Surgeons aboard naval vessels during the Civil War were presented with unique circumstances and problems that their land based counterparts did not have to deal with. The difficulty of performing surgery or any other medical task could be greatly amplified by the movements of the ship.
Additionally, army surgeons could usually find areas behind the front lines to stage their treatment areas, whereas navy surgeons had to perform their craft amidst the battle of the ship. Navy surgeons working during a battle were in constant and immediate danger. The creation of Union Hospital Ships allowed patients to be cared for on route to mainland hospitals. Long rows of beds with surgical equipment were contained within the hull of the ship. Nurses and surgeons would conduct necessary surgeries to save the patient or to stabilize them until they could reach a land hospital weeks later.