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Preface

Books and Documents > The Army Medical Department 1818-1865

Preface

When the first volume of this series was started, no plans had been made to carry the history of the Army Medical Department beyond 1818, when that organization was first established on a permanent basis. Nevertheless, some of the precedents set in Volume 1 have been followed in Volume 2. Thus the coverage of military operations is limited to that necessary for an understanding of the work of the Medical Department, and the efforts of medical officers are evaluated according to the standards of their time.

Since the permanent establishment of the Army Medical Department favored the systematic maintenance of records by the Surgeon General's Office, the research involved in the writing of this volume has involved a challenge far different from that of the preceding volume. Indeed, the wealth of records deriving from a multiplicity of sources made the task of dealing with the Civil War quite complicated. The author has attempted, however, to focus primarily upon the history of the Medical Department rather than upon the medical history of the Civil War.

In dealing with the period from 1818 to 1865, the author has received invaluable assistance from too many sources for it to be possible to name them all. She is once again, however, particularly indebted to Dorothy Hanks and the staff of the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine, including Lucinda Keister of the Arts Section, and to Elaine C. Everly of the National Archives and Records Service, as well as to William A. Deiss of the Smithsonian Institution and to Carol Anderson, former Librarian of the Center of Military History, for their help in obtaining the books and documents necessary to the research phase of her work. The author is also indebted to those who helped in the search for illustrations, particularly William Straight, M.D., Stanley B. Bums, M.D., and Michael J. Winey of the U.S. Army Military History Institute at the Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.

Many scholars have reviewed the manuscript of this volume in whole or in part and enriched the author's understanding of her subject by their comments and suggestions. Among them are Maj. Gen. James A. Weir, MC (Ret.); Col. Robert J. T. Joy, MC (Ret.), and Peter Olch, M.D., both of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; Jack D. Welsh, M.D., of the College of Medicine of the University of Oklahoma; professors Edward M. Coffman of the University of Wisconsin, K. Jack Bauer of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and John Duffy of the University of Maryland; and Dr. Straight, who shared his considerable expertise concerning the Second Seminole War as well as his photographs.

Members of the staff of the U.S. Army Center of Military History have also contributed significantly to the current volume. Albert E. Cowdrey, Chief of the Special History Branch, reviewed all drafts of the manuscript and assisted materially in their refinement. David F. Trask, Chief Historian, Col. James W. Dunn (Ret.), then Chief of the Histories Division, and John W. Elsberg, Chief of the Editorial Branch, joined Dr. Cowdrey, Dr. Duffy, and Colonel Joy on the advisory panel that was responsible for the volume's final review before its acceptance for publication. Roger D. Clinton was responsible for the maps, which were prepared under the supervision of Arthur S. Hardyman, Chief of the Cartographic Branch, who assisted in the selection and preparation of the illustrations for this volume as he did for the first. The author is also grateful to her editor, Marilee S. Morgan, for the patience with which she gave the manuscript a final polishing as she prepared it for the printer.

Others of the author's colleagues at the U.S. Army Center of Military History have also contributed significantly to this volume. Paul J. Scheips offered helpful advice concerning Army surgeons in the West, while Kim B. Holien and Dwight D. Oland shared their Civil War expertise. Graham A. Cosmas repeatedly made his profound understanding of the history of the U.S. Army available so that the medical picture could be accurately placed into the overall military context.

The author would like to add one final word of gratitude- to R. Clark Gillett, Jr., M.D., for the patience and forbearance with which he has always answered those medical questions with which the author hesitated to bedevil anyone else.

As always, the responsibility for all errors is entirely that of the author.

MARY C. GILLETT

Washington, D.C.
6 November 1986