Washington, D.C. Patients in Ward K of Armory Square
The only thing that caused more deaths than combat during the Civil War was disease.
Ideas of modern medicine had not yet been discovered at the time of the Civil War, so conditions were terrible for the health of the soldiers. Camp sites were usually filthy, and men's clothes became filled with lice, fleas, and ticks.
Dirty water and lack of sewers also contributed to many diseases and illness being spread through the troops. Soldiers in both armies also ate a very poor diet of raw meat, hardtack, or biscuits.
All of these conditions contributed to the poor health of the soldiers. More men died from disease than combat in the Civil War.
Finally, when soldiers were injured, the instruments used for surgery were usually not clean (or sterile), conditions were unsanitary, and the doctors did not know how to prevent infection. Many men's limbs were simply amputated.
As a result, thousands of soldiers died later from injuries sustained on the battlefield.
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