I don't like math. Math was the reason it took me so long to finish my undergraduate degree. However, I find myself doing a lot of number crunching as I work on books - how many soldiers came from a township, how many died, ages, etc. I guess this makes my books better. But remember, the next time you glance over a couple of sentences with numbers and the material interests you, it took several days for me to string those two or three sentences together.
For the past week, I've been working on when and how men from the Branch-Lane brigade died while being prisoners of war. Those captured in 1862 at New Bern or Hanover Court House were most likely to die of typhoid. Those captured in 1863 at Gettysburg or later, after the prisoner cartel exchange came to a crashing close, were most likely to died of chronic diarrhea at first, and then as we get into the winter months, of pneumonia. Added to this were a few cases of smallpox, heart disease, pleurisy, and even scurvy. Of those incarcerated, 5% died of typhoid, 39% of chronic diarrhea, and 15% of pneumonia.
What really bothers me are those who died as prisoners of war after the war "ended." If I look at the date that Lee surrendered - April 9 (Yes, I know, not really the end of the war), I find forty men who died of some type of illness of disease. Sad.
|Confederate POWs at Fairfax, Virginia. (Library of Congress)|