Friday, January 13, 2006

Surgeon's Report: Early Campaigns in the North, 1812 to 1813

From: Barb Schulz

This is interesting reading on medicine war of 1812.

Surgeon's Report: Early Campaigns in the North, 1812 to 1813
"The health of the men on the Niagara frontier appears to have been no better than that of their fellows in northeastern New York State. A letter written in early November 1812 from Buffalo reported that three or four of the Regular Army there were dying each day and that more than 100 of those wounded in an attack on British-held Queenston on 13 October later died. The high death rate there was blamed on a lack of "proper surgeons." The most common diseases afflicting the men at Buffalo were measles and dysentery, the latter being blamed on the fact that the men were eating fresh meat. At Lewiston, some units reported one-third to one-half of their men sick in November, and it was noted that the hospital tent of one regular infantry regiment held the bodies of five men who had been dead more than 24 hours but had not been buried because of a shortage of coffins.

The 1,300 regulars at Fort Niagara were cared for by three physicians. One was attached to the fort's regular garrison and two were from regiments newly stationed there. The situation of the surgeon of the 14th Infantry Regiment may well have been indicative of that faced by others near Niagara In early October, he was without medicines, hospital stores, or surgical instruments. There were, unfortunately, not only sick but also wounded needing care at Niagara because the fort was bombarded at times by the British guns across the Niagara River."

For full account of Military Medicine during the War of 1812 read link below:

Ol' Myrt here collects information on medical practices from the US Revolutionary War through the Civil War. The fact that most deaths were not caused by battle wounds is amazing.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)

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