Civil war medicine
1 / 16

Civil War Medicine - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Updated On :

Civil War Medicine. Uses of Medicine, Medical Procedures, Medical Personnel, & the the Start of the American Red Cross. Medical Knowledge. Medical knowledge during the Civil War was very basic Infection was not understood, therefore prevention was not a concept

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'Civil War Medicine' - ostinmannual

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
Civil war medicine

Civil War Medicine

Uses of Medicine, Medical Procedures, Medical Personnel, & the the Start of the American Red Cross

Medical knowledge
Medical Knowledge

  • Medical knowledge during the Civil War was very basic

  • Infection was not understood, therefore prevention was not a concept

  • Antiseptics were rare, leading to unsterile conditions

  • Antibiotics were unavailable

    • Therefore, soldiers had a better chance of dying from disease rather than from a gunshot wound.

Medical personnel
Medical Personnel

  • According to the following website,, when the war began, the U.S. Army medical staff consisted of:

    • Surgeon general

    • 30 surgeons

    • 83 assistant surgeons

      However, of these, 24 of resigned to “go south” and 3 others were were dismissed for “disloyalty”.

      ***a more broken down outline of how personnel was appointed and used can be found on the mentioned site under Caring for the Men.

Medical training
Medical Training

  • In most cases, doctors during this time only had two years of schooling

    • Most Civil War surgeons had never treated gunshot wounds

    • Many had never performed surgery

    • Medical boards allowed “quacks” that had little qualification because of the need for personnel

Related conditions diseases

Camp Conditions that lead to Medical Problems:

Poor hygiene

Lack of sanitation in facilities

Weather/lack of shelter and decent clothing

Poor quality of food & water


Common Diseases:






Related Conditions & Diseases

Medical procedures cont d
Medical Procedures Cont’d.

Due to numerous bullet wounds, surgeons became experienced in amputations. The popular lead musket balls that were used often caused great damage outside the body as well as inside. When lodged inside the body they would flatten, making it difficult to remove, therefore making amputation the only solution.

* Many times amputations would be performed in 10 minutes, with surgeons working non-stop.

* The lack of water meant they were unable to wash their hands or instruments.

-”bloody fingers were used as probes, bloody knives used as scalpels, and doctors were often covered in pus stained clothes.”

Internal medical procedures
Internal Medical Procedures

  • Bullet wounds experienced in the torso , head , or neck would often be fatal. As were those experienced in the intestines, liver, or lungs because they would tear through the organs causing more serious medical situations like hemorrhaging, which could not be treated at that time, due to the lack of technology and blood transfusions.

Anesthetic medicine
Anesthetic Medicine

  • Chloroform was used during the Civil War when it was available.

    • Use of chloroform as an antiseptic reduced pain & trauma

    • When used as an anesthetic, it was applied to a cloth and held over the patient’s nose & mouth and taken off after the patient was unconscious

Other used medicines
Other Used Medicines

  • Whiskey and other forms of alcohol were also used to treat wounds and diseases.

    • Since most medicines were manufactured in the north; southerners had to run blockades to gain access to them.

    • Sometimes, more needed medicines were smuggled into the South in women’s petticoats.

    • The South also had some manufacturing powers working with herbal remedies.

    • Many medical supplies came from captured Union stores as well.


Clara Barton

1821- 1921

  • Working as a U.S. Patent Office clerk when the war began, she began collecting provisions for the Union army.

  • Later she would deliver supplies directly to the front and tend to the wounded & dying…

Barton s work
Barton’s Work

  • Traveling behind the armies, Barton witnessed doctors using cornhusks and filthy scraps of material as bandages because supplies were scarce. She was able to give the doctors bandages and other medical supplies.

  • When nightfall came surgeons had difficulty performing surgeries in the dark, thus she would supply lanterns so the doctors could continue their work.

  • At many of the battles, she showed courage and gave aid to many.

Beginning of the american red cross
Beginning of The American Red Cross

  • In 1881, Barton took her experiences from the Civil War and formed the American Red Cross, where she served as it leader for more than 20 years.

  • This organization still helps those in need to this day.

Then now
Then & Now

*Medical Technology has come a long way since the Civil War

-better medicine

-more knowledge

-better equipment and facilities and…

Your assignment

Now you must choose a topic relating to medicine as it is used in today’s military settings and create your own power point presentation to present to the class.

Your power point needs to include at least 10 slides not including your title and bibliography slide. Remember to add visuals and be creative.