For every man killed in battle, two died of illness or disease. Bad drinking water and food, poor clothing and mosquitoes were a major cause of illness. Caring for the sick and wounded during the Civil War was a major problem.
Most doctors didn't understand the need to wash their hands to prevent infections. Often the injured died from infections, rather than from the wound itself. Medicine was also very primitive. The only treatment for a broken arm or leg was to amputate, or cut off the limb. Hospital care also left much to be desired. Hospital care varied from buildings, churches, barns and tents to wagons in the middle of a battle field.
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|An ambulance wagon was often used in caring for, and transporting injured soldiers. This photo shows an ambulance crew demonstrating the removal of wounded soldiers from a battlefield (Source: Library of Congress).|
|Tents of the General Hospital at City Point, Virginia (Source: Library of Congress).|
|Photograph of Smith's Barm in Keedysville, Maryland, which was used as a hospital after the battle of Antietam (Source: Library of Congress).|