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The U.S.S. Red Rover, a captured Confederate vessel, was refitted as a hospital ship.
The evolution of the nursing profession in America was accelerated by the Civil War.
Amputations were the most common surgery performed during the Civil War.
Surgeon-General William Hammond established The Army Medical Museum in 1862. It was the first federal medical research facility.
Many Civil War surgical instruments had handles of bone, wood or ivory. They were never sterilized.
From Gettysburg Foundation
Roughly 7,000 men died on the battlefield at Gettysburg in three days of fighting — almost three times the population of the town (2,400). Bodies lay over 25 square miles of ground. The townspeople of Gettysburg had never seen death on that scale. The overwhelming task of burying the dead began. At first, soldiers were buried on the battlefield, but these gravesites were only temporary.
Thousands of families traveled to Gettysburg, searching the temporary graves, to claim the bodies of their loved ones. The citizens of Gettysburg wanted a proper resting place for fallen Union soldiers and with the establishment of Soldiers’ National Cemetery, Union dead were removed from the battlefield to permanent graves in that cemetery. Thousands of Confederate dead, however, lay in shallow graves for nearly a decade before their remains were eventually returned to the South.
By Glenna R. Schroeder-Lein
Many Gettysburg civilians did what they could to nurse and feed the patients, but their own supplies were low because of Confederate raiding a few days before the battle.
With the reopening of the railroad on July 6, the supply situation improved dramatically. Trains also took those patients able to be moved to Baltimore for transfer to other hospitals.
As the crisis passed, the medical department established a consolidated hospital on the George Wolf farm about one and a half miles east of Gettysburg. Camp Letterman, as it was called, had at least 400 hospital tents arranged in neat rows, each tent housing eight to ten patients. The camp was located by the railroad for ease of transferring supplies and patients. The hospital opened on July 22, but transporting the wounded to the hospital took about two weeks. By October 18, only 326 patients remained at Camp Letterman, and the camp closed entirely on November 20, 1863.
Excerpted from: "The Encyclopedia of Civil War Medicine"
IMAGE: Dr. Martyn Fonds attending surgery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania., during the Civil War
By Alfred Jay Bollet, M.D.
Most of the medical personnel, as well as a large part of the army, arrived after the fighting had already started, thus they had no time to make preparations.
The flood of wounded started while the meager supplies were still being unpacked. No tents were available for field hospitals, so both sides commandeered homes, churches, barns, the railroad station, and even covered bridges for this purpose. Each evening after the fighting subsided, stretcher bearers and ambulances collected the wounded; each morning, before the fighting began at dawn, all the wounded (both Union and Confederate) within Union lines were receiving care. This was an unprecedented achievement, and it was accomplished during the largest battle that has ever been fought on American soil.
Excerpted from: Civil War Medicine: Challenges and Triumphs