Civil War Pharmacy: A History of Drugs, Drug Supply and Provision, and Therapeutics for the Union and Confederacy, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Civil War Pharmacy

A History of Drugs, Drug Supply and Provision, and Therapeutics for the Union and Confederacy, 1st Edition

By Michael Flannery

CRC Press

358 pages

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Paperback: 9780789015020
pub: 2004-05-24
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Examine a previously unexplored aspect of Civil War military medicine!

Here is the first comprehensive examination of pharmaceutical practice and drug provision during the Civil War. While numerous books have recounted the history of medicine in the Civil War, little has been said about the drugs that were used, the people who provided and prepared them, and how they were supplied. This is the first book to provide detailed discussion of the role of pharmacy. Among the topics covered in this essential volume are the duties of medical purveyors, the role of the hospital steward, and the nature and state of medical substances commonly used in the 1860s. This last subject would become a matter of considerable controversy and ultimately cost William Hammond, the brilliant and innovative Surgeon General, his career in the Union Army.

This richly detailed book shows why the South found drug provision especially difficult and describes the valiant efforts of Confederate sympathizers to run the Union blockade in order to smuggle in their precious cargoes. You’ll also learn about the scurrilous privateers who were out to make a personal fortune at the expense of both the Union and the Confederacy. In addition, Civil War Pharmacy illuminates the systematic effort of pharmacists, physicians, and botanists to derive from Southern plants adequate substitutes for foreign substances that were difficult, if not impossible, to obtain in the Confederacy.

In this painstakingly researched yet highly readable book, Michael A. Flannery, co-author of the critically acclaimed America’s Botanico-Medical Movements: Vox Populi, examines all these topics and more. In addition, he assesses the relative successes and failures of the pharmaceutical aspect of health care at the time—successes and failures that affected every man in army camps and in the field.

Civil War Pharmacy: A History of Drugs, Drug Supply and Provision, and Therapeutics for the Union and Confederacy includes photographs, helpful tables and figures, and six appendices that make hard-to-find information easy to access and understand. You’ll find:

  • the Standard Supply Table of Indigenous Remedies (1863)
  • Circular No. 6 from the Surgeon General’s Office (May 4, 1863), calling for the removal of calomel and tartar emetic from the Supply Table
  • instructions on reading and filling a 19th century prescription—with a glossary of Latin phrases and approximate measures, an excerpt from The Hospital Steward’s Manual, and more!
  • a circular from the Confederate Medical Purveyor’s Office
  • a Materia Medica for the South: A list of medicinal substances from Porcher’s Resources of the Southern Fields and Forests
  • common prescriptions of the Civil War period as well as basic syrups of the era with monographs on their principal substances: alcohol, cinchona, hydrargyrum (mercury), opium, and quinine
Packed with more information than can be listed here and, just as importantly, presented in a reader-friendly manner, this is a book that no one interested in Civil War history—or pharmacy history—should be without!

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgments
  • Part I: Setting the Stage—Civilian Aspects of Pharmacy During the Civil War
  • Chapter 1. Civil War Pharmacy and Medicine: Comparisons and Contexts
  • The Historiography of Civil War Pharmacy
  • American Pharmacy and Medicine at Midcentury
  • Pharmacy and Medicine in the Civil War: An Overview
  • The Role of Disease
  • Chapter 2. The State of Pharmacy in America, 1861
  • Education
  • Manufacturing
  • Community Practice
  • Southern Medicine and Pharmacy
  • Summary
  • Chapter 3. Angels of Mercy: Women and Civil War Pharmacy
  • The Woman’s Role: “A Call to Plain Positive Duty”
  • The United States Sanitary Commission
  • Women in the South
  • Women and Civil War Pharmacy: An Appraisal
  • Part II: Pharmacy in the Union
  • Chapter 4. The Principals: Medical Purveyors and Hospital Stewards
  • Official Duties and Responsibilities of Medical Purveyors
  • Official Duties and Responsibilities of Hospital Stewards
  • Rank and Status of Medical Purveyors and Hospital Stewards
  • Chapter 5. The Supplies: Drug Distribution and Manufacturing
  • Drug Acquisition and Supply: Organizational and Operational Aspects
  • Free Enterprise Joins the War: Civilian Suppliers
  • The Laboratories
  • Chapter 6. The Medicines: A Military Materia Medica and Therapeutics
  • The Ailments
  • The Substances
  • Prescribing and Dispensing in Camp and Hospital
  • Unit and Patient Case Studies
  • Chapter 7. The Remedies of Choice: Calomel and Quinine
  • The Mastodon Unharnessed
  • Quinine: “Always and Everywhere”
  • The Quinine Market
  • Summary
  • Part III: Pharmacy in the Confederacy
  • Chapter 8. Administration
  • Civilian Aspects of Confederate Pharmacy Administration
  • Medical Purveyors and Hospital Stewards
  • Administrative Aspects of Supply and Drug Provision
  • Chapter 9. Fighting More with Less
  • Disease in the Confederacy
  • The Blockade
  • The Supply Table
  • The Laboratories
  • Fighting More with Less: An Appraisal
  • Chapter 10. The Materia Medica
  • Prescribing and Dispensing in Camp, Hospital, and Home
  • Wartime Shortages Take Their Toll
  • The Medicines of the South: An Appraisal
  • Epilogue. “The Consciousness of Duty Faithfully Performed”: An Appraisal of Civil War Pharmacy
  • The Impact of the War
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix A. Union and Confederate Standard Supply Tables
  • Appendix B. Circular No. 6
  • Appendix C. How to Read and Fill a Civil War Prescription
  • A Glossary of Latin Phrases and Approximate Measures
  • Excerpt from The Hospital Steward’s Manual, 1862
  • Appendix D. Circular No. 3
  • Appendix E. A Materia Medica for the South: A Selected List of Medicinal Substances from Porcher’s Resources of the Southern Fields and Forests
  • Appendix F. Some Common Prescriptions of the Civil War Period Including the Basic Syrups with Monographs on the Principal Substances: Alcohol, Cinchona, Hydrargyrum (Mercury), Opium, and Quinine
  • Common Prescriptions
  • Basic Syrups
  • Alcohol
  • Hydrargyrum (Mercury)
  • Cinchona
  • Opium
  • Quinine and Its Salts
  • Notes
  • Bibliographical Essay
  • Index
  • Reference Notes Included

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / History