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.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Lincoln General Hospital, Washington, D.C.

From: collections.countway.harvard.edu

Birds eye view of Lincoln General Hospital, Washington, D.C., seen from the rear, 1865.
From Reports on the extent and nature of the materials available for the preparation of a medical and surgical history of the rebellion (Philadelphia, 1865).

The Lincoln General Hospital, a pavilion-type hospital, was active from December, 1862, until August, 1865, and located about a mile from the Capitol building in Washington.  Over 21,000 troops and prisoners were admitted over the course of the war.

The Confederacy and Coca-Cola

By Michael Climo, 6-28-14

Most everyone recognizes the soft drink Coca-Cola as one of the most prominent brands known today. But, did you know that the discovery of Coca-Cola was made by a former Confederate soldier and was unintentional? Initially it was formulated as a tonic to cure almost everything. But today Dr. John Stith Pemberton’s creation has since become one of world's most iconic and profitable brands.

John Stith Pemberton was born on January 8, 1831 in the small town of Knoxville, Georgia near Macon. At an early age his family moved to Rome where he was raised and attended school. His father, James Clifford Pemberton, was a native of North Carolina. His Uncle, Confederate General John Clifford Pemberton, is best known as the man who surrendered Vicksburg to the Union. Around the middle of 1840 John Pemberton returned to Macon and enrolled at the Reform Medical College of Georgia. He took courses in pharmacy and medicine and was trained as a steam doctor. This was a popular system devised by doctor and herbalist Samuel Thomson. The procedure relied on herbal treatments and steam baths that was believed would help patients rid themselves of disease by sweating. In 1850 at the age of 19 Pemberton received his degree. Later he acquired a more conventional pharmacy degree but the exact date and place are unknown.

In the early 1850s Pemberton launched a medical and surgical career in Rome. In 1853 he married Ann Eliza Clifford Lewis, a student at Macon's Wesleyan College, and the pair moved to Columbus, Georgia. The following year their son Charles was born. Pemberton was always looking for greater financial opportunities than those of an average small-city pharmacist. In 1855 he established a wholesale-retail business selling the raw materials for pharmaceutical remedies sold in apothecary shops and less formal retail environments like medicine shows across the South.

After the outbreak of the War Between the States, Pemberton enlisted in the Confederate Army and in May of 1862 was made a first lieutenant. He organized the Third Georgia Cavalry Battalion for the defense of Columbus and reached the rank of lieutenant colonel. Pemberton’s unit was in the line of fire when Union troops under General James Wilson attacked Columbus on Easter Sunday of 1865. Although there was an encounter later at Palmitto Ranch, Texas, and fighting even later in Alabama, the attack on Columbus, Georgia was the last large-scale battle of the war. Pemberton received a saber slash across his chest during the struggle for the 14th Street Bridge. Like many other wounded veterans, he became addicted to the morphine that was used for a pain-killer.

After the War's end and his recovery Pemberton returned home and formed a partnership with wealthy Columbus physician Austin Walker. He expanded his laboratory with the aim of devising new products and selling medicines and photography supplies. He branched out into cosmetics and found success with a perfume called Sweet Southern Bouquet. In 1869 Pemberton partnered with larger investors in Atlanta and formed the firm of Pemberton, Wilson, Taylor and Company. In 1870 he moved with his family to Atlanta and began to make a name for himself in the growing city's medical establishment, serving as a trustee of Atlanta Medical College (Now known as Emory University Medical School). Pemberton's labs were state-of-the-art and they remain in use today as a soil and crop chemical testing facility for the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

Among the successful products Pemberton launched in Atlanta in 1885 was a drink he called Pemberton's French Wine Coca. The product contained coca leaves from South America which were precursors to cocaine. Pemberton promoted the drink, which was served at pharmacy counters, as a nerve tonic, a mental aid, a headache remedy, and a cure for morphine addiction. When interviewed by an Atlanta newspaper he admitted that the concoction was based on an Italian-French product, Vin Mariani, that contained a similar wine-coca mixture. Pemberton's innovation though was to add extracts from other tropical plants like the caffeine containing kola nut produced by a genus of African trees and Damiana, a Central American shrub leaf reputed to have aphrodisiac properties.

In 1866 alcohol prohibition plans began to circulate within Atlanta's city government (it was eventually implemented but lasted only one year). Pemberton was worried that his newly popular product might soon be banned so he embarked onto more experimentation. Using a laboratory at his home on Marietta Street in Atlanta, Pemberton's French Wine Coca began to evolve into Coca-Cola. He devised an industrial sized mixing and filtering apparatus that ran from the house's second story through the floor to the ground level. Samples of his new alcohol free syrups were sent out to local pharmacies for testing with Pemberton's nephews assigned to report on customer reactions. One key breakthrough occurred when Pemberton came up with the idea to add citric acid to counteract the sweetness of the sugar based syrup.

By May of 1886 Pemberton was ready with his final formula and it was first sold in syrup form at Atlanta's Jacob Pharmacy. In the beginning it was served at the counter mixed with water to create a beverage that retailed for five cents. A pharmacy clerk who’s’ name is lost to history made a brilliant enhancement when he had the idea to use soda water in place of the normal plain water. The new Pemberton Chemical Company was formed to market his new drink and he put his son Charles in charge of production. One of his partners in the new business was the bookkeeper named Frank Robinson. He also came up with the name Coca-Cola referring to the drink's two active ingredients and created the antique script logo still in use today.

Total Coca-Cola sales for the first year of operations were only $50, a failure in Pemberton's view because he had spent $70 on supplies. But Robinson believed that exposure was all that was needed and persuaded Pemberton to devote a significant marketing budget to help popularize the new concoction. He agreed and banners, streetcar placards, and store awnings emblazoned with the message “Drink Coca-Cola” could be found all around Atlanta. Soon the product was spreading across the city and Pemberton was convinced it was on its way to national popularity.

Pemberton however did not live to reap the profits from his invention. Suffering from stomach cancer he progressively sold off two-thirds of his interest in the company to other investors, including the transplanted Northern pharmacist Asa G. Candler. In the last months of his life he dragged himself to his laboratory repeatedly in search of further improvements to the Coca-Cola formula convinced that celery extract was the key to a still more attractive taste. Pemberton died on August 16, 1888 leaving his wife in a difficult financial situation.

A struggle for control of Coca-Cola soon followed his death. The financial maneuverings that occurred were murky with rights to both the name Coca-Cola and the formula for the drink under dispute. Candler now sought to move swiftly forward to taking full control of the whole Coca-Cola operation. It has never been entirely clear how Candler wrested control of the company from Charles Pemberton and the other investors. Eventually, Charles Pemberton was found on June 23, 1894, unconscious, with a stick of opium by his side. Ten days later, Charley died at Atlanta's Grady Hospital at the age of 40.

In Charles Howard Candler's 1950 book about his father, he stated: "On August 30th {1888}, he {Asa Candler} became sole proprietor of Cola-Cola, a fact which was stated on letterheads, invoice blanks and advertising copy." With this action on August 30, 1888, Candler's sole control became technically all true. By May 1, 1889, Candler was now claiming full ownership of the Coca-Cola beverage, with a total investment outlay by Candler for the drink enterprise over the years amounting to $2,300.

The first bottling of Coca-Cola occurred in Vicksburg, Mississippi at the Biedenharn Candy Company in 1891. Its proprietor was Joseph A. Biedenharn. The original bottles Biedenharn bottles were very different from the much later hobble-skirt design now so familiar. Asa Candler was tentative at first about bottling the drink but two entrepreneurs from Chattanooga, Tennessee, Benjamin F. Thomas and Joseph B. Whitehead, proposed the idea and were so persuasive that Candler signed a contract giving them control of the procedure for only one dollar. Candler never collected his dollar, but in 1899, Chattanooga became the site of the first Coca-Cola bottling company. In 1905 fresh coca leaves were replaced by spent coca leaves, the part of the plant left over after cocaine is extracted and by the 1930s the drink was a fixture of American life.

By the time of its 50th anniversary in 1936 the soft drink had reached the status of a national icon in the USA. On July 12, 1944 the one-billionth gallon of Coca-Cola syrup was manufactured by The Coca-Cola Company. As Paul Harvey used to say, “Now you know the rest of the story.”

From: examiner.com

List of Drugs Carried in a Civil War Medical Wagon

From: medicalantiques.com

The following list of drugs would have been carried in a Civil War medical wagon per the Medical Department regulations and Appendix A of the Supply list.

List of Drugs carried in a Civil War Medical Wagon
(See the 1861 Revised Army Supply Table list of drugs for field and hospital, which is in Latin, as are the labels for the various containers.)

acetate lead
alcoholic extract of belladonna
aromatic spirit of ammonia
aromatic sulphuric acid
bicarbonate potassa
bicarbonate soda
blistering cerate
blue mass
carbonate ammonia
castor oil
cerate of cantharides
chlorate of potassa
chlorate potassa
chlorinated solution of soda
citrate iron and quinia
citrine ointment
compound cathartic pills
compound extract of colocynth
croton oil
Dover's powder
extract of belladonna
fluid extract cinchona (aromatic)
fluid extract ginger
fluid extract ipecac
fluid extract of aconite root
fluid extract of cinchona, aromatic
fluid extract of colchicum seed
fluid extract of ginger
fluid extract of ipecac
fluid extract seneka
Fowler's solution,
fused nitrate silver
ground cayenne pepper
Hoffman's anodyne
iodide of iron
iodide of potassium
iodide polassium
mercurial ointment,
mercury with chalk
nitrate of silver (crystals)
oil of turpentine
olive oil
permanganate of potassa
pills of camphor
pills of compound extract of colocynth
pills of opium
pills of sulphate of quinia
powdered compound extract colcoynth.
powdered gum Arabic
powdered ipecac
powdered opium
powdered Rochelle salt
powdered squill
powdered subsulphate iron
powdered tartaric acid
pure chloroform
pure glycerin
purified chloroform
resin cerate
Rochelle salt, 16 oz.
simple cerate
solution chloride zinc
solution of ammonia
solution of chloride of zinc
solution of chlorinate of soda
solution of persulphate of iron.
spirit of nitrous ether
strong alcohol
stronger ether (for anaesthesia)
stronger ether
subnitrate bismuth
sulphate cinchona
sulphate magnesia
sulphate of copper
sulphate of morphia
sulphate of quinine
sulphate zinc
sweet spirit of nitre
syrup of squill
tannic acid
tartar emetic
tincture chloride of iron
tincture of opium

(Note: In 1856 Edward Robinson Squibb founded a pharmaceutical company in Brooklyn, New York, dedicated to the production of consistently pure medicines. In 1895 Squibb passed most of the responsibility for managing the firm to his sons, Charles and Edward. The company became known as E.R. Squibb & Sons.  So, any Squibb products used in the Civil War will NOT have '& Sons' on the label.)

In a Civil War Squibb pannier various anesthetics were labeled:

Chloroform was labeled: CHLOROFORMUM PURIFICATUM. (chloroform) and packaged in twelve fluid ounces

Ether was labeled: SPIRITUS AETHERIS COMPOSITUS. (compound spirits of ether) packaged in four fluid ounces) or as SPIRITUS FRUMENTI. (spirits of nitric ether) Twenty-four fluid ounces

Morphine was labeled: LIQUOR MORPHIAE SULPHATIS. (morphine sulphate solution) Sixteen grains to the fluid ounce, four fluid ounces)

Opium was labeled: PILLS OF CAMPHOR AND OPIUM. Twenty dozen; PILULAE OPII. (opium pills) Sixty dozen; PULVIS IPECAC: ET OPII. (powder of ipecac and opium) In five gram pills, thirty dozen; TINCTURA OPII. (tincture of opium; laudanum) Six fluid ounces

Image: U. S. Army Hospital Department pannier label by Squibb

Medical Schools in Existence Prior to and During the Civil War

(The following are the personal edited research notes of Michael Echols, the source of which may or may not be completely documented)

The following list of medical schools were in existence prior to the Civil War and graduated doctors who ‘may’ have been the right age to have served in the Civil War as a surgeon.  There are contract surgeons (irregulars) and Union surgeons in the Army (regulars), either of which could have served in the Civil War.  Most surgeons in the War were trained during the 1840’s and 50’s.  The value of this information is that it serves to help document if a given doctor, surgeon, or officer, in fact could have served in the War.  If the school they attended is not on this list or the dates do not make sense, then it helps in the process of elimination.

1.   College of Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania School ,of Medicine, established 1765
2.   Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, established 1825
3.   Medical Department of Pennsylvania Col­lege, established 1840-61
4.   Philadelphia College of Medicine, estab­lished 1838-59
5.   Franklin Medical College, established 1846­49
6.   Pennsylvania Medical University of Philadel­phia, established 1853-61

New York
1.   King’s and Columbia Schools of Medicine, established 1767
2.   College of Physicians and Surgeons, established 1807-13
3.   Rutgers College (Queens College), established 1812-16
4.   New York University Medical College, established 1837
5.   New York School of Medicine, established 1830­33
6.   New York Hospital School of Medicine, estab­lished 1843-44
7.   Long Island College Hospital, established 1858­62
8.   Bellevue Hospital Medical College, established 1861 and later merged with N.Y.U. Medical College
9.   College of Physicians and Surgeons, Western District of New York State (Fairfield Medical College) estb. 1812-38
10. Auburn Medical School, established 1825-39
11. Geneva Medical College, established 1834-46
12. Albany Medical College, established 1838
13. University of Buffalo Department of Medicine, established 1846

1.   Medical School of Harvard, established 1782
2.   Berkshire Medical Institute of Massachusetts, established 1837-69

New Hampshire
1.   Dartmouth College, Department of Medicine, established 1797

1.   Medical Institute of Yale College, established 1802

Rhode Island
1.   Brown University Medical School, established 1811

1.   Medical School of Maine, Bowdin College, established 1820-1834

1.   Castle ton Medical College, established 1818-61
2.   University of Vermont Medical Department, established 1820
3.   Vermont Medical College, established 1827-56

1.   College of Medicine of Maryland, established 1807
2.   Washington Medical College of Baltimore, established 1826-39

District of Columbia
1.   Columbian College, Medical Department (National Medical College), established 1825
2.   Georgetown College School of Medicine, estab­lished 1851

South Carolina
1.   Medical College of South Carolina, established 1823

1.   Medical Lectures of William and Mary, estab­lished 1848-49
2.   College of Physicians of the Valley at Winches­ter, established 1825-29
3.   Winchester Medical College of Virginia, estab­lished 1847-62
4.   Medical Department University of Virginia, established 1825
5.   Medical Department of Randolf-Macon Col­lege, established 1837-54
6.   Medical Department of Hampden-Sidney College, established 1837-54
7.   Medical College of Virginia, established 1854

1.   Medical College of Georgia, established 1829
2.   Savannah Medical College, established 1852
3.   Atlanta Medical College, established 1855-98
4.   Oglethorpe Medical College, established 1856-­61

1.   Medical Department of Transylvania University, established 1816-59
2.   Louisville Medical Institute, established 1833
3.   University of Louisville Medical Department, established 1845
4.   Kentucky School of Medicine, established 1849­-1908

1.   Medical College of Ohio, established 1821
2.   Miami University Medical Department, estab­lished 1831-61
3.   Medical Department of Cincinnati College, established 1835
4.   Cincinnati College of Medicine and Surgery, established 1850
5.   Miami Medical College established 1853-57
6.   Willoughby Medical College, established 1834­45
7.   Starling Medical College, established 1848-73
8.   Cleveland Medical College - Western Reserve College, established 1843

1.   LaPorte University Medical Department, established 1843-51
2.   Indiana Central Medical College, established 1849-52
3.   Medical College of Evansville, established 1849­-54

1.   Medical College of Louisiana, established 1834
2.   Medical Department of University of Louisiana, established 1845
3.   New Orleans School of Medicine, established 1856-61

1.   Franklin Medical College, established 1842-46
2.   Medical Department of Illinois College, estab­lished 1843-48
3.   Rush Medical College, established 1843
4.   Medical Department of Lind University, estab­lished 1859
5.   Chicago Medical College, established 1864
6.   Northwestern University School of Medicine, established 1869
7.   Rock Island Medical College, established 1848­49

1.   Wisconsin Medical College, established 1854

1.      College of Physicians and Surgeons of the Iowa University, established 1850

1.   University of Michigan Medical School, estab­lished 1849

1.   Medical College of Kemper College, established 1841-47
2.   Missouri Medical College, established 1847
3.   Medical Department of the Missouri Institute of Science, established 1856
4.   Medical Department of St. Louis University, established 1842
5.   St. Louis Medical College, established 1855 then became Washington University 1899
6.   Medical Department at Franklin Medical and Literary College, established 1849
7.   St. Louis College of Medical and Natural Sci­ences, established 1855
8.   Humboldt Medical College, established 1859

1.   Memphis Medical School, established 1846-61
2.   Medical Department of the University of Nash­ville, established 1850 which became
3.   Shelby Medical College then became Medical Department of Vanderbilt University

1.   Medical College of Alabama, established 1859-­61

1.   University of Pacific Medical Department, established 1859

Image: Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia faculty 1856, among the many famous Civil War doctors are:  Samuel D. Gross, Jacob M. Da Costa, Bartholow Roberts, Wallace, Rodgers, Pancoast,, Chapman, and others.

From: medicalantiques.com

Navy Medicine in the Civil War

From: med.navy.mil

Whether victims of disease or hostile action, Sailors required treatment and much Navy medicine took place at hospitals in Chelsea, Brooklyn, Mound City, New Orleans, and Philadelphia. By the fall of 1862, Navy hospitals were filled to their utmost capacity. As a result, medical facilities at navy yards and naval stations were expanded and both civilian and Army hospitals were also treating naval patients. To remedy the situation, a major hospital expansion campaign began. Unfortunately, many of these improvements weren’t realized until the very end of the war.

Following their recapture by Union forces, the two naval hospitals in the South—Portsmouth (Va.) and Pensacola were put back into operation. In addition to the naval hospitals that had been established before the war, at least four others came on line between 1862 and 1865. These hospitals at Mound City, Ill. (1862); Memphis, Tn. (1863); New Orleans, La. (1863); and Port Royal, S.C. (1864), were located within the theater of operations of the blockading river squadrons and acted as receiving hospitals, taking patients on a short-term basis.

Image: Navy Hospital, Chelsea, Mass

Mary Ashton Rice Livermore (1820-1905): My Story of the War

From: uab.edu

"My story of the war: a woman’s narrative of four years personal experience as nurse in the Union Army…" Hartford, Conn.:   A. D. Worthington and Company, 1888.

"The story of my life: or, The sunshine and shadow of seventy years…" Hartford, Conn.: A. D. Worthington and Company, 1898.

Mary Ashton Rice Livermore, a native of Boston, Massachusetts, is one of the most well-known female figures in the Union relief movement. Before the Civil War broke out, Mary had already devoted her life to social, humanitarian and charitable causes.

In her early twenties, she worked as a family tutor on a large rural Virginia plantation. In this position, she came face to face with the injustices of slavery and became a staunch abolitionist. During these pre-war years, Mary also became known for her involvement in the temperance movement, which especially thrived after her marriage to fellow temperance supporter and Universalist minister, Daniel Parker Livermore, in 1845. Mrs. Livermore organized a juvenile temperance group, the Cold Water Army, for whom she wrote short stories and read them aloud.

In 1857, the Livermores and their three daughters moved from Massachusetts to Chicago, where Mary assisted her husband in editing the Northwest Universalist paper, The New Covenant. There, she also helped found two charities, the Home for Aged Women and the Hospital for Women and Children (American Reformers).

When the war began, many relief organizations quickly emerged in the North, and in 1861 the United States Sanitary Commission was formed to coordinate these efforts. Mary Livermore, convinced of the need for female participation in war relief, and with the support of her husband, resigned many of her former obligations and became a leader in the Northwest Sanitary Commission, a division of the U.S. Sanitary Commission. In December 1862, Livermore and her friend, Jane C. Hoge, were appointed co-directors of the Chicago office.

As a leader in the Commission, Livermore set up local Soldier’s Aid Societies in her vicinity, raised funds and medical supplies for the soldiers, lobbied for the relief effort, wrote Commission reports, and inspected hospitals. She personally delivered and coordinated the delivery of supplies to the battle fronts. During these many visits, she acted as an attentive nurse, and transported discharged, wounded soldiers to their homes. In 1863, Livermore and Hoge organized the Great Northwestern Sanitary Commission Fair, for which Mary convinced President Lincoln to donate the Emancipation Proclamation document. The fair raised nearly $100,000 for the soldiers, and it became the model for similar fund raisers in the North.

As part of her war relief work, Mary Livermore had many opportunities to speak, during which she rallied women together and encouraged them to volunteer. After the war, she applied her speaking ability to the fights for temperance and women’s suffrage, often incorporating her Civil War experiences in these orations. In 1887, she first published a detailed account of her Sanitary Commission days in My story of the war. Not only did Livermore tell her own story in this volume, but she also included details regarding the work of other Northern nurses and women volunteers. This work is a great and important primary resource on the role of women in the Union relief effort. Later in life, she published another autobiography, The story of my life, which includes additional anecdotes from her Civil War experiences.


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