Another element of the book that was described accurately was the condition of the soldiers and the hardships they faced. Readers get a better idea of how brutal the war was when Scarlett started to work at the hospital. Confederate soldiers did not just fight the Union they also fought starvation, illness, and clothing. Smallpox, pneumonia, and dysentery were the 3 biggest fatal illnesses a soldier could get. Readers gain a bigger understanding of how deadly they were if one looks at Charles Hamilton. He died of pneumonia before he even got to see battle. The most fatal out of all 3 was dysentery. Dysentery is a disease that affects the colon. Soldiers would quickly become dehydrated from dysentery. This disease alone caused approximately 100,000 deaths between the north and south. A big reason for the massive number of deaths was the fact that medicine was not the same then as it is today. While the discovery of chloroform was being put to full use, there was not an abundance of it in the south. Chloroform was used as an anesthetic and it allowed doctors to perform amputations without a screaming soldier. Her audience can see how much chloroform was desired in the scene in the movie when Scarlett is at the hospital and sees a man about to have his leg amputated. A full seventy five percent of surgeries in the field were amputations. Doctors were often not very experienced and sometimes they were nothing more than volunteers. Frequently, an operation that was being done to help a soldier would end up leading to his death. Soldiers would often bleed to death after an amputation because it was either done incorrectly or they were not properly taken care of after the surgery. This very accurately describes the type of conditions the Confederate soldiers faced. The South was constantly low on vital supplies such as chloroform, which is exactly how it is portrayed in the book.
The Confederacy had a huge disadvantage going into the war. The Union had a fully trained, well equipped, and organized army. The South, while they had an army, was not as well equipped, nowhere near as well trained, and not as well organized. Most of the Confederate soldiers were regular men who ran off to fight. Readers can see this displayed in the movie during the barbeque. A regular gentleman comes in with news that the men can now enlist and every man jumped up to leave. All of these “gentlemen” with their brandy and cigars were going into battle with a trained Union army this is a huge disadvantage. However, both sides had brilliant war generals in Ulysses Grant for the North and Robert Lee for the South. The Confederacy was also at a big disadvantage because they did not have the same factories and ship ports as the Union. The Unions factories allowed them to mass-produce weapons, clothing, and other war necessities. Their navel fleets allowed them to