Death and Dying

Photo of skeletal remains from the Battle of Gaines’ Mill awaiting burial.

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 6-10 of 14

  • Richmond National Battlefield Park

    Chimborazo Hospital

    Photo of a model of the Chimborazo Hospital

    From 1861 to 1865 the surgeons and nurses of Chimborazo Hospital in the Confederate Capitol of Richmond, Virginia waged their own war against disease and infection while they cared for over 75,000 men. Read more

  • Gettysburg National Military Park

    Civilians at Gettysburg

    The David Wills home, where Abraham Lincoln spent the night prior to delivering the Gettysburg Address

    In 1863, invading Confederates occupied Gettysburg, Pennsylvania before and during the Battle of Gettysburg. A few citizens of the town joined the fight, while others fled. As the battle intensified, many found themselves tending the wounded and dying. Many first-person accounts of this harrowing experience survive. Read more

  • Photo of freshly buried marked and unmarked graves near Petersburg, Va.

    The somber aftermath of Civil War battles introduced Americans--North and South--to death on an unprecedented scale and of an unnatural kind, often ending in an unmarked grave far from home. Neither individuals, nor institutions, nor governments were prepared to deal with death on such a massive scale, 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. Read more

  • Manassas National Battlefield Park

    From The Front Lines to the Hospital

    Print of a field hospital

    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

    Military Medicine at Wilson's Creek

    Modern photo of Civil War surgeon's amputation kit

    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

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Tags: Civil War, Death