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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Women Doctors in the Civil War

Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell was a pioneer in opening the medical profession to women.

Women worked as physicians during the Civil War, but their exact numbers are unknown. It’s believed that there were approximately 200-300 women doctors in the United States by 1860, although most may have served in a nursing capacity during the war.

It was common at the time to learn the art of medicine from a “preceptor” or practicing physician who served as a mentor. Some women had learned their skills from husbands and fathers, and assisted the men in private practice. Some disguised themselves in male clothing in order to attend medical school, and later continued to practice medicine as men.

Among the women physicians who served was Dr. Orianna Moon of Virginia. She graduated from the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1857.
During the war she devoted herself to the cause of wounded Southerners.

Dr. Mary Thomas of Ohio worked alongside her husband, a contract surgeon stationed at the Army Hospital at Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Chloe Annette Buckel of New York worked with Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell and Dr. Emily Blackwell. In 1862 she joined a company of nurses and surgeons traveling to Memphis where she assisted in establishing hospitals in stores and warehouses

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