The Patriot Resource - American Revolution

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Medicine and the American Revolution
Medicine and the American Revolution
How Diseases and Their Treatments Affected the Colonial Army

by Oscar Reiss, M.D.
Published by McFarland & Company, Inc.
January 2005

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  • Book Review from
  • Table of Contents
  • Other Oscar Reiss Books

  • Description from McFarland & Company, Inc.:
    Nearly nine times as many died from diseases during the American Revolution as did from wounds. Poor diet, inadequate sanitation and sometimes a lack of basic medical care caused such diseases as dysentery, scurvy, typhus, smallpox and others to decimate the ranks.

    Scurvy was a major problem for both the British and American navies, while venereal diseases proved to be a particularly vexing problem in New York. Respiratory diseases, scabies and other illnesses left nearly 4,000 colonial troops unable to fight when George Washington's troops broke camp at Valley Forge in June 1778. From a physician's perspective, this is a unique history of the American Revolution and how diseases impacted the execution of the war effort. The medical histories of Washington and King George III are also provided.

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