Civil War Medicine Quiz: The People and Innovations That Changed Medicine

Albert B. Lowenfels, MD


May 21, 2015

Image courtesy of Library of Congress

An estimated 620,000 soldiers died during the Civil War, when deaths from the two armies are combined. About one fifth of all troops who fought in the war died—a surprisingly high figure. What is even more surprising is that two thirds of the deaths were from infection and/or disease rather than directly from battle field injuries. Camps were unsanitary, and the war took place before knowledge about germs and disease was available. Dysentery was a leading cause of death, as was typhoid fever, which caused about one fourth of disease-related deaths.[3]


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