Category Archives: Medical

Civil War Medicine: “Have You Nerve Enough For Such Things?”

While researching some soldier accounts of the battle of Port Republic last June, I found the collection of John V. Hadley’s letters, published in the Indiana Magazine of History in 1963. I typically read some of the letters beyond the … Continue reading

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Civil War Medicine: Dr. Abner O. Shaw and the hard-on-surgeons 20th Maine

A replacement assistant surgeon for the 20th Maine Infantry Regiment, Dr. Abner Ormiel Shaw is best known for helping save the life of Joshua L. Chamberlain at Petersburg. There is much more to Shaw’s story, however, and had the 20th … Continue reading

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Civil War Medicine: Florence Nightingale, The Influencer

While every woman who volunteered to nurse during the Civil War had their own reasons for doing so, one of the more popularly cited motivators for these women was not even American. Florence Nightingale, the “Lady with the Lamp” who … Continue reading

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Civil War Medicine: John Chase and the Lasting Legacies of Wartime Medicine

Civil War medicine did not exist in a vacuum only on battlefields and in hospitals. It began long before armies met in combat or men became ill; it began in classrooms, books, and lectures as surgeons and doctors learned and … Continue reading

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Civil War Medicine: “I Should Have Had The Hand Taken Off”

“If I had known it was so bad and was likely to be so long and tedious a wound, I should have had the hand taken off that afternoon, without a thought to the contrary.”[i] Wrote twenty-three-year-old Colonel William Francis … Continue reading

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ECW Weekender: National Museum of Civil War Medicine

In honor of the recently launched Medical series on the blog, I thought we’d highlight a special museum for this week’s ECW Weekender. Before my visit to the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick Maryland, the most I … Continue reading

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Civil War Medicine: Andrew Henderson, John Pope, and a Challenging Medical Decision at Sea

Civil War era warships were cramped with little privacy with sailors still sleeping in hammocks instead of beds. Officers generally had better living conditions, with the tradeoff of separation from the enlisted crew in status, activity, and expectations. Though they … Continue reading

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Civil War Medicine: Help! How Do I Find…?

This year I’ve been referencing The Medical & Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion rather frequently. However, it can get frustrating to use the volumes without a cheat-sheet guide. Like the Official Records of the battle reports, the … Continue reading

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Civil War Medicine: Sound Medical Advice…Or Not

Antebellum medicine has an established reputation as being backwards and entrenched in archaic medical practices that often caused more harm than good. This is certainly true when considering “heroic medicine” and its use of blood-letting, leeches, and dangerous poisons like … Continue reading

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Civil War Medicine: Binding A Nation’s Wounds — An Introduction

Introducing a new series on the Emerging Civil War blog… Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking a look at various aspects Civil War era medical theories, practices, and innovations. As seen through the experiences of professional doctors to … Continue reading

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