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 Posted: Wed Feb 18th, 2009 01:55 am
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Dixie Girl
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why are people embalmed and what is the point of it?

i was wondering that today. i asked my mom cause she's the smartest person i know, especially when it comes to stuff like this but she didn't know either. all thats gonna happen is we are gonna be put in a box and then in the ground. so why embalm? once were put in that box and then in the ground, nobody's gonna come open it up and look at us, so the whole idea of paying a high price for something thats technically not doing us any good is stupid.



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War Means Fighting And Fighting Means Killing - N. B. Forrest When war does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Stonewall Jackson


 Posted: Wed Feb 18th, 2009 02:06 am
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The Iron Duke
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It slows down the decay of the body. People often had a viewing of the deceased in their own homes. Think of the time necessary for friends and relatives to travel before the age of cars and commercial planes.

Last edited on Wed Feb 18th, 2009 02:07 am by The Iron Duke



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 Posted: Mon Mar 9th, 2009 01:17 am
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Dixie Girl
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if a man says something in the middle of the desert and no woman is around to hear it, is he still wrong?

i say yes


i saw a man walking around with that tshirt on today and gotta kick outta it.



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War Means Fighting And Fighting Means Killing - N. B. Forrest When war does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Stonewall Jackson


 Posted: Mon Mar 9th, 2009 02:53 am
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CleburneFan
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"Modern' embalming took hold during the Civil War. Embalmers worked near battlefields to prepare deceased soldiers for shipment back home. The deceased HAD to be preserved because they would become entirely too odiferous during the long journey.

Today, ideas about how the dead should be treated are beginning to change due to concerns about the environmental impact of  traditional burial methods. Every method currently used has some environmental impact. The New York Times and New Scientist.com have had some fascinating recent articles on this topic.

Last edited on Mon Mar 9th, 2009 02:53 am by CleburneFan



 Posted: Mon Mar 9th, 2009 01:17 pm
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Doc C
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DG

Just read some of the descriptions of the scenes of any battlefield a day or 2 afterwards and you'll know why.

Doc C



 Posted: Mon Mar 9th, 2009 02:41 pm
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CleburneFan
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Yes, Doc. I would have hated to have been an embalmer and undertaker after a battle. It must have been a nightmare.

By the way, the word "undertaker" comes from the Civil War. It was the name given to the enterprising men who did the embalming, preparation, casket building and shipping of soldiers' remains back to their homes. Their advertising said they "undertook" the entire process to facilitate the difficult and unplesant business for a hefty price of course...but they deserved what they earned.



 Posted: Mon Mar 9th, 2009 03:38 pm
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ShadowHunter
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Let's not forget that embalming has been done since the time of the Egyptian pharoh's around 3500 BC. In their case, called mummification, it was only done to nobility and the very wealthy because of the cost involved. Their techniques were much different from our modern ones (even during the Civil War) but the purpose was entirely different. Preservation of the body and organs were the ultimate goal because  Egyptians believed the soul would one day return to occupy their bodies so they needed to find a way to keep them from decaying.  However I always wondered how they intended to reoccupy a body that had been dissected with the various organs also mummified and kept in seperate pots? :shock:    It would be quite a jigsaw puzzle.



 Posted: Tue Mar 10th, 2009 01:48 pm
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Doc C
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To me the worst time would have been the reenterment of the Gettysburg union dead, weeks after the battle, to the national cemetery. Coco's book gives an excellent history of the Gettysburg aftermath.

Doc C



 Posted: Tue Mar 10th, 2009 02:40 pm
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CleburneFan
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I don't know who Coco is but I do have a book on the days and weeks after Gettysburg and the horrific impact on the citizens of both Gettysburg and Adams County. I wish I could remember the name of the book. It was so interesting I couldn't put it down. It is buried in one of my book piles.

The smell of the dead horses and mules together with all the dead and, yes, even the terribly injured, was unbearable. Those with the worst injuries were the ones left behind because they were too bad off to move.

Moving the dead and burying them would have had to be a nightmare to endure.



 Posted: Tue Mar 10th, 2009 06:04 pm
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calcav1
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Gettysburg's dead were reinterred several weeks after the battle. Nasty job I'm sure. Many of the Union dead were reinterred when the National Cemetery System was created in 1862 but most of the cemeteries were not established until after the war. Shiloh National Cemetery was established in 1866. The dead were reinterred after four years in graves on the battlefield. Other soldiers were brought to Shiloh from as far away as Fort Henry and Mussel Shoals, Alabama. Relocating the dead from the war was a full time occupation until 1870. Let the guy on TV who does the dirty jobs try that one.
Tom



 Posted: Tue Mar 10th, 2009 06:38 pm
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PvtClewell
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CleburneFan wrote:
I don't know who Coco is but I do have a book on the days and weeks after Gettysburg and the horrific impact on the citizens of both Gettysburg and Adams County. I wish I could remember the name of the book. It was so interesting I couldn't put it down. It is buried in one of my book piles.



If it was Gregory Coco's book, was it "A Strange and Blighted Land, Gettysburg: The Aftemath of a Battle"?

Coco himself passed away in February after battling cancer.

http://civilwarinteractive.com/Newswire/?p=1074

and this:
http://gettysburgintern.blogspot.com/2009/02/gregory-coco-1946-2009.html



 Posted: Tue Mar 10th, 2009 11:52 pm
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CleburneFan
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That may be the book. I'll dig into my piles tomorrow. I'm very sorry the author has died.

We have been speaking of Gettysburg, but the aftermath of Antietam had to be be almost as bad, as were Shiloh and Chickamauga plus, actually, so many others.

Last edited on Tue Mar 10th, 2009 11:53 pm by CleburneFan



 Posted: Wed Mar 11th, 2009 01:32 am
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Doc C
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As I posted earlier, Greg passed away recently after a long bout with cancer. Even though I never had the privilege of meeting him, numerous people I've met in Gettysburg spoke highly of him. For those interested in what it was like in the aftermath of the battle there's no one better than his books.

Doc C



 Posted: Thu Mar 12th, 2009 05:57 pm
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Devils Den
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I often wonder what percentage of dead were embalmed, or how long the embalmers had to preform this act.  How many people (embalmers) would it take to handle a battle like Gettysburg?

We had a guide tell us that when the newspaper men and photograpers were approaching the Gettysburg battlefield they thought that there were fires burning due the large clouds of smoke they saw.  Upon arriving on the field they discovered that what they thought were clouds of smoke were actually clouds of flies. 

I can't fathom the sights and smells and horror that people had to live through after a battle occured. 



 Posted: Fri Mar 13th, 2009 12:59 am
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Doc C
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The flies were a major problem at Gettysburg, henseforth the flies laid eggs arising to the maggots. These were described just days after the battle. Once again, Coco's books are I think the best for an after battle description, probably the best of all post civil war battle fields writings.

Doc C



 Posted: Fri Mar 13th, 2009 11:00 pm
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Captain Crow
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this thread is kind of dead......



 Posted: Sun Mar 15th, 2009 02:04 pm
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Mr Hess53
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The first chapter of Coco's book was hard to read in the sense of the horror he was able to convey so well



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