Civil War

Medical Field

Medical Field During The Civil War

For medical practitioners in the field during the Civil War, germ theory, antiseptic (clean) medical practices, advanced equipment, and organized hospitalization systems were virtually unknown. Medical training was just emerging out of the “heroic era,” a time where physicians advocated bloodletting, purging, blistering (or a combination of all three) to re-balance the humors of the body and remedy the sick.

How many soilders served as a doctor or nurse?

When the war began, the Federal army had a total of about 98 medical officers, the Confederacy just 24. By 1865, some 13,000 Union doctors had served in the field and in the hospitals; in the Confederacy, about 4,000 medical officers and an unknown number of volunteers treated war casualties. in both the North and South, these men were assisted by thousands of women who donated their time and energy to help the wounded. It is estimated that more than 4,000 women served as nurses in Union hospitals; Confederate women contributed much to the effort as well.

What was the biggest killer of soldiers in the Civil War?

Early in the war it became obvious that disease would be the greatest killer. Two soldiers died of disease (dysentery, diarrhea, typhoid, and malaria) for every one killed in battle. Soldiers from small rural areas suffered from childhood diseases such as measles and mumps because they lacked immunity.