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The Ultimate Sacrifice After Andersonville

Sixth-plate tintype by an anonymous photographer. Rob Lyon collection.
Sixth-plate tintype by an anonymous photographer. Rob Lyon collection.

Judging from the gaunt features and twisted mouth on the face of this unidentified Union soldier, he suffered acute pain in his final battle. Estimates for the number of Civil War dead vary from 620,000 to 750,000. No matter which number is accepted, about 2 of every 3 men who died succumbed to disease—not death on the battlefield or from a wound or wounds received during an engagement. The most common diseases found in wartime camps were diarrhea, malaria, measles, pneumonia, smallpox, tuberculosis and typhoid fever. The biggest killer on the list was diarrhea, followed by pneumonia and typhoid.

Note: After publication, this image was identified as Jacob or Christian Kansig, who served in Company K of the 65th Ohio Infantry. According to the 1897 book, The Story of the Sherman Brigade by Lt. Col. Wilbur F. Hinman of the 65th, Kansig fell into enemy hands at the Battle of Chickamauga on Sept. 20, 1863, gained his release from Andersonville Prison, and died in January 1865, shortly after reaching his home in Findlay, Ohio. This image is published on page 732 of Hinman’s history. The caption beneath the image and Kansig’s roster are slightly different in the details.


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