Friday Jan 26, 2024

070 - Combatting The Invisible Enemy: Medicine During The Civil War


About this episode: 

For most of us, our mental snapshot of 19th-century battlefield medicine is captured when Union Major General Carl Schurz recorded a ghastly scene at Gettysburg: “There stood the surgeons, their sleeves rolled up to their elbows … [One] surgeon snatched his knife from between his teeth …, wiped it rapidly once or twice across his bloodstained apron, and the cutting began. The operation accomplished, the surgeon would look around with a deep sigh, and then – 'Next!'”  Relying on first-hand accounts, meticulous statistics and research, we share a side of the conflict that few who fought wanted to think about and, particularly, experience.  For our 70th episode, we tell the story of Civil War Medicine.


Some Characters Mentioned In This Episode:

William A. Hammond

Jonathan Letterman

Samuel Preston Moore

Sally Tompkins

Dorothea Dix

Clara Barton


Additional Resources:


The Life of Johnny Reb: The Common Soldier of the Confederacy by Bell Irvin Wiley



The Life of Billy Yank: The Common Soldier of the Union by Bell Irvin Wiley



Voices of the Civil War by Richard Wheeler



Civil War Medicine 1861-1865 by C. Keith Wilbur


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Thank you to our sponsor, The Badge Maker - proudly carrying affordable Civil War Corps Badges and other hand-made historical reproductions for reenactors, living history interpreters, and lovers of history.

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*Title Image by Alexander Gardner


Producer: Dan Irving

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