620,000 soldiers died during the Civil War. Two thirds died of disease, not wounds.
Disease has been a major theme in the blog thus far. How many of you have had dysentery, typhoid fever, ague, yellow fever, malaria, scurvy, pneumonia, tuberculosis, smallpox, chicken pox, scarlet fever, measles, mumps, or whooping cough? Most of these illnesses are almost unheard of today in the Western world because of hygiene and vaccinations. The link below explains several things: why diseases were so prevalent, the types of illnesses soldiers were exposed to, and what an ambulance of that day was like. Parham referred to a Yankee Ambulance in his second and third letters.
In his third letter, Parham wrote that several…have died within the last week or two, most of them having been wounded in the late battle. The timing of this letter and the unit’s history indicates the late battle was likely the First Battle of Manassas (also known as Bull Run by the Union) which took place just 19 days before his enlistment. The gruesome and archaic methods for medical care of the wounded are described in great detail in this link.