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 Posted: Sat Jun 20th, 2009 07:33 am
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cklarson
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Dear George M.,

I've done a little further research. Per Male Nurse magazine in the Confederate Army 30 men were assigned as nurses per regiment. My error: Phoebe Yates was the matron at Chimborazo (sp?) hospital and Sally Tompkins set up her own hospital eventually treating 1400 men, of which only 73 died.

You might want to obtain a copy of Joseph J. Woodward's Hospital Steward's manual for the Union Army, It's been reprinted. Also see my "Springing to the Call" at http://www.nymas.org -- for Union nurse accounts and a Fannie Beers excerpt--right sidebar, scroll down.

It is my understanding that in the US Army at least, enlisted nurses were normally recuperating wounded. Also obviously Confed. hospitals would have been short of supplies such as ether, chloroform, morphine, and particularly quinine (a big smuggling item). From another Union medical manual, it appears that medical personnel recognized the need for cleanliness, good diet and ventilation. They had microscopes and could see germs, but didn't quite understand what they meant. They knew there was an association of proximity to water and malaria, but not its cause. As you wll read from the US nurse accounts, the women relied heavily on diet and home remedies, which seemed very successful. I've read 2 accounts of women run Confed. hospitals which had relatively low mortality rates. The general "rap" on male doctors and nurses in the US Army was that they were too quick to amputate and the enlisted male nurses neglected their patients.

Hope this helps.

Kay Larson

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