Nothing in the nature of antiseptics was provided. The cleanliness of wounds, except in respect to the gross forms of foreign matter, was regarded as of little or no importance. Even the dressings carried into action were few and scanty; where the soldier of the present carries on his person an admirable sterile dressing for wounds as part of his military equipment, in the Civil War the injured man covered his wounds as best he might with a dirty handkerchief or piece of cloth torn from a sweaty shirt. Elastic bandages for controlling hemorrhage were unknown, the surgeon relying, except in the case of larger vessels, on packing the wound with astringent, coagulant, and generally harmful chemicals. Medicines were carried in pill form, often largely insoluble and uncertain in result, or else in liquid form, difficult to carry and liable to loss. Soluble tablets were unknown. Crude drugs, like opium, were carried in lieu of their concentrated active principles, like morphine, now almost exclusively employed. Not a single heart stimulant of those regarded as most effective by modern medical science had place in the surgeon's armament carried in the field. A little chloroform was carried, but the production of surgical anesthesia was still a relatively new procedure, and several hundred major operations were reported during the war in which no anesthetic was employed. In the first part of the war, each regiment had a hospital of its own, but the medicine-chest, mess-chest, and bulky hospital supplies were transported in wagons of the field-train, and hence were usually far in the rear and inaccessible. Panniers containing the more necessary dressings, medicines, and appliances were devised to be carried along into action by pack-mules, but they were inconvenient and heavy, and were generally brought up in the ambulances after the fighting. Special wagons for medical supplies were then devised. Surgical instruments were furnished by the Government to each medical officer, who receipted for and was responsible
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Table of Contents:
Prisoners of war
Northern and Southern prisons
Exchange of prisoners
The life of the captured
Soldiers who escaped
Treatment of prisoners
The provost-marshal and the citizen
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