Manual THE ARMY MEDICAL DEPARTMENT, 1818–1865 - Part 2

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These Proceedings are the eighth volume to be published in a series generated by the These Proceedings are the eighth volume to be published in a series generated by the annual Military History Symposium hosted by the Combat Studies Institute. Each year, these conferences bring together both military and civilian historians, as well as formal Full color images throughout. Army Lineage Series. CMH Pub Describes lineages, honors, heraldic items, Describes lineages, honors, heraldic items, and bibliographies of Army Field Artillery regiments in the force structure thru Mobility, Shock and Firepower: The Emergence of the.

Army Historical Series. Captures the multifaceted development of the Armored Force from Captures the multifaceted development of the Armored Force from its inauspicious beginnings in World War 1 to its fully mature, operational status at the close of World War 2. Provides an excellent case study The Army Medical Department, The Army Medical Department, , is the third of four planned volumes that treat the The Army Medical Department, , is the third of four planned volumes that treat the time of revolutionary change in the organization of the U.

Army and in medicine.


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However, Wintermute does an excellent job relating the professionalization of medical officers to that of line officers, who at the same time created the schools, institutions, and intellectual foundation for a profession of arms. Chapter 3 covers the familiar territory of the horrific conditions at Chickamauga and the other volunteer camps during the Spanish American War. Chapter 4, as the author mentions, extends the scholarship of Warwick Anderson Colonial Pathologies: American Tropical Medicine, Race, and Hygiene in the Philippines [] and other colonial historians to the Caribbean.

Ashford controlling disease in Panama and Puerto Rico, respectively. Moreover, the AMEDD used its reputation in public health to improve its status both within the army and American society. In the concluding chapter, Wintermute outlines the early twentieth century campaign against venereal disease and alcohol in the army.

In the latter case, he shows how the AMEDD had achieved sufficient authority to recommend temperance in the face of fierce line opposition to the policy, a stark contrast from their decidedly subordinate position in the previous century. If the book has one overarching weakness, it results from its relative lack of engagement with the medical history literature. The apparent absence of any medical, much less military medical, historian advisors to his dissertation-turned-book presumably contributed to this lapse. Concerns about the quality of milk soldiers drank, for example, would dovetail perfectly with the swill milk controversy extending throughout the nineteenth century.

Conversely, a strength of the work lies in chapters 1, 2, and 5, where Wintermute positions the experience of medical officers as both part of and distinct from the professionalization efforts of the larger officer corps.

Yet his simultaneous discursions on the specific struggles faced by physicians in establishing their authority isolate a heretofore under-discussed subject bearing tremendous influence on the health of the troops. Furthermore, the emphasis on how military medicine set a standard for the civilian world underscores the cross-fertilization between these spheres. And while his distinction between researchers and sanitarians comes across as a bit forced, Wintermute nonetheless effectively impresses on the reader the heightened role and increased importance of public health, both to the individual practitioners and for the reputation of the service as a whole.

In his introduction, Wintermute writes that the current volume is but the first in a series, with a second monograph discussing World War I forthcoming. This reviewer looks forward to its arrival. Their story has been well told elsewhere. She was granted control over which women would be able to do so, and she particularly sought plain women, aged thirty or over, of unimpeachable moral character.

As surrogate sisters, mothers, and aunts, female nurses were supposed to evoke the comfort and compassion of home life, itself an idealized vision of domestic virtue. Nurses toiled, but they also sang, read aloud, wrote letters, dried tears, held hands, and prayed with the soldiers. But there was still plenty that women could do. Calls for "the Ladies of Washington" to provide "more attention and many comforts beyond what are ordinarily to be expected in a regular military hospital" began in May , as troops started to arrive in the District and, not surprisingly, sometimes became ill.

The capital felt the shock of serious war, as the wounded straggled in on foot and in wagons after the Union defeat. Citizens rallied to provide food, drink, and shelter to the less seriously wounded. As casualties from the Peninsula campaign came in over the summer months and churches were made into hospitals, more appeals went out for the "aid and comfort" that only women could provide.

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Lincoln's visits to hospitals were duly noted and praised, and she spent money donated by worthy folk on "cooling fruits and other needed comforts" in August. Then came the second Battle of Bull Run in August , when thousands of wounded poured into the city in the first days of September. Again, some of the less badly wounded "were taken in by kind-hearted citizens and well cared for" while the worse off were conveyed to hospitals.

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Ladies disinclined to actually visit the sick and wounded very often found a suitable outlet in the move to supply hospital patients with all of the home-style trappings of holiday fare. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the Fourth of July became rallying moments for citizens' generosity, and women's efforts figured prominently in successfully offering lavish dinners. The first Thanksgiving after the Second Battle of Bull Run set the tone, as the newspapers reported on holiday feasts and sermons in all of the hospitals in Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria.


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  5. Of course, the "ladies of Washington" outdid themselves at Armory Square, where they, together with various relief organizations, offered a "sumptuous dinner" where "everything. In the hospitals where only the medical staff provided funding for food, public praise was less enthusiastic, even absent.

    Civil War Washington

    At Finley Hospital, surgeon J. Moses, in response to the reporter's questions, observed that "he hadn't had any dinner himself, and appeared to be very indifferent to the fare of the soldiers. Caleb Smith, organized a "great meeting of ladies" during which committees were formed to be in charge of the celebrations at each of the hospitals, including the Finley, where surgeon Moses had been so lax. For the rest of the war, newspaper reports on holiday celebrations included notes about the festivities at the District's hospitals, along with accounts of other social events of public interest.

    Baxter organized a "Grand Levee" at Campbell Hospital in , for instance, at which four hundred guests danced and visited the sick and wounded soldiers. Each city ward had a delegation, too, as did several state organizations, and members of the Lincoln and Johnson Club held placards rooting for Republicans' reelections.

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    A New York State agent electioneered at Harewood Hospital that month for General McClellan for president, to lukewarm responses, while a crowd over twelve hundred strong gathered at Armory Square to hear speeches on behalf of Lincoln's ticket, with "a large attendance of ladies" and decorations of stars and stripes adorning the hall.

    The District's military hospitals thus wove themselves into the civic life of the capital. Civilian buildings were transformed into places for the sick and wounded.

    City newspaper reporters reassured inhabitants that the patients were well cared for, but at the same time served as watchdogs for abuses that added to soldiers' sufferings. The military hospitals joined the roster of other good works such as a newsboys' home and aid for contrabands that demanded the time, effort, and money of the "ladies of Washington. The sick and wounded became both a literal and a psychological presence for four long years. As news came that armies were moving, "quiet. That quiet dissipates, and "the turmoil and bustle, the excited crowds, the sickening sights and sounds that ever follow in the train of battle" visit again.

    The author continued:. His words aptly summarize the overall message repeated so often by Washington's newspapers: feel for the thousands of the military's sick and wounded in the city, take comfort in the fact that the government was almost perfect in caring for them, but do not take so much comfort that you forget that more is always needed. As the war had its periods of quiet anticipation and frenetic activity, so too did the number of patients in the general hospitals rise and fall.

    The number of men in the hospitals mattered, as Washington's citizens certainly learned after the First Battle of Bull Run, when there were not enough hospital beds in the immediate aftermath to hold the wounded. In August newspaper readers were introduced to hard numbers. For a year, until August , Washington's papers published lists of the District's military hospitals with the number of patients within them, breaking the men out by regiment. This effort began when Senator Henry Rice MN introduced a resolution "that the Secretary of War be requested to cause to be published weekly, in each of the newspapers of the city of Washington, the name and location of each public hospital in the District of Columbia, and the number of sick or wounded of the various regiments in the several hospitals.

    The secretary of war ordered this to be done, and the Washington Evening Star and then the National Republican duly provided weekly reports that included the total number in each hospital, from which it was possible to sum the number in the District. For reasons as yet unknown, newspapers ceased publishing this data on August 1, , when the total of sick and wounded soldiers in the general hospitals reached 6, men.

    Newspapers continued to publish directories of the military hospitals in the city, giving their addresses so that visitors could find them, so part of the Senate's resolution remained in force. The United States Sanitary Commission had begun to take on the task of helping civilians track down their loved ones in hospitals and, in November , officially became responsible for maintaining a hospital directory to which people could write for information.

    Medals of the United States Army Medical Department and Medals Honoring Army Medical Officers

    Agents from state relief organizations, too, had become responsible for tracking their own soldiers in the hospitals, so perhaps the newspaper reports were no longer seen as vital. The data that the army did collect was carefully transcribed into a volume, the Records of the General Hospitals, —66, shortly after the end of the war.

    The Surgeon General's Office staff tabulated weekly census data for all of the Union's general hospitals by department. General Hospital at Point Lookout, Maryland. The data from this latter hospital are omitted from the charts and numbers discussed here, as it was clearly well outside the District. Combining the information culled from newspaper reports and that from the Records of the General Hospitals gives a fairly good idea of the number of soldiers in the District's hospitals from August 1, , to February 2, , as shown in Figure 1.

    The data are incomplete, not only because newspapers skipped weeks in reporting on hospital populations but also because there are a few blanks in the tables transcribed into the postwar register. These figures, moreover, do not include the numbers of sick and injured in the post hospitals provided for the regiments manning the fortifications around the District. If the number of patients served at least in part as a visceral measure of the cost of the war for Washingtonians, then September and October and June through August were the most expensive and heartrending times.

    In contrast, the dramatic events of Gettysburg, and the huge losses sustained there, were felt less in Washington and more in Baltimore, New York, and York and Harrisburg in Pennsylvania. As soon as men were well enough to move to hospitals further north or to their home states, they were transported out to Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and other points in the Union. During active fighting, especially, moving those who could be moved to make way for anticipated casualties was one way to minimize the risk of not having enough hospital beds to accommodate disasters.

    Hospitals in Washington closed fairly rapidly after mid-May, but it still took months to deal with the 15, patients who needed care at that time. Hospital capacity offers another way to visualize conditions in Washington. The data in the Records of the General Hospitals were organized into tables with four and, once, five months of weekly data given across two folio leaves, with the capacity of each hospital listed at the start of each new table.

    Figure 6. The Medical Department faced the constant challenge of providing enough hospital beds to serve the military's needs, but not so many that resources were wasted. According to the register, in October Washington's hospitals were just about full. The Lincoln, the last of the new pavilion hospitals, opened in December, by which time the number of patients had been considerably reduced and churches used as hospitals were being returned to their congregations.

    Occupancy then ran between 40 and 65 percent, providing a comfortable cushion of empty beds until—not surprisingly—the Battle of the Wilderness and the Battle of Spotsylvania in May , when occupancy soared to percent of the capacity available in early March. The number of patients reached 17, on May For this excess, the military was prepared with tents that were quickly raised on the grounds of hospitals that had the space. Between March 5 and July 2, for example, Harewood went from 1, to 2, beds, Mt. Pleasant went from to 2,, and Lincoln from 1, to 2, All told, the number of beds went from 13, to 23, The Department of Washington was not caught short again for the rest of the war.

    Claims about the number of sick and wounded in the capital are scattered throughout both primary and secondary sources, and quite a few are likely to be exaggerations, if the Records of the General Hospitals data are at all reliable. The Daily Morning Chronicle on November 11, , for instance, stated that "the largest number of patients ever congregated at one time in Washington was 28,