The Story of Civil War Medicine: Divided by Conflict, United by Compassion

The Story of Civil War Medicine serves as both a companion to the National Museum of Civil War Medicine’s three sites and an introduction to Civil War medicine in general. Author Terry Reimer provides an overview of the history of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine (NMCWM), which began as one location in Frederick, MD and has now grown to include two additional locations.

Comprised of the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum (CBMSO) located in Washington, D.C., the Pry House Field Hospital Museum (PHFHM) on the Antietam National Battlefield, and the Carty Building in Frederick, MD, the mission of the NMCWM is clear; “link stories of our nation’s past to the present” and “to inspire individuals to take action to assist those in need”.

As Reimer outlines, each of the sites provides a unique perspective on medicine in the Civil War. For those who plan on visiting each of these sites, this guide details the exhibits one can expect to see and provides insight as to how the exhibits connect to the historical impact of Civil War medicine. Featured items in each exhibit are highlighted in a clear, concise manner.

As a standalone introduction to the topic, Reimer’s overview provides plenty of interesting tidbits to inspire the reader. Reimer does an excellent job connecting past to present in alignment with the vision of the NMCWM. One such connection is between Jonathan Letterman’s practice of military medicine and the lasting impact on modern battlefield medicine. The discovery and preservation of items connected to the CBMSO, as well as Clara Barton’s contributions both during and after the war are equally engrossing.

For those who may be completely unfamiliar with medical practices, especially in a historic setting, Reimer provides a helpful section outlining common diseases, medical implements and treatments. If the Story of Civil War Medicine inspires further curiosity, the NMCWM’s Bettie Delaplaine Research Center is open to the public by appointment.

Title: The Story of Civil War Medicine: Divided by Conflict, United by Compassion

Author: Terry Reimer

Publisher: The NMCWM Press

Pages: 74

Price: $3.99