Sample Paper on Affects of Malaria on the Confederate Army 1861-1865

Impact of Malaria

The history of the Confederate Army of 1861-1865 reveals that Malaria contributed to its weakness. This took place during the reign of President Jefferson Davis who unfortunately lost his wife in their three-year period of marriage due to malaria. The disease almost killed him at some point, and this made Davis reluctant to delegate duties leading to downfall of the army. According to historians, bad governance from the president was evident when he abandoned civil affairs and via his inability to get along with citizens. As a result, this also affected the army when the president ignored malaria conditions in the military causing deaths.

According to the US statistics, about 3 million individuals had joined the military during the course of the civil war. In contrast, before the battle, the US army had around 16, 000 soldiers. However, approximately 250,000 men never returned home and were in category of the 30 percent of white men aged 18 to 40 years in 1860 (Burke 59). Due to this situation, overwhelmed widows left the farm and joined their relative’s households. A section of the military’s wives became refugees and stayed in camps whereby they were invaded with malaria that contributed to their deaths. This spread of the disease at the camp gave majority of women freedom to evade marriage. Additionally, the rates of divorce became common because women were independent and self-sufficient.

In 1861, there was shutdown of cotton export and the import of produced goods. For instance, the supply of food that came overland was put to a halt. A large number of households were affected by inflation that arouse due to lack of food and insufficient medical supplies. As a result, widows and wives of the soldiers were hurt because of the inadequacy in the welfare system. In this condition, the military contributed to damage but most was caused by lack of   upkeep and repairs and deliberate use of resources. The military operations took place in 56 percent of the 645 counties that were in the nine confederate states (Hogan 98). In this era, the counties entailed a population of 63 percent white people while the rest 64 percent comprised of slaves.

Analyzing malaria disease and its effect to the confederate army, it is clear that twice as many soldiers died of the epidemic in contrast to the war related injuries that they encountered. The most dangerous signs of malaria that caused overstimulation among the military persons were rapid pulse, fever and flushed appearance. Unfortunately, majority of the soldiers who were chronically ill had already been weakened by exposure to the elements. Their health conditions deteriorated due to inadequate diet, persistent diarrhea, dehydration, mental and physical stress. According to physicians, malaria disease affected most soldiers because they camped in swampy regions that were invaded with mosquitoes. The effects of malaria were noticed during war times when it shattered infrastructure. Furthermore, this closed quartering of men, which compromised of the sanitary conditions that worsened the spread of disease among soldiers.

The impact of malaria is evident in each element of soldier’s life during the civil war and the complications that they faced. For instance, mosquitoes transmitted maladies and various infections that had a profound effect in the course of war. During the first two years of the war, participants of both side of the conflict came up with strategies and tactics to handle yellow fever and malaria. In 1863, the confederate army still lacked immune to malaria but solidly remained in the battle. At this time, the innumerable mosquito soldiers contributed a lot in the war by assisting other soldiers who were not immune to the disease to fight and avoid the infection. Furthermore, the blockage of the southern ports severely hindered the confederacy’s capability to supply food, clothes and medicine to soldiers and civilians. Another evident impact of malaria is that it spread through the army due to contaminated water and poor sanitation practices. It is also clear that hygiene and sanitation were taken for granted when it came to healthcare matters during this period.

As a result, the civil war disease condition did not improve especially when the camps lacked proper hygiene. For instance, during the war, surgery cleanliness was rare as surgeons used same tools on all patients without cleaning them. Malaria disease also spread in unhealthy environment whereby foul water contaminated with pure water subjecting soldiers to endure the dirty surrounding. The prevalent of malaria disease during the civil war killed approximately 30,000 soldiers out of the 3 million populations of individuals who contracted the disease (Klein 76).

The mobilization which occurred in four years of the war extended both to the north and the south affecting the far parts of the state that were divided into two. By the end of the battle, nearly 620,000 men had succumbed to death. Furthermore, a high number of causalities reflected how the northern and southern soldiers had suffered during the civil war. The outbreak of malaria disease devastated plenty of people within the country and affected their public life that they ought to spend in the future. The statistics of the 1861 to 1865 army also reveal that majority of the soldiers were single white men born in United States. Averagely, majority fell in the age category of 25 years and they could read, write and attend a protestant church (Burke 117). In camp life, maintaining hygiene was the greatest issue that was evident through poor diets and sanitation that caused diseases such as malaria. This unhealthy condition at the camp caused malaria and other diseases to be rampant.

The impact of malaria epidemic affected numerous companies in that before their soldiers fought the battle at least one third died due to the disease. This effect of the sickness was noted throughout the civil war when it claimed more lives than the war itself. Initially at the camps, soldiers were busy in preparation of the battles. Reports further indicate that between 1861 to 1865, doctors diagnosed over 1 million soldiers with malaria. The more an individual visited the south, the more he or she was vulnerable to the malaria infection. In the south, the season became worse during the summer and months of autumn.

During the American civil war, the effects of malaria upon the military campaigns could not be underestimated. As a result, these seasonal outbreaks of malaria had a great impact to the military operations. For instance, when the malaria infection season was at its peak, major offensives could not be initiated. This in turn affected operations of the union army in various areas of the confederacy. In 1860s, one of the treatment options for malaria was quinine. It was naturally extracted from the bark of the cinchona tree and became effective in preventing malaria symptoms. During the course of the war and malaria invasion, the union blockades hindered the supply of quinine. Conversely, suppliers who managed to get through the blockade especially the confederate soldiers hijacked the medicine for themselves rendering the rest to suffer.

This led to a negative impact among the civilians who incurred the terrible side effects of the disease when they lacked treatment. Furthermore, the impact of malaria to the confederate army affected largely the southerners who were forced to stay and face the disease outbreak because of travelling restrictions. Malaria was a killer disease during the civil war and this was clear when it took the lives of 2 out of 3 confederates (Hogan 125). The percentage of death caused by malaria when contrasted to other diseases remains unknown. This is because the disease was frequently misdiagnosed though statistics that indicate how malaria was responsible for the death of a full quarter of all servicemen.

As far as quinine assisted to ease malaria pain, it had side effects that ranged from cinchonism to rare death cases. Another impact of malaria to the confederate army of 1861 to 1865 was evident among medical practitioners. For instance, nurses and doctors never observed the fact that mosquitoes were insects that transmitted malaria. In that era, the poisonous gas and stagnant swamps were believed to contribute to malaria ailment. However, despite this, the camps of soldiers were positioned near such swamps that subjected them to the deadly fevers. This had a negative impact to the confederate army when it killed them in large numbers.

Throughout the civil war, malaria affected majority of commanders and their operations. They encountered daily problems of mustering an adequate number of healthy soldiers to participate in the battles. As a result, many soldiers who were affected by the disease delayed most campaigns and battles when they failed to attend. In this civil war that was fought from1861 to 1865, its impact revealed the survival of the independence in the confederacy. In January, 1861, about 34 states announced their succession from US by formulating the Confederate States of America. It was commonly referred to as the confederacy and it expanded to the 11 states. This is after four years when approximately 600,000 confederate and union soldiers died from the battle. Study reveals that there were about 1.5 million causalities during the civil war. This figure incorporates both the confederate and the union soldiers who were wounded, died of malaria disease whereby, the 2 percent belonged to the national population. This implies that during the civil war, almost 620, 000 soldiers were killed.

The number of individuals with wounds was 476,000 while 400, 000 were declared missing (Burke 89). Contrary to the thoughts of the majority, most deaths were caused by killer diseases such as malaria and were few cases whereby soldiers died in the battle. Malaria alone killed about 10, 000 soldiers and the less number of hospitals made most soldiers to suffer and succumb to death. By 1865, the union developed around 200 hospitals while the confederacy came up with about 100 hospitals. A section of the hospital buildings were located near warehouses, schools and residential areas. Despite such development, the rates of malaria still increased because the health centers were in a bad hygiene and were overcrowded. Statistics indicate that 75 percent of the soldiers who survived from the disease still incurred long-term effects due to poor medical care.




Works Cited

Burke, Don. Impact of Malaria on Confederate Army. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2011      Print.

Hogan, Lynn. Statistics on Malaria Prentice Hall: New Jersey (ISBN: 9780131585638), 2009.          Print.

Klein, Peter. The Civil War 1861-1865. London: University Press 2012, Print.