Friday, December 26, 2014


This is coolbert:

Before there was Jefferson there was Washington.

My understanding was that inoculations for smallpox within the American context only began from the time of President Jefferson onward. THIS IS NOT SO!

Thanks to the on-air presentation from the Pritzker Military Museum & Library for this item.

That Continental Army of George Washington during the American Revolutionary War making widespread use of inoculation against smallpox, with dramatic effectiveness, most decidedly so.

The before and after results apparent even to the most casual of observers quite marked:

* 160 cases of smallpox contagion and infection per 1,000 troops prior to inoculation.

* 3 cases of smallpox contagion and infection per 1,000 troops subsequent to inoculation.

George Washington of course as a young man having been infected by smallpox and reputedly becoming sterile as a result. George and Martha never having issue.

Loss of life from smallpox about 1/3 of those infected during that period.

European armies of the period too regularly inoculated. It also being the case that from that period of turmoil resulting in the American Revolutionary War [1775-1782] smallpox epidemic very widespread and particularly deadly.

"On the 6th of January 1777, George Washington wrote to Dr. William Shippen Jr., ordering him to inoculate all of the forces that came through Philadelphia. He explained that: 'Necessity not only authorizes but seems to require the measure, for should the disorder infect the Army . . . we should have more to dread from it, than from the Sword of the Enemy.'"

Washington generally it is suggested not an outstanding battlefield strategist, tactician, or practitioner of the operational art but able to sustain his force in the field for an extended period, prophylactic measures the prevention of disease foremost!


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