Civil War’s Influence on Medicine

Here’s Professor Shauna Devine of Western University [formerly the University of Western Ontario] discussing her book, Learning from the Wounded: The Civil War and the Rise of American Medical Science.

The video’s description reads, “Shauna Devine talked about her book Learning from the Wounded: The Civil War and the Rise of American Medical Science, in which she examines the Civil War’s impact on medicine. In the book, she argues that medicine in the United States was antiquated and unprepared for the Civil War, but during the conflict, Union Army physicians adapted new practices for the study and treatment of wounds and diseases. She said these advances had a lasting influence on American medicine. Her remarks took place the at the Society of Civil War Historians dinner, which was part of the Southern Historical Association’s annual meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas. Professor Devine received the Tom Watson Brown Book Award at this dinner for her book.”

She has some really great information here, but she has so much packed into her talk and she talks so fast that it’s sometimes difficult to follow everything.


One comment

  1. Bob Nelson · · Reply

    Good one. Thanks. Here’s an amazing, true story somewhat related to the CW medical corps. While I was superintendent of schools in Carson City-Crystal (MI), my junior high principal was a great guy named Chuck Larkins. Each year, his wife, Marcia, used to take in some “civil war stuff” for the junior high history students. They would play with the “stuff” and she would even let them try on the uniform. Curious, I asked to see her “stuff,” I was absolutely shocked to see that she had her great great grandfather’s uniform, hat, belt, sword, enlistment and discharge papers — and — and — his complete medical kit including the bone saw, which is often missing. He was a doctor in one of the Ohio regiments. I convinced her that the “stuff” was worth a lot and that she should (1) get it appraised, (2) get it insured and (3) stop letting junior high students “play” with it. After she had it appraised, she agreed with the rest.

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