Postwar career as teacher

After the war, Gorgas struggled as a businessman for several years. In 1869, he abandoned his hopes of regaining the money that he had lost in the last years of the war. Instead, he accepted a teaching position at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. In 1872, he was named vice-chancellor of the college, but he also continued to work as an instructor. Poor health forced him to resign from the school in 1878. Later that same year, however, friends arranged to have Gorgas named president of the University of Alabama.

Gorgas appreciated the gesture and expressed hope that he might eventually be able to fulfill his presidential responsibilities. His health continued to decline, however, and in 1879, the presidency was given to someone else. Gorgas was appointed university librarian, but his poor health forced his wife to take care of many of his duties. Gorgas died four years later, on May 18, 1883.

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