by Frank R. Freemon
University of Illinois Press, 1998
Paper: 978-0-252-07010-5
Library of Congress Classification E621.F84 2001
Dewey Decimal Classification 973.775

This unusual history of the Civil War takes a close look at the battlefield doctors in whose hands rested the lives of thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers and at the makeshift medicine they were forced to employ.
A medical doctor and a credentialed historian, Frank R. Freemon combines poignant, sometimes horrifying anecdotes of amputation, infection, and death with a clearheaded discussion of the state of medical knowledge, the effect of the military bureaucracy on medical supplies, and the members of the medical community who risked their lives, their health, and even their careers to provide appropriate care to the wounded. Freemon examines the impact on major campaigns--Manassas, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Shiloh, Atlanta--of ignorance, understaffing, inexperience, overcrowded hospitals, insufficient access to ambulances, and inadequate supplies of essentials such as quinine.
Presenting the medical side of the war from a variety of perspectives--the Union, the Confederacy, doctors, nurses, soldiers, and their families--Gangrene and Glory achieves a peculiar immediacy by restricting its scope to the knowledge and perceptions available to its nineteenth-century subjects. Now available for the first time in paperback, this important volume takes a hard, close look at a neglected and crucial aspect of this bloody conflict.