News Column

Display at CSS Neuse Museum about surgery and medicine

August 11, 2014

By Junious Smith III, The Free Press, Kinston, N.C.



Aug. 11--In its Second Saturday series, The CSS Neuse Interpretive Center decided to focus on the medical portion of the Civil War.

Saturday's featured exhibit showcased both medicine and surgery of the time period.

"We had an exhibit on the home front in June, then one on weaponry in July," Site Manager Matthew Young said. "This month, we decided to do medicine and surgery, because of the immense changes that have been made over the past 150 years. Also, we wanted to show that some of the basic surgery methods people used during the Civil War era, like dealing with a shattered bone from a gunshot, are just about the same tactics used by doctors today.

"Although doctors didn't go through as much school, they were still very smart when it came to subjects such as anatomy and physiology. We're glad folks came to the exhibit."

Brenda McKean, a member of the historical reenactment group Tar Heel Civilians, said everyone who lived in the northern or southern region was involved in the war.

"There were no trained nurses other than Catholic sisters, and most of them lived up north," McKean said. "The women at home took care of wounded and diseased. Back then, it was considered bad if a woman took care of a strange, sick man, but the men got over it quick because the need was so great. There were also black nurses who helped assist soldiers during the war.

"The children who lived near the war or battlefields would bring flowers, write letters to or for soldiers, sing songs for them and in some cases, feed them. Kids would also get water to take to the hospitals, which used a lot of it during their operations."

Gary Riggs, a volunteer at the Neuse Center, said most doctors were thrust into helping patients relatively early.

"During the war, there were 52 medicines issued to the Army," Riggs said. "Most of the doctors were thrown into the war right out of school, and while they read about the material, they hadn't operated in real-life situations. Unless there was an older doctor who served in the Mexican-American War, there wasn't as much experience. You would have maybe one doctor sent to a camp of 800 to 1,000 people.

"During a long camp period, doctors would treat things such as fevers, dysentery and venereal diseases, which were rampant when the soldiers went into town. Also, childhood diseases like measles, mumps and chicken pox were issues. You have one community who might not have the disease and another that does, but when you mix the two towns together, it can spread."

La Grange resident Dolores Pender brought family members, who were visiting from Concord, to the museum and said everyone enjoyed themselves.

"It was fascinating to hear about the medical part and the old-timey stuff on display here," she said.

Tammie Pender said she was drawn in by the insight of the reenactors and the exhibit in general.

"It was very educational, and had a lot of information about the time period and what people dealt with," she said.

Tiffanie Pender, 9, said she learned a lot and participated in picking lint with the demonstrators, which would be bundled up and used to address wounds.

"I learned about how the women used to make clothes for the soldiers while the men and teenage boys had to fight," she said.

Tyler Pender, 16, said the museum was great and the material he learned went beyond the schoolbooks.

"There's so much history here," he said. "You have the replicas and then you can actually see some of the war equipment and other artifacts from 150 years ago. This is my new favorite place in Kinston."

Junious Smith III can be reached at 252-559-1077 and Junious.Smith@Kinston.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JuniousSmithIII.

___

(c)2014 The Free Press (Kinston, N.C.)

Visit The Free Press (Kinston, N.C.) at www.kinston.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


For more stories covering arts and entertainment, please see HispanicBusiness' Arts & Entertainment Channel



Source: Kinston Free Press (NC)


Story Tools






HispanicBusiness.com Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters