American Defenders of Land, Sea & Sky
A Young Nation Divided
   The Civil War (1861-1865)


We documented advances in medicine.

National Museum of Health and Medicine
Armed Forces Institute of Pathology
Washington, D.C.

   Union Army surgeon General William A. Hammond established this fascinating museum in 1862 as a national center for the study of injuries and disease. He ordered doctors on battlefields to send limbs and specimens--packed in whisky as a preservative--so they could be dissected for educational purposes.

   Today, if you visit the museum you can see surgical implements from the Civil War period, including a bone saw. You can also see 19th century dental instruments, including a wind-up tooth drill and a twist-and-pull extraction tool. In all, the museum houses almost 17,000 anatomical specimens and 12,000 historical artifacts.


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