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View Full Version : Death Cause, 1865 - what is it?



Puma
12-26-2009, 10:59 PM
I'm working with a list of prisoners who died in Andersonville Prison. The list is in tiny print, so a bit hard to read. A number of them have the cause of death listed as what appears to be "scorbutus" (although sometimes the last two letters look more like ea). I have a scorbutic in my dictionary which gives two ideas - wasting away and scurvy. Any ideas on what the best definition for the ailment would be? Thanks for your help. Puma

MacAllister
12-26-2009, 11:06 PM
Yep. Scurvy. Close to 13K Union soldiers died in Andersonville (http://www.tngenweb.org/civilwar/cemeteries/dead1.html), and most of them died of things like diarrhea, typhus, dysentery, scurvy, and so on--from the desperately unsanitary conditions, poor nutrition, and lack of even the most basic medical attention.

BradyH1861
12-26-2009, 11:51 PM
Ditto what Mac said.

If you can find a copy, check out the Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion. I can't remember which volume number, but one of them goes into great detail about diseases and causes of death. I have a copy of it on a DVD program, but I seem to recall that they are available for a free (though large) download.

I am a Civil War Reenactor in my spare time and I portray a regimental surgeon. Let me know if there is anything I can help you out with research wise.

Brady

Puma
12-27-2009, 01:28 AM
Thanks Mac and Brady. I'm working on real history, in preparation for our township's bicentennial in 2010, and right now trying to put together the best records possible of everyone who served in the Civil War. It's amazing how many of the confirmed veterans are hard to find, even if they have military headstones (with no dates).

Brady, does your DVD by any chance have a list of doctors who served? One of the ones I can't find was a doctor and I can't even find a record of what regiment he was in. If it does, I'd love to have you look for him on it for me. Thanks! Puma

Hip-Hop-a-potamus
12-27-2009, 01:50 AM
Puma, have you tried the Soldiers/Sailors Database? I'm not sure about doctors, but there's tons more info on here. I use it a lot for my military guys.

http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/

BradyH1861
12-27-2009, 02:04 AM
Brady, does your DVD by any chance have a list of doctors who served? One of the ones I can't find was a doctor and I can't even find a record of what regiment he was in. If it does, I'd love to have you look for him on it for me. Thanks! Puma

Sort of. It has a list of all of the doctors who were mentioned in the 128 volumes of the Official Records. If you'd like to give me the name, I can do a search on him and see if anything comes up. My DVD also has the the Official Records on it and I can do a search there too.

Brady

Puma
12-27-2009, 02:04 AM
Yep, using the Soldiers and Sailors database, the Sons of the Union Veterans database, and the Ohio Genealogical Society Civil War database. In some cases a person will be in only one of the three. The Union Veterans database has the most personal information, but in a lot of cases it wasn't filled out - and that's where I'm having problems. I've been able to track down some people by using the LDS and Rootsweb files, but I still have about five that are driving me nuts. Keeping me occupied (and I really hate to finish things up with missing data (even though other people obviously did.)) Puma

StephanieFox
12-27-2009, 04:32 AM
I'm guessing it's scurvy. A lot of men died of hunger and starvation related diseases there. They certainly get any fruits or veggies or much else with Vit. C.

check this, also:
http://www.tngennet.org/civilwar/cemeteries/dead1.html

and this
http://www.angelfire.com/ga4/atwaterlist/diseases.html

Puma
12-27-2009, 05:05 AM
Thanks everyone. Stephanie, it's actually Atwater's list of those who died I've been working on - but just those from Ohio (but still a lot). I like your link to the causes he listed. Puma

GeorgeK
12-27-2009, 08:03 AM
I'm not certain if scorbutus was an actual term used by physicians then, but knowing that veterinarians used to call diarrhea "the scours," and it was not unusual to have veterinarians or even just medics to act as physicians to POW's, and non-medical people were known to add Latinesque endings to generic names of body parts. My guess is this is supposed to be fake Latin for "Scours affecting the butt": hence dysentery and or any disease that resulted in severe diarrhea.

Oh well, it used to be the term for scurvy. At least it sounded good.