Death and Dying
The somber aftermath of Civil War battles introduced Americans to death on an unprecedented scale. Neither individuals, nor institutions, nor governments were prepared to deal with such devastating loss of human life, for never before or since have we killed so many of our own.
The Civil War revolutionized the American military's approach to caring for the dead, leading to our modern culture of reverence for military death, including the National Cemetery system.
Showing results 11-15 of 18
Manassas National Battlefield Park
For the wounded near the front, their first recourse for care lay at the numerous aid stations scattered across the battlefield. Farmhouses, barns, and outbuildings provided places for the wounded to be gathered until they could be sent to the main hospital in the rear. Read more
Wilson's Creek National Battlefield
Elongated bullets, lack of equipment, unsterilized instruments, and live gun fire were just some of the issues hindering medical efforts for Civil War field hospitals and surgeons. Many soldiers were wounded in the Civil War but even more perished from disease. Learn about the medicine and medical professionals who served on the front lines. Read more
When the war began, medical practitioners did not know the exact cause of many diseases or the mechanisms of infection, and were only beginning to understand the benefits of cleanliness and good sanitation in disease prevention and healing. As a result, two out of every three deaths in the Civil War were caused by disease rather than injury. Caregivers like Clara Barton, the "Angel of the Battlefield," brought food and supplies to the soldiers and inspired new hope and life to the injured. Read more