Remembering the Civil War as War

One of the things that has always struck me about the Civil War is that the fact this was a war with mortal consequences that gets over looked. Two resources that help bring the destructive nature of the Civil War home for me are the Medical and Surgical History of the War of Rebellion and The Photographic Atlas of Civil War Injuries. Neither of these resources is for the faint of heart as the pictures, illustrations and descriptions are graphic. The majority of the cases deal with soldiers who were wounded in battle who received some level of medical care. This is important to note since it indicates that the pain and suffering of these soldiers was not relived by immediate death on the battlefield.

The First Maine Heavy Artillery has no shortage of soldiers whose cases are highlighted in both of these resources. There are at least 37 soldiers from the First Maine listed in the Medical and Surgical History and a handful of First Maine Soldiers also listed in The Photographic Atlas of Civil War Injuries.

The Medical and Surgical history is available on DVD-ROM at and it appears The Photographic Atlas of Civil War Injuries can be found through Amazon.


Anonymous said…

Whenever I get the notion that the Civil War (or any war) was in any way romantic I haul down the Photographic Atlas of Civil War Injuries. Fixes me right up.

Anonymous said…
Andy you are right on target. Those Matthew Brady photographs after Antietam shook those contemporary viewers previously removed from its horrors like no depiction of the war had done before. I wonder whether a professionally colorized and tinted display of some of those images to modern audiences would snap some of us our of a misplaced nostalgia? That eviscerated confederate casualty with the severed hand at Gettysburg, the bloated bodies of the Iron Brigade on MacPherson's Ridge, the pile of rotting skulls in the litter of the Wilderness, the gutted shells of Richmond, and the pale, mangled casualties depicted in the Photographic Atlas of Civil War Injuries might help disperse our sepia-toned detatchment.
Andy said…
Harry & Tim, thanks for reading and your comments. I think sometimes the destructive nature of war gets overlooked in all the debate around the political and racial issues that surround the Civil War.

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