Gangrene and Glory: Medical Care during the American Civil War

By Frank R. Freemon | Go to book overview

PROLOGUE

1. ORN, 1:13–14.


INTRODUCTION

1. This is the thesis of Richard H. Shryock, “A Medical Perspective on the Civil War,” American Quarterly 14 (1962): 161–73. He argues that it is the duty of the medical historian to balance the celebratory aspects of military history with the agony of the sick and the wounded: “if medical aspects are omitted, the story is not only incomplete but is unrealistic.”

2. Connelly judged Confederate generals only by information known to them. He disdained such false analyses as, “this was a terrible error, because Union forces had already been ordered to concentrate on that position.” Thomas L. Connelly, Army of the Heartland: The Army of Tennessee, 1861–1862 and Autumn of Glory: The Army of Tennessee, 1862–1865 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1967 and 1971).

3. George W. Adams, Doctors in Blue: The Medical History of the Union Army in the Civil War (New York: Henry Schuman, 1952; reprint, Dayton, Ohio, Morningside Press, 1985); Horace H. Cunningham, Doctors in Gray: The Confederate Medical Service (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1958).

4. Other major explanatory works covering medical care during the American Civil War are Stewart M. Brooks, Civil War Medicine (Springfield, Ill.: Charles C. Thomas, 1966); Louis Duncan, Medical Department of the United States Army in the Civil War [offprints] (Washington, D.C., 1910); reprint, Gaithersburg, Md.: Butternut Press, 1985); and Paul E. Steiner, Disease in the Civil War: Natural Biological Warfare in 1861–1865, Springfield, Ill.: Charles C. Thomas, 1968. The narrative by Mary C. Gillett, The Army Medical Department, 1818–1865 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1987), includes an excellent narrative of the activities of the Union medical authorities during the Civil War. All primary and secondary sources published before 1992 are listed and discussed in Frank R. Freemon, Microbes and Minie Balls: An Annotated Bibliography of Civil War Medicine (Madison, N.J., Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1993). Important new works include Robert E. Denney, Civil War Medicine: Care and Comfort of the Wounded (New York: Sterling Publishing Co., 1994), a day-by-day summary of medical activities during the war, and Jack D. Welsh, Medical Histories of Confederate Generals (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1995) (a companion volume on the health of Union generals has just appeared). A new periodical is devoted to this subject, the Journal of Civil War Medicine, edited by Peter J. D'Onofrio (539 Bristol Drive S.W., Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068).


CHAPTER 1. AMERICAN MEDICINE
IN THE 1850s

1. Bernard J. D. Irwin, “The Apache Pass Fight,” Military Surgeon 73 (1933): 197–203. Dr. Irwin's extended description of this action is in the National Library of Medicine. Some modern commentators think that the defenders at Apache Pass overestimated the number of Indian warriors with Cochise.

2. The best review of army physicians in this period is Mary C. Gillett, The Army Medical Department, 18181865 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1987).

3. In this chapter, all quotations from the reports of U.S. Army officers are taken from Richard H. Coolidge, Statistical Report on the Sickness and Mortality of the Army of the United States Compiled from the Records of the Surgeon General's Office; Embracing a Period of Five Years, from January, 1855 to January, 1860 (Washington, D.C.: George W. Bowman, 1860).

4. This problem would occur during the upcoming War. At several key moments, the Commissary Department of the U.S. Army was unable to provide troops with fresh vegetables. The present description shows the bureaucratic mentality: save government funds by doing no more than what is required by regulations. A civilian organization, the United States Sanitary Commission, was oriented more to mission than to regulatory requirements and provided what the official Commissary Department could not.

5. Bonnie Ellen Blustein, Preserve Your Love for Science: Life of William A. Hammond, American Neurologist (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 38–50.

6. Joseph H. Bill, “Notes on Arrow Wounds,” American Journal of the Medical Sciences 44 (1862): 365–87.

7. James O. Breeden, “States-Rights Medicine in the Old South,” New York Academy of Medicine Bulletin 52 (1976): 348–72; John Harley Warner, “A Southern Medical Reform: The Meaning of the Antebellum Argument

-235-

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