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The Mississippi River Campaign 1862-1863: The Impact of Climate and Pathogens on Operational Art at the Port Hudson Siege

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Technical Report,01 Jun 2016,31 May 2017

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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History is filled with battles, campaigns, and wars in which commanders did not fully account for the effects of climate and pathogens within their operational environment. Today, commanders sometimes minimize how unfamiliar climates and pathogens can impact the health and well-being of their soldiers, but more importantly, how these variables may adversely affect their overall mission. By analyzing and accounting for the climate of the operational environment, commanders and their staffs will be able to better mitigate diseases and non-battle injuries DNBI within their formations, which can help maintain or increase their relative combat power, tempo, and operational reach. This is especially true when armies are operating in new environments known to be insalubrious and disease-ridden. This monograph examines Major General Nathaniel Bankss Port Hudson campaign in 1863, which provides a useful case study about how climatic factors, including local disease and environments, adversely impacted a commanders ability to arrange tactical actions in time, space, and purpose. While Banks ultimately succeeded in capturing Port Hudson, it came at a high cost of losing a third of his men, which four-thousand of them were attributed to climatic factors. This led Bankss army to culminate and forced him to reconstitute before future operations.

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  • Medicine and Medical Research

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