Civil War Hospital Ship

The U.S.S. Red Rover, a captured Confederate vessel, was refitted as a hospital ship.

Evolution of Civil War Nursing

The evolution of the nursing profession in America was accelerated by the Civil War.

The Practice of Surgery

Amputations were the most common surgery performed during the Civil War.

Army Medical Museum and Library

Surgeon-General William Hammond established The Army Medical Museum in 1862. It was the first federal medical research facility.

Civil War Amputation Kit

Many Civil War surgical instruments had handles of bone, wood or ivory. They were never sterilized.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, First (And Only) Female MOH Recipient

By Siggurdsson, 7-29-11

Mary Edwards Walker was born in Oswego, New York on November 26, 1832. She was the fifth of six children and the youngest daughter. She worked on her family's farm through most of her young life, usually wearing men's clothes as they were not as restricting. She received an elementary education, taught by her mother. She attended Syracuse Medical College, graduating in 1855 as one of the country's first women doctors. She married a classmate named Albert Miller. They set up a joint medical practice in nearby Rome, NY but they were not very successful.

When the American Civil War began in 1861, Mary Walker volunteered to serve in the Union medical corps as a civilian. At first, she was restricted to working as a nurse, as the concept of a female surgeon was not widely accepted. Walker worked on the battlefield after the First Battle of Bull Run/Manassas and at the Patent Office Hospital in Washington, DC early in the war. Later, she worked as an unpaid field surgeon after the battle of Fredericksburg (December of 1862), and later in Chattanooga, TN after the battle of Chickamauga (September of 1863). At this time, she was appointed a "Contract Acting Assistant Surgeon (civilian)" by the Army of the Cumberland. By this appointment Mary Walker became the first ever female U.S. Army Surgeon

By way of explanation, a "contract surgeon" was a doctor hired to give medical care to soldiers on the battlefield or in field hospitals. During the Civil War, the Union Army had about 10,000 surgeons, of which only about 3000 were members of the military. The remainder were civilians hired to fill the need for so many soldiers fighting in the war. They were usually given the title of "assistant surgeon," and their usual jobs involved amputations.

Sometime later Walker was appointed assistant surgeon of the 52nd Ohio Infantry Regiment. She spent much time crossing the line to help Confederate civilians displaced from their homes by the war. Walker often "appropriated" Federal supplies to help these unfortunates. She was captured by Confederate troops in April of 1864, and sent to a prison in Richmond, VA, accused of being a Union spy (a charge she vehemently denied). She was released in August of 1864 in a prisoner exchange for a Confederate officer. Walker made her way back to the Army of the Cumberland, seeing service during the battle of Atlanta (July-September of 1864). She was then appointed a supervisor of a women's prison in Louisville, KY and later placed in charge of an orphanage in Tennessee.

After the war, Mary Walker persuaded Generals William T. Sherman and George H. Thomas to petition Congress to award her a Medal of Honor for her service during the war. Their efforts were successful, when on November 11, 1865 President Andrew Johnson signed a special law awarding "Dr. Mary E. Walker" a Medal of Honor. The citation reads:

Rank and organization: Contract Acting Assistant Surgeon (civilian), U. S. Army. Places and dates: Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861; Patent Office Hospital, Washington, D.C., October 1861; Chattanooga, Tenn., following Battle of Chickomauga [sic], September 1863; Prisoner of War, April 10, 1864-August 12, 1864, Richmond, Va.; Battle of Atlanta, September 1864. Entered service at: Louisville, Ky. Born: 26 November 1832, Oswego County, N.Y. Citation: Whereas it appears from official reports that Dr. Mary E. Walker, a graduate of medicine, "has rendered valuable service to the Government, and her efforts have been earnest and untiring in a variety of ways," and that she was assigned to duty and served as an assistant surgeon in charge of female prisoners at Louisville, Ky., upon the recommendation of Major-Generals Sherman and Thomas, and faithfully served as contract surgeon in the service of the United States, and has devoted herself with much patriotic zeal to the sick and wounded soldiers, both in the field and hospitals, to the detriment of her own health, and has also endured hardships as a prisoner of war four months in a Southern prison while acting as contract surgeon; and Whereas by reason of her not being a commissioned officer in the military service, a brevet or honorary rank cannot, under existing laws, be conferred upon her; and

Whereas in the opinion of the President an honorable recognition of her services and sufferings should be made:

"It is ordered, That a testimonial thereof shall be hereby made and given to the said Dr. Mary E. Walker, and that the usual medal of honor for meritorious services be given her."

After the war, Mary Walker became a member of a small but vocal group of women who sought equality for women in many areas where they were still considered subservient to men, among them voting rights. She also lectured on the temperance circuit, and became an advocate for freeing women from the restrictive clothing of the Victorian era. Walker herself wore men's clothing whenever possible [note the photograph heading this post]. She was arrested several times for impersonating a man.

In 1916, Congress created a pension act for Medal of Honor recipients, further creating separate Army and Navy Honor Rolls. This act also placed greater restrictions on the eligibility requirements for awarding Medals of Honor. The Army then determined to review all the Medals of Honor which had been awarded since 1862, using the newly restrictive eligibility. As a result, when the review board released its findings in 1917, 911 recipients had their names removed from the Army Medal of Honor Roll. Among these 911 recipients were: 29 men who had been part of the honor guard escorting Abraham Lincoln's casket back to Illinois; 864 men of the 27th Maine Infantry Regiment, for re-enlisting in mid-1863; five civilian scouts (including William F. Cody aka "Buffalo Bill;" 12 miscellaneous awards; and, Mary Walker. These persons were not required to return their medals – as has often been stated – but were stricken from the Honor Roll and became ineligible for a pension.

Mary Walker took this review rather personally, and wore her Medal of Honor everywhere in public. She died February 21, 1919 at the age of 86. She was buried wearing her black suit instead of a dress. While here funeral was a rather plain affair, her casket was draped by an American flag.

Footnote #1: In 1977, President Carter reinstated her Medal of Honor. This act provoked a further review of other Medal recipients' revoked status. Twelve years later, "Buffalo Bill" Cody's Medal of Honor was also reinstated.

Footnote #2: A World War II Liberty ship, the SS "Mary Walker" was named for her. A U.S. Army Reserve center in Walker, Michigan also bears her name. Finally, the Whitman-Walker Clinic in Washington, DC was named for her and poet Walt Whitman, who served as a nurse in hospitals in the Washington area during the Civil War.

From: burnpit.us

Beneficial, Medical Use of Maggots

From: fohn.net

During the American Civil War, the beneficial healing effect of maggots in wounds was noticed by a Confederate medical officer, Joseph Jones: "I have frequently seen neglected wounds... filled with maggots... as far as my experience extends, these worms only destroy dead tissues, and do not injure specifically the well parts." Another Confederate medical officer, J. F. Zacharias is credited with medically employing maggots to treat wounds: "Maggots... in a single day would clean a wound much better than any agents we had at our command... I am sure I saved many lives by their use."  Maggots (larvae) from the blowfly infested the wounds of Civil War soldiers, who had been left on the battlefield for days -- because the battles had been so spread out. Initially, it was thought that the crawling maggots marked the wounded soldier as beyond help, but instead of death or amputation, fewer amputations and speedier healings took place. It was determined that the maggots of the blowfly (Lucilia sericata), not the pathogenic housefly (Musca domestica) or the damaging screw worm fly (Cochliomyia hominivorax), were the beneficial maggots discovered during the Civil War. The adult female blowfly was attracted to decaying flesh in which to deposit her eggs. Within only hours, the eggs hatched into maggots, which began to crawl and feed only upon the dead tissue, and excreting a substance beneficial to healing.

In 2005, Maggot Debridement Therapy (MDT) employs live maggots -- fly larvae from the blowfly, e..g., Phaenicia sericata (green blowfly) -- for cleaning non-healing wounds. These are called "medicinal maggots" because they: (1) debride (clean) wounds by dissolving dead and infected tissue, (2) disinfect wounds by killing bacteria, and (3) stimulate wound healing. Modern maggot therapy was performed by Dr. William Baer, an orthopedic surgeon, at Johns Hopkins University prior to 1931, but antibiotics and surgical techniques superseded their use after World War 2. Since that time, those antibiotic medical modalities have occasionally failed. Consequently, since 1989, physicians at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Long Beach, California) and the University of California, Irvine have sought to employ maggot therapy for patients before it became a last resort. The promotion of healing wounds that are not responding to conventional antibiotics, and the prevention of amputation, are goals for the Maggot Debridement Therapy (MDT), for that reason, the physicians and researchers of the Maggot Therapy Project have assembled a web site: to explain the "Clinical Practice of Maggot Therapy" to inquiring physicians and patients through downloadable documents, e.g., "Information Sheet and FAQ for Health Care Providers,"  to promote the use of University of California, Irvine laboratory produced, FDA approved Medical Maggots as a medical device -- 510(k) #33391 -- since January 2004, to provide links to further information on the topic of using living organisms in medicine, and to keep the topic of Maggot Therapy alive by posting links -- toward the bottom of their Home Page -- to "Press Articles" to be found on the Internet.

Image: The New World screw worm larvae; Image source: John Kucharski, USDA

Suicide, Alcoholism, and Psychiatric Illness Among Union Forces During the U.S. Civil War

By B. Christopher Frueha, Jeffrey A. Smith

Little is known about post-combat psychological reactions of warriors prior to the Twentieth Century. We estimated rates of suicide, alcohol abuse, and probable psychiatric illness among Union Forces during the U.S. Civil War via examination of data compiled by the Union Army. White active-duty military personnel suicide rates ranged from 8.74 to 14.54 per 100,000 during the war, and surged to 30.4 the year after the war. For blacks, rates ranged from 17.7 in the first year of their entry into the war (1863), to 0 in their second year, and 1.8 in the year after the war. Rates for most other relevant domains, including chronic alcoholism, “nostalgia,” and insanity, were extremely low (<1.0%) by modern day standards. Data provide contextual information on suicide and psychiatric variables for combatants during the U.S. Civil War, a brutal modern war with vastly higher casualty rates than recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


► Suicide rates among active duty military personnel have doubled. ► We do not have estimated rates of military suicides prior to modern psychiatry. ► Medical records compiled during the U.S. Civil War provide suicide data. ► Military suicide rates are far higher now than during the U.S. Civil War. ► Historical data suggest that suicide is not an inevitable consequence of combat.

From: sciencedirect.com

A Brief History of Chiropody and Podiatry

By John Pearson BSc (Hons), MBChA, MSSCh

Transportation by foot is a natural human trait. Other species make some attempt to do the same but it does appear to be a particularly hominid method of mobility to be bipedic. Together with complex hand usage, size of brain and development of language, it is one of the major contributions that made man (arguably) earth’s most successful species.

No wonder, subconsciously, our feet have attracted so much attention in some way or another over the past million years or so. They are sensitive, so much so that the sensory cortex of our brain devotes a disproportionate degree of cells to monitor pain, pressure and sensation. Our minds have developed a high degree of attention to this part of the body. Innate psychology, unfortunately, comes into play and this importance is often disregarded.

It may be of interest to highlight some examples of how humans use psychology to develop status symbols associated with the body. The crown worn by a Monarch, a mitre by a Bishop. Medals worn on a chest and badges of rank on the shoulders – not exactly hidden away. Likewise the humble foot is occasionally is deprived of comfort by inappropriate footwear, all in the name of status or as a slave to fashion – ask any chiropodist.


When early man made the transition from an ape-like creature to what we recognise as Homo Erectus, the use of two feet as a method of movement over a flat terrain demonstrated his poor ability to adapt to bipedalism. Evidence shows that since humans have stood erect, various weaknesses have begun to emerge. Early man’s body was not designed to stand upright.

For thousands of years, as far back as Ancient Egypt, historical evidence seen in recovered scrolls and tomb paintings strongly suggests that people of that era suffered with foot conditions. As early as 2400BCE, the entrance to the tomb of Ankmahor, a once celebrated physician to the Egyptian Kings, shows pictorial reliefs of therapy on hands and feet. The entrance to a tomb often reflected the work of its occupant, highlighting their status and why they should be revered in after-life. It seems, then, that Ankmahor was one of the first chiropodists to be recognised in antiquity, suggesting chiropodists, in some form or another, have been practising for thousands of years all due to foot evolution, disease, psychology and status.

To get some idea how the need for chiropodists began, it is necessary to look at our evolutionary past by examining ape or chimpanzee behaviour.

If a chimp is offered a large amount of food its innate nature is to gather as much as it can and transfer it to a safe place to eat as and when it can. A large load cannot easily be carried on all fours otherwise spillage would occur and the potential loss would mean, possibly, a threat to survival. By using bipedal movement, larger amounts of food can be transported over further distances easily.

Humans followed the same evolutionary behaviour helping to ensure survival of the species. Perhaps a link connecting the ‘hunter’ and ‘gatherer’ instinct. It would be far easier to bring home a carcass on one’s shoulders to feed the family and ensure species survival, rather than to drag it on all fours. Foot anatomy had to change in order to facilitate successful bipedal movement.

Other changes became evident, particularly in the way human skeletal anatomy developed which has been shown in fossilised evidence of early hominids in Central Africa, in the so-called, ‘cradle’ of human civilisation.

Bipedalism has advantages and disadvantages. The Savannah Hypothesis (Dart R.A., 1925), suggests that by standing upright early man could identify both prey and predators whilst searching over long grass. Think of how meerkats stand in their natural habitat. Also humans using both legs could wade through water so enabling increased access to water-borne foods and other areas to gather and hunt food. It has also been suggested that quadruped animals are more exposed to ‘overheating’. Computer studies show that standing humans deflect 60% of heat, particularly helped by developmental hair on the head and possibly by exposure to more breeze when upright.

On the other hand bipeds find it more difficult to defecate cleanly. It requires manual dexterity to maintain hygiene but then at the same time, perhaps due to humans being able to use tools and plant matter for various tasks, this would have been a relatively minor obstacle to overcome.

Secondly, and perhaps of more importance to the survival of the species, bipedalism limits the capacity to travel at speed in certain environments. Monkeys have the ability to travel through undergrowth and trees more rapidly than the cumbersome human but man has, over time, developed various technologies to surmount this disparity.

Fossilised Evidence

Unfortunately there are few fossilised remains that give any idea as to how early humanoids started to take those first steps on two feet. The evidence we have suggests that development leading to humans placing one foot in front of another is the result of a gradual change of role of the hands and feet.

One of the earliest fossilised descendants of humanoid form are the remains of ‘Lucy’ the Australopithecus afarensis found in Hadar, Ethiopia (3.3 million years old). This skeleton was discovered in what was once a forested area. It has curved feet and fingers to facilitate the grasping of branches for locomotion. However evidence shows that it had limited capacity for bipedalism. ‘Little foot’ Australopithecus Africans (only a collection of foot bones 3.5 million years old) suggests an adducted big toe and enough combined ankle development and strength to facilitate bipedal locomotion.

Fossilised evidence of Sahelanthropus throws some light on the subject. Here fossilised bones (c 7 million years old) give some suggestion that this early, now extinct, form of human walked upright. This is demonstrated by fossilised remains of the cranial articulation with the spine showing the head at 180º to the cervical vertebrae. Evolution of the foot was also necessary.

Millions of years ago the ‘ape-like’ foot started to change. We know that the more a muscle is used the larger it gets (Morton 1935). Like brain connections, used frequently it becomes stronger. Bones do the same and Murphy’s Law suggests the same process in tendons and ligaments.. Apes use their hands and feet to clamber in trees. It is to their best advantage. Once humans started to walk on two feet, they needed foot architecture to evolve in order to support themselves bipedally as the grappling foot/hand of a chimp-like human would not be appropriate. How did this happen?

The great toe is the mainstay of modern forefoot mechanism for ‘stepping off’ in bipedalism. During evolution each tentative step generated the gradual deposition of osseous tissue which led to the development of the great toe. Early human anatomy shows that through evolution the 1st Ray, particularly for the first metatarsal joint, allowed stabilisation of propulsion in an erect bipedal human.

Lewis (1980a, 1989), has suggested that the evolving foot culminated with the 1st Ray adducting in line with the other toes. This is the most accepted theory at the time of writing. Evolution is a continuum that necessitates gradual change. It takes millions of years before a change is noticed.

Other fossilised evidence can also be seen in 3.5 million year old footprints discovered in Northern Kenya in 1978. To date, this is the earliest known fossilised evidence of early human gait, known as the Laetoli footprints. Seventy fossilised prints show clearly the toe to heel movement, the human imprint of an upright stance (Leaky and Hay, 1979), identifying how man in Paleocene period walked. Mary Leaky also clearly demonstrated that Australopithecus afternisis walked upright in a bipedal posture with a shallow arch and a developed first hullux, more man than ape-like.

Others have postulated alternative theories. Kidd (1999) looked at fossilised calcaneus, talus, cuboid and navicular bones 1.7 million years old. They all seemed humanoid in origin, perhaps suggesting lateral side of the foot diverged to the 1st ray, allowing tarsal flexibility to maintain stabilisation in bipedalism.

Given the whole concept of Darwinism and evolution there is ample evidence to suggest that human foot structure has changed significantly, so allowing early man to walk successfully and enhance his chances of survival. Evolution, however, does not take place smoothly and the combination of bipedalism and human psyche brought with it a new set of problems. Here enters the chiropodist.

Early Surgery and Medicine

Medicine is work of the Gods. Or it was until the advent of science. Science means an organised body on the study of a subject. At one time there was no clear boundary between truth and medicine. Myth pervaded true understanding, muddying the waters of explanation of disease and its causation.

In ancient history the application of various medicaments was commonplace. Also cutting away (surgical resection) was believed to be a way of eliminating demons and unwanted spirits, and the mainstay of medical treatment. Trephining to eliminate unwanted thoughts from the mind, scarification to relieve the pain and itch of eczema had both been used since neolithic times. Drastic remedies with potentially fatal results. What then, if the early surgical interventionist is faced with a painful condition of the foot? Already we know that the foot occupies a disproportionate area in the atlas of sensitivity in the sensory cortex of the brain. So much so as to require the development of a skilled practitioner dedicated to relieve disorders of that region of the body.

Musculoskeletal conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis have been documented throughout history. The Egyptians certainly recorded it. The introduction of footwear, particularly in the cooler Northern hemispheres, would probably have also caused corns and callous exacerbated by various foot conditions. Later in more modern times these problems would be exacerbated, especially when footwear became associated with status and fashion and not essentially for comfort and practicality. Nowadays there is the additional factor of age-related foot disorders as man’s life expectancy increases.

Foot conditions were often the subject of medical writing in ancient history. The ”father of medicine, Hippocrates (460BCE – 370BCE), invented scrapers to reduce hard skin and callous. His original scalpels are much like those used today (see illustration below). Paul of Aegina ( AD 615 – 690) defined a corn as being a ‘white circular body like the head of a nail, forming in all parts of the body, but more especially on the soles of the feet and toes.’ He removed corns and callous with scalpels or by rubbing with pumice. There is even some suggestion that Aulus Cornelius Celcus, a Roman physician gave the name to what we now know as ‘corns’.

It does appear that the Romans were convinced that cure could be provided by their Gods. Plato gave some insight to this possibility. He wrote,

"I said that the cure itself is a certain leaf, but in addition to the drug, there is a certain charm, which if someone chants when he makes use of it, the medicine altogether restores him to health, but without the charm there is no profit from the leaf."

Perhaps an early account of the placebo effect. The Roman mindset was to view disease as a spiritual affliction which was susceptible to incantations. For instance, Varro’s (116 – 27 BCE) cure for painful feet was to touch the ground and spit on it, followed by the words ‘earth take the pest to thee, health tarry here with me!’ The patient would be fasting while he chanted these words ‘thrice nine times’ the pain would go into the ground.

Another common way to promote healing was to offer ‘votives’, anatomical terracotta models offered to the Gods, most notably Diana, the goddess of fecundity, childbirth and health. Many votives were found near Nemi, not far from Rome. Here a temple stood for pilgrims to attend. Dating from the 4th century BCE models of heads, pairs of eyes, uteri, phalli, breasts and hands and feet were found. Full human couples were also discovered, many depicting a pregnant female.

Often the models were very life-like and detailed. In total 752 feet were excavated, many in pairs. Ingrowing nails, hullux valgus, flat foot and callous were depicted, as well as the odd club foot. The Romans obviously valued transportation by foot, without which would result in a typical Roman losing status and income. (Cruse, 2006)

Painful conditions of the feet needed attention. Minor surgical intervention without any kind of anaesthesia, and in those times little concern for asepis, would have bestowed any competent practitioner some degree of respect and, of course, the possibility of charging a fee. It happened and was documented in history.

During the reign of Henry VIII the ‘Quacks Act’ was introduced. This Act prevented the selling and administration of any substance used to alleviate outward sores and wounds. This included conditions associated with the foot. No wonder home cures began to be used by poor people. In the 16th Century these ranged from paste made from swine dung and ashes of charred willow (which is an important source of aspirin) to rubbing castor oil, vinegar or urine on corns and bunions.

Even worse, people suffering from flat feet in medieval times could be ostracised, after all the devil was often depicted as having cloven feet. Foot deformities suggested demonic possession and could even lead to infanticide or a sentence of death.

The Emergence of Chiropodists

Time progressed, as did the English language. The term ‘Chiropody’ can be traced back to a practitioner of foot care who published a work in 1785 (Chiro [Greek -khier,hand] podos [foot] or Kheirpodes [Greek] chapped feet), (Dagnal 1983). David Low wrote ‘ Chiropodologia or a Scientific Enquiry into the Causes of Corns, Warts, Bunions and Other Painful or Offensive Cutaneous Excrescences.’ Low published his work after translating a 1781 French text by Nicholas-Laurent La Forest entitled ‘L’Art de Soignre les Pieds’ . Unfortunately it does seem that Low plagiarised the French work.

Shakespeare even quoted foot ailments that surely may have needed the services of a chiropodist. Romeo and Juliet, Act 1, Sc.5:

‘Cap welcome, gentlemen!
Ladies that have their toes unplagued with corns,
will have a bout with you.
Ah ha my mistress!
Which of you will now deny to dance?
She that makes daintily,
she I’ll swear hath corns!
Am I come near you now?

And on it goes. Hindley c1884 documents the History of the Cries of London heard in the mid-1600’s, probably composed by the celebrated Orlando Gibbons. Ben Johnson (1563-1637) in his play Bartholomew Fair (1614) also depicts a character at a fair-ground entering the scene with a cry of his advertisement:

”Here’s fine herrings, eight a groat,
Hot cordilines, pies and tarts.
New mackerel I have to sell,
come buy my well fed and oysters ho!
Come buy my whitings fine and new.
Wives, shall I mend your husbands horns?
I’ll grind your knives to please your wives
and very nicely cut your corns.
Maids have you any hair to sell?
Either flaxen, black or brown?
Let none despise the merry, merry cries,
of famous London Town.”

It appears that the services of a chiropodist became necessary to serve the aristocracy and the well-off. The Seventeenth Century saw the advent of ‘Corn-cutters’. Such practitioners became respectable, enough for one, John Hardman, to have his portrait painted by Caulfield in the 1700’s. A sure testament to his fame and fortune. John Hardman became the chiropodist to the then King William of Orange. Respectability beckoned at his doorstep.

1734 saw other revelations. Reed’s Weekly Journal announced that ‘Mr March, a famous corn cutter became the nail cutter to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.’ An annual salary of 50 guineas.’ Other practitioners were charging up to 1 guinea for an individual treatment. A guinea in the mid 1700’s was worth £150 in today’s terms (2015).

Corn cutter, or the preferred term corn operator, probably emerged as a professional title in the 1700’s. Certainly by 1750 such practitioners were being documented pictorially. Around 1750 an engraver by the name of Funney created an illustration of a corn cutter at work. The picture shows an early chiropodist complete with wig and spectacles and before him an array of surgical instruments. The mode of dress and the mere fact that such work was worthy of an illustration, suggests very strongly that this corn cutter was highly regarded. Through advertising and word of mouth, particularly in coffee and bathhouses, high society now welcomed a reputable practitioner to relieve them of their painful foot conditions. If it was good enough for the reigning monarch to have such a person in his employ, fashion dictated that everyone with money should follow suit.

Yet still the profession was somewhat dogged by the fact that corn cutters could be seen plying their trade on street corners. Over the next fifty years or so the chiropody ‘street traders’ gradually disappeared and were replaced by more respectable practitioners. Now they worked from their own premises and even circulated business cards.

In the 1800 London Kelly’s Directory there was one entry listing a chiropodist. By 1840 there were three and by 1880 forty such people registered themselves as practitioners, many offering other services, most notably tooth-pulling.

Textbooks started to be written and published. Hyman Lion, a chiropodist in Edinburgh wrote a Treatise on Corns in 1802 and in 1845 Lewis Durlacher penned the first complete text describing the treatment and care of foot conditions. Hyman Lion was an enterprising practitioner and aspired to further himself to the pinnacle of his profession. He studied medicine at Edinburgh University and graduated with a distinction, his ultimate ambition being to practise as a doctor specialising in foot conditions – perhaps one of the first attempts by a chiropodist to gain acknowledgement from the medical profession. However, he was prevented by the fact that his first calling had been as a corn-cutter, an occupation not considered worthy of the attention of medical and surgical practitioners of the time.

Chiropody/Podiatry as a Profession.

The first person to formally suggest that chiropodists should be regulated and their title protected was Lewis Durlacher, a London chiropodist in 1854. He was practitioner to George IV, William IV and Queen Victoria. He also attempted to establish ‘a dispensary for diseases incidental to feet … for the gratuitous treatment of the needy’ which, in 1913, would become the London Foot Hospital.

Although he was unsuccessful in organising a regulatory body, he wrote various texts which were far ahead of their time. In particular his ‘Treatise on Corns, Bunions, the Diseases of Nails and the General Management of the Feet’ was considered a definitive work and used by chiropodists throughout England.

Elsewhere, dignitaries in Europe employed their own chiropodists. The King of France had a personal chiropodist, as did Napoleon. Perhaps one of the most enterprising practitioners of the day was Isachar Zacharie, chiropodist to President Abraham Lincoln in the USA.

Zacharie was born in England of Jewish parents and travelled to the USA in the mid 1800’s, starting a practice in New York and later Washington. In order to promote his business he would treat civic dignitaries with no charge in exchange for worthy testimonials. President Lincoln wrote in 1862 ‘Dr Zacharie has operated on my feet with good success and considerable addition to my comfort.’

It appears that Zacharie enjoyed the respect and confidence of the President, so much so that the he was asked to act as an unofficial emissary and travel to the south, in particular New Orleans, to help stabilise Jewish support and encourage Jewish loyalty to the Union. Zacharie carried out this onerous task, whilst at the same time still practising as a chiropodist. Whether it was an unwritten request or a misunderstanding, Zacharie managed to treat 15,000 civil war soldiers, their feet suffering the ravages of ill-fitting footwear. After the war he submitted a bill for $45,000 to the War Department which was not paid. He died in 1897 in England and was buried with other persons of note in Highgate Cemetery, London.

The USA took the global lead in officially recognising chiropody as a profession requiring a collective representation when, in 1895, the Society of Chiropodists was founded in New York. Its first official Journal was published in 1907.

Five years later in the United Kingdom, Ernest George Virgo Runting (1861-1954), a one-time chiropodist to Queen Alexandra and Queen Mary collaborated with Dr Arnold Whittaker of Oxford. Together, they formed the British Chiropodial Society in 1912. Runtling was a prolific author on the subject of chiropody. His works include ‘Battalion Chiropody’ (1918), ‘Chiropody Jottings’ (1932) and ‘Practical Chiropody’ (1937).

In 1913 The Pedic Clinic was established in Bloomsbury, London. Here, premises were opened to treat the feet of the poor, it was even dedicated by the Bishop of Willesden, all treatment provided was free of charge. It was also hoped to provide training for aspiring chiropodists but with the advent of World War One this was delayed until 1919, when evening courses were offered on five nights a week.

In 1924 the clinic was renamed The London Foot Hospital. In 1940, during World War Two, the premises were bombed and the Hospital moved to Paddington. The advent of the National Health Service and further moves allowed the State system for training of chiropodists to be firmly established. In 2003, largely due to a dispute over funding of the hospital it was decided to close the establishment (Dagnal, 1988).

The Second World War created a hiatus that affected everyone’s lives in the United Kingdom. For years after the conflict the shadow caused difficulties for any aspiring practitioner of chiropody due to such circumstances as closure of training establishments, shortage of raw materials for the manufacture of consumables and conscription. However, in an undated publication ‘Chiropody as a Career’, whose contents suggest that it was published post-1945 but pre-1948 and the advent of the National Health Service (NHS), Christina Cudworth, highlights some of the necessities required to set up in practice:

Chiropody Chair £22
Foot rest £3
Operators chair £3
Chiropody table £5
Nail drill £11
Floor lamp £4
Infra-red foot bath £10
Sterilized felts,
instruments and jars
etc. £4

So for a total of £62 along with a training fee for two years at £42 to £94 and 2 guineas for the examination, one could set up in practice. Annual earnings would be anticipated at between £200 to £400, (£6,000-£13,000 in 2014) the average treatment fees being 3/6d, 5/6d, 7/6d, (£6-£13 in 2014), with the addition of 33% for a domiciliary visit.

Evolutionary evidence strongly suggests that man walking bipedally, living longer or squeezing feet into inappropriate footwear, has created the need for skilled professional intervention. This piece shows that while chiropody as a profession has only been represented by a professional body in the USA since 1895 and in the UK 1912, with the SMAE Institute being established in 1919, chiropodists/podiatrists have been practising for around 4,500 years. It would therefore seem that chiropody has a secure future.

Cruse A. 2006. Roman Medicine. 117. Tempest Publishing, Great Britain.

Cudworth CC. Circa 1945-1947. 12. Vawser & Wiles, London.

Dagnal J C. 1983. A History of Chiropody-Podiatry and Foot Care. British Journal of Chiropody. 48:137-183.

Dagnal J C. 1988. The London Foot Hospital. British Journal of Chiropody. 53: 185-199.

Dart R.A., 1925, “Australopithecus africanus: the man-ape of South Africa,” Nature,
115: 195-199.

Kidd R. 1999. Evolution of the Rear Foot. A Model of Adaptation with Evidence from the Fossil Record. Journal of Medical Podiatry. 89: 2-17.

Leakey M D & Hay R L. 1979. Paleocene Footprints in the Leotolil Bed at Leatoli, Northern Tanzania. Nature. 278: 317-323.

Lewis O J. 1980. The Joints of the Evolving Foot. Journal of Anatomy. 130: 833-837.

Morton D J. 1935. The Human Foot. Its Evolution and Functional Disorder. Columbia University Press, New York.

Image: A number of ancient Greek surgical tools. On the left is a trephine; on the right, a set of scalpels

From: johnrpearson.wordpress.com

U.S. Abortion History

From: abort73.com

For those who support abortion, there is a tendency to argue that it has always been widely practiced and broadly accepted. Those who oppose abortion, however, generally argue that its permissive and widespread use is a recent phenomena. The truth probably lies somewhere in between.

Anyone who is honestly interested in the history of abortion in the United States, and is willing to put in the time to get it, need look no further than Marvin Olasky's Abortion Rites. It is thorough, honest, meticulously well-researched, and will defy the over-simplified history that people on both sides of the debate often give it.

For those who support legal abortion, there is a tendency to argue that abortion has always been widely practiced and broadly accepted in America. Those who oppose abortion generally argue that the permissive and widespread use of abortion is a recent phenomena. The research of Mr. Olasky puts the truth somewhere in between. On the one hand, abortion has been used with alarming frequency for much of the nation's history. On the other hand, though abortion has long been popular on the fringes of society, it was not until recently that it began to enjoy anything like "mainstream" support. The research provided in Abortion Rites is the foundation for the brief survey of abortion history below. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes come from Mr. Olasky's book.

Prior to the 1800's, most states practiced some variation of English Common Law which generally lacked explicit codification. Add to this the fact that solid statistics about abortion and/or unwed pregnancy simply do not exist for the time period, and you begin to see why it is so difficult to compile an accurate history of abortion in early America. Individual accounts, from journals, periodicals or court records, are all we can rely on for acquiring the anecdotal evidence necessary to make some conclusions.

The first known conviction for the "intention to abort" was handed down in Maryland in the year 1652. Four years later, also in Maryland, a woman was arrested for murder after procuring an abortion, but the case was thrown out when she married the only witness, who then refused to testify. A 1710 Virginia law made it a capital crime to conceal a pregnancy and then be found with a dead baby. Likewise, a 1719 Delaware law made anyone who counseled abortion or infanticide an accessory to murder. Olasky notes that at this point in history, "infanticide was probably the most frequent way of killing unwanted, illegitimate children." "Abortifacients were known and used in early America," but since using them "was like playing Russian roulette with three bullets in the chambers."

While individual state laws were varied and didn't always have specific legislation for abortion and/or infanticide, those that did all shared a common problem. It was almost impossible to produce the evidence necessary to convict. Pregnancy was hard to confirm, there was almost never a corpse or witness, and there was always a great deal of jury sympathy for desperate and abandoned women. Nevertheless, there were plenty of non-legislative factors working against the widespread use of abortion and infanticide. One of the chief of these factors was the existing social pressure that expected a man to "act honorably" and propose marriage if he impregnated a woman out of wedlock. "In one Massachusetts county during the 1760's, over 80 percent of non-maritally conceived births were legitimated by the marriage of their parents, and counties in other colonies had similar records... Where fathers resolutely refused marriage, courts in Virginia and other colonies ordered payment. Thus economic desperation was unlikely to drive most unmarried, pregnant women to infanticide or abortion."

Adding to the influence of society in general was a religious community that uniformly condemned abortion, both for the way the Bible speaks of unborn children and for the testimony of well-known church pillars, the likes of John Calvin, who explicitly forbade abortion. The scientific community, from the 1600's all the way through to the 1800's, believed that babies actually existed before conception, in either the sperm or the egg. Such thinking, faulty though it was, was another anti-abortion influence. Finally, the very difficulty of confirming pregnancy before quickening, made early abortions almost impossible, and late term abortions ruined marriage prospects and were extremely dangerous. "With physical, social, theological and 'scientific' reasons all making abortion unacceptable, only those in extreme duress or with contempt for existing standards would resort to it."

Nevertheless, as America grew and expanded, many of the support mechanisms which helped provide for women during "crisis pregnancies" began to wane. Increased social isolation and separation through urbanization removed the societal and familial safety nets which pregnant, unwed women had been able to fall back on. "The probability of premarital intercourse leading to marriage declined as mobility increased and community enforcement of moral codes decreased." Because of the physical obstacles and risks still associated with abortion, concealment of pregnancy before birth and the smothering of the baby after birth, was a more likely "choice." Nevertheless, abortion itself was starting to gain a foothold. It was still not considered legitimate or legal, but its frequency increased as more young women found themselves pregnant and alone, and more men were willing to pressure towards and perform abortions. It was at this point in the nation's history that Dr. John Trader of Missouri, "contended that men were (the ones) pushing women into abortion: 'We do not affirm, neither would we have you think for a moment, that the onus of this guilt lies at the feet of women. Far from it. In the majority of cases, they are more sinned against than sinning.'"

Historically, "the impulse of short-sessioned early nineteenth-century legislatures was to pass laws only when necessary, and generally only after near unanimity was achieved." Social pressure and education had been effective abortion deterrents in the past, but as the morality of America grew more relaxed, "non-governmental means of containment seemed inadequate." Abortion gained a larger foothold in American life, so lawmakers had to start dealing with it specifically and explicitly. In 1821, the first abortion legislation was passed in Connecticut, and lawmakers elsewhere did their best to keep up (New York legislation changed on abortion 10 times between 1828 and 1881). The frequency of abortion, however, continued to increase.

Newly established abortion laws, like the less explicit laws that had gone before, still faced a real problem of convictability. Since juries would not generally convict a person of a capital crime without conclusive proof, the penalties associated with abortion were often reduced in an attempt to secure more convictions.

The refusal to make abortion a capital crime did not mean that the committee was viewing the unborn child as less than human life; the committee explicitly stated that the being in question was 'alive from conception and all intentional killing of it is murder.' The question was one of how best to put abortionists out of business... The New York Times praised the bill as one 'far-reaching enough to catch hold of all who assist, directly or indirectly in the destruction of infant life; it constitutes the crime of felony, and it imposes an imprisonment of not less than four years on... the rogues male and female who carry on their hideous trade.

The precedent, at this time, was that women themselves would not generally be prosecuted for abortion. Those who performed the actual abortions were the ones who faced sentencing.

Some states gave immunity to women from all criminal liability, partly because women pregnant after seduction were considered desperate victims rather than perpetrators, and partly because of the search for any kind of edge in prosecution. New Jersey, New York, and other states gave women immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony... By providing either no or low penalties, so that a woman would testify that she had been pregnant, prosecutors had a chance to leap the evidentiary hurdles of convincing a jury an abortion actually had occurred."

During the 1840's and 1850's, 13 states passed laws forbidding abortion at any stage. Three others made abortion illegal after quickening. In 1856, the Iowa Supreme Court held that pre-quickening abortion was not a crime, but in the next legislature, the prohibitions against pre-quickening abortions were restored. Despite this newfound devotion to legislative intervention, abortionists continued to make inroads. They began advertising heavily in the Penny Press, though never using the word "abortion." Women were offered instant relief from "menstrual suppression," or were told of pills that were so effective at restoring a woman's regular monthly cycle that they should never be taken by pregnant women (hint, hint).

Abortion made its biggest gains, however, on the back of another infamous and fast-growing American practice: prostitution. Increased industrialization made business travel far more common for many American men, and the anonymity that went along with such travel gave them far more opportunities to seek the "comforts" of a prostitute. For the prostitutes themselves, higher wages for a lot less "work" was hard for many young women to pass up. By the middle of the century, there were somewhere in the vicinity of 60,000 prostitutes employed in America.17 With not much in the way of birth control, and with an average of 30-40 sexual encounters a week, frequent pregnancy was a given. Since being pregnant would put them out of work, abortion became the happy alternative. New York detective John Warren noted that abortionists were "flourish[ing] and grow[ing] rich from prostitution as a source of income'. Many doctors agreed, "Our profession is not entirely clear of complicity in the crime of feticide. Tempted by thirty pieces of silver ...individuals may be found in whom the honorable instincts and teachings of the guild are lost in the influence of unprincipled cupidity." Then, like today, many abortionists entered the field driven by profit rather than principle, and saw an opportunity to secure "loans" and guarantee wealth. Those seeking out abortion have always valued their anonymity, and abortion providers have not always been scrupulous in their demands to not leak information. One of the 19th century's most notorious abortionists, Madame Restell, made an art of securing large "loans" from former clients, loans that were never returned. According to The New York Times, "The residence of Mme Restell is one of the best known in New York...Her wealth is entirely the proceeds of her criminal profession."

Marvin Olasky estimates, based on a careful 10-point equation, that approximately 100,000 prostitution-related abortions were occurring each year at this point in American history. The moral relaxation that seemed to be sweeping much of America began to have a significant impact on public opinion. For the first time, abortion wasn't just a dirty little secret, there were actually people beginning to defend the practice in public. Detective Warren further lamented that, "Social crimes like infanticide, that were once placed on the same level as murder, are now not only looked upon with complacency... but are defended on principle by certain theorists." Despite the growing support that these "theorists" provided, the most significant members of the medical community continued to stand firmly against abortion. Dr. Stephen Tracy writes:

"Whoever for the sake of gain, or for any other possible reason, designedly destroys [the fetus] excepting in cases where it is certainly and indispensably necessary, in order to save the life of the mother, commits a most awful crime, and will be called to give an account at the judgement of the Great Day...

"The life of this new human being is sacred, and no one but God himself either has, or can have, the least shadow of a right or liberty to take it away. To destroy its life, for the sake of saving one's self from exposure and mortification, is but to add a greater to a lesser crime...
At forty-five days, the form of the child is very distinct... The head is very large; the eyes, mouth, and nose are to be distinguished; the hands and arms are in the middle of its length – fingers distinct . . . at two months, all the parts of the child are present . . . the fingers and toes are distinct. At three months, the heart pulsates strongly, and the principal vessels carry red blood."

Ironically, the unrest leading up to the Civil War also became an opportunity for abortion to make more inroads. "For better or worse, the priority for many northern reformers became the evil down south rather than the evil in their own backyards." As a result, "great opportunities were missed [when] good citizens often felt themselves called to deal with the great problems hundreds of miles away rather than the equally severe ones close to home."

It was around this same period, that abortion began to be associated with married women for the first time (though it was a very specific group of married women). The spiritist revolution of the mid-century enticed large numbers of people into throwing off all religious constraint so as to pursue their own sexual satisfaction in any way they saw fit. Married partners swapped spouses with great celebration, but certainly didn't want to deal with the offspring of these illicit affairs. Olasky here estimates, again as laid out in a detailed 6-point equation, that during 1860, there may have been as many as 45,000 abortions performed on the roughly 600,000 spiritist women. When these married women first began seeking abortions from Dr. Charles D. Meigs in 1842, the Philadelphia doctor described them as "persons so ignorant of their own moral duties, or so uninstructed as to the character and duties of medical men, [that they came to him] with a bold-faced proposition to procure an abortion." His answer to such requests: "by common law [abortion] is felony, and by the law of God murder."

Still, not all doctors agreed with Dr. Meigs' clear assessment. A national debate was brewing, and the arguments both in favor of and in opposition to abortion sounded very much the same as they do today. Meanwhile, most churches of the time didn't know what to do with abortion. Some were bold in their testimony, as evidenced by an 1868 Congregational church conference declaration on abortion:

Full one third of the natural population of our land, falls by the hand of violence; that in no one year of the late war have so many lost life in camp or battle, as have failed of life by reason of this horrid home crime. We shudder to view the horrors of intemperance, of slavery, and of war; but those who best know the facts and bearing of this crime, declare it to be a greater evil, more demoralizing and destructive, than either intemperance, slavery or war itself.

The Presbyterian Church in the United States officially declared that, "the destruction by parents of their own offspring before birth," is, "a crime against God and against nature." Continuing:

"The whole power of the ministry and Church of Jesus Christ should be put forth in maintenance of the truth...We also exhort those who have been called to preach the gospel, and all who love purity and truth, and who would avert the just judgement of almighty God from the nation, that they be no longer silent or tolerant of these things, but that they endeavor by all proper means to stay the flood of impurity and cruelty."

Most other churches had very "little appetite for exposing wrongdoing when many members and some ministers wanted their own wrongdoing to be let alone." In 1891, Brevard Sinclair, in his book The Crowning Sin of the Age stated that, regarding abortion, Americans witnessed "the Church asleep." Nevertheless, in the decades leading up to the 20th century, abortion was clearly losing ground. The allure of "spiritism" had faded, and the American Medical Association, despite the perennial problem of convictability, began pursuing more stringent anti-abortion laws, primarily for the educational impact these laws would have on American morality. The National Abortion Federation (NAF) tells us that "by the 1870s, all states had criminalized abortion," and it had almost nothing to do with religious pressure. According to the NAF, "physicians were the leading force in the campaign to criminalize abortion in the USA," arguing that abortion was "both immoral and dangerous." At the same time, abortion opponents began to realize that laws, by themselves, were not enough. Dr. Joseph C. Stone, entered Congress in 1877 with the intention to "pass good laws when possible, but to stress conversion and education." When a noteworthy physician was interviewed by the National Police Gazette and asked what the best hope was for preventing abortion, he answered:

"Publicity. Let people know that is going on around them. There is no remedy for a great social secret sin like exposure."

While the nature of the abortion-related arguments were virtually the same 150 years ago as they are today, the lines of support have clearly shifted. In that day and age, "anti-abortion and anti-prostitution campaigns were liberal causes, carrying forward the solid anti-slavery impulses." Some of the most outspoken and courageous abortion opponents were members of the mainstream media. The afore-mentioned National Police Gazette devoted itself to exposing abortionists, and The New York Times emphasized that the fight against abortion was a fight against money and power: "Great mansions on grand avenues are occupied by disgusting 'practitioners' who continue to escape prosecution."

While newspaper editorials pulled no punches in their condemnation of abortion, the ad departments often undermined their efforts by selling increasing numbers of ads to abortion providers. In 1904, Dr. Rudolph Holmes set out to address this grievance by convincing the Chicago Medical Society to form a Committee on Criminal Abortion. The committee then went after all the papers in Chicago who sold "veiled" ads to abortion providers. Despite, significant loss in ad revenue, most papers succumbed to Dr. Holmes' request for fear of the exposure he would have brought were they to continue such practice. The result was, that while "a typical issue of the Chicago Tribune in March 1905 contained seventeen abortion ads," by the end of the year, "there were no noticeable ads for abortionists [left]."

On top of the public pressure applied both by the medical community and by the major media outlets, there also was a growing commitment to establishing more practical support measures to help pregnant, unmarried women. In 1895, Chicago, itself was known to have dozens of shelters for just such women. Eventually, though, the victories gained by the pro-life movement began to be undermined and reversed. Abortionists, instead of advertising in the newspaper, printed up thousands of business cards to be directly distributed in brothels and boarding-houses. "Chicago abortionists had their own legal department, with witnesses on tap and ready to swear that 'the young woman had an operation elsewhere and the doctor was merely performing a life-saving operation'." Many of those who had worked so tirelessly in opposing abortion fell into public despair as their efforts began to fade. Dr. Holmes lamented in 1908:

"I have come to the conclusion that the public does not want, the profession does not want, the women in particular do not want, any aggressive campaign against the crime of abortion. I have secured evidence. I have asked different physicians, who either had direct knowledge of crime against the prisoner before the bar or who could testify as to general reputation, to come and testify. They promised to come, but when the time for trial is at hand no one appears."

Holmes concluded that while Illinois abortion law could not be improved on paper, a total lack of enforcement made such laws almost useless. He also noted the growing problem of national complicity. "It is not possible to get twelve men together without at least one of them being personally responsible for the downfall of a girl, or at least interested in getting her out of her difficulty." Clergy were condemning abortion less and less, medical students were not being adequately informed of the enormity of the crime, laws continued to go unenforced and a general public apathy all combined to have a tragic snow-ball effect. Dr. M.S. Iseman concluded in 1912, that "except in the formal letter of the statute books, the sanctity which nearly twenty centuries of Christianity has conferred upon the unborn human being is repudiated." Dr. Matthew Liotta writes in 1931, "Never before in all past ages has there been such merciless killing of innocent, helpless and unborn human beings as is going on at the present time."

Gradually, even the opposition to abortion began to lose much of its moral framework. In medical text books, abortion was counseled against for the potential risks it presented to women rather than for the life it destroyed. "The right to destroy," in fact, became central to the belief system Margaret Sanger began espousing in her publication, The Woman Rebel. She celebrated the "virtue" of sexual promiscuity and attacked any women's shelter which counseled otherwise. Margaret Sanger would go on to found Plannned Parenthood, which remains the largest abortion provider in the United States. Much to Sanger's delight, social work began to be secularized. Government funding required the removal of all religious indoctrination, and "professional social workers" replaced "evangelically-oriented matrons." The notion of compassion shifted from helping people do what was right to helping people do whatever they wanted to do. Major media outlets had long returned to the lucrative business of abortion advertising, and it wasn't long before the editorial departments fell into line with the publisher's desire to better accommodate their advertising partners. Distinctions were suddenly made between "good" abortionists and "bad" abortionists. Those promoting contraception touted that it "would do away entirely with the evil of abortion." Whether they ever actually believed this in private is debatable, but the sexual emancipation that the widespread promotion of birth-control helped accommodate certainly added to the business of the professional abortionist.

The birth control issue, split the pro-life community for many years and hamstrung their efforts during the crucial 1960's, when public opinion began to shift in significant fashion. In 1962, national news reports of a women who died from an illegal abortion (and then was cut into pieces) horrified the nation, and "All-American" mom, Sherri Finkbine, became famous for having to go to Sweden to abort the child she feared would be disabled. The average American began to perceive illegal abortion, rather than abortion itself, as the real problem. In 1967, Colorado and California became the first states to legalize abortion for pregnancies that resulted from rape or incest, for pregnancies that threatened the life of the mother, or for pregnancies of severely handicapped children. Over the next three years, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina and Virginia all followed suit. In 1970 New York became the first state to offer unrestricted abortion during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. Hawaii, Alaska and Washington soon followed. One year later, in 1971, the famed Roe v. Wade first came to trial. When the verdict was handed down in 1973, all state laws regulating abortion were stricken, and abortion on demand became the law of the land.

The history of abortion since 1973 is far more well-known and can be examined further in The Legality of Abortion.

In the end, examining the history of abortion in America reveals that abortion has been a significant part of the American landscape from as far back as the early 1800's. It also reveals, however, that some of the best minds in American history consistently condemned abortion, and it offers us insight for combatting abortion today. Where a resolute commitment to educating the public is in place, and where there is support for women in crisis pregnancy, and where there are laws on the books to inform public morality, the prospects for reversing the current frequency and acceptability of abortion are very promising.

Medical Information on General Officers

From: ehistory.osu.edu

For years, writers cited the Commander of the Third Corps, Army of Northern Virginia (ANV) as having some type of psycosymptomatic disorder. It always seemed to them that when the action was getting hot or stressful, down went A.P. Hill. In his book A.P. Hill: The Story of a Confederate Warrior, James I. Robertson challanges this idea saying that General Hill suffered cruelly from prostatis, brought on by his "youthful indiscretion" while on furlough from West Point. We can not say for certainty if this was indeed what was wrong with Hill. Some say that the General was suffering from malaria. A.P. Hill was born November 9, 1825 in Culpepper, Virginia. While he was a cadet at West Point in the summer of 1844 he contracted gonorrhea. The disease was so bad that he graduated a year behind, in the class of 1847. He suffered from typhoid fever in Mexico and from yellow fever later. Hill was wounded at Chancellorsville through the calves of his legs. At Gettysburg on July 1, he was ill. Between 1864 and 1865 he suffered from occasional illness. The suggestion of Robertson was that he was suffering from prostatis and a stricture, resulting in chronic infection, impaired kidney function, and uremia. This is, however, only speculation. Hill was killed by a bullet through the heart on April 2, 1865 at Petersburg.

Major General James Ewell Brown Stuart, CSA
JEB Stuart was commander of the ANV's cavalry and was mortally wounded at the battle of Yellow Tavern in May of 1864. Stuart was born Feb. 6, 1833 in Patrick County, Virginia and graduated from West Point in 1854. He was wounded in the chest on July 29, 1857 in Kansas by a pistol shot. On May 11, 1864, Stuart was shot by a dismounted trooper at a distance of only 10 to 15 yards. The bullet had a speed of 700 feet per second. The bullet entered on the right side below the ribs. It passed into the peritoneal cavity. Stuart's intestines were perforated in at least a few places. He also suffered from damaged blood vessels. There was speculation that the bullet had ranged up and passed into his liver. It took him 27 hours to die. Stuart died from a combination of peritonitis and internal hemoraging at about 7:30 in the evening of May 12, 1864.

Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, USA
A wound suffered at Gettysburg hindered the rest of famed Second Corps General Hancock's Civil War career. Born on Valentine's Day, 1824, Hancock graduated from West Point in 1844 and served in the Mexican War. He was wounded slightly in the knee at Churubusco and was suffering from chills and fever during the battle of Chapultepec. Hancock was wounded while sitting on his horse on July 3 at Gettysburg. The bullet entered his right thigh and lodged, carrying in some foreign material. An improvised tourniquet staunched the bleeding. The wound remained a constant problem for Hancock until a surgeon, Dr. Louis Read, was able to find the bullet and remove it. In June of 1864, the wound reopened and bone fragments extruded from it. Hancock gave up command on June 17, but returned to command on the 27th. He gave up command of the Second Corps in November 1864. Hancock died on Feb. 9, 1886 in New York. The book Hancock at Gettysburg by A.M. Gambone gives much detail about General Hancock's wounding.

General John Fulton Reynolds, USA
General John F. Reynolds fell defending his native state of Pennsylvania in command of the Left Wing of the Army of the Potomac. Reynolds was born on September 20, 1820 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and graduated from West Point in 1841. Before the War, he suffered from at various times bilious fever, yellow fever, and malaria. On the morning of July 1, Reynolds was shot through the back of the head by a rifle ball. The bullet entered behind the right ear and passed through the brain. He fell face down from his horse. No obivious bleeding was present. When his aides turned him onto his back, he smiled, gasped once, and apparently died. He apparently died within a minute or two of being shot.

Brevet Major General Joshua L. Chamberlain, USA
A terrible wound taken at the battle of Petersburg was declared by surgeons to be mortal, but it would be fifty years before General Chamberlain succumbed to the wound. Born Sept. 8, 1828, Chamberlain saw action with the Fifth Corps Army of the Potomac from Antietam to Appomattox. He was scratched on the face at Fredericksburg in Dec. 1862. In June 1863, he suffered sunstroke. At Gettysburg on July 2, he was wounded twice in the foot and hip. Both wounds were minor. From August on, he suffered from malaira. On June 18, 1864, he was shot, the bullet passing through his hips and body. The bullet severed arteries, nicked the bladder, and broke the pelvic bones. Expected to die, Chamberlain survived. Returning to the Army, he was wounded at Quaker Road on March 29, 1865. The bullet passed through the neck of his horse, hit his arm, and struck him in the chest where it was deflected. Chamberlain suffered for the rest of his life with the wounds he took at Petersburg though he had a distingushed post war career. Eventually, the infection caused his death on Feb. 24, 1914.

USCivilWar.Net wants to thank Jenny Goellnitz for compiling this information.

Images: Jeb Stuart and Joshua Chamberlain


Facebook Twitter Delicious Stumbleupon Favorites