Lynchburg, Virginia was an important medical hub during the Civil War, with over 30 buildings were designated to be a part of the hospital network in the city. Most doctor’s at the war’s outset would have very limited education or experience concerning hospital diseases or dealing with wounds and trauma suffered on the battlefield. The science-based practices for treatment familiar to us today developed over the course of the war in the various hospitals across the North and South. Three medical professionals of note in Lynchburg were: Drs. D. L. Hopkins, E. A. Craighill, and medical officer R.P Taliaferro. Documents provided by Sandusky illustrate the hierarchical structure of medicine at this time.
Interactions between surgeons, nurses, and medical assistants were often detailed in various papers that recorded orders for medical supplies. A Confederate surgeon’s general order depicts the role of medical assistants and holds them responsible for obtaining the Daily Richmond Enquirer, as a means to learn about the status of the Confederacy within the war. Documentation was held to a high standard as many records were diligently copied.
Devine, Shauna, Learning from the Wounded: The Civil War and the Rise of American Medical Science. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2014.