Ms Vicki Betts has an excellant website of period newspaper from all across the south at
Part of her search has to do with medicines and home remedies which she has extracted out the articles in these papers. It is an excellant work and reference to the daily lives of the Southern people during the war.
Again in Ms Betts articles I don't see a reference to a single set of symptoms which seem to combine as a diagnosis for Influenza. This still seems to indicate to me that during that period Influenza was not diagnosis as a singular ailment, but as a series of symptoms treated seperately.
During World War I the disease was diagnosised as the "Spanish Influenza" which would tend to indicate that maybe it was in Spain that influenza was first diagnosised as a singular ailment. It also spread around the entire world very quickly in a short period of time.
The second point is that one of the reasons that the flu was so deadly during the pandemic of 1918 was that people had little immunity to it, and treatments were ineffective. Would this not seem to indicate that the Flu as we know it today did not exist during the 1800's? Had it existed prior to the turn of the century mankind would have developed a certain immunity to it over time. As we know each year a different strain of Influenza developes and we even now fear another "killer strain" each Flu season.
So from this we known that at least the strain that caused the Pandemic of 1918 was a "New" strain for that period. We know that not only does Medicine evolves as Knowledge increases, but that disease themselves evolve as they become resistant to the medicines and conditions.
My question would be did Influenza even exist in the United States in 1860? I see no real evidence that it did.
The funny thing about Ms Betts articles is that I grew up taking many of the remedies at home for colds and such that are mentioned in those articles.