Civil War Part 2
This is the second half of our semester – no it will not kill you.
Above is a sketch of old Yellow Jack – a symbol for Yellow Fever. Unfortunately, during the Victorian Era no one realized that the mosquito, more specifically, the Aedes aegypti mosquito carried the virus. Any port feared Yellow Jack.
The same mosquito was also in the Bahamas – one port for blockade runners to trade cargo. A bite from an infected mosquito and the sailor could return home or to his next port of call, where other mosquitoes could bite him and transfer the disease to other unsuspecting people. This is one-way yellow fever spreads from city dock to the country-side.
Estimates vary, but as much as 1/3 of the population of a town could be decimated by the disease. The port of New Orleans had a yellow fever outbreak every year for over 30 years until a commander of the Union occupied town ordered it to be clean up. General Benjamin Butler could be credited with saving hundreds of lives that summer – if you survive yellow fever, you are immune, but there were many new souls in the area who had not been subjected to the disease. It is not the most favored way to die!
The point? If you are interested in yellow fever, please read The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, The Epidemic That Shaped Our History by Molly Caldwell Crosby. I had no idea about Benjamin Butler cleaning up New Orleans until reading this book. It is an extremely interesting read!
If dysentery, cholera, or other diseases are your interest, there are several books on the subject. Historians argue vehemently regarding the exact number, but most agree – for every soldier killed by a bullet, two died of disease.
However, we will persevere and carry on to week 11!