Josiah Charles Trent Associate Professor of Medical Humanities
National Humanities Center Fellow
About the Seminar
During the Civil War, in Northern hospitals men shot rats for target practice; in Southern hospitals they roasted them for lunch. The differences that lay behind that comparison offer insights into why the North won and why the South lost.
This seminar will explore the best and worst of Civil War medicine to assess what role it played in the outcome of the War. To what extent can we say that disparities in such things as food, medicine, staffing, and cleanliness tipped the balance in favor of the North? How did treatment in the hospital affect combat on the battlefield?
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- Letters of a Civil War Nurse, (excerpt), Cornelia Hancock
- Hospital Sketches, Chapter III: A Day, Louisa May Alcott
- A Southern Woman’s Story, Chapter 9, Phoebe Pember