Shotgun's Home of the American Civil War

Civil War Medicine

        For the Unfortunate Civil War soldier, whether he came from the North or from the South, not only got into the army just when the killing power of weapons was being brought to a brand-new peak of efficiency; he enlisted in the closing years of an era when the science of medicine was woefully, incredibly imperfect, so that he go the worst of it in two ways. When he fought, he was likely to be hurt pretty badly; when he stayed in camp, he lived under conditions that were very likely to make him sick; and in either case he had almost no chance to get the kind of medical treatment which a generation or so later would be routine.
       Both the Federal and Confederate governments did their best to provide proper medical care for their soldiers, but even the best was not very good. This was nobody's fault. There simply was no such thing as good medical care in that age -- at least as the modern era understands the expression.
       This portion of the "Home of the American Civil War" website attempts to put into perspective some of the medical aspects of the war.

Anesthetics in The Civil War  Think that "biting the bullet" was the only way to kill pain?  You might be interested to know that they had both chloroform and ether.   This taken from "The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion. (1861-65.)
Caring For The Men An excellent little history of Civil War Medicine.
Civil War Ambulance Wagons Taken from "The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion. (1861-65.)  Lots of images.
Civil War Army Surgeon Just a little something on what the Army Surgeon went through during the war.
Civil War Nurses Truly the "Angels of the Battlefield!"
Confederate Medical Department It shouldn't surprise you to know that the Confederate's Medical Department wasn't that much different than the Unions'.
Drugs Availability In The Civil War Just a dandy article on what the Confederates used to substitute for the drugs they could not get.
Field and Temporary Hospitals An interesting article on how one Confederate surgeon set up his field hospital.
Hospitals, Nurses, and Surgeons Lots of information here. Very descriptive. May not be for everyone.
Medical Care, Battle Wounds, and Disease A little more about battle field medicine during the Civil War. It fills in some of the blanks that "Caring For The Men" might have left.
Medical Director's Reports Official Reports of Medical Directors of the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia for various times in the war.
Medical History of the Confederate States Army and Navy From the Southern History Society Papers, mostly a lengthy description of what was done to help the disabled Confederate veterans after the war. 
Medical Profession in the Civil War An Interesting article taken from the Southern Historical Society Papers.
Report on Gangrene in Andersonville Prison Report by a C.S. surgeon on this disease in Andersonville.
Sanitary Commission The history of the Sanitary Commission. An organization that was to do what the Government could not.
Statistics on the Diseases Among Union Troops in Confederate Prisons Taken from "The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion. (1861-65.) this article deals with the statistics of the diseases of the prisoners.  Lots of numbers and good information.
Transportation of the Wounded Taken from "The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion. (1861-65.)  this article describes most of the litters used in the war.  Lots of images.
Union Army Ambulance Corps Ever thought about how the wounded got off the battlefield? Might want to take a look at this page.
Union Army Medical Staff and Materia Chirugica Taken from "The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion. (1861-65.) this article names and describes the duties of each member of the medical staff and the equipment they used.  Lots of images.

        Note:  If you can't find what you are looking for on this page, try some of the "Links" on this page of my website :


This Page last updated 11/24/06

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