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In Their Own Words

March 15, 1863

Civil War Soldier Sick on Birthday

A Georgia soldier writing home to wife told her of being sick on his birthday; and of the limitations of Civil War era medical capability.

“…I am sorry to say to you that I am quite sick and have been ever since last Monday night. I have got the mumps, and I think some kind of fever with them. I have had high fever and sick stomach nearly all the time. I tried to throw up one night and fainted and they had to carry me into the tent. I think I am getting some better now. I can eat a little and sit up a good part of the time but I am so weak. The Dr. done nothing for me, said he had no medicine. Today is Sunday and is my birthday…”

Source: Jeffrey C. Lowe and Sam Hodges (eds.), Letters to Amanda: The Civil War Letters of Marion Hill Fitzpatrick, Army of Northern Virginia (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1998), p. 58.