Monday, July 25, 2022

Booknotes: North Carolina's Confederate Hospitals, Volume I

New Arrival:
North Carolina's Confederate Hospitals 1861-1863, Volume I by Wade Sokolosky (Fox Run Pub, 2022).

Civil War health care and the attitudes and skills of its practitioners have been unfairly impugned for far too long, especially in the popular imagination. Only in recent decades has the medical scholarship achieved great strides in restoring due regard for the professionalism (flawed as it was in many areas) of Civil War surgeons and the wartime management of military hospital systems. One benefit of this growing literature is a better understanding of Confederate hospitals and the unique challenges and pressures they faced. For example, unlike their counterparts in the US, invasion often forced Confederate hospitals to be mobile. Additionally, the Union blockade limited importation of vital medicines and surgical instruments. Having to create a military medical bureaucracy from scratch could be both blessing and curse, and the resource-strapped Confederacy also struggled with logistical, financing, and staffing support of its hospitals. The latest contribution to the growing study of Confederate hospital systems is Wade Sokolosky's North Carolina's Confederate Hospitals 1861-1863, Volume I.

From the description: "This book is an organizational examination of North Carolina's Confederate hospitals and why they existed. The first two chapters provide the reader with a general understanding of the Confederate Medical Department and the military and civilians that were essential in the day-to-day operations of a hospital. The remaining chapters are arranged chronologically and discuss the key military operations and events that occurred in the state or in Virginia that drove hospital requirements." Sokolosky's study also "addresses the human story: the men and women, black and white, who staffed the hospitals."

In the preface, the author notes that his study does not include naval hospitals, the inadequate state of current research being the reason behind that omission. An estimated publication date for Volume II is not provided, but it is revealed that it will "cover the war's final two years, 1865-1865, which includes the major expansion of government-operated hospitals in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, and two titanic events: the fall of Wilmington and Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's 1865 Carolinas Campaign, both of which stressed the state's hospital system to the brink of failure" (pg. ii).

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