previous next


The value of action.

--When the Duke of Wellington was compelled in the Peninsula campaign by a superior force, to remain for a time in a state of inaction, one third at least of his troop became inmates of hospitals. It is said that Garibaldi's volunteers, who achieved such brilliant successes against the greatest odds in the field, became sick in large numbers as soon as they had nothing to do; but the moment the enemy came in sight the hospitals were speedily emptied, and the sick rushed to the front of the battle, eager to share with their comrades its perils and its glories. Another illustration of the happy influence of excitement upon the heath occurred some years ago during the prevalence of yellow fever in Havana. It was rumored that an enemy's fleet was approaching, and in this new and exciting occupation of the public mind the people forgot to be sick, and for some days there was not a single case of the epidemic.

In all wars, even when conducted under the most favorable circumstances, the losses from sickness are much greater than those of battles. If it were proposed to storm Old Point or Arlington Heights, we should naturally shudder at the loss of life which would be the consequence, and yet, a camp life of inaction will kill more men than all the enemy's cannon could destroy if they played upon our columns for twenty-four hours. We have no earthly doubt that a Southern army could march upon Philadelphia and capture that city with less loss of life than it, or any other army, would suffer from sickness by remaining the same time in camp.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Old Point (North Carolina, United States) (1)
Havana (Illinois, United States) (1)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Wellington (1)
Garibaldi (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: