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Darnestown in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Disease, Death, and Medical Discoveries During the Civil War

The Graveyard

 

—Darnestown —

 
Disease, Death, and Medical Discoveries During the Civil War Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
1. Disease, Death, and Medical Discoveries During the Civil War Marker
Inscription. Soldiers feared bullets and bayonets on the battlfield, but the greater danger was the invisible presence of bacteria in both Union and Confederate camps. By 1865, 620,000 men were casualties of war; the bulk succumbed to communicable diseases like pneumonia, tuberculosis, and dysentery — amounting to three out of every five Union soldiers and two out of every three Confederate soldiers.

Medical ailments resulted from a lack of awareness of public health and poor hygiene in soldier camps. Inspection records of Federal camps in 1861 revealed that men lived in conditions "littered with refuse, food, and other rubbish, sometimes in an offensive state of decomposition; slops deposited in pits within camp limits or thrown out of broadcast; heaps of manure and offal close to the camp." Such poor conditions created an ideal environment for spreading illness, as was experienced by the 27th Indiana regiment stationed at Darnestown, where 15 men died of measles and typhoid.

Hospitals for wounded soldiers were created in a variety of settings, ranging from tents, the back of ambulance wagons, existing buildings, or newly created permanent structures, such as Carver Hospital on Meridian Hill, in Washington D.C.

(sidebar)
Clara Barton

At the start of the Civil War, the medical
Disease, Death, and Medical Discoveries During the Civil War Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
2. Disease, Death, and Medical Discoveries During the Civil War Marker
profession was unprepared and ignorant of how infection was spread through unclean hands and unsterilized equipment. In fact the Union Surgeon General, William Hammond, recognized the war was fought "at the end of the Medical Middle Ages". By the close of the war, however, the field of medicine had witnessed new advances, such as the use of anesthesia during surgery, better record keeping and the role of women in the profession of nursing.

Clara Barton was perhaps the most famous female nurse during the Civil War. Because of her combat experience, she recognized the need for a national organization to respond quickly to emergencies. In response, she founded the American Red Cross in 1881. Her home in Glen Echo would become the headquarters for this organization from 1897 to 1904. Since 1975, the National Park Service has operated her home as a National Historic Site in Montgomery County.
 
Erected 2012 by Montgomery Parks.
 
Location. 39° 6.203′ N, 77° 17.455′ W. Marker is in Darnestown, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker can be reached from Darnestown Road (Maryland Route 28) east of Seneca Road (Maryland Route 112), on the left when traveling east. Click for map. Located in Darnestown Square Heritage Park. Marker is at or near
Abraham Lincoln views soldier graves at Bull Run, 1862 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
3. Abraham Lincoln views soldier graves at Bull Run, 1862
Close-up of background photo on marker
Matthew Brady Photo
National Library of Medicine
this postal address: 14029 Darnestown Road, Gaithersburg MD 20878, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Clues to the Past: Oral History and Archaeology (here, next to this marker); A 19th Century Crossroads (a few steps from this marker); Andrew Small Academy (a few steps from this marker); The Origins of Darnestown (a few steps from this marker); Darnestown: A Strategic Point of Defense (a few steps from this marker); Civil War Troops & Darnestown Residents (within shouting distance of this marker); The Signal Corps and Wartime Communications (within shouting distance of this marker); The Civil War in Darnestown (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Darnestown.
 
Categories. Science & MedicineWar, US Civil
 
Ward in the Carver General Hospital image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
4. Ward in the Carver General Hospital
Close-up of photo on marker
National Archives
Amputation performed at Gettyburg 1863 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
5. Amputation performed at Gettyburg 1863
Close-up of photo on marker
National Archives
Wounded Soldiers at the Battle of Chancellorsville image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
6. Wounded Soldiers at the Battle of Chancellorsville
Close-up of photo on marker
National Archives
Soldiers on stretchers at Spotsylvania Court House, 1864 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
7. Soldiers on stretchers at Spotsylvania Court House, 1864
Close-up of photo on marker
Library of Congress
Zouave soldiers tending to a soldier in a field hospital image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
8. Zouave soldiers tending to a soldier in a field hospital
Close-up of photo on marker
Library of Congress
"The Capitol Used as a Hospital During the Civil War" image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
9. "The Capitol Used as a Hospital During the Civil War"
Close-up of photo on marker
National Library of Medicine
Clara Barton, 1866 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 22, 2013
10. Clara Barton, 1866
Close-up of photo on marker
National Archives
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 432 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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