Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Civil War

  • Joshua Chamberlain: The last casualty of the US Civil War

    Julius BonelloCassandra PalmerPeoria, Illinois, United States “The inspiration of a noble cause involving human interests wide and far, enables men to do things they did not dream themselves capable of before, in which they were not capable of alone. The consciousness of belonging, vitally, to something beyond individuality; of being part of a personality that…

  • The decisive influence of malaria on the outcome of Grant’s Vicksburg campaign of 1863

    Lloyd Klein Eric Wittenberg California, San Francisco, United States   Contemporaneous photograph of the dwellings dug into the hills in Vicksburg to escape the bombardment. Public domain. The vital importance of controlling the Mississippi River was apparent to Union strategists from the beginning of the Civil War. The river served as a major supply route,…

  • Andersonville, Georgia and Elmira, New York: When Hell was on Earth

    Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here” — Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy   Andersonville Prison, Georgia. South end view of the stockade, showing the sentry stands in the distance. Photographed by A.J. Riddle, August 17, 1864. Library of Congress Liljenquist Family Collection. No known restrictions on publication. Elmira Prison, Elmira,…

  • Infectious diseases in the Civil War

    Lloyd Klein San Francisco, California, United States The main cause of death during the American Civil War was not battle injury but disease. About two-thirds of the 620,000 deaths of Civil War soldiers were caused by disease, including 63% of Union fatalities. Only 19% of Union soldiers died on the battlefield and 12% later succumbed to…

  • Book review: “All manner of ingenuity and industry”: a bio-bibliography of Dr. Thomas Willis 1621–1675

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, United Kingdom Thomas Willis, born four hundred years ago, is still known by students of neuroanatomy today for the eponymous Circle of Willis. Yet most doctors do not know the story of Willis, the seventeenth-century British physician and his remarkable contributions to medical knowledge and literature. This new book, a labor of…

  • Abraham Lincoln’s smallpox

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden A brutal, bloody civil war had been tearing the United States of America apart for two years when President Abraham Lincoln arrived in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863. Four months before his visit, Gettysburg had been the site of a major battle between the secessionist Confederacy of the southern, slave-holding states…

  • General Robert E. Lee’s myocardial infarction: Did illness impact the Battle of Gettysburg?

    Lloyd Klein San Francisco, California, United States   Robert E. Lee in March 1864[?]. Photo by Julian Vannerson. Library of Congress. No known restrictions on publication. Ascribing the loss of the Battle of Gettysburg to an illness of General Robert E. Lee became common among historians thirty years ago. The legend of his apparently poor…

  • Harriet Tubman, Joan of Arc, and Moses

    Faraze A. Niazi Jack E. Riggs  Morgantown, West Virginia, United States   Harriet Tubman 1822 – 1913 Slave, abolitionist, activist. Suggested to have had visions and dreams as manifestations of temporal lobe epilepsy. Via the Library of Congress. Listen to my words: “When there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, reveal myself to them in visions,…

  • Albert C. Barnes, MD: the physician who spun silver into gold

    Sylvia Karasu New York, New York, United States   Argyrol, the compound developed by Dr. Albert C. Barnes and Dr. Hermann Hille to treat ophthalmia neonatorum, a conjunctivitis that led to blindness in newborns then caused by gram-negative gonococcus bacteria. Infection was contracted from mothers during vaginal delivery. Credit: Argyrol bottle, c. 1902-1907, Barnes &…

  • Harvey Cushing: Surgeon, Author, Soldier, Historian 1869-1939

    John Raffensperger Fort Meyers, Florida, United States   Harvey Williams Cushing. Photograph by W.(?)W.B. Credit: Wellcome Collection. (CC BY 4.0) Harvey Cushing was a third-generation physician, born to a family of New England Puritans who had migrated to Cleveland, Ohio, in the mid 1830s. His father and grandfather were successful physicians; family members on both…