Civil War Medicine

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The Civil War was a time of incredible advancements in the field of medicine and surgery. From battlefield amputations to anesthetics, nearly every aspect of the medical field that is known today holds roots from the time period. The fast pace of battle forced surgeons, doctors and medical officials to work faster than their hands would permit, in order to preserve the lives of those soldiers ailed by the epidemic of war. However, similar to limbs growing too fast and creating a weak support for the body, this foundation of healthcare for Civil War soldiers was often far from desired, due to its fast and grueling pace. This following research paper will discuss aspects of medicine and surgery, found throughout the Civil War. After the bombardment…show more content…
Large kitchens to provide adequate nutrients for soldiers were not often found. Instead, soldiers arranged themselves into groups, and prepared food that they had pooled together to share. A lack of these food sources therefor led to malnourished soldiers. Food was typically hard, crunchy crackers, coffee, beans, and salt pork occasionally. Historian Robert Denney penned that some articles of food would be “combined with water, formed into cakes, and fried in bacon fat.” (Denney, 9) These fried ‘delights’ caused a plethora of clogged arteries, and sometimes led to death. Vegetables were rarely seen in the diet of a soldier, due to an exorbitant cost. A dried produce mix called ‘decimated vegetables’ were the source of produce for soldiers. However, since its reputation, as explained by historian Robert Denney was “not fit for the hogs” (Denney), the soldiers did not favor it. As a result of the torrential diet, soldiers quickly gained stomach illnesses, scurvy, and a poor overall health. Due to the widespread lack of food rations, troops were reported to have fainted due to a lack of nourishment. (Robert E. Denney, Civil War Medicine) In conclusion, these are aspects of medicine and surgery that were prevalent during the Civil War. From surgeons to nurses, it is these dedicated members of the medical forces who are to thank for the preservation of soldiers, as well as marvelous technological advances. Though so many precious lives were lost, it was this time period that forged a new era in medical history, and beat down the path in which doctors, nurses, surgeons and patients travel down today. It is crucial that society appreciates the advances that medical technology has made and that this credit will not be lost upon those who deserve

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