By Glenna R. Schroeder-Lein
It is doubtful that my great-great-grandfather, Alonzo Luce, a member of the 19th Illinois Infantry, ever participated in a battle. He spent nearly the entirety of his three year enlistment rotating into and out of regimental and general hospitals. Among his numerous medical complaints were catarrh, intermittent and remittent fever, acute bronchitis, and finally acute and chronic diarrhea. Reading through his medical records, I can’t help to wonder what Alonzo Luce’s Civil War experience must have been like.
To have an understanding of the daily life of a soldier, be he either Confederate or Federal, during the American Civil War, one must have a basic knowledge of the medical terms and practices of the time. That is where Glenna R. Schroeder-Lein’s “The Encyclopedia of Civil War Medicine” comes in very handy.
Entries in Ms. Schroeder-Lein’s encyclopedia cover many the diseases to which Civil War soldiers commonly fell victim. There are many other entries covering Civil War battles, notable people, medicines, medical practices, hospitals and accoutrements. Pretty much any question regarding the who, what, where and how of Civil War medicine can be found between the covers of her book.
Entries range from a paragraph to several pages, and each article is followed by a bibliography, usually citing at least three sources, and a “See Also” section, pointing the reader to at least five other entries in the encyclopedia. At 421 pages, it is not an in-depth reference on the topic of Civil War medicine, nor was it meant to be. But Ms. Schroeder-Lein does give her reader a broader understanding of Civil War era medicine by which one gains a broader understanding of the war itself and the experience of its participants.
ISBN 978-0765621306, M E Sharpe Inc., © 2008, 1st Paperback Edition, 2012, 421 pages, Photographs & Illustrations, Chronology, Bibliography & Index. $34.95. To purchase a copy of this book please click HERE.