Dating culture dead

Many soldiers on both sides expressed a great deal of fear that their bodies would be left to the enemy, which was understood as a fate worse than death.The federal government and Union soldiers themselves tried to ensure that bodies were identified with at least a name, a desire that led some soldiers to go into battle with their names and positions pinned onto their uniform (foreshadowing the popular use of dog tags in subsequent wars).Between the years 18, the United States engaged in a civil war, one of the most significant military confrontations in the young republic's life.The conflict dramatically altered the course of American society, eradicating the institution of slavery from the land and accelerating a number of social, economic, and political trends originating in other regions of the country.Some estimates suggest that in the North, where more accurate records of the period are available, the crude death rate in the antebellum period was around 15 per 1,000 in rural areas, and between 20 and 40 per 1,000 in more populated cities.Most people lived into their late thirties if they survived the exceedingly dangerous early years of life.While antebellum America demonstrated marked preoccupations with the reality of death in literature, material culture, religion, diaries and letters, and early medicine, the war led to the extreme escalation of certain tendencies emerging on the social scene, as well as to the production of entirely new views on death and the dead.The incredible numbers of young men who died during the war, the problems associated with disposal of their bodies, and the rhetorical and symbolic efforts to make sense of the lives lost had profound consequences for American sensibilities and institutional structures.

Victors had the luxury of attending to their own dead with more care and attention, if time permitted.More threatening to American soldiers during the war than mortal wounds on the battlefield was the presence of disease and infection, which had the potential to seriously reduce the number of fighters on both sides.Nearly twice as many men died as a result of poor health in camps and hospitals than from wounds inflicted during combat. Afflictions such as diarrhea, malaria, smallpox, typhoid fever, pneumonia, and measles wiped out large numbers of men on both sides of the conflict.Again, when time allowed and when burial units were available, Union forces made an effort to avoid anonymous burial, identify graves, and keep records of who died during a battle, an effort that grew increasingly more sophisticated as the war dragged on.In contrast to the lack of ceremony surrounding the disposition of the dead on or near fields of battle, conditions in Union camps and hospitals allowed for more conventional burial practices that maintained older traditions.

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