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Preface

Table of Contents

Preface

This volume was originally planned as a Bicentennial study of the Medical Department of the Continental Army. Since existing histories of the Army Medical Department were either out of date or based upon antiquated studies, however, the project was expanded to make the present volume the first of a series on Army medicine.

Only the operations of the department are treated here. The activities of surgeons not directly under its authority, such as militia surgeons and, for a short period, regimental surgeons, have not been explored. Coverage of military operations has been limited to that necessary for understanding the demands on the department. And the author has resisted the temptation to condemn the medical men of the period for their unscientific and largely ineffective medicine; they deserve to be judged by the standards of their contemporaries.

Few official records from the period before 1814 exist. People of the era lacked our own devotion to record keeping, and much of their meager accumulation was destroyed by fire in 1800 or lost in 1814 when the British occupied Washington. Most of the documents that survived these two disasters are now held by the National Archives and Records Service in Washington, D.C. The scarcity of official records has made it particularly necessary for the author to explore such unofficial sources as the informal records, diaries, memoirs, and letters of those who were familiar with the work of the Medical Department. This search covered the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the National Library of Medicine, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Many other individuals and institutions have also provided valuable assistance in the form of microfilms or copies of documents, suggestions for further contacts or sources, expert opinions concerning problems encountered as work progressed, or reviews of the manuscript in its entirety or in part.

It is impossible to thank by name all those who have in one way or another contributed to this volume. The author is particularly indebted to Mrs. Dorothy Hanks and the staff of the History


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of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine, including Ms. Lucinda Keister of the Arts Section; Dr. George Chalou and Dr. Elaine C. Everly of the Old Military Records section of the National Archives and Records Service; Mr. Peter J. Parker of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and Mr. Gary Christopher, formerly of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Dr. Richard Blanco of the State University College at Brockport, N.Y.; and Dr. John Duffy of the University of Maryland, who reviewed the first five chapters of the volume. Others who provided especially valuable help were Dr. Whitfield J. Bell, Jr., of the American Philosophical Society Library in Philadelphia; Mr. Francis James Dallett, Archivist of the University of Pennsylvania; Mr. James W. Coleman, Jr., and Ms. Alberta L. Appleby of the Morristown National Historical Park; Mr. William R. Cullison, Curator of Prints and Drawings, Tulane University Library; Miss Margaret Cook of the Library of the College of William and Mary in Virginia; Mr. Vernon H. Nelson, Archivist of the Archives of the Moravian Church in Bethlehem, Pa.; Col. J. E. Henderson, VC, USA, Curator of the Medical Museum of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology; the staff of the Graphic Arts Branch of Fort Detrick, Md.; and Miss Elizabeth Thomson, who generously shared the fruits of her research on the Doctors Bond.

The author is indebted to Col. Robert J. T. Joy, MC, USA, formerly Director of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and now Chairman of the Department of Military Medicine and History at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, who reviewed the entire manuscript and made many valuable suggestions, including several concerning the true nature of the diseases so unscientifically described by physicians 200 years ago. Dr. Erna Risch, formerly Chief Historian of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, also reviewed the entire manuscript; her comments have contributed significantly to its accuracy and coherence.

Members of the staff of the U.S. Army Center of Military History have also played important roles in the preparation of this volume. Dr. Robert W. Coakley, Deputy Chief Historian, reviewed the entire manuscript and made many helpful suggestions. The maps were prepared under the direction of Mr. Arthur S. Hardyman, Chief of the Cartographic Branch. The author also wishes to acknowledge the support of the successive directors of The Historical Unit of the U.S. Army Medical Department, part of which became the Medical History Branch of the Center of


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Military History. The author is especially grateful to Mrs. Mary D. Nelson of the Editorial Branch, who edited the manuscript for publication; the author's historian colleagues, Ms. Pauline B. Vivette and Mr. George W. Garand, who gave freely of their time and expertise; and the late Dr. Rose C. Engelman, Chief Historian of the former Historical Unit, under whose supervision the book was written.

The responsibility for all errors remains entirely that of the author.

MARY C. GILLETT

Washington, D.C.
2 August 1979