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[17] surgeon, was sent to the front and had the most responsible work in any army to perform; the care of the desperately wounded and the sick of every description, who required immediate attention, were often thrust upon them when they may have had little or no opportunities for acquiring practical skill.

The surgeon-general issued some valuable and useful publications, but we had no ‘Medical and Surgical History of the Confederate States’; we had scarcely a journal; we had no Army Medical Museum; we had no men of science with leisure to produce original work, or to record, classify and arrange the rich and abundant material gathered in the departments of either medicine or surgery. We did what we could; but we were working on a semi-starvation basis, pressed down with the cares of the war and of the family; and whilst we admire the genius and enterprise of our then enemy in their admirable illustrations of the records of the war, we could not expect to compete with the highly-organized and lavishly-supplied medical and surgical departments of the United States of the North.

Your speaker would be very remiss if on an occasion like this, and whilst commenting favorably on our own department, he should forget the tribute we owe the Confederate soldier. The surgeon knows the soldier better than any one else; he has occupied peculiar relations to him, and he should freely express what deserves to be said in his behalf.

But first permit us to say that in a paper1 prepared for Surgeon Moore near the close of the war, never issued by that officer—as Richmond was soon abandoned—occasion was taken to refer to the diseases from which the Confederate soldier suffered. Prominent among these were chronic relaxing diseases, and the following statement was emphasized, the accuracy of which some of our colleagues may justify: ‘The dominant fact which must impress and modify the whole course of treatment to which any judicious surgeon would subject him, unquestionably was prostration.’ Exhaustion was the great characteristic, as well as the essential element to be considered and combatted; and the natural corollary was that he was to be nourished and stimulated as far as the resources of the service permitted;

1 ‘Suggestions made to the Medical Department, with Modifications of Treatment required in the Management of the Confederate Soldier, dependent upon his peculiar moral and physical condition, with reference to certain points in practice.’

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Samuel Preston Moore (1)
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