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The Confederate Vaccination Crisis of the Civil War
May 27, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT| FREE
COVID-19 and closures won’t stop us from sharing the incredible lessons we can learn from studying medical care during the Civil War!
Join us on Wednesday, May 27 at 4:00 PM on Facebook Live for a virtual program hosted by the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. You can tune in live by visiting facebook.com/civilwarmed/live at the scheduled time. Director of Interpretations Jake Wynn, Pete Miele of the Seminary Ridge Museum, and Dr. Robert Hicks will discuss Dr. Hicks’ presentation on the Confederate vaccination crisis of the Civil War.
The coronavirus pandemic has stimulated public interest in the worst pandemic in history, the influenza of 1918. United States history, however, has been shaped by epidemics and pandemics since the nation was founded. During the most important national crisis, the Civil War (1861-65), the Confederate southern states experienced several smallpox epidemics, blaming the disease on the Union northern states. Confederate doctors responded by vaccinating soldiers but then discovered that some vaccinations were ineffective (“spurious”) and inadvertently spread other diseases, particularly syphilis. In an illustrated presentation, former director of the Mütter Museum at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Robert D. Hicks, PhD, will show how the Confederacy managed smallpox with few reliable vaccine sources and tried to solve the numerous spurious cases. His illustrated tale includes the deliberate infection if children on plantations as a source of vaccine and allegations of vaccination poisoning in the conflict’s most famous war crimes trial.
Like these programs? Consider supporting our efforts by becoming a member or donating to the Museum! Your efforts ensure that we can continue sharing the story of Civil War medicine in this crucial time. In history, we can find hope amid our struggle against COVID-19.