Since THEY weren't in a bloody swamp I'm not surprised!
> > and the AotT'sSince they WERE in a bloody swamp I'm not surprised!
> > much higher.
An unnamed, unremembered source and misused statistics do NOT, IMHO,
add up to an indictment of Grant. For one thing Grant wasn't there for
fun. He had orders to capture Vicksburg and was making an effort to
carry out those orders. Since Vicksburg was on the river, that's where
Grant had to be (unless you want to argue that he was incorrect to give
up the overland attempt?). And since the river in that region was
basically a big swamp, Grant had to be in the swamp. Given the poor
state of understanding of what caused diseases in the 1860's I find it
difficult to believe you would try to turn this statistic into yet
another rant on Grant!
Aside from the vagaries of your statements above, there is nothing here
to indicate that Grant was responsible for those deaths, unless you
want to make the argument he was using germ warfare against his own
But a lot of factors would have contributed, some avoidable others not.
For one thing, Grant's army at the time had a large proportion of new
recruits (you remember the guys Grant stole from that poor innocent
McClernand?), many of whom would have come from agricultural areas.
AFAIK farm boys were much more susceptible to contracting diseases, and
contracted more virulent forms of the disease, than their urban
buddies. This resulted from their lack of exposure to these diseases
because of the isolated nature of their lifestyles. Urban boys would
have been exposed more often and acquired some level of immunity.
So, we have a swampy, low lying area, perfect for breeding disease
carrying insect vectors; a pretty much naive population of hosts; and
crowded, probably not the most sanitary, camps. Gee I wonder how come
so many of General Grant's men are sick! But "by golly" Grant has much
to answer for!
I hardly think this extremely biased reporting of a partially
remembered statistic represents anything which implicates Grant. But
then again, I have no axes to grind.
> > I would like to see the breakdown by corps, as I think it likelyWhy would you make a statement like that? On what do you base your
> > that the XVI Corps had a lower rate than the rest of the AotT.
assumption that the XVI Corps had a lower rate?
>Actually, Slippy, it may well have. Swampy low lying areas are perfect
> I doubt that proximity to the river had any effect on morbidity and
for diseases spread by insect vectors, mostly because they are perfect
for the vectors (as you pointed out with your DDT comment). So I would
actually be surprised that the AotT didn't have the highest death by
disease rate throughout the early part of 1863, or for that matter
throughout the entire Vicksburg campaign (given the nature of the
ground over which the campaign was waged).
> The entire state of Mississippi was a malaria infestedThis is probably a true statement, but the major source would have been
> hellhole before the days of DDT.
the swampy areas around the river and it's tributaries. That's a
pretty large reservoir of disease carrying critters.
> Now, it's just a plain old hellhole. :PNo comment ;-)
- Thanks Dave.
Good points to ponder.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Dave Gorski <bigg@m...> wrote:
> >Good points. I was thinking that long-term encampments would have
> >better sanitary and shelter arrangements and the men would be
> >rested than encampents of men campaigning.
> Secretary Olmsted of the Sanitary Commission issued a
> "Circular to the Colonels of the Army," in which he stated
> that "It is well known that when a considerable body of men
> have been living together in camp a few weeks a peculiar
> subtle poison is generated..."
> Another factor was that many soldiers were from rural areas
> where they had not had exposure to common illnesses, and had
> not built up any immunities. Groups in garrison were exposed to
> and often died of childhood diseases.
> Often soldiers who were hospitalized for wounds, died of some
> disease that they had been exposed to while in the hospital,
> especially typhoid.
> Yet, another point is that a soldier on the move was likely to
> have had occasion to have fresh fruits and vegetables than the
> soldier stuck in camp for weeks on end. A better diet made
> for a healthier soldier.
> Regards, Dave Gorski