Friday, March 18, 2016

Booknotes: Agent of Mercy

New Arrival:
Agent of Mercy: The Untold Story of Dr. Archibald S. Maxwell Civil War Surgeon & Iowa State Sanitary Agent by George C. Maxwell (CreateSpace-Author, 2015).

From the description:
"When the Civil War began, Dr. Archibald S. Maxwell was a city doctor and surgeon in Davenport, Iowa. After the Battle of Fort Donelson in February 1862, he volunteered to provide his medical services to the sick and wounded Union soldiers, kicking off an active two years of service. In that two-year period, few Civil War surgeons and doctors played as many different roles as Dr. Archibald S. Maxwell. He was a member of the Scott County Soldiers Relief Association, a surgeon in various capacities at the front, Military Hospital Assistant Surgeon in Keokuk, Iowa and Professor of Physiology and Pathology at the Physicians and Surgeons College in Keokuk, Iowa. Finally, he served as an Iowa state sanitary agent along with Iowa State Sanitary Agent Annie Wittenmyer."
The author is the great-great-great grandson of Dr. Maxwell and uses family papers as well as those of Maxwell's colleagues to tell the story of his ancestor's service. The book includes as an appendix the sick report for Iowa units serving in the Mississippi River Valley submitted to the Iowa governor in late 1863 and also disease statistics Maxwell compiled during the same period for Union military hospitals at or near Memphis, Vicksburg and New Orleans. According to the author, these were discovered during his archival research and they did not make it into the published annual reports.

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