Civil War Medicine Conference


Twenty-Second Annual Conference on Civil War Medicine

October 3-5, 2014

Kennesaw, GA

Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield 

“One of the best conferences that I have ever attended.  Well-organized, well-run

and effective.  This was a very worthwhile conference that reflects positively

upon the museum and its personnel.  Thank you for a wonderful experience.”

2012 Annual Conference on Civil War Medicine Attendee


Join us in Kennesaw, Georgia in conjunction with Kennesaw State University and see why the Museum’s Annual Conference is called “one of the best conferences that I have ever attended.”   Listen to stimulating lectures, make new friends and become part of an annual family reunion.  Watch our website,, for updates.  All members will receive a conference brochure.  For further information, contact Tom Frezza,, or call 301-695-1864, ext. 1011.


Location:  Kennesaw State Univesity – Kennesaw, GACivil War Museum, Clara Barton Museum, Civil War Beer


Civil War Medicine…it’s not what you think!


Come learn the facts at the Twenty-Second Annual Conference on Civil War Medicine, Friday-Sunday, Oct. 3-5, 2014, at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Atlanta–Marietta, Georgia. The National Museum of Civil War Medicine has assembled an impressive panel of prominent historians, authors, and medical professionals speaking on a wide variety of topics relating to Civil War medicine. 

            Highlights of the conference include seven unique lectures on Friday and Sunday, and a Saturday bus tour of the hospital sites in Marietta and a tour of the Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield. Also included are a Friday dinner and a Saturday evening happy hour.

            Conference attire is casual. Period clothing is welcome at the Friday dinner and Saturday evening happy hour.

Conference registration and all lectures will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton. Registration is Friday, October 3, 2014, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


 Book your hotel room here:  DoubleTree By Hilton.


Conference Lecture Schedule


Friday, October 3, 1:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.


Saint Simon’s Island Antebellum Plantations: The Role of the Plantation Mistress and Medical Care of the African Slaves

Paulette Snoby, RN

            This topic is important to this forum since it includes a cultural discussion of Antebellum plantation architecture, the role of the plantation mistress as care-giver of the slaves in the Old South and several of the diseases specific to slaves dwelling in the Georgia rice plantations. The masters and their sons of these plantations participated in the Confederacy, their homes were occupied and many destroyed by Union troops, and many slaves found their freedom with the arrival of those troops. The discussion will include a description of the two slave hospitals that were known during this time period. Their ruins have been photographed and will be shown.  Names of those plantation mistresses who we know cared for their slaves will be detailed and supported with bibliographical information.


Civil War Medicine–the Hollywood Version

Dr. Gordon Dammann, D.D.S.

            A controversy that exists even today is: “Was the movie as good as the book? (and vice versa).”  We can take this element of debate into Civil War medicine. Do movies tell a true story of the medical practices during the war? We will discuss six movies and the impact on the viewer’s impression of medical practices of the time. We will analyze the good, the bad, and the ugly as depicted, and their relevance to the true story of medicine.


Blood Transfusion and Intravenous Fluid in the Civil War Era

Dr. Robert Slawson

            Trauma and shock were major killers during the American Civil War and treatment methods were inadequate. They would remain so for another 50 years. By World War II, it would be realized that the introduction of fluids and of blood into the circulatory system could result in saving innumerable lives. Sadly, this knowledge and these techniques were not present during the Civil War. However, although seldom realized, much scientific work had been done in regard to these practices, and basic theories and processes had been developed. This presentation tells a little-known story of the early work in the field of blood transfusion and intravenous saline injection.


Smallpox and Control in the Civil War South: The New Science of Bacteriology and the Rise of Public Health Practice 

Shauna Devine

            Smallpox was the most political of the public health diseases in the nineteenth century—epidemics were routinely blamed on the failures of the physician, the failure of the public to be vaccinated, or the propaganda of the anti-vaccinationists. By 1861, American physicians understood that smallpox was contagious; however, they did not understand the process of contagion or the immunizing process. Nevertheless, both the Union and Confederate medical departments had compulsory vaccination policies for all soldiers. This talk will examine the vaccination crisis that took shape during the American Civil War, and increased in the 1870s as smallpox became epidemic once again, owing to the susceptibility of the new immigrant population.



Saturday, October 4, 8:45 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.

Bus tour of the hospital sites in Marietta and a tour of the Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield, lunch on your own in Marietta.


Sunday, October 5, 8 a.m. to Noon


“To Encourage and Build Up”: The General Duties and Place of the Civil War Chaplain in Regiment and Hospital

George Munkenbeck

            The Civil War demonstrated the need for an American military chaplaincy.  In hospitals, on large posts and in the field, these soldiers of God lived St. Paul’s advice to the Thessalonians to “Encourage and Build up.” They worked hard and often took great risks to provide comfort to those who were their charges. With command support they served God and Country and laid down a tradition of service that still inspires. This program will emphasize their service in support of the medical personnel. This is not a religious program, but rather a look at the chaplaincy.


Clothing the Union Army

Mavis Slawson

            Clothing all of the hundreds of thousands of men who became volunteers in the Union Army during the Civil War required considerable expertise and experience. After a shaky start in the process, the Quartermaster Corps worked diligently to provide uniforms. The mechanism by which this was accomplished is poorly understood by most people. This presentation will take the mystery out of the process and show how the Quartermaster Corps under Montgomery Meigs managed to provide a reasonably well-clothed army for the war.  


Civil War Ballistics

George Wunderlich

            In 2005, a series of ballistics studies were begun for the History Channel. Those studies found that, in addition to the injuries caused by permanent and temporary cavitation caused by the flight of the bullet, other factors may have existed that increased risks of infection and increased mortality and morbidity by the introduction of foreign matter into the wound. This lecture will look at those factors in a series of calibrated ballistic gel studies looking at ballistic lubricants, uniform and accoutrement fragments and uniform “dirt” as possible risk factors in Civil War bullet wounds. 



Official Conference Hotel Information


The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Atlanta-Marietta

            The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Atlanta – Marietta, located just off I-75 and I-285 in the northwest Atlanta suburb of Marietta, GA.  The hotel is 20 minutes from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) with easy highway access to restaurants, shopping, golf courses, attractions and entertainment.  Retreat to a contemporary and spacious guest room or suite featuring signature bedding, work desk, WiFi, and a 42-inch HDTV offering over 30 HD channels. All guest rooms feature premium bath products.

The hotel is located at:

2055 South Park Place

Atlanta, GA 30339

            Special conference rates are $99 Thursday-Saturday for a single king bed or two double beds.  Reservations may be made by the individual guests making their own reservations, either at 1-800-705-9140 or made here:  DoubleTree by Hilton Atlanta-Marietta.

Mention the National Museum of Civil War Medicine (NMCWM) to receive the discounted rate.   Number of reserved rooms is limited.  Make your reservations early!


Photos from the 2012 Civil War Medicine Conference



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