Hygene While on Campaign and Leeches

The Walking Dead

May 19, 2021
@Tom Elmore posted a thread on a soldier's hygiene and dirty clothes while on the Gettysburg campaign. It's one thing if we are talking about the farm fields of Maryland and Pennsylvania, but what about the Deep South like Mississippi and Louisiana? Dirty clothes present the same challenges, but now you have to add leeches to the equation. If not properly removed they will cause infection. They have a habit of entering certain orifices where they are hard to remove. @Tom Elmore or does anyone have any interesting accounts about soldier's and leeches?

Cuts from shaving can cause infection in these climatic conditions.

Speaking from first hand experience and having served in most parts of the World. Next to a hot meal, there is nothing like a hot shower. A bath is even better! Being able to put on a clean uniform even if it's not your own is an added bonus!

Tom Elmore

1st Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Jan 16, 2015
I have just one leech story in connection with Gettysburg:

(Mason Whiting Tyler, Recollections, 37th Massachusetts) 2 July, halted on banks of Rock Creek, the stream dammed for a small mill. Within a few minutes the soldiers had stripped off their clothing and hundreds of them were in the pond. The water was full of blood suckers, I never saw so many on any other occasion of my life. One or more was ornamenting every soldier as he emerged from the water.

Tyler is likely referring to the pond feeding McAllister's Mill, south-southeast of Spangler's Spring.