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Schaffer Library of Health Sciences

Civil War Medicine

Civil War Medicine 

 Click here to read the full lecture 

Nearly 3 million men fought in the American Civil War (North and South). Total deaths from battle, disease, accidents and suicides would equal 617,528 by the end of the war. More than 1/2 million were wounded and survived. The war created an incredible demand for medical personnel, especially surgeons. Albany Medical College graduates answered the call for service. Over 200 AMC alumni served as surgeons for the Union Army; one was a Brigade Surgeon for the Confederate Army. Five became Surgeon Generals of New York State. Back at home, doctors and nurses cared for wounded transferred from field hospitals and hundreds of thousands of permanently disabled veterans.

 Click on a photograph below for information about three who served:  

Albert Vander Veer, M.D.

Huested photograph

Alfred B. Huested, M.D.

Dr. Rippey and wife

John N. Rippey, M.D.


 From the Past:


Click here to read the article

From the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal (now The New England Journal of Medicine). Click here for more Civil War-era articles from the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal.



The Confederate States Medical & Surgical Journal was started in January 1864, as a means to publish works by Confederate surgeons and physicians and keep them informed, while under an embargo that prevented them from receiving other American or European medical journals. Fourteen issues were released before it ceased publication in February 1865; a March issue was prepared but lost when Richmond burned in April 1865. Visit these links for a look at some content from the journal:

From PubMed Central:
Image of PubMed Central Logo 

  American Civil War & Military Medicine

  American Civil War Morbidity & Mortality


From Google Books: 
Google Books      

     Civil War Nursing


From Online Exhibits:

The National Library of Medicine commemorates the anniversary of the Civil War with "Healing the Nation" - four online exhibits exploring the medical aspects of the war:

Image from Life And Limb website
Life and Limb: The Toll of
the American Civil War

Image from Binding Wounds and Pushing Boundaries website
Binding Wounds & Pushing Boundaries:
African Americans in Civil War Medicine

Image from the Henkel Physicians website
The Henkel Physicians:
A Family's Life in Letters

Image from the Diary of a Civil War Nurse webpage

"So Much Need of Service"
The Diary of a Civil War Nurse


Image from the National Archives website
See Doctors & Medicine from the National Archives collection of Mathew Brady Civil War Photographs.

 Look for this tab to view the photos: Image of Digital Copy Tab

 National Museum of the History of Medicine, Civil War Medicine Display
To Bind up the Nation's Wounds: Medicine During the Civil War
National Museum of Health and Medicine


Surgeon Generals, S.N.Y.     Vander Veer, Huested & Rippey