Illness in the Ranks

mssEC_02_208 - scurvy and typhoid fever cropped.jpg

Middleton Va 26  June 25 “62
For EMS Circumstances had brought the
troops now with me into a
state of incipient scurvy and their
enfeebled condition induced much illness more
especially of Typhoid fever There is
consequently a disproportionate number of ill
and unavailable men I have taken
up here a very strong and
healthy position and am establishing a
good camp Hospital for sick and
wounded The weather is favorable Good
and sufficient provision and other supplies
and our men will rapidly recover
health and strength I am calling
in all detachments Gathering up convalescents
and absentees and if it can
be so managed that we are
here some little time in this
way the numberical strength of the
corps and more especially its effective
strength will be greatly increased Arctic

Sickness is always an issue that military commanders must contend with, as this telegram from late June, 1862, amply demonstrates. Scurvy had already weakened the men, leaving them susceptible to typhoid fever. The telegram is signed by “Arctic”, one of the very few pieces of code in the whole of ledger 2, but may refer to General Banks, who sent a message from the same place a few days later.

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