.

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.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Lincoln and His Team of Homeopaths

By Dana Ullman, Evidence Based Homeopath, 2-22-13

There is a wide body of evidence that Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) maintained a special interest in and appreciation for homeopathic medicine. It is therefore not surprising that many of Lincoln’s advisors were users of and advocates for homeopathy.

Before Lincoln was elected president, in 1854 he was retained as a lawyer to prepare a state legislative proposal to charter a homeopathic medical college in Chicago.[15] Chicago was the home of the American Medical Association, which had been founded in 1847 in part to stop the growth of homeopathy, and therefore, Lincoln’s job was no simple effort.

Yet many of Chicago’s most prominent citizens and politicians participated on the board of trustees of the proposed Hahnemann Medical College, including Chicago’s mayor, two congressmen, an Illinois state representative, a Chicago city councilman, the co-founder of Northwestern University, the founder of Chicago Union Railroad, and several medical doctors who were homeopaths.[15] Despite significant opposition, Lincoln was successful in obtaining a charter for the homeopathic college.

Today, the Pearson Museum at Southern Illinois University has an exhibit of a 19th-century doctor’s office and drugstore; included in this exhibit is a homeopathic medicine kit from the Diller Drug Store of Springfield, Ill. The exhibit notes that Abraham Lincoln was a frequent customer of the drug store and a regular user of homeopathic medicines.[11]

Lincoln’s Cabinet Members

Of special significance, Lincoln surrounded himself with advocates for homeopathy, among them the postmaster general, the secretary of the treasury and his most trusted advisor and Secretary of State, William Seward. Salmon P. Chase, Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury, may have had his life saved by homeopathy after being treated for cholera in the summer of 1849 when a cholera epidemic was rampant.[14] Montgomery Blair, Lincoln’s postmaster general, was the head of the National Homeopathic Hospital in Washington, D.C.[12]

Ultimately, what befell William Seward is a classic story to illustrate conventional medicine’s attitude toward and actions against unconventional medical treatments and the physicians who provide them. It is first important to realise that the American Medical Association in the 19th century was so threatened by homeopathic medicine that the AMA created and enforced an ethics code that barred AMA members from consulting with homeopathic doctors or homeopathic patients.

On the famed night that Lincoln was assassinated, Seward was stabbed in a multi-person assassination plot against the Union. The assassin gained entrance to Seward’s home and to his personal bedroom by claiming to have a delivery of medicines from his homeopathic doctor, Tullio S. Verdi, M.D.[13] Thanks to the medical care provided by U.S. Surgeon General Joseph K. Barnes, M.D., Seward survived. However, according to John S. Haller, some members of the AMA wanted to censure Dr. Barnes for associating with Verdi, a homeopath, in providing Seward’s medical care.[8]

Lincoln’s Leader of the Union Army

On Nov. 1, 1861, Lincoln appointed Major General George Brinton McClellan (1826-1885) to command the Union army during the Civil War. However, in late December McClellan contracted typhoid fever, which left him unable to go to his office to conduct business. According to military historian Ethan S. Rafuse:

During the first week of McClellan’s illness, two homeopathic doctors arrived from New York to tend the ill general and his father-in-law and chief-of-staff, Randolph B. Marcy, who was also ill. McClellan’s employment of homeopathic treatments is one of the more interesting sidelights of this episode, particularly in light of the fact that the general came from a family of prominent physicians.
Despite this serious illness, General McClellan remained active, giving regular orders to his subordinates, arranging for troop movement and supply transport, meeting with the president on a weekly basis, issuing court martial orders, and even providing commendations to officers. By January 2, he seemed to be much better and shortly afterwards had no noticeable physical limitations. McClellan lived another 23 years.[19]

Despite the success of homeopathic treatment on the military leader of the Union army, that very month, January 1862, according to Rafuse, “The Army Medical Board rejected requests by homeopathic doctors to serve in military hospitals, arguing that to grant this request would invite applications from all types of ‘quacks’ and ‘charlatans’ claiming medical expertise.” The problem with this false critique is that homeopathic doctors at that time graduated from various leading conventional medical schools or select homeopathic medical schools, such as Boston University, Hahnemann Medical School (in Philadelphia), or the New York Homeopathic Medical College (many famous medical schools today started off as homeopathic medical colleges).

Reasons for the Animosity

The public today does not adequately understand the degree of animosity that conventional doctors had toward homeopathic physicians. The reasoning for this animosity is probably best described in the words of one doctor to an AMA meeting:

“Too many wives of conventional physicians are going to homeopathic physicians. And to make it worse,” he added, “they are taking their children to homeopaths too.”[5]

Homeopathic physicians were not simply competitors to conventional physicians; homeopaths were medically trained and could not be considered “uneducated” or under-educated. Further, inherent in homeopathy is a profound respect for the “wisdom of the body,” and therefore, homeopaths tend to maintain a significant skepticism of and criticism for using powerful drug treatments that tend to suppress symptoms and push a person’s disease deeper into his/her body and mind.

The conventional medical community was also threatened by the fact that homeopathy was attracting so many U.S. cultural leaders. The strongest advocates for homeopathy tended to be educated classes and wealthy Americans as well as the abolitionists, the literary greats (including virtually all of the leading American transcendentalist authors), and the suffragists (homeopaths admitted women into their medical schools and associations several decades before the conventional doctors did).

In the 19th century, the AMA did not enforce the many ethical code or professional health care violations of its members, therefore allowing physicians to prescribe mercury in dangerously high doses, enabling physicians to blood-let their patients to death, and even engage in treatment while inebriated. And yet, the AMA was ridiculously strict in their enforcement of their ethical code against any interaction with homeopathic doctors or their patients.

One AMA member got kicked out of his local medical society for consulting with a homeopath who also happened to be his wife.[18]

Typhoid fever caused more deaths during the Civil War and the Spanish-American War than the deaths caused by bullets.[20] History shows that homeopathy gained widespread popularity in the United States and Europe from its successes in treating various infectious disease epidemics of the mid- and late-1800s, including typhoid epidemics.[3],[5] Despite these good results, the AMA’s influence on governmental regulations led to stipulation that graduates of homeopathic medical colleges could not receive a military commission.[18]

Thankfully, the antagonism toward homeopaths was not as severe during World War I; almost 2,000 homeopathic physicians were commissioned as medical officers. Even the American Red Cross authorized a homeopathic hospital unit.[6]

Recent research has confirmed the clinical efficacy of homeopathic medicines and the cost-effectiveness of homeopathic treatment, as determined by what is widely recognized as the most comprehensive report ever conducted on homeopathy — and this report was commissioned by the government of Switzerland.[2]

A detailed article in the famed Archives in Internal Medicine has verified that the small doses used in homeopathic medicines are no smaller than many hormones and cell-signaling agents, which are widely recognized to have profound biological effects on daily human functioning.[7] Further, a wide and multi-disciplinary body of modern scientific evidence has confirmed the biological power of homeopathic nano-doses.[1],[4]

In a Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Social Transformation of American Medicine, Dr. Paul Starr wrote about homeopathy in the 19th century, asserting, “Because homeopathy was simultaneously philosophical and experimental, it seemed to many people to be more rather than less scientific than orthodox medicine.” Although Lincoln surrounded himself with advocates for homeopathy, that didn’t protect the medical science from his famous wit. He described homeopathy once as “medicine of a shadow of a pigeon’s wing.”[18] This exaggerated metaphor is reference to the very small doses sometimes used.

Considering the honored place accorded homeopathy by many cultural heroes and the growing body of basic science research and clinical evidence, it is unsurprising that homeopathic medicine is more popular today than at any other time worldwide.

And it seems appropriate to end this article on Lincoln’s association with homeopathy by citing U.S. writer and friend to many presidents, Mark Twain. In an article for Harper’s Weekly, he warned others of the dangers of conventional medicine (“allopathy”) and thanked the advocates of homeopathy:[17]

When you reflect that your own father had to take such medicines as the above, and that you would be taking them today yourself but for the introduction of homeopathy, which forced the old-school doctor to stir around and learn something of a rational nature about his business; you may honestly feel grateful that homoeopathy survived the attempts of the allopathists [conventional physicians] to destroy it, even though you may never employ any physician but an allopathist while you live.
Part two of this article will provide more information about Abraham Lincoln and his team of homeopaths.

References

[1] Bell, I; Koithan, M. “A model for homeopathic remedy effects: low dose nanoparticles, allostatic cross-adaptation, and time-dependent sensitization in a complex adaptive System.” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:191 doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-191.

[2] Bornhoft, Gudrun, and Matthiessen, Peter F. Homeopathy in Healthcare: Effectiveness, Appropriateness, Safety, Costs. Goslar, Germany: Springer, 2011.

[3] Bradford, T. L. The Logic of Figures or Comparative Results of Homoeopathic and Other Treatments. Philadelphia: Boericke and Tafel, 1900.

[4] Chikramane PS, Kalita D, Suresh AK, Kane SG, Bellare JR. “Why Extreme Dilutions Reach Non-zero Asymptotes: A Nanoparticulate Hypothesis Based on Froth Flotation.” Langmuir. 2012 Nov 13;28(45):15864-75. doi: 10.1021/la303477s. Epub 2012 Nov 1.

[5] Coulter, H. L. Divided Legacy: A History of the Schism in Medical Thought. Volume I: The Patterns Emerge-Hippocrates to Paracelsus. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 1973.

[6] Dearborn, F. M. American Homoeopathy in the World War. Washington, D.C.: American Institute of Homeopathy, 1923.

[7] Eskinazi, D., “Homeopathy Re-revisited: Is Homeopathy Compatible with Biomedical Observations?” Archives in Internal Medicine, 159, Sept 27, 1999:1981-7.

[8] Haller, J. S. The History of American Homeopathy: The Academic Years, 1820-1935. New York: Pharmaceutical Products, 2005. p. 192

[9] Hill, B. L., and Hunt, J. G. Homoeopathic Practice of Surgery and Operative Surgery. Cleveland: J. B. Cobb, 1855.

[10] Hughes, T. A Boy’s Experience in the Civil War, 1860-1865, 1904.

[11] Karst, F. “Homeopathy in Illinois,” Caduceus, Summer 1988, pp. 1-33.

[12] Medical Visitor, Volume 16, 1900, p. 434.

[13] “Other Days,” Homeopathic Recorder, 1887, p. 6.

[14] Niven, John. Salmon P. Chase: A Biography in Paradox. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.p. 126.

[15] Spiegel, A. D., and Kavaler, F. “The Role of Abraham Lincoln in Securing a Charter for a Homeopathic Medical College,” Journal of Community Health, 2002, 27(5):357-380.

[16] Starr, Paul. The Social Transformation of American Medicine. New York: Basic, 1982.

[17] Twain, M. “A Majestic Literary Fossil,” Harper’s Magazine, February 1890, 80(477):439-444.

[18] Ullman, Dana. The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2007.

[19] Rafuse, Ethan S. “Typhoid and Tumult: Lincoln’s Response to General McClellan’s Bout with Typhoid Fever during the Winter of 1861-62.” Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, Vol. 18 Issue 2, Summer 1997.

[20] Wershub, Leonard Paul. One Hundred Years of Medical Progress: A History of the New York Medical College Flower and Fifth Avenue Hospitals. Springfield: Charles C. Thomas, 1967. p 175

Special Resource:
SueYoungHistories.com on Abraham Lincoln

Special thanks to Jeanine and Guy Saperstein for their ongoing support for my educational advocacy work for homeopathy.

Footnotes:

(1) Other members of the homeopathic hospital’s board of trustees included Morrison R. Waite, Chief Justice (from 1874-1888), and Hon. Thomas F. Bayard, Secretary of State (under Grover Cleveland) and Ambassador to England.

(2) McClellan’s father was a prominent surgeon, author, and educator, and his uncle and older brother were highly respected members of the regular medical profession. McClellan’s use of homeopathic treatments can be attributed to his wife, Ellen Marcy McClellan. One doctor who treated the general was Ellen’s uncle, Erastus E. Marcy, the founder and editor of the North American Homeopathic Journal, who was a leading advocate during the 1840s and 1850s.

(3) The story of Hughes, however, is very interesting because he practiced in Richmond, Virginia, where many leading Union officers became his patients, including General Peter Michie, the federal quartermaster general in charge of all supplies for the Union army. Another homeopathic doctor who served soldiers of the Confederacy was Samuel Hunt, MD, of Georgia.

Dana Ullman, MPH, is America’s leading spokesperson for homeopathy and is the founder of www.homeopathic.com . He is the author of 10 books, including his bestseller, Everybody’s Guide to Homeopathic Medicines. His most recent book is, The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy (the Foreword to this book was written by Dr. Peter Fisher, the Physician to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II). Dana lives, practices, and writes from Berkeley, California.

From: huffingtonpost.com

Steamship “Elm City,” A Peninsular Campaign Work Horse

By Patrick Browne, 7-28-12

Oddly enough, as I’ve been doing a good amount of research on the Peninsular Campaign lately, I keep coming across the name of this vessel…the Elm City. Again and again, I find it mentioned in far flung sources, various regimental histories, Sanitary Commission letters, even a journal in the collection of the historical society where I work.

Her significance might at first seem trivial, but it seems this ship was all over the place during the Peninsular Campaign, transporting thousands of men, bringing them towards the front and then bringing the sick and wounded away from the Peninsula back to safety. As one of the larger steamships involved in the transport effort, she had a significant impact on the campaign and, I think, deserves a little attention. And so, I present here a sampling of excerpts from various sources, a patchwork which might provide a sense of the extensive service of the Elm City.

First, her origins…The Elm City was built in 1855 in New York for the passenger line between New York and New Haven. The latter place has long had the nickname, “the city of elms,” hence the name of the vessel. She was 300 feet long and designed to accommodate 350 passengers. She was commanded by Capt. J.M. Lewis. I find reference to Lewis still being in charge as of 1861 and I wonder if he remained in command when she was brought into army service. It seems likely to me that he did, but I do not know.

A prelude to her duty during the Peninsular Campaign was her occasional service, during 1861, in bringing new regiments towards the seat of war. The 6th Connecticut Infantry, for instance, in September 1861, was brought from New Haven to Jersey City on their way to Washington. Sgt. Charles Caldwell later wrote, “Handkerchiefs from the fair ones bid us adieu…together with the martial music from the band to increase enthusiasm made our departure from New Haven pleasant to contemplate…We embarked on the steamer Elm City and soon stretched ourselves on the several decks and in the cabin, glad enough for a chance to rest ourselves…”

At some point early in 1862 (I wish I knew when) the Elm City was placed under the control of the U.S. Army Quartermaster’s Department. General McClellan’s Peninsular Campaign got underway in March 1862 and the Elm City became one of the key transport ships bringing the Army of the Potomac down to Fortress Monroe, the staging point for the campaign.

Among the first units she transported in this campaign were the 3rd and 4th Maine Infantry regiments which embarked at Alexandria. Finally on the move, the men of the Army of the Potomac were full of excitement. Frederick Floyd of the 40th New York Infantry observed the great flotilla at Alexandria, noted the Elm City pass by, and later wrote, “On shore all was bustle and activity, and the numerous steamboats in the river made the scene very animating. The bands played patriotic tunes and the men cheered… It was a beautiful day, with the sun shining in all its magnificent effulgence, betokening a pleasant voyage to our destination, which we now knew to be Fort Monroe.”

On March 21, the Elm City transported the 18th Massachusetts Infantry from Alexandria to Fortress Monroe. During late March and early April, the vessel must have been going constantly to and fro, feeding new regiments into the campaign.

On April 3, Brigadier General  Dan Sickles embarked on the Elm City at Liverpool Point, Maryland. A man eternally embroiled in controversy, Sickles had just discovered that Congress had refused to confirm his commission as Brigadier General and his command of the Excelsior Brigade had been revoked. While on board the Elm City, Sickles penned an angry protest to his superior officer, General Joseph Hooker and wrote a farewell letter to his brigade. “…After a year of service with you, it is hard to yield to the necessity which separates me from so many brave and devoted companions-in-arms…White protesting that it is unlawful and unjust, I obey this command, because obedience to superior authority is the first duty of a soldier…” After months of protest, Sickles’s commission and brigade command would be restored in May.

The 72nd New York Infantry was with Sickles on board the Elm City. When they reached Hampton Roads, the Elm City came alongside the famous Monitor and the men examined the ship with great interest. As they watched, the Confederate ironclad Virginia appeared, maneuvering for battle, trying to goad the Monitor into another fight. The Monitor did not take the bait and the men on board the Elm City were rather disappointed.

On April 17, the Elm City transported General Philip Kearny and his New Jersey Brigade from the Potomac River to the Union trenches near Yorktown. The fiery Kearny, famous for his insubordinate outbursts, was eager to get into the fight (which at the time, with the Army of the Potomac entrenched outside Yorktown, wasn’t much of a fight). Kearny fumed as McClellan forced his brigade to remain on board the Elm City for days. Francis Colburn Adams of the 1st New York Cavalry later wrote, “The general’s impatience at being kept afloat in this manner found expression every day in language more emphatic than the rules of services warranted.”

After Yorktown was finally taken, the Elm City was busy transporting regiments from Yorktown to West Point Landing at the mouth of the Pamunkey River. These included the 22nd Massachusetts Infantry on May 8. Although the 22nd’s ride up the York River on the Elm City lasted only three hours, they were very glad for the rest after waiting a day in the streets of Yorktown in the rain for their turn to embark.

The Elm City’s most remarkable service began in mid-May when she was transferred to the United States Sanitary Commission. This revolutionary organization employed a large network of civilians, male and female, whose objective it was to support the Army Medical Bureau. One of the Sanitary Commission’s most remarkable projects was the outfitting of hospital transport ships to bring wounded men from the Peninsula to hospitals in Washington, Philadelphia, New York and elsewhere. The Elm City became one of these ships. It is sadly ironic that a vessel built for pleasure cruises would now be transporting men shattered by battle.

On May 14, the Elm City was loaded up with 440 wounded men and departed for Washington. One of the Sanitary Commission nurses, Katherine Wormeley, wrote with high praise of one of the nurses on board the Elm City, “Mrs. Griffin is magnificent at that. I never saw her hurried or worried for a moment…She spent this morning on the Elm City watching over three men until they died, receiving their last wishes, which she is now writing to their wives.”


White House Landing
On June 27, after an untold number of voyages transporting the wounded, the Elm City was off of White House Landing. The place was, during most of the Peninsular Campaign, the main base of supplies for the Army of the Potomac. Previously a backwater, it had been transformed into a bustling river port. But on June 27, that all changed. On that day, with the Union defeat at Gaines Mill, General McClellan made the decision to abandon White House Landing and change his base to Harrison Landing on the James River. Everything at White House Landing was thrown into panic and chaos.

Katherine Wormeley wrote, “…General Porter, being flanked in immense force, has wheeled round and back…The whole army is now across [the Chickahominy] river; the enemy are in part on this side of it…The enemy evidently hope to ruin us by seizing this station…everything has been sent away; the few things that remain are lying on the wharves…The Elm City is waiting for the 93rd New York Regiment, which is stationed here on guard duty…even as I write comes the order to start, the enemy having got the railroad. And so rapidly have we gone, that between writing the words “Elm City” and “railroad” we are off! Such a jolly panic! Men rushing and tearing down to the wharves…The enemy are in force three miles from us; they have seized the railroad, and cut the telegraph.”

After this narrow scrape, the Elm City continued in service with the Sanitary Commission until the U.S. Army took control of the hospital ships. As the Peninsular Campaign came to a fruitless close, the Elm City was employed in transporting regiments off of the Peninsula and to Northern Virginia where a new campaign was commenced in August.

I wish I could say how many soldiers were transported aboard this hard-working steamship. The number must be in the tens of thousands. And how many lives were saved on her decks when she served as a hospital ship, we will likely never know. But certainly, the Elm City rendered tremendous service and played a significant role during the campaign.

From: historicaldigression.com

The J.E. Hanger Story

From: hanger.com

On June 1, 1861, 18-year-old engineering student James Edward Hanger left his family, forgoing his studies at Washington College (now Washington & Lee University), to join his brothers in the Confederate Army. On June 3, less than two days after enlisting, a cannonball tore through his leg early in the Battle of Philippi. Becoming the first amputee of the Civil War, the young Hanger survived an excruciating battlefield amputation necessary to save his life by Dr. James D. Robinson.

​James Edward Hanger’s Story
“I cannot look back upon those days in the hospital without a shudder,” Hanger said. “No one can know what such a loss means unless he has suffered a similar catastrophe. In the twinkling of an eye, life’s fondest hopes seemed dead. I was the prey of despair. What could the world hold for a maimed, crippled man!”

A prisoner of war until August 1861, upon returning home to Churchville, Virginia, Hanger requested solitude. His family assumed he was writhing in despair; however, unbeknownst to anyone else, he immediately began work on what would prove to be a revolutionizing prosthetic solution.

Whittled from barrel staves, the “Hanger Limb” was first worn by Hanger in November 1861 as he descended the steps of his home, to the astonishment of his family who didn’t know what he was doing while locked away for months in his upstairs bedroom.

Prosthetic Limb Patent“Today I am thankful for what seemed then to me nothing but a blunder of fate, but which was to prove instead a great opportunity,” Hanger said.

In the same year, Hanger secured two patents from the Confederate government and was commissioned to develop prosthetic limbs for veteran soldiers. In 1891, Hanger was granted a U.S. patent for his prosthetic innovation.

By the time of his death in June 1919, the J.E. Hanger Company had branches in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, London, and Paris.

Today, as a national $1 billion+ company, Hanger, Inc. still honors and abides by the tenets articulated by its founder, James Edward Hanger: “There is sound logic in our determination not to extend our activities beyond our capacity. If we have learned no other lesson, we are fully convinced of the wisdom of the policy we have followed all these years, never to allow our output to grow faster than our standards of quality and individual attention will allow.”

Image 1: Hanger Patent

Image 2: J.E. Hanger

The Hospital Transport Service

From: civilwarnavy150.blogspot.com

In 1861, almost no one predicted the shear bloodshed that would be caused by the ground fighting during the Civil War.  Fortunately for thousands of soldiers, the U.S. Sanitary Commission, a volunteer group of civilian medical professionals and other well meaning citizens, did and attempted to fill critical gaps in the Army's medical system.   One of the gaps was there was no infrastructure set up to move wounded soldiers from the battlefield to hospitals in Washington, Philadelphia, and New York to receive long-term care.

The Commission's executive secretary Frederick Law Olmsted (most famous for his work on New York City's Central Park) noticed that the Army's Quartermaster Corps had several surplus steamers and asked if the Commission could use them as hospital ships.  At first, the Quartermaster Corps said no, when it did say yes, often pull the ships away from the Commission at the last second.  By late April 1862, however, Olmsted's persistence paid off and the Commission received the steamer Daniel Webster.  By mid-May, the Commission's Hospital Transport Service had seven ships working out of White House, Virginia on the York River and Harrison's Landing on the James  River.
Each ship carried upwards of several hundred soldiers, many of them suffering from various diseases.  Tending to the sick and wounded on board were female nurses, many of whom had followed their husbands who were working as doctors.  Towards the end of the campaign in July, one ship, J.H. Spaulding rescued several hundred wounded soliders trapped behind the lines.

Against the advice of officers on Galena and Monitor, Spaulding flew a flag of truce and steamed past Confederate shore batteries.  Some of the nurses joked with Lieutenant Jeffers that they would be sure to put mattress in the wheelhouse for protection.  Jeffers later thought that was a good idea and took some of the mattress of Spaulding...for the Monitor!

The Service ended with the end of the Peninsula Campaign in July 1862.  Several thousand men were saved because of the ships.  Two of the Commission's nurses penned an excellent first person account of the Hospital Transport Service in their memoir Woman's Work in the Civil War.

History of Homeopathic Nursing

by Lia Bello RN, FNP, CCH

Homeopathic nursing is the nursing that takes place with patients who are being treated homeopathically or in a homeopathic hospital or homeopathic doctor’s office.   I include the work of a nurse who educates her patients in the basics of homeopathy and uses homeopathic remedies in their healthcare. The story begins hand in hand with the history of nursing–which closely follows that of women’s’ rights in America and England.

The Royal London Homeopathic Hospital was founded in 1850 in Golden Square in London by Dr. Quinn–who was then King Leopold’s physician. Before that time nurses were not paid or trained and were simply part of the domestic staff like cleaners and cooks. Over the next 50 years, nursing reform in England took place, spurred on by Florence Nightingale and Elizabeth Twining and by 1890 most of the hospitals in London had training programs for nurses and nursing management departments, though they were not always considered part of the medical staff.   The Royal London Homeopathic Hospital was thought to be modern and progressive, having an elevator, separate bedrooms and bathrooms for nurses, who traditionally lived in the hospital and quit nursing if they got married.

Florence Nightingale,1820 – 1910, founder of modern nursing, used and recommended homeopathy.  Homeopathy and Nightingale’s life intersected in several ways. Sue Young’s Histories says  “Florence Nightingale lived at a time when allopathy and homeopathy were competing for dominance in medical care. Nightingale’s philosophy of health and healing was more similar to the holistic philosophy of homeopathy than to the mechanistic philosophy of allopathy.”   She was a patient of homeopathic physician, James Manby Gully and she called him a “genius”,  and she also had homeopathic nurses with her in the Crimea, and she mentored Linda Richards, an American nurse who trained at the Brooklyn Homeopathic School. Nightingale also wrote to her mother that she hoped her father would try homeopathic treatment for an eye problem.

In America, the same reforms were taking place. There were scores of Homeopathic Hospitals with nursing staffs from as early as 1848 in the case of Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. Metropolitan Hospital on Blackwell’s Island in New York City opened in 1875 and Dr. S.H. Talcott attempted to start clinical and scientific lectures for nurses as early as 1876, but the training of nurses was postponed until 1892. Hahnemann Hospital on Park Avenue in New York City, founded in 1869, had a Nurses Training School from 1895. The lectures at Metropolitan were given by staff doctors like Dr. Guernsey, Samuel Lilienthal and J.H. Demerest. with lecture titles like: Nursing the Insane and Delirious, Management of the Female Breast, Conduct in Accidents and Emergencies, Hemorrhages, Catheters, Diet and Cookery for the Sick.

As was the tradition until approximately 1950, nursing schools before that time were 3 year live-in/work/study arrangements, staffing the hospital with students working long hours, while providing training and an acceptable female career in a supervised environment for single women. Student nurses staffed the hospitals and graduate nurses went on to work in private homes or with doctors. A report of the Hahnemann Hospital Nurses training home in 1910 recorded that a hospital shift was 12 hours–day shift -7 am to 7 pm, and night shift -7 pm to 7 am. No tuition was required–because of this work study structure and each student nurse received an allowance of $7 /month for books and uniforms. In 1920 a student nurses allowance was $25 / month. In 1895, a student nurse who was lent out by the school to do private duty at a patient’s home received $1 for day shift, $2 for evening shift and $3 for night shift.

A list of rules to be followed at the Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital included: “Nurses are not permitted to do do the doctors sewing or mending”. “Nurses are to see that no games are played on the Sabbath Day”, “ Any bottles found in patients possession are to be brought at once to the supervising nurse, with the name of patient.”, “ The face and hands of all patients shall be washed each morning and a general bath given once each week”, “Nurses shall not accept any gift, bribe or special compensation from any patient”

It seems that homeopathy was not well thought of by the U.S. government during the Civil War and so was not part of the medical care of the soldiers. An exception was one hospital base in Mound City, Missouri, that had a doctor who was adamant enough to create a homeopathic ward of patients who were beyond hope of recovery with conventional methods. 30% of them did recover after having been given up. So there was some homeopathic nursing going on during the Civil War.

An outstanding figure in homeopathy at that time was Susan Edson MD, who graduated from from the Western College of Homeopathy in Cleveland in 1854 and practiced in Washington DC. Though she could not practice medicine at the Civil War frontlines–she chose to forego medicine and serve as a nurse at the Meriden and Fortress Encampments for two years during the Civil War. Though she was ill and could not work for 3 years after this experience she went on to an eminently successful practice in Washington DC and was President Garfield’s family doctor. She was distinguished enough to be asked to attend the birth of the child of the Chinese Ambassador in Washington.   Again homeopathy was discriminated against when she was not allowed to doctor President Garfield after he was shot in an assassination attempt. He lived for 80 days after the shooting and Dr. Susan Edson nursed him during this time.

Homeopathy lent itself well to a phenomenon which took place in the second half of the 1800’s called the Popular Health Movement. These facts were taken from the book “Woman as Healer” by Jeanne Achterberg (Shambala, Boston 1990).   This was a movement in which formerly repressed, post Victorian wives and mothers found creativity and freedom of expression in domestic health practices. Social reforms started to allow for education in nutrition, hygiene, temperance, and new cures. Women flocked to learn about pregnancy, birth,, women’s diseases and birth control. In short they were being taught the facts about their own bodies so that they could better care for themselves and their families. This new freedom within the middle class, combined with an active dislike for the existing standard of heroic medical care which included blood-letting, opium, purgatives and harsh chemicals spurred this movement in reaction to allopathy.

During this time many women obtained a mahogany box of homeopathic remedies and a book on their domestic use. The American Institute of Homeopathy, the oldest medical association in the U.S., was founded in 1844, several years before the AMA, reported that “many a woman, armed with her little stock of remedies, has converted an entire community”.   These women nursed their families and used homeopathy to be self-sufficient because they were more trusting of nature’s laws and the promise of health in this era of optimism and social reform. Homeopathy was carried across America with women whose families pioneered west in wagons and needed to be self-sufficient and prepared for the harsh conditions away from civilization.

The Popular Health Reform Movement opened the doors for women to enter the public sphere into the healing professions of nursing, medicine and the ministry, while remaining true to traditional healing themes of prevention through healthy lifestyle, treatment with natural remedies and compassion as a healing modality. Women made up 2/3 of the followers of the natural health care movement and this statistic remains true in today’s surge toward complementary and holistic health.

Many early feminists and suffragettes supported and learned homeopathy. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was one who learned homeopathy and other health techniques taught by Dr. Clemence Lozier, the female founder and head of New York Medical College for Women, and used them in her work as a lay nurse helping Irish immigrants in western New York.

By coincidence, a neighbor of mine in Questa ,New Mexico, told me that her great aunt, Miss Kitty Herrer, was the nurse for Mark Twain, the famous author, a great proponent for homeopathy, when he lived in upstate New York before he died in 1910. Perhaps she administered his remedies.

World War I saw many nurses who had been trained in the homeopathic hospitals volunteering and being sent over seas–usually in groups made up of doctors and nurses from the same hospital or at least the same city.   Many of the nurses were decorated and honored for their service as part of the Red Cross attached to the Army.   This information came from a book titled “American Homeopathy in the World War” by Dr. Dearbourne and, though we have little information, we know that some of the Army Base Hospitals were supplied with a full armamentarium of remedies by the Boericke and Tafel pharmacy. One statistic contended that the death rate in Army Base Hospital #48, which was staffed with homeopathically trained doctors and nurses, was only 1.6% and that they treated 38,000 patients. The nurses wore long black dresses and large black hats as their uniform.

There seem to be only two books which were written specifically for homeopathic nurses. One is quite obscure and I was unable to find it in the National Center Library. It is  “The Nurse, or Hints on the Care of the Sick” by Charles T. Harris, from 1879.   The other book is “Homeopathic Materia Medical for Nurses” by Benjamin C. Woodbury, from 1917. It included chapters on: Essentials of Correct Homeopathic Prescribing, Value of Careful Observation in Obtaining Symptoms, Isopathy, Nosodes, Remedy Selection and Action, Preparation of Medicines, Scales of Attenuation, and Rules of Administration. Other chapters in this book were titled: How Homeopathic Nursing Differs From Regular Nursing, General Rules Regarding Diet and Care of Homeopathic Cases, Electricity, Relations Between Nurse and Physician, and the Necessity of the Proper Understanding of Homeopathy.

Information on about thirty homeopathic remedies was included in the materia medica section. These topics were merely brushed upon and were hardly a way to learn anything but the very introductory knowledge of materia medica. But the thought was there that nurses should know the basics of prescribing for the patients for which they were caring. These excerpts from this book, “Materia Medica for Nurses” are very interesting: “In homeopathic hospitals the official drugs, both materia medica and dosage are most carefully studied and this is required. Yet after all, when we consider it from the nurse’s standpoint, anything more would seem almost unnecessary, for it is only exceptionally, outside of institutional work that any mention is made to the nurse as to what homeopathic remedy is being prescribed (page 7)…..This volume has been prepared with the intent to stimulate an interest in this subject among the nursing profession as a whole, and to offer to those particularly interested, a book of reference, wherein may be found some of the fundamental principles of Homeopathy, and a requisite knowledge of the most frequently used remedies, their dosage and indications. Furthermore its aim has been to show why many procedures peculiar to the practice of homeopathic physicians are so little understood by the nursing body at large (page 9)….The selection of the remedy is not a part of the nurse’s duty. It is essential for her to know, however, that in no other way can she render more valuable service to the physician than in the cultivation of careful observation regarding the development of the disease. The physician bases his prescription upon the totality of the symptoms. No one, not even the physician himself, has so good an opportunity to observe the development of the patient’s symptoms as the careful trained nurse. Careful attention and observation of the details of the patient’s illness will be of greatest value to the physician in his selection of the remedy (page 30)…..The nurse should be sure that the medicine is given at the exact intervals directed by the physician. During treatment by a homeopathic physician the nurse should never venture to prescribe or suggest any other kind of medicine, or any measure not in accord with the strict practice of Homeopathy (page 37)….The nurse’s equipment should include a small set of homeopathic remedies…including phials of the commonly prescribed remedies. This does not mean that the nurse is ever to prescribe for the patient, at any rate not upon her own responsibility,m but only under the direction of the physician, when absent or unavoidably detained (page 38)…..Dietetic modalities may prove most useful to the physician in prescribing. Hence it is most valuable for the nurse to note carefully the immediate and remote effects of different diets as well as aggravations from strong odors, music, cold and heat, emotional excitement and sexual excesses, etc. (page 43)…..Without a proper understanding of Homeopathy and an abiding faith and confidence in the physician, the patient and family will not find in their nurse a common sympathizer .“ (page 45)

Chris Ellithorpe, a homeopathic historian in upstate New York, was very helpful in helping me research this topic and he gave me an old yearbook from the Nursing School at Hahnemann Hospital from 1930 which made very little mention of homeopathy, but showed well how modern and mainstream the Hahnemann Hospital was during those years before its transition away from homeopathic training.

The professional nurse is a modern development. Education of nurses has advanced greatly and is part of the history of the homeopathic hospitals and their training schools. Homeopathic nursing went into dormancy along with homeopathic medicine during the time between 1930 and 1970–except for the domestic nursing that happens in every homeopathic household. But in the 1970’s a resurgence of interest in natural and holistic medical techniques started a growth in homeopathic education and practice that nurses and nurse practitioners have been a large part of. A good percentage of all students in professional homeopathic schools are nurses and many go on to practice privately or under the supervision of an MD. Some advanced practice nurse practitioners are fully licensed to diagnose and prescribe and can accept insurance and Medicare payments.

The Royal London Homeopathic Hospital–now called Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine has adapted to the times and operates many outpatient clinics staffed by doctors and nurse clinicians. Their inpatient ward nurses are very familiar with homeopathy as well as offering reflexology and therapeutic touch to their patients.

The Homeopathic Nurses Association (HNA) was founded in 1984 by myself and Richard Evans, BSN. Sidney Skinner, an advanced practice nurse has written a homeopathic textbook, “An Introduction to Homeopathic Medicine in Primary Care”.     The Homeopathic Nurses Association supports nurses in their transition toward homeopathic education and practice. Many nurses teach homeopathy in their communities and there are quite a few homeopathic courses which confer continuing education units to nurses.

I have personally taught 2000 nurses the basics of homeopathy and homeopathic history was made in 1997 when I taught an introductory homeopathic course at Ohio State University Nursing School. That school had been a homeopathic nursing school from 1914 to 1922. They had an old diploma on display from 1921 with the inscription ”Ohio State University Homeopathic Nurses School”, though they didn’t know what that meant. History is coming back around!

Many nursing and nurse practitioner conferences now include lectures about homeopathic healthcare. More homeopathic history was made in 1998 when the American Institute of Homeopathy voted to allow advanced practice nurses and physician’s assistants to join as associate members. This bastion of MDs, DO’s and dentists opened itself partially 14 years after we, the nurses, asked to be admitted in 1984.

I expect homeopathic nursing to flourish–it is a worldwide phenomenon and is quite alive in Europe and will advance in other countries as women’s rights progress. The announcement in 2000 of the research project showing that nurse practitioners provide equal quality health care when compared to physicians can only help the acceptance of nurses as competent and professional healthcare providers. A smart integrative physician is one who makes a bold move and hires a homeopathic nurse to partner in their practice. Homeopathy is well suited to the training and sensitivity that nurses bring to healthcare and our listening skills, compassion and holistic and preventive ideas create homeopathic practitioners of high caliber and skill.

From: learnhomeopathy.org

Examples of Trepanning During the Civil War

By Dr. Michael Echols

The following are case report examples of trephining, using a trephine, or trepanning discussed in the Medical and Surgical History of the War of Rebellion during the Civil War.

CHAPMAN, S. D., Private, Co. H, 92d Ohio Volunteers, received, at the battle of Chickamauga, September 23d, 1863, a gunshot, wound of the scalp, near the upper posterior angle of the right parietal, with a contusion of the bone. He was sent to Nashville, and admitted to Cumberland Hospital on the 25th. The wound produced little inconvenience until October 4th when grave head symptoms, such as delirium and convulsions, supervened. There was hemiplegia also. On October 5th, the patient was in a comatose condition, and trephining was resorted to. When the skull was perforated, exit was given to a quantity of pus, which had formed between the dura mater and cranium. Consciousness was restored almost immediately, and apparent steady improvement for the next twenty-four hours; but symptoms of compression then recurred, and the patient died on October 9th, 1863. At the autopsy, the right hemisphere was found partially disorganized, and covered with a layer of pus, which extended to the longitudinal fissure. The operator, Surgeon C. McDermont, U. S. V., reported the case.

FOSTER, JAMES B., Private, Co. F, 5th Missouri Militia, was, on August 25th, 1863, admitted to the hospital at Kansas City, Missouri, with concussion of the brain. The skull was not fractured, but there were symptoms of compression. The trephine was applied to the seat of injury, and a button of bone removed. The operation  revealed a rupture of the middle meningeal artery, with copious haemorrhage. A clot of blood was removed from raider the pia mater, when clear blood escaped for a few minutes. Death occurred on August 27th, 1863, thirty hours after the operation. The autopsy revealed extravasation of blood over the entire surface of the brain. The report is signed by Dr. Joshua Thorne.

 TREPHINING.--The following abstracts of cases of fracture of the skull from various causes other than gunshot injury, refer to instances in which the trephine was formerly applied:

CASE.--Private Joseph Burns, Co. C, 4th Kentucky Cavalry, aged 23 years, was struck on the head at 8 o'clock P. M., February 22d, 1864, by a shrug shot, which produced a fracture of the skull, extending from the vertex to the left orbit, through the parietal, frontal, and the great wing of the sphenoid. The patient was taken to Clay Hospital, at Louisville, Kentucky, on the evening of the accident, with symptoms of grave compression of the brain. During the night he had frequent convulsions. Early the following morning. Acting Assistant Surgeon John E. Crowe applied the trephine, and elevated the depressed bone. The patient had previously been comatose or convulsed every five or ten minutes; but in ten minutes after the operation he became conscious, and spoke rationally, stating the circumstances attending his injury and his military history. In a few hours, however, the convulsive paroxysms returned, and continued during the night. The patient died on the succeeding day, February 24th, 1864. Surgeon Alexander T. Watson, U. S. V., records the case.
CASE.--Private Patrick H. Green, Co. H, 125th New York Volunteers, while on furlough, received a blow on the left side of the head from a shrug shot, on the night of May 23d, 1863. He was treated by a private physician until June 3d, when he was admitted into the Ladies' Home Hospital, New York City. Twenty-four hours after his admission he had a spasm of the right side of the body, and, upon examination, there was found to be a depressed fracture of the skull. The scalp was laid open by an incision, and trephining was performed, and the depressed portions of bone were removed. The scalp wound was united by sutures, and a compress of cloths wet with tepid water were applied. Rest and quiet were enjoined. The convulsions ceased after the operation, and the wound discharged freely. The patient progressed favorably, and was discharged from service on September 21st, 1863, for hemiplegia. Acting Assistant Surgeon John W. Robie reports the case.

      CASE.--Private Charles H----,Co. G, 61st Ohio Volunteers, aged 37 years, was found lying in the street, at Alexandria, Virginia, on September 27th, 1863, in a comatose condition, with a wound on the right side of his head. He was conveyed to the New Hallowell branch of the 3d Division General Hospital, by the provost guard. On admission his breathing was stertorous, laborious, slow; his pulse was at 48, full and regular. There was a punctured wound over the lower portion of the right parietal, and an examination by the probe showed that the bone was fractured and depressed. A crucial incision was made through the scalp, and the cranium being freely exposed, it was found that the fracture was much more extensive than had been supposed. A disk of bone was removed by the trephine, and several detached pieces were removed by the elevator, no that, altogether, a portion four inches in length by two inches in width of the skull-cap was taken away. The flaps of the integument were then brought together and were united by sutures. Cold water dressings were applied. The immediate effects of the operation were very remarkable. In less than three minutes after the removal of the depressed fragments, the patient opened his eyes, and appeared to awake to consciousness, and in less than a minute more he spoke, articulating distinctly. For the first week after the operation His diet was restricted to barley water. On October 4th, seven days after the operation, he was reported to have had no bad symptom and he complained of nothing but hunger. The sutures had been removed, and the greater portion of the incision had united by first intention, He was now allowed the "extra diet" of the hospital, consisting of oyster broth, rice pudding, and the like. On October 20th, the patient was up and .about the ward. No untoward symptoms had intervened meanwhile, and the treatment had been unchanged. At this date the patient was put on "half diet," and the nearly cicatrized wound was dressed with simple cerate. He continued to do well until November 26th, when he was visited by his brother, who brought him some bad news from home which disturbed him very much, and he immediately went to bed and became stupid and sullen, taking no notice of anything. Is it not possible that his brother brought <ms_p1v2_58>him some stimulant as well! On October 27th, the patient had become comatose, with every sign of compression of the brain, and on October 28th, 1863, he died. At the autopsy, twenty hours after death, there was found to be an abscess in the right hemisphere and the neighboring brain substance was softened. The thoracic and abdominal viscera were healthy. The edges of the aperture were found to be rounded off and in process of repair. The notes from which the abstract is compiled were made by Acting Assistant Surgeon S. B. Ward, and the specimen was forwarded to the Army Medical Museum by Surgeon E. Bentley, U. S.V. It is represented in the wood-cut (FIG 22) on the preceding page.

CASE.--Private John T. Jenkins, 5th Alabama Regiment, was received into a regimental hospital at Union Mills, Fluvanna county, Virginia, in October, 1861, suffering from compression of the brain, produced by a blow. The skull was extensively fractured. Trephining was unsuccessfully performed. The patient died on October 26th, 1861. The case is noted on a monthly report of sick and wounded signed by Surgeon A. Venable, C. S. A., and no further particulars can be obtained.

CASE.--Private William H. Lowery, Co. C, 6th Tennessee Cavalry, aged 22 years, was wounded in an affray at Memphis, Tennessee, October 3d, 1864, receiving a punctured fracture of the right parietal bone, near its superior posterior angle, produced by a blow of a musket, the hammer passing through both tables of the cranium. He remained in the regimental hospital until October 13th, when he entered Gayoso Hospital. He was somewhat drowsy and stupid, but no other symptoms of compression existed. On the following day he was put under the influence of chloroform, and Acting Assistant Surgeon Julius Brey trephined the skull and removed a circular portion of the outer table and three depressed fragments of the inner table. The tip of the little finger could be introduced through the opening made in the skull, and it appeared that there was no injury to the dura mater. Cold water dressings were applied to the wound. The patient was restless for several days, and slightly delirious at night. Symptoms of cerebral disturbance were thought to be favorably modified by the use of the extract of Cannabis Indica. On October 18th, an intercurrent attack of pneumonia supervened. On November 3d, there were signs of cerebral hernia. Protrusion of the cerebral substance progressed so rapidly, that on November 6th, it was deemed expedient to compress the fungous mass by a bladder of ice. On November 7th paralysis of the left arm was observed. On the 16th, the cerebral hernia was still further compressed by a metallic disk. Coma supervened, and the patient died, November 17th, 1864. Surgeon T. N. Burke, U. S. V., furnished the notes of the case.

CASE.--Private E. Miller, Co. G, 6th Virginia Cavalry, aged 17 years, was wounded, in a railroad collision on the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad, near Carlisle, Illinois, June 21st, 1865. He was taken to Illinoistown, under the care of his regimental surgeon, Dr. A. H. Thayer, and was thence sent to the Marine Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri, where a depressed fracture of the cranium was diagnosticated. Assistant Surgeon S. M. Horton, U. S. Army, decided that the symptoms of compression of the brain demanded an operation, and applied the trephine, and removed several fragments of bone; but the symptoms were not relieved, and the case terminated fatally in the night of June 23d, 1865. Surgeon T. F. Azpell, U. S. V., reports the case.

CASE.--Private Sumner H. Needham, Co. I, 6th Massachusetts Militia, on April 19th, 1861, during the attack upon his regiment, by riotous insurgents in Baltimore, Maryland, was struck on the forehead by a brick, which fractured the frontal bone. He was conveyed to the Baltimore University, where his wound was examined by Dr. William A. Hammond, who found symptoms of compression of the brain demanding the application of the trephine. The operation was immediately performed by Dr. Hammond, but the symptoms were not relieved, and the patient died in a few hours, April 19th, 1861. Mr. Needham, a resident of Lawrence, Massachusetts, was one of the earliest victims of the rebellion."

CASE.--A. B. Parish, Quartermaster's Department, received a lacerated wound of the frontal region, with fracture and depression of the frontal bone, by a kick from a horse, near Natchez, Mississippi, September 13th, 1864. He was admitted to the hospital, at Natchez, on the same day, in a semi-comatose condition. Soon after his admission, Acting Assistant Surgeon James S. King administered chloroform, and trephined the skull, and raised the depressed portion of bone with the elevator. The patient soon reacted. Tonics, stimulants, and low diet, were ordered. The patient gradually improved, and was discharged from the hospital, entirely cured, on October 13, 1865.

CASE.--Private P----, 14th Tennessee Confederate Infantry, aged 25 years, small in stature, but muscular, received, in a quarrel, a wound on the anterior portion of the parietal bone, from a stone held in the clenched fist of his adversary. He was stunned by the blow. Fearing punishment, he did not report at sick call for several days, when he was compelled to do so because of the supervention of erysipelas. He was soon relieved of this complication; but in a few weeks, became subject to epileptic paroxysms, which recurred every four or five days. he was discharged for disability, and went to his home, at Springfield, Tennessee. Convulsions recurred with such frequency and violence that he went to Nashville in May, 1862, to be treated by Dr. W. T. Briggs, of the medical school in that city. his general health was poor, the countenance pale, the bowels torpid, the pulse quick and irritable. A depression of the skull corresponded with the cicatrix of the original wound. There was no pain about the cicatrix; hut a sense of pressure on the whole side of the head. After ten days of preparatory treatment, Dr. Briggs, assisted by Drs. Bowling and Buchanan, removed a disk of bone with the crown of a very large trephine. The inner surface of the disk presented a sharp angle at the union of the edges of the depressed inner table. Special instructions were given that the patient should rest quietly in bed, but he disregarded these instructions, yet the wound healed in ten days, and there was no recurrence of the convulsions. He reëntered the Confederate service, as a so-called "Partizan Ranger," and was captured and sentenced to he hung, but escaped before the sentence was executed; and under these exciting circumstances had no return of epilepsy. The abstract of the case is compiled from a report by the operator.(*)

CASE.--Private James Rogers, Battery L, 4th Ohio Artillery, was struck on the head by a stone on May 3d, 1865, receiving a depressed fracture of the skull. He was admitted to the hospital at New Creek, Virginia, on May 7th, in a comatose state. He remained in this condition until May 9th, when he was placed under the influence of ether, and Assistant Surgeon S. M. Finley, 22d Pennsylvania Cavalry, applied the trephine and elevated the depressed hone. The patient reacted well, and simple dressings were applied. Erysipelas supervened, but was successfully combated by chloride of iron. The patient improved rapidly, the wound was cicatrized, and he returned to duty, well, on June 29th, 1865.

CASE.--Private John R----, Co. H, 2d Michigan Volunteers, aged 41 years, was wounded on July 17th, 1865, in a street affray, receiving flour wounds of the head from stoney thrown at him. He was admitted to Armory Square Hospital, Washington, D. C., on the following day. He was perfectly conscious, yet had marked contraction of the pupils, with accelerated pulse, and a tremulous voice. There was considerable ecchymosis about the orbits. The first wound examined was over the frontal eminence, and penetrated no further than the aponeurosis of the occipito-frontalis muscle. The second was in the centre of the coronal suture, and slightly denuded the pericranium. The third was in the right temporal region, and likewise was a scalp wound. The fourth was on the right parietal eminence; and, upon a close examination, it was discovered that a minute depression of the bone, half an inch in diameter, existed, evidently produced by a blow from the sharp edge of the stone. The patient was a stout, muscular man, in good health; he suffered no nausea, and little pain. He was immediately placed under the influence of ether, and Surgeon D. W. Bliss, U. S. V., after shaving the scalp, made a crucial incision three inches in length, having the wound at the intersection of the incisions, and then, reflecting the flaps, applied the crown of a trephine and removed a disk of bone, which was found to include, with remarkable exactness, a depressed fragment of the vitreous photo. Between the diploe and depressed lamina there was a coagulum. The dura mater was uninjured. The wound was partly closed by four sutures, an opening being left over the perforation, into which a pledget of charpie was inserted. The patient recovered favorably from the anaesthetic, and was put to bed and ordered to observe perfect quiet and strict diet. The case proceeded without an unfavorable symptom. On July 23d, the sutures were removed. On July 24th, the compress of charpie was taken away, and a healthy granulating surface appeared beneath. These facts in regard to the case were reported by Assistant Surgeon Charles A. Leale, U. S.V. The pathological specimen was presented to the Army Medical Museum by the operator, and is represented in Photograph No. 87 of the Surgical Section of the Army Medical Museum, and in the accompanying wood-cut, (FIG. 24.) The disk is seven-eighths of an inch in diameter, and is slightly reduced in the illustration. On August 24th, 1865, the patient was transferred to Harper Hospital at Detroit, Michigan. The case continued to progress favorably, and the man recovered without a bad symptom. He was discharged from service on September 8th, 1865.

 CASE.--A. B. Parish, Quartermaster's Department, received a lacerated wound of the frontal region, with fracture and depression of the frontal bone, by a kick from a horse, near Natchez, Mississippi, September 13th, 1864. He was admitted to the hospital, at Natchez, on the same day, in a semi-comatose condition. Soon after his admission, Acting Assistant Surgeon James S. King administered chloroform, and trephined the skull, and raised the depressed portion of bone with the elevator. The patient soon reacted. Tonics, stimulants, and low diet, were ordered. The patient gradually improved, and was discharged from the hospital, entirely cured, on October 13, 1865.

CASE.--Private Charles E. Towns, Co. I, 9th New Hampshire Volunteers, was thrown from his horse, and falling upon his head, received a fracture of the cranium. He was treated in the regimental hospital until February 1st, 1865, when he was admitted to the hospital of the Second Division of the Ninth Army Corps. The accident is not recorded on the regimental reports, and it is impracticable to ascertain its date. Such facts as are known are derived from the report of the Corps Hospital. On the patient's admission it was decided that compression of the brain with depressed bone existed; and the operation of trephining was performed by Surgeon L. W. Bliss, 51st New York Volunteers. The date and other particulars are wanting. The patient died, February 20th, 1865. The case was reported by Surgeon F. N. Gibson, 9th New Hampshire Volunteers.

CASE.--Private Charles Williams, Co. B, 161st New York Volunteers, was admitted into St. Louis Hospital, New Orleans, Louisiana, January 12TH, 1865, with an extensive fracture of the cranium and compression of the brain, caused by a blow received in a steamboat collision, January 9th, 1865, between the U. S. Transport J. H. Dickey and the Transport John Rain, on the Mississippi River, fifteen miles below Vicksburg. The trephine was applied and a portion of depressed bone was elevated, and another portion was removed. The patient died on January 18th, 1865. Surgeon A. McMahon, U. S. V., records the case on his monthly report without particulars of the operation or after treatment.

Image:  Cased Trepanning Set

From: medicalantiques.com

The North vs. the South: Conditions at Civil War Hospitals

By Barbra Mann Wall, Kathleen Rogers, and Ann Kutney-Lee

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:
The American Civil War resulted in the death of nearly one million Americans  At the beginning of the war, both Union and Confederate medical departments entered the conflict unprepared. Initially, care was provided in existing buildings such as schools, churches, almshouses, hotels, and homes; but as the war progressed, the armies constructed new hospitals. Poor diet, lack of ventilation, inadequate clothing, exposure, and unsanitary conditions all contributed to high rates of disease and poor patient survival rates. Yet some hospitals—on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line—had remarkably better outcomes than others. In this article, we provide explanations for these healthcare differences. We also examine the critical role that nurses played in achieving the best success rates for patients. Clearly, though, many factors affected soldiers’ health, including a hospital’s location, patient acuity, and the availability of supplies.

Our essay focuses on selected hospitals in both the North and South, and we use the Daughters of Charity as our primary group of nurses. This Roman Catholic religious community is especially relevant to our study since the sisters worked in both Northern and Southern hospitals, and their efforts help us to compare and contrast large military hospitals from Richmond, Virginia, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We examine other hospitals as well, including Robertson Hospital in Richmond, which was famous for its low mortality rates and privately established and administered by a remarkable individual, Sally Louisa Tompkins (1833-1916). We have relied on primary sources from the College of Physicians in Philadelphia, the Provincial Archives of the Daughters of Charity in Emmitsburg, Maryland, the Museum of the Confederacy and Virginia Historical Society in Richmond, and the Civil War Richmond online research project. These various archives house letters, diaries, newspapers, and hospital records central to our inquiry. Our work also was informed heavily by the memoir of Phoebe Yates Pember (1823-1913)—chief matron of the Second Division at Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond—and the diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut (1823-1886). These two works, well-known to historians of Southern and Civil War history, provide invaluable insights into daily life at the Richmond hospitals during the war.

Nurses included men as convalescent soldiers; women and men slaves or escaped slaves; free blacks; and women members of aid societies, the US Army, religious congregations, and various plantation and farmers’ families. A key group of women nurses in the Civil War included the Daughters of Charity—established in America by Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland, in 1809. This congregation was founded in 1633 in France by Saints Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac to work among the sick poor. De Paul’s 1655 Common Rules of the Congregation of the Mission stipulated that in any war, the sisters were not to prefer one side or the other. Accordingly, during the Civil War, the Daughters of Charity’s religious superior, Father J. Francis Burlando, wrote a letter to the sisters on September 15, 1861, directing them to “refrain from uttering Political sentiment. . . . They have no Enemy but pride and the evil spirit—North, South, East or West are alike to them; every afflicted member of society is their friend and an object of their Solicitude. . . . ”

Thus, the Daughters of Charity worked in both Northern and Southern hospitals. In sum, more than 600 Catholic sisters worked as nurses during the war, but the largest number were by far the Daughters of Charity: 232 nursed at one time or another in general hospitals, in field hospitals, and on hospital ships (Jolly 83). They also nursed on the battlefields at Antietam and Boonsboro, Maryland, and Vicksburg, Mississippi, and worked on hospital ships up and down the Mississippi River, the Potomac, and in the Chesapeake Bay, plus rode with the ambulance corps at Manassas, Virginia, and Harpers’ Ferry, West Virginia. In addition to Philadelphia and Richmond, the Daughters served at hospitals in several other locations, including Washington, DC, and St. Louis, Missouri. The Daughters were also present in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, which was only about fifteen miles...

From: The Southern Quarterly/Volume 53, Numbers 3/4, Spring/Summer 2016/pp. 37-55

From: muse.jhu.edu

Image: Daughters of Charity Nursed Wounded Civil War Soldiers at West Philadelphia hospital (Philadelphia Archdiocesan Historical Research Center)

Nurses From the Holy Sisters and Nuns: Angels in War

By John E. Carey, The Washington Times

The Roman Catholic nuns who went to war (American Civil War 1861-1865) to help out as nurses were the most highly praised and prized of the female attendants.

Doctors, Sanitary Commission members and the men themselves generals to privates commented on the efficiency of the nuns.

Many of the nuns did not come from nursing backgrounds or formal nursing training, but they had learned the “basics” of care in their large Catholic families. Many were fairly well educated, for women of the time. Some were teachers.

Above all, the nuns were quiet, cooperative and, to use a more modern term, “low maintenance.” Some women who volunteered as nurses from civil life did not adapt easily to a demanding and regimented military environment.

At the Mound City, Ill., military hospital, Dr. John Brinton called most female volunteers “terrible, irritable and unhappy.”

The work was tough, disgusting and fatiguing. Brinton heard about the Catholic nuns and asked if any could assist him:”In answer to my request to the Catholic authorities of South Bend, Indiana, a number of sisters were sent down to act as nurses in the hospital. Those sent were from a teaching and not a nursing order, but in a short time they adapted themselves admirably to their new duties.”

The sisters were from the Holy Cross Order of Catholic nuns at St. Mary’s College at Notre Dame. Brinton continues: “When I asked the Mother [Superior] who accompanied them, what accommodations they required, the answer was, ‘One room, Doctor,’ and there were, I think, fourteen or fifteen of them.”

The nuns shared the bed, sleeping in shifts and sometimes on the floor.

More than 600 Catholic nuns went to war as nurses, including in the Confederacy, from 21 different religious communities and 12 different orders. They almost always took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. They had a deep sense of duty and worked long hours without complaint.

This certainly is not to denigrate the contributions of so many other women during the war.

British observer George Augustus Sala called the Civil War “a woman’s war.” Thousands of women contributed by sewing, making bandages, cooking and providing food, and in other ways. When it came to nursing, however, discipline and a keen understanding of medicine was in order.

Union nurse Jane Woolsey said the problem was that often volunteer groups of eight to 20 slightly educated women were turned loose in a hospital without guidance or supervision. Some had questionable motivations.

The famed Dorothea Dix tried to correct this problem by creating standards for the nurses. The “fine print” in Dix circulars seeking nurses included the paragraph: “No women under thirty need apply to serve in the government hospitals. All nurses are required to be plain looking women. Their dresses must be brown or black with no bows, no curls, no jewelry and no hoop skirts.”

In 1921, Rhode Island Rep. Ambrose Kennedy referred to, “the ‘nuns of the battlefield,’ whose services were not only conspicuously national; they were also singular and unique.” This is high praise, but usually the nuns were in hospitals. Perhaps less than one in five saw battlefield conditions, in which soldiers usually assisted the doctors.Confederate nurse Kate Cumming said, “It seems strange that [the sisters] can do with honor what is wrong for other Christian women.”
A painting of cornette-wearing Daughters of Charity by Armand Gautier (1825–1894)

Above: A painting of cornette-wearing Daughters of Charity by Armand Gautier (1825–1894)
The nuns came from a church that was a male-dominated hierarchical organization not unlike the military. The nuns could take orders and were used to the gradations of place and status rank in the military culture.

The first nurses at sea served aboard a U.S. Navy ship, the USS Red Rover, a specially configured hospital ship operating in the Mississippi River and Western theater of war.

The nuns, also from St. Mary’s College, established a military-style “chain of command.” They answered to the ship’s captain for routine items, to the chief surgeon for medical matters and to their order for religious issues.

They established the nursing routine in the ship and organized the black women who assisted them as attendants. They were Sister Mary (often abbreviated as M.) Adela (Catherine Morane), Sister M. Callista (Esther Pointan), Sister M. John of the Cross (Catherine McLoughlin) and Sister M. Veronica (Regina School).

After the Civil War, The Rev. William Corby, chaplain to the Irish Brigade during the war and later president of the University of Notre Dame, wrote a tribute honoring the Sisters of the Holy Cross, of St. Mary’s Convent at Notre Dame, and to the Sisters of Charity.

This tribute is published in “Our Army Nurses: Stories From Women in Civil War,” edited by Mary Gardner Holland (Edinborough Press, 1998 and 2000).”Sixty Sisters of the Order of the Holy Cross from Saint Mary’s convent … went out under the intelligent Mother Mary Angela as superioress. These sisters volunteered their services to nurse the sick and wounded soldiers, hundreds of whom, moved to sentiments of purest piety by the words and example of their angel nurses, begged to be baptized in articulo mortis’ at the point of death.

“The labors and self sacrifices of the Sisters during the war need no praise here. Their praise is on the lips of every surviving soldier who experienced their kind and careful ministrations,” Father Corby continued.”Many other Orders made costly sacrifices to save life and to save souls, notably the noble Order of the Sisters of Charity. To members of this Order I am personally indebted. When prostrate with camp-fever [malaria], insensible for three days, my life was entrusted to their care. Like guardian angels, these daughters of Saint Vincent watched every symptom of the fever, and by their skill and care I was soon able to return to my post of duty.”

* John E. Carey is a frequent contributor to The Washington Times.

Image: Nuns turned nurses put together the first hospital ship, USS Red Rover

From: civilwarstoriesofinspiration.wordpress.com

“To Make Something Out of the Dying in This War” : The Civil War and the Rise of American Medical Science

By Shauna Devine

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Editor’s note: The following represents the acceptance speech for the Watson Brown Prize for the best book published on the Civil War era in the calendar year 2014. Tad Brown, president of the Watson-Brown Foundation, awarded the prize to Shauna Devine for her book Learning from the Wounded, published by the University of North Carolina Press. These remarks were given at the annual banquet of the Society of Civil War Historians (SCWH), held during the Southern Historian Association annual meeting on November 13, 2015, in Little Rock, Arkansas. The SCWH judges and administers the book prize.

Dr. Devine’s address employs a variety of medical terms; these are explained in a glossary at the end of this article.

On July 10, 1863, Pvt. Charles McElroy of Connecticut was transferred from the Eleventh Army Corps Hospital to the Jarvis USA General Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He was suffering from a wound to the left leg, received during the Battle of Gettysburg. The case report noted that the whole belly of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles had been carried away by the fragment of a shell and that the limb presented a “frightful appearance,” its vitality having been destroyed far beyond the seat of the injury, “terminating in extensive suppurative inflammation and sloughing.”

For the next few weeks, the doctors at the Jarvis General Hospital monitored the patient daily and treated the inflammation in the hope that the wound would granulate. But on September 3, the case file noted that the patient was suddenly seized with violent constitutional disturbance, a high grade of fever; pains in his head, back, and limbs; and frequent chills. The doctors studied the abnormal inflammation, diagnosed gangrene, and quickly got to work. They opened the entire wound, moving the skin back, which revealed a pulpous slough, described as dark ash in color, which [End Page 149] seemed to liquefy the flesh every hour as it progressed. The discharge worried the doctors; it was described as a thin saneous liquid with an odor so pungent and offensive that the nurses and others in attendance could scarcely remain a moment without experiencing sickness of the stomach. The patient sank rapidly as the disease progressed, and he was monitored every hour, night and day. Hoping to stimulate the patient’s tissues and help counter the poisons, the doctor prescribed cold-water dressings, poultices, stimulants, tonics, and a nutritious diet.

In deciding how to proceed, the doctor had some resources to consult. A year earlier, U.S. Surgeon General William Hammond had sponsored a series of investigations in which physicians at field and general hospitals were ordered to study the causes, transmission, pathology and treatment of hospital gangrene.1 In these investigations, physicians were asked to submit their case histories to the new Army Medical Museum. Some case reports were also submitted for debate and discussion to local medical societies and medical schools, and a number of findings were published in medical journals. The approaches to the study of gangrene were highly individualistic, and the directive to study the diseases produced an epistemological innovation. Some physicians advocated studying bodily fluids and the products of disease with a microscope; others engaged in clinical trials that tested new methods and remedies; still others suggested studying the chemical processes of these diseases; and yet more engaged in new experimental methods trying to prove contagion. Many doctors concentrated on active prevention—using disinfectants to avoid the disease erupting in the first place, which added a new element to the practitioners’ clinical responsibility. There was a developing consensus that bromine appeared the most promising prophylactic and therapeutic remedy. The findings of these investigations were widely disseminated during the war. They were not only reported through the medical schools, societies and journals but also to medical inspectors and medical directors who then passed along the findings and recommendations, sometimes in the form of direct orders, to doctors in the general hospitals.

In treating Private McElroy, the physician had a variety of options. Though he had never looked through a microscope before...

From: The Journal of the Civil War Era/Volume 6, Number 2, June 2016/pp. 149-163 10.1353/cwe.2016.0038

From: muse.jhu.edu

With the Army of the Cumberland

By Mrs. Sophia McClelland

It was in the early autumn of 1861; regiments of soldiers from the North and West were daily passing through Louisville, Kentucky, to points below on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. I drove down to the depot, and on passing out of the yard from the train of cars, noticed several of the soldiers lying on the platform, some of whom seemed very ill; I had them removed to some vacant rooms over a warehouse on the opposite corner from the depot, Broadway and Ninth Street : then, driving as rapidly as possible to my residence, gathered up as many blankets, comfortables, and pillows as the carriage could hold, and returned to the newly-improvised hospital. In the neighborhood I procured provisions for the men's supper, and candles to give them light for the evening.

This was the beginning, and the general impression seemed to be that in three or four months the trouble would be all over. But every day added to the numbers in the hospital. Regiments were continually marching through and leaving their sick; skirmishes were frequent on the Nashville Road, and there were those coming to be cared for who were disabled by wounds as well as sickness. We were obliged to depend on soldiers taken from the convalescent wards for nurses, who, though most kind, were unskilled and in most cases illy adapted for their duties, requiring patient training and drilling to render them efficient.

After the battle of Fort Donelson, we took down a party of physicians and clergymen and six ladies as nurses, also a quantity of hospital stores from the sanitary rooms, for the use of the wounded and sick. The expenses of this company were borne by private funds.

General Wm. Nelson had his headquarters at Evansville. Indiana. It was necessary to obtain from him a pass to enter within his lines, which extended to Dover, the point nearest reached to Fort Donelson. He refused an audience to our messengers, though backed by credentials from leis personal friend, Dr. Robert Murray, medical director of the department. They called again, when he consented to see them for a few moments, but sent this message: "You will say it is simply impossible to grant passes. I have refused every application, and mean to."

At this report I decided to make a personal appeal, although any friends made every effort to dissuade me, using for argument Nelson's ungracious speech and gruff manners. He was sitting at a table at one end of the long parlor of the hotel. I approached him, supported on either side by any friends, the two gentlemen with whom he had had an interview only a few moments before. General Nelson was a man of commanding presence; he seemed not only tall but very large. He had black hair and eyebrows, with piercing eyes, which he bent on me from the moment we glassed the sentry at the door. Indeed, his countenance was fierce and forbidding as if to intimidate.

After the introduction, he said, "Madam, call you tell me what you want?"

"Yes, general, I have come to ask you for passes."

"Speak louder. I am a little deaf."

"Passes for my little company within your lines; we desire to reach Fort Donelson. You have already been made acquainted with the object of our errand, to care for and healing the sick and wounded soldiers of Kentucky where they may have the attention necessary for their comfort and recovery."

"That is all very well, madam, but we leave no place for ladies," said the general.

"General," said I, "we have not come to be entertained, but on a mission of mercy. .. All we ask of you is; transportation and liberty within the lines to take, care of our wounded."

"But, madam, there are no conveniences, no rooms you can occupy. All these boats you see coming down the river are filled with soldiers, besides officers and crew.''

"General, we will only ask for a chair or two that we may place in some out

"Madam. there are no chairs. No doors to the rooms, nothing but men; everything has been taken out to lighten the craft."

"But, general, we can stand ---."

Then a fearful pause ensued, my heart heating audibly to my own ears, and I was trembling in every nerve so that I could scarcely stand. During this time General Nelson's face remained immovable, while he steadily and sternly gazed into my eyes. After what might have been a few moments of time, though it seemed ages, he said:

"Well, you are a determined woman, and the first one I ever saw who knew what she wanted, and could tell it in a few words."

He then turned to his private secretary, who was sitting at his table, anal made a remark in a low tone; then, recollecting for the first time his position as host, invited us to be seated. The secretary wrote a few lines on a sheet of paper, and placing it in a yellow envelope, touched a bell. The orderly, of making his appearance, was directed where to carry it. I received the pass, and was consigned to the care of one of the most courteous officers in the Federal service, Colonel Hazen, of the Forty-first Ohio.

In justice to General Nelson, I will say it was never my privilege to meet with greater consideration than he extended to our little company. During the two hours of waiting for our boat he seemed the graceful, polished gentleman; laughed and made merry over the sallies of wit and humor, and withal showed a sympathetic tenderness and solicitude for his sick soldiers that went far to remove the previous prejudice I had formed of his austerity. Poor fellow! His tragic death occurred a few months afterwards result of a quarrel with General Jeff. C. Davis. The circumstances of the difficulty are well known. We should judge leniently of those faults of character which, had they been curbed, might have been trained into virtues, and hold in remembrance only his lofty patriotism and undaunted courage.

We reached Smithland, Kentucky, but could get no boat to take us to the fort, nor could we obtain an overland conveyance of any description. We were looked upon with suspicion. Some even hinted that we were spies. We could not buy food. No one would sell to us nor give us shelter; even at the miserable place they called a hotel, they refused to allow us to sit down. We walked all over the town, followed by one or two persons, who, by a motion or sign, indicated their suspicions to any one who seemed disposed to favor it. Therefore, there was nothing for us to do but, to leave the place, and from the aspect of affairs, to do that as quickly as possible seems most prudent. We applied for admission on the government boat, "Silver Moon," and shortly reached Paducah.

What a scene was there presented! The river as far up as the eye could reach was covered by a fleet of steamers, with gay colors flying and bands of music playing, laden down to the water's edge, with soldiers. Each regimental band played its own favorite airs, but all had a note for "The Girl I Left behind Me."

General W. T. Sherman was then in Paducah, to whom I reported for duty, and from him I received orders to go to Mound City and Cairo, take from the hospitals there all the sick and wounded, and leave them at the points nearest their lines. This would make place for others who were expected soon, as a battle seemed impending. He also directed us to draw commissary stores and other supplies at Cairo, and report on our return to Paducah, where we would then take aboard all the wounded prisoners for whom we could find place.

"And now, my dear madam," said General Sherman, "I desire to say to you that the prisoners are to receive the same attention as our own men; no distinction is to be made in the management or treatment of the prisoners by the surgeons or nurses."

Then turning to Dr. McDougal, the venerable medical director, he inquired of him what quantity of medical supplies would be necessary for us to take for the use of 150 sick and wounded, for nine days.

[Copy of General Sherman's order:]
HDQRS. DISTRICT of CAIRO,
Feb. 22, 1862.
Mrs. Dr. McClelland, of Louisville, will take charge of two boats, "Hastings" and "Fannie Bullitt," going to Mound City for the wounded and sick. She will be assisted by Drs. J. H. Holister, Wm. Haydock, and T. McGregor, also Rev. F. M. Bushnell and a volunteer corps of five lady nurses. Male nurses will be taken from convalescent wards or from volunteers. These physicians will return immediately to their posts, or to their several homes as they desire. I am, etc.,
W. T. SHERMAN, Brig. Gen. Comd.

We were obliged to wait at Paducah for our boats. Every available craft was used ill the service, not only for the transportation of troops and supplies, but to convey a large number of people who were anxious about their friends, and also sightseers who had curiosity to visit the scene of battle. We busied ourselves for two days in aiding the surgeons and citizens, who were untiring in their efforts to relieve the suffering. Churches, stores, and school

I was becoming impatient and restless in waiting, therefore determined to take the boat that first arrived, and trust to chance to have the other one overtake us. We brought on board about sixty prisoners; half of them were wounded men, the others were suffering from the effects of measles and colds from exposure. They coughed almost incessantly, and there was not all ounce of opiate or sedative to be found this side of Cairo. It was in the evening and nearly dark when we reached Cairo. We had very few provisions and our needs were extremely pressing. In order to get our order on the commissary honored it was necessary to report at headquarters at once. The, to make matters still more desperate, our boxes of sanitary stores. containing bedding, clothing, and bandages, had gone astray; wehad been placed in such straits for the bandages that some of us had taken our underclothing and torn it into strips to bind up the wounds of the suffering soldiers.

A long line of cars from Chicago had just come in, and for fifty minutes continued drilling back and forth until it was quite dark. There were no lamps or lights on the wharf, save here and there what seemed a flaming torch of some resinous substance which only partially lighted all the vicinity. As soon as the cars stopped long enough, I climbed through and over them to the other side. The mire was knee deep. At every step, I was obliged to extricate one foot before I could plant the other down. I lost one congress gaiter in the mire, and was obliged to present myself at headquarters with one shoe ob and the of other foot covered with a badly soiled stocking. I received a pair of heavy army shoes, and endeavored to hunt up the representative of the Sanitary Commission of the Northwest. I worked all that Sunday morning.

Crowds assembled at the wharves of the several towns as our boats passed. and we were greeted with cheers. Deputations of ladies were allowed to come on, who brought many needed delicacies -- milk, fresh. butter, and home made biscuits. Oh, what a feast it was for the wounded and sick when the ladies distributed it to all. Federal and Confederate alike!

Surely it was a picture worthy of the skill of an artist of the realistic school. On reaching Louisville the military authorities took charge, and the sick were removed to the different hospitals.

From: edinborough.com

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Evolution of Penn’s Medical School in the Middle and Late Nineteenth Century: The 1860s: The Civil War

From: archives.upenn.edu

Penn’s Medical School had a prosperous outlook entering the 1859 fall term, amidst regional competition and national conflict. The Medical School bested its rivals in Philadelphia by enrolling 528 students—its highest total in more than a decade.  Despite increasing sectional tensions, almost half of the 1859 student body consisted of southern men. George B. Wood and Samuel Jackson advised the faculty, which included a couple of former students. Wood and Jackson, both approaching the end of their long careers, “retained some of the sparkle of youth” while teaching European advances in science and medicine.  Younger professors like Joseph Leidy and Robert E. Rogers continued to build their reputation as teachers and scientists. But, the Medical School’s optimism quickly faded as North-South tensions overwhelmed Philadelphia in the winter of 1859.

The departure of southern students from Philadelphia weakened Penn and its competitors. Medical students from below the Mason-Dixon Line formed the largest constituency of Southern sympathizers in Philadelphia.  Governor Henry Wise of Virginia encouraged southern students to return to their home states. On December 21, 1859, 200 medical students from Jefferson College, Penn, and other schools quietly took trains from Philadelphia to Richmond.  These students were greeted by faculty and students from the Medical College of Virginia and a crowd of citizens upon their arrival in Richmond. The migrant students continued their medical education at Richmond and other schools across the South. Both the Union and Confederate armies had faculty, graduates, and former students of Philadelphia’s medical schools within their ranks.

Southern pride, rather than administrative mistakes or severe competition, caused the decline in Penn’s enrollment. The number of southern students in Penn’s Medical School dropped from 130 men in 1860 to 20 men in 1863.  Penn and its rivals turned inward and recruited students from Pennsylvania, but they could not cover the loss. Young northern men were either enlisted in the Union Army or could not afford a year’s tuition. Without financial stability and with a small enrollment, Philadelphia’s proprietary medical schools fell apart.

The Medical Department of Pennsylvania College closed in 1859 after their esteemed faculty resigned because of declining enrollment and unpaid taxes.  Penn Medical University closed after its students and faculty left to serve in the Union Army.  Financial stability, large enrollments, and national reputations kept Jefferson College and Penn’s Medical School afloat. Although it survived the Civil War, Penn’s Medical School had lost some of the prosperity and prestige it achieved in the antebellum period.

This exhibit was created in 2011 by Luke Poethig, University Archives Summer Research Fellow and an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania

Image: Course Roster, 1863-1864

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