Civil War Medicine: A View from the Bedside

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 5: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)

STANDARD 2: The course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people. 

Standard 2A: The student understands how the resources of the Union and Confederacy affected the course of the war. 

7-12: Compare the human resources of the Union and the Confederacy at the beginning of the Civil War and assess the tactical advantages of each side.
5-12: Identify the innovations in military technology and explain their impact on humans, property, and the final outcome of the war. [Utilize visual and mathematical data]

Standard 2B: The student understands the social experience of the war on the battlefield and homefront. 

5-12: Compare the human and material costs of the war in the North and South and assess the degree to which the war reunited the nation.

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: Wounded soldiers in hospital
    PHOTOGRAPHER: [Matthew Brady Studios]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: ca. 1860 - ca. 1865
    ARC Identifier: 524705
    SOURCE: Part of Series: Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes, 1921 - 1940
    REPOSITORY: National Archives, Washington, DC

  2. DESCRIPTION: Wounded soldiers in hospital 
    PHOTOGRAPHER: [Matthew Brady Studios]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: ca. 1860 - ca. 1865
    ARC Identifier: 524777
    SOURCE: Part of Series: Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes, 1921 - 1940
    REPOSITORY: National Archives, Washington, DC

  3. DESCRIPTION: Straw huts erected on Smith's farm, and used as a hospital after the battle of Antietam
    PHOTOGRAPHER: Alexander Gardner
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1862
    SOURCE: Civil War Treasures from the New-York Historical Society
    REPOSITORY:
    New York Historical Society

  4. DESCRIPTION: U.S. Military R.R., City Point, Va. Field Hospital
    PHOTOGRAPHER: [Matthew Brady Studios]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: ca. 1860 - ca. 1865
    ARC Identifier: 524881
    SOURCE: Part of Series: Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes, 1921 - 1940
    REPOSITORY: National Archives, Washington, DC

  5. DESCRIPTION: [Point Lookout: a series of eight ground plans of military properties erected and used during the Civil War.]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 1865
    ARC Identifier: 305824
    SOURCE: Part of Series: Post and Reservation Maps, 1820 - 1905. 
    REPOSITORY: National Archives, Washington, DC

  6. DESCRIPTION: [Point Lookout: a series of eight ground plans of military properties erected and used during the Civil War.]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 1865
    ARC Identifier: 305824
    SOURCE: Part of Series: Post and Reservation Maps, 1820 - 1905. 
    REPOSITORY: National Archives, Washington, DC

  7. DESCRIPTION: Point Lookout, Md. View of Hammond Genl. Hospital & U.S. genl. depot for prisoners of war Lith. by E. Sachse & Co., Baltimore.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1864
    SOURCE: Map Collections: 1500-2003
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

  8. DESCRIPTION: [Letter home from a Union nurse describing condition of soldiers and her satisfaction in being a nurse.]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: March 11, 1865
    REPRODUCTIONSHow to Order Photographic Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCECivil War Treasures from the New-York Historical Society
    REPOSITORY: New-York Historical Society

  9. DESCRIPTION: [Letter home from a Union nurse describing duties and daily life.]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED
    : April 18, 1863
    REPRODUCTIONS
    How to Order Photographic Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCECivil War Treasures from the New-York Historical Society
    REPOSITORY: New-York Historical Society

  10. DESCRIPTION: [Letter home from a Union nurse concerning daily life in a military hospital.]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: March 26, 1863
    REPRODUCTIONSHow to Order Photographic Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCECivil War Treasures from the New-York Historical Society
    REPOSITORY: New-York Historical Society

  11. DESCRIPTION: [Letter home from a Union nurse concerning care of hospitalized soldiers.], n.d.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: n. d.
    REPRODUCTIONSHow to Order Photographic Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCECivil War Treasures from the New-York Historical Society
    REPOSITORY: New-York Historical Society

  12. DESCRIPTION: War Lecture
    AUTHOR: Clara Barton
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: ca. 1866
    REPRODUCTIONSHow to Obtain Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCEAmerican Women: A Gateway to Library of Congress Resources for the Study of Women's History and Culture in the United States
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Washington, D.C.

  13. DESCRIPTION: [Doctors examining a Federal prisoner returned from prison]
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED
    : [photographed between 1861 and 1865, printed later]
    REPRODUCTIONSHow to obtain copies of this item
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

  14. DESCRIPTION: A Ward in Armory Square Hospital, Washington, D.C.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: [photographed between 1861 and 1865, printed later]
    REPRODUCTIONSHow to obtain copies of this item
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

  15. DESCRIPTION: Nurse and spy in the Union army : comprising the adventures and experiences of a woman in hospitals, camps and battle-fields / by S. Emma E. Edmonds.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Hartford : W. S. Williams & co.: Philadephia, Jones bros. & co. 1865
    REPRODUCTIONSRights and Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCEThe Nineteenth Century in Print: Books
    REPOSITORY: Digitized by the University of Michigan Library

  16. DESCRIPTION: Keedysville, Maryland (vicinity). Smith's barn, used as a hospital after the battle of Antietam
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1862 Sept.
    REPRODUCTIONSHow to obtain copies of this item
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

  17. DESCRIPTION: Savage Station, Virginia. Union field hospital after the battle of June 27
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1862 June [30]
    REPRODUCTIONSHow to obtain copies of this item
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

See also: 

Additional Instructional Resources

Civil War Weaponry and Medicine: A Disastrous Mismatch. From the UMBC Center for History Education, Teaching American History Lesson Plans.

Death and the Civil War.

The Battle of Bentonville: Caring for Casualties of the Civil War. From the National Park Service.

Clara Barton's House: Home of the American Red Cross. From the National Park Service.

These Honored Dead: The Battle of Rivers Bridge and Civil War Combat Casualties. From the National Park Service.

Secondary Resources

Adams, George Washington. "Confederate Medicine." The Journal of Southern History (May, 1940): 151-166.

Adams, George Washington. Doctors in Blue: The medical history of the Union Army in the Civil War

Cooke, Michael A. "The Health of the Union Military in the District of Columbia, 1861-1865." Military Affairs (Oct., 1984): 194-199.

Cunningham, H. H. "Confederate General Hospitals: Establishment and Organization." The Journal of Southern History (Aug., 1954): 376-394.

Cunningham, H. H. Doctors in Gray: The Confederate Medical Service. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1958.

Hasegawa, Guy R. and Terry F. Hambrecht, F. "The Confederate Medical Laboratories." Southern Medical Journal (Dec. 2003): 1221-1230.

Kramer, Howard D. "Effect of the Civil War on the Public Health Movement" The Mississippi Valley Historical Review  (Dec., 1948): 449-462.

Schultz, J.E. "The inhospitable hospital: Gender and professionalism in Civil War medicine." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society (Winter 1992): 363-392.

Shryock, Richard H. "A Medical Perspective on the Civil War." American Quarterly (Summer, 1962): 161-173.

Simkins, Francis B. and James W. Patton. "The Work of Southern Women Among the Sick and Wounded of the Confederate Armies." The Journal of Southern History (Nov., 1935): 475-496.

Associated Heritage and Preservation Organizations

National Museum of Civil War Medicine
48 East Patrick Street
Frederick, MD 21705

Copyright and Other Restrictions

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Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Nancy Bramucci.

 

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