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So Conceived and So DedicatedIntellectual Life in the Civil War Era North$
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Lorien Foote and Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823264476

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823264476.001.0001

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Civil War Cybernetics

Civil War Cybernetics

Medicine, Modernity, and the Intellectual Mechanics of Union

(p.41) Civil War Cybernetics
So Conceived and So Dedicated

Susan-Mary Grant

Fordham University Press

Through an analysis of newspaper accounts of Union medical care and frontline and home-front medical writings this chapter seeks to draw the experiences, expectations, and perceptions of Union surgeons employed by the Army Medical Department into the broader intellectual, literary, and cultural responses to the Civil War. It argues that their perspective informed the development of a new national relationship between the soldier and the state, and that this found professional and public expression in the medical imperative to calibrate and count the true physical cost of the conflict. In effect, Union surgeons criticized even as they confirmed the nation’s technological and organizational progress during the Civil War. And although medical professionalization was a crucial component of the postwar scientific, managerial revolution through which the health of both the individual and the national body could be charted and improved, in their emphasis on medical failure rather than on military success during the Civil War Union surgeons challenged, indeed contradicted, the northern narrative of redemption through suffering in the cause of freedom.

Keywords:   Susan-Mary Grant, Army Medical Department, Modernity, Health, Medical Professionalization, Union Surgeons

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