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Medicine During the Civil War

Uploaded by Panda05 on Dec 25, 2004

Medicine During the Civil War

"When the war began, the United States Army medical staff consisted of only the surgeon general, thirty surgeons, and eighty-three assistant surgeons. Of these, twenty-four resigned to "go South," and three other assistant surgeons were promptly dropped for "disloyalty." Thus the medical corps began its war service with only eighty seven men. When the war ended in 1865, more than eleven thousand doctors had served or were serving, many of these as acting assistant surgeons, uncommissioned and working under contract, often on a part-time basis. They could wear uniforms if they wished and were usually restricted to general hospitals away from the fighting front.

The Confederate Army began by taking the several state militias into service, each regiment equipped with a surgeon and an assistant surgeon, appointed by the state governors. The Confederate Medical Department started with the appointment on May 4 of Daniel De Leon, one of three resigned United States surgeons, as acting surgeon general. After a few weeks he was replaced by another acting surgeon general, who on July 1,1861, was succeeded by Samuel Preston Moore. He took the rank of colonel and stayed on duty until the collapse of the Confederacy.

Dr. Moore, originally a Charlestonian, had served twenty seven years in the United States Army. He has been described as brusque and autocratic, a martinet. He was also very hard working and determined, and he was progressive in his military-medical thinking. Dissatisfied with the quality of many of the surgeons of the state troops, he insisted that to hold a Confederate commission, every medical officer must pass examinations set by one of his examining boards. He disliked filthy camps and hospitals. He believed in "pavilion" hospitals-long, wooden buildings with ample ventilation and sufficient bed space for eighty to one hundred patients. Moore, with the compliance of the Confederate Congress and President Jefferson Davis, began the construction of many such hospitals when field activities demonstrated that the casualties would be high and the war long. Dr. Moore maintained a cooperative relationship with Congress, successive secretaries of war, and President Davis, always subject to the availability of funds from the Confederate Treasury.

In that era of "heroic dosing" Moore foresaw shortages in drugs, surgical instruments, and hospital supplies. He established laboratories for...

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Uploaded by:   Panda05

Date:   12/25/2004

Category:   Civil War

Length:   27 pages (6,006 words)

Views:   9138

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