Insects on the Battlefield

During the Civil War, an enemy combatant was not the only threat facing soldiers in the Union and Confederate armies.  They also worried, or should have worried, about bugs!  In fact, it would not be hard to make the argument that bugs could have posed an even greater threat than the enemy.

Did you know that twice as many civil war soldiers died from insect-related disease than from combat?  And the threat that bugs posed to soldiers was certainly not limited to the civil war.  It can be supposed that any war in which animals such as horses were utilized, were in all likelihood, also wars in which insects did a significant amount of the killing due to the insects that infested these animals.

Soldiers fighting in the civil war would often have to worry about diseases like dysentery and even malaria; and soldiers suffering from diarrhea was the norm.  But it is rarely mentioned that insects were the vectors responsible for causing these diseases.  These facts are shocking but undeniable, and it goes to show you just how unwise it is to underestimate the degree to which insects are a part of our lives even today.

Do you think insects are still a problem for soldiers today?



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