Medical Staff

Assistant Surgeon Lt. Scroggins and Steward Hall upon their return form the regimental hospital. The assistant surgeon and steward are responsible for the health of the men, in camp on on the battlefield.

        Medical care in the mid-19th century was hampered by a lack of understanding of how the human body works and the causes of disease. The discovery that bacteria are responsible for wound infections, for example, was made a few years after the end of the Civil War. In addition, physicians were for the most part poorly trained. The majority of medical schools in the United States were private proprietary affairs which provided little practical clinical education and a two-year curriculum in which students took the same courses both years! As the War began no one anticipated the degree to which the small, poorly organized military medical staffs would be overwhelmed by the very large number of casualties that would result. During the course of the War substantial improvements were made in medical system infrastructure and care available for the wounded. Many of these innovations continue to this day, including triage procedures, the nursing profession, and surgical methodologies. It is important to note that for every soldier who died as a result of a battlefield injury in the War, two others died of disease.
        Union Army regiments were typically assigned a surgeon and an assistant surgeon. Between battles, the surgeons spent the majority of their time administering treatments for diseases, such as dysentery, respiratory ailments, measles, malaria, and a host of others. During a battle, the surgeon performed most or all of the major surgeries in whatever field hospital facilities could be constructed or commandeered, while the assistant surgeon took a post at an aide station set up near the battle line. Wounded were taken to the assistant surgeon who provided initial treatments and arranged for the more seriously wounded to be sent to the surgeon by horse-drawn ambulance. At the field hospital, care was first given to those most likely to survive, generally those with arm and leg wounds. Amputation was by far the most common type of major surgery carried out in the field hospitals. Nursing care in the field was often provided by inexperienced, often wounded, soldiers. As the war progressed trained soldiers, called stewards, took over some of the nursing care in the field, and there are some examples of intrepid women resisting the social mores of the time and braving the horrors of the field to help with the care of the sick and injured. Many more women, along with military and civilian contract surgeons worked in large city hospitals that provided care for soldiers whose wounds or illnesses required long periods of treatment.
        Assistant Surgeon Scroggins, Steward Hall, and Mother Mallet (Lee Dionne), provide the 3rd Maine with a Civil War medical impression, often assisted by the Ladies of the Maine Camp and Hospital Association and the U.S. Sanitary Commission.



Chaplain

The Rev. Henry C. Leonard served as the Chaplain of the 3rd Maine, often under difficult circumstances. Charles McGilliguddy portrays Rev. Leonard in the current 3rd Maine Infantry.
The Chaplain encourages a new recruit private.