Though our first thoughts of Civil War soldiers are probably of them in battle, the reality is that they spent much more time in camp than in battles. So, in addition to their uniforms and weapons, they needed items for life in camp. At the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, we have an exhibit which is dedicated to these items. Let’s take a look at some of the things from the Everyday Life of a Soldier exhibit.
I ... read more
This recent Thanksgiving holiday was quite busy for me. In addition to spending time with friends and family for the traditional dinner, I also took a trip back to my alma mater, Virginia Tech, to attend the big football against the University of Virginia. If you are not familiar with these colleges, they are big rivals. If you are not familiar with college football, Virginia Tech has beaten UVA in the big rivalry game for the past ten years.
Once inside, we headed to the ... read more
This weekend I took some artifacts out to the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office in Washington DC. While we do have the space open to the public on weekends, we’re still raising funds for display cases and a security system for the building. Until then, we cannot put any long-term artifact displays there. I was able to take a few artifacts out for a specific tour though.
A group of teachers from around the country came to the CBMSO with a tour from Brightspark Travel. On their tour they ... read more
I recently went on a short trip to New Orleans. Though I was not there on business, I certainly found some things which reminded me of the work I do at the museum. I suppose this isn’t surprising once you learn that New Orleans is sometimes referred to as America’s greatest outdoor museum!
I was with a group of friends, and we only had a couple of days to explore the city. We made the most of our time there, and enjoyed the history, the local street music and ... read more
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may have seen my previous posts about the mummified arm in the National Museum of Civil War Medicine’s collection. It is a mummified right hand and forearm which was found on the Antietam Battlefield after the battle. It is also clearly not amputated, but was traumatically separated, probably by a projectile. We’ve learned quite a bit about the arm in the past two years, so we can finally share the Antietam Arm’s story with our visitors.
It’s ... read more
Everyone here at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine was saddened last week to learn of the passing of Elizabeth “Bettie” Delaplaine. She was one of our museum’s benefactors and artifact donors, but more importantly, she was an avid supporter of our museum and staff members.
In memory of Bettie, I would like to feature a few of the artifacts she donated to the NMCWM over the years.
You can ... read more
The National Museum of Civil War Medicine recently received a donation of a collection of items which came from the Pry family. If you are familiar with my museum, you will know that our first satellite location is the Pry House Field Hospital Museum out on the Antietam Battlefield. If you are unfamiliar with the story of this fascinating property, take a look at our website here: http://www.civilwarmed.org/pry-house-field-hospital-museum/about-the-pry-house/ The Pry House was owned by Philip ... read more
Since the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Creek is in just a few days, I thought this week I should feature an artifact from that battle. It may not be what you expect though!
Normally when you hear a surgical procedure mentioned, there’s an associated image of a surgical table and an operating room. However, surgeons on the battlefields during the Civil War didn’t have these luxuries. They had to improvise with the supplies they could find in the immediate area. Fashioning ... read more
We’ve all heard the jokes about the food in hospitals being terrible. Were the meals different for Civil War soldiers in the hospitals? After all, they didn’t have Jell-O back then!
I was recently cataloging the book “The Hospital Steward’s Manual,” by Joseph Janvier Woodward, published in 1862. It contains a section titled, “Cooking in Hospitals” which not only lists the foods served to the patients, but the recipes (or “receipts”) as well! The opening section reads, ... read more
Civil War soldiers endured many hardships during the time they served. Though they couldn’t do much about the long marches and short supplies, many of them did find ways to cope with the loneliness and home-sickness. There are many recorded instances of soldiers bringing pets from home, or adopting pets they found, as a way to provide companionship and to boost their moral. Sometimes an animal would be adopted by the whole regiment as a mascot.
In searching the ... read more