Civil War Soldiers Battle Smallpox


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Oct 17, 2012
Middle Tennessee
Civil War Soldiers Battle Smallpox
Fri, 06/09/2017 - 9:27am -- Frank Gilmore
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Dr. Jonathan O'Neal speaks on Civil War medicine at the Chesterfield County Museum.
Union and Confederate soldiers faced a common enemy: disease. Typhoid, measles, diarrhea and pneumonia were among the most common, but the most feared was smallpox. “Smallpox was a devastating disease. On average, three out of every 10 people who got it died,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes.

Death from disease was much greater for both armies at the beginning of the war, according to Dr. Jonathan O'Neal, a physician in Woodstock, Va., who speaks frequently on Civil War medicine. He recently made presentations for the Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia at the County Museum.