More On the Civil War
July 05, 2011
I recently finished viewing a book about medical treatment of wounds during the Civil War called Photographic Atlas of Civil War Injuries by Bradley P. Bengtson. It was fascinating! It's hard to believe some of these men survived the wounds they received. Treatments were still primitive for many different types of wounds. However, there were images of a man who received plastic surgery because the lower half of his jaw and chin were destroyed by a minie ball. The surgeon was able to reconstruct his lower jaw, but his chin was not very pronounced after the surgery.
Sadly, many physicians didn't understand the importance of cleanliness during surgery or treatments and a lot of soldiers died of disease and gangrene. Some of the wounds were so severe that the changes of survival were exceptionally slim. Many soldiers survived wounds received in the leg, although oftentimes, the wounded leg was shorter after surgery. Facial and head wounds, obviously, were far more difficult to treat. One reason wounds were so severe during the Civil War was because the cartridge used in fighting was constructed of a softer metal, and when it came in contact with the human body shattered. Bullets today tend to have a straight path and will have an entry and an exit wound. This wasn't always the case during the Civil War.
We don't own Photographic Atlas of Civil War Injuries by Bradley P. Bengtson, but we can get it for you through WorldCat.
Interlibrary Loan Manager