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Manassas, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
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Wartime Manassas

“The Sickness is Upon Us”

 
 
“The Sickness is Upon Us” Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Fuchs, June 10, 2006
1. “The Sickness is Upon Us” Marker
Inscription.  (During the Civil War, two railroads—the Manassas Gap and the Orange and Alexandria—intersected here. Manassas Junction was strategically important to both the Union and the Confederacy as a supply depot and for military transportation. Two of the war’s great battles were fought nearby. Diaries, letters, and newspaper articles documented the war’s effects on civilians as well as the thousand of soldiers who passed through the junction.)

In 1861, there were only 30 surgeons and 84 assistant surgeons in the U.S. Army; a third of them resigned to join the Confederacy. Few military hospitals existed, and little planning was underway. Once the fighting started, most soldiers were treated in field-hospital tents similar to those that were erected here before and after the First Battle of Manassas on July 21, 1861. Wounded soldiers endured heat, humidity, insects, mud, unsanitary conditions, and exposure to contagious diseases from fellow patients. Those treated in civilian homes often fared better that those consigned to field hospitals. After the battle, some regiments reported more than 75 percent of their men on medical rolls
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died not from wounds, but from measles, typhoid fever, and diarrhea in epidemic proportions.

Capt. Ujanirtus Allen, Co. F, 21st Georgia Volunteer Infantry, to his wife, concerning field hospitals near Manassas Junction:

“We have some very sick men, some that we fear will never recover. ... Seven eights of the sickness is bilious. We pay more attention to sanitary improvements than we ever did before. Our camp is swept out every day and the track and waste from the cook places is carried away. The tents are sunned whenever the weather permits.” —Oct. 12, 1861

“When our men get the fever they seem to loose all spirit and linger along until they die. The doctors say this is the nature of camp fever. But I have no doubt much of it is the result of their situation, surrounded ... by sick and dying away from home and friends.” —Oct. 19, 1861

“I am yet quite sick and have been ever since I wrote to you before. I can’t say that I am improving very much, very little if any. I am at a private house and with a clever family. They do I guess all in their power to make me comfortable as possible. ... You need not fear but that I get as good attention, in the way of nursing as I could wish so far away from you.” —Sudley Church, Nov. 10, 1861

Capt. Allen survived his illness
“The Sickness is Upon Us” Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Fuchs, June 10, 2006
2. “The Sickness is Upon Us” Marker
but was mortally wounded at Chancellorsville, May 2, 1963.

 
Erected by Civil War Trails.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Science & MedicineWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails, and the Virginia, Wartime Manassas Walking Tour series lists. A significant historical date for this entry is May 2, 1862.
 
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. It was located near 38° 45.033′ N, 77° 28.296′ W. Marker was in Manassas, Virginia. Marker was at the intersection of South Main Street and the railroad tracks, on the right when traveling south on South Main Street. Touch for map. Marker was in this post office area: Manassas VA 20110, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. Our Story Continues (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Wartime Manassas (a few steps from this marker); Defenses of Manassas (within shouting distance of this marker); Opera House (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Manassas 1906 (about 300 feet away); Manassas 1905 - The Great Fire (about 300 feet away); Burning of Manassas (about 300 feet away); Site of Manassas Junction (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Manassas.
View of the Current Manassas Railroad Depot from the Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Fuchs, June 10, 2006
3. View of the Current Manassas Railroad Depot from the Marker
This former Southern Railway station is a Virginia Railway Express commuter stop and also hosts Amtrak's Crescent (New York–New Orleans) and Cardinal (Washington–Chicago) passenger trains. Built in 1914, the renovated Depot also houses the Historic Manassas Visitor Center and the James and Marion Payne Railroad Heritage Gallery.

 
More about this marker. One in the series of Wartime Manassas Virginia Civil War Trails Marker.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
 
Also see . . .  Civil War Medicine. List of links to articles and essays on Civil War medicine. (Submitted on August 24, 2006.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 5, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 24, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,200 times since then and 11 times this year. Last updated on September 12, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 24, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 20, 2024