Marrow of Tragedy: The Health Crisis of the American Civil War

Marrow of Tragedy: The Health Crisis of the American Civil War

by Margaret Humphreys
Pub. Date:
Johns Hopkins University Press
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Marrow of Tragedy: The Health Crisis of the American Civil War

The Civil War was the greatest health disaster the United States has ever experienced, killing more than a million Americans and leaving many others invalided or grieving. Poorly prepared to care for wounded and sick soldiers as the war began, Union and Confederate governments scrambled to provide doctoring and nursing, supplies, and shelter for those felled by warfare or disease.

During the war soldiers suffered from measles, dysentery, and pneumonia and needed both preventive and curative food and medicine. Family members—especially women—and governments mounted organized support efforts, while army doctors learned to standardize medical thought and practice. Resources in the north helped return soldiers to battle, while Confederate soldiers suffered hunger and other privations and healed more slowly, when they healed at all.

In telling the stories of soldiers, families, physicians, nurses, and administrators, historian Margaret Humphreys concludes that medical science was not as limited at the beginning of the war as has been portrayed. Medicine and public health clearly advanced during the war—and continued to do so after military hostilities ceased.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781421409993
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 07/28/2013
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 8.90(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction: Call and Response 1

1 Understanding Civil War Medicine 20

2 Women, War, and Medicine 48

3 Infectious Disease in the Civil War 76

4 Connecting Home to Hospital and Camp: The Work of the USSC 103

5 The Sanitary Commission and Its Critics 131

6 The Union's General Hospital 152

7 Medicine for a New Nation 184

8 Confederate Medicine: Disease, Wounds, and Shortages 208

9 Mitigating the Horrors of War 243

10 A Public Health Legacy 271

11 Medicine in Postwar America 290

Afterword 310

Notes 313

Index 373

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