This selection of ten accounts covers a wide range of medical stories from the American Civil War, produced by a mix of doctors and nurses (plus one visiting poet).
Most of the accounts come from the northern side, although we do get one selection of letters from a Confederate doctor and the memoirs of a Northern doctor who was conscripted into Confederate service.
The different accounts cover quite a varied range of topics. We get the writings of novice nurses, the complaints of a military doctor with the army, detailed (and rather gruesome) medical notes and the story of floating ambulances of the transport service. There is a mix of diaries, letters and narrative accounts.
The only gap comes from the male nurses who were the most numerous type at the start of the war. We get plenty of complaints about them, and some mention of the better trained ones, but nothing written by them. There are accounts from nurses, but all from women who volunteered for the task once the war had begun.
There is a wide range of tone in these accounts, from the dry factual medical notes to full blown nineteenth century sentimentality. Each helps give a feel for the reality of the conflict and how it was seen at the time. Perhaps the most interesting are those written by the female nurses, who were breaking into a new industry, and whose impressions were thus uncluttered by previous experience.
Letters from a Surgeon of the Civil War, John G. Perry as compiled by Martha Derby Perry
Thirteen Months in the Rebel Army, William G. Castleman
The Army of the Potomac - Behind the Scenes, Alfred L. Castleman
A Confederate Surgeon's Letters to His Wife, Spencer Glasgow Welch
United States Sanitary Commission Memoirs, John A Lidell
In Hospital and in Camp, Sophronia E. Bucklin
Hospital Sketches, Louisa May Alcott
Reminiscences of an Army Nurse during the Civil War, Adelaide W. Smith
Hospital Transports, Frederick Law Olmstead
Specimen Days, Walt Whitman
Author: Various compiled by Harold Elk Straubing
Publisher: Stackpole Books
Year: 2014 edition of 1993 original