On hot summer days we often say   “its not the heat, its the humidity”, but at least we can escape to the comfort of our air conditioned homes, cars and offices. I remember as a child, growing up in Montgomery, Alabama in pre-air condition days. It  was very hot during the day, but we were used to it, so thought little about it. At night, in our house at least, the breeze from  an attic fan kept the bedrooms cool. As the name implies, this was a large fan, located in the attic, and turned on by an electric switch, mostly at night. Its job was to keep us relatively cool while we slept.
The heat and humidity of the South in the mid- nineteenth century created health problems for all who lived there, but was far worse for the plantation slaves than for the whites, for obvious reasons: unsanitary conditions, inadequate nutrition and hard labor, all of which made the slaves subject to illness and disease  more than the whites. Making matters worse, the slaves often had to work even though sick.

 It is common knowledge that  the Confederate Uniforms were made of wool. I cannot imagine how unbearable it must have been to wear a wool jacket and trousers during hot summer months   when the temperatures soared and there was often a scarcity of water, Gettysburg being a case in point.

We have had a pleasant summer this year, but we certainly count our good fortune that we  no longer have to face our summers in the deep south without the convenience of air conditioning. Do some of you out there remember as I do, the growing up years without it?