restricted access Two Confederate Hospitals and Their Patients: Atlanta to Opelika (review)
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J A N U A R Y 2 0 0 8 75 Little Zion is also important as an historical resource for a part of Boligee that has been previously overlooked by white and black historians. One theme that continues to hover in the background is the physical building and its spiritual connections. The building has been destroyed five times for one reason or another, but the people continue to recover from their setbacks and forge ahead in their worship and dedication to God. One gets the sense from reading the narrative that many others believed that the latest arson was racially motivated, but members of Little Zion generally did not believe that the fire was caused by someone who wanted to cause them harm. For them, it was an act allowed by God and in his “submissive will . . . to make [them] stronger in Him” (pp. 82–83). O’Foran includes an appendix with a list of church leaders, but an additional list of how the church members are related to each other would have been helpful. The oral histories she presents in this book will be useful for future studies of Alabama, black folklore, and American religious history in general. JOHNNY GREEN Auburn University Two Confederate Hospitals and Their Patients: Atlanta to Opelika. By Jack D. Welsh. Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 2005. vi, 183 pp. $35.00. CDROM with patient listings. ISBN 0-865554-971-0. Civil War scholars interested in the history of medicine have long been frustrated by the absence of Confederate Medical Department records, assumed to have been destroyed during the fall of Richmond. Fortunately, as documented by Jack D. Welsh, many the Army of Tennessee’s medical records survived due to the foresight of surgeon Samuel H. Stout. Two Confederate Hospitals and Their Patients includes exciting new medical research gathered through the author’s close examination of Stout’s papers held, primarily, by the Institute for American History, located in Austin, Texas. Stout’s diligent attention to detail and his dogged efforts to preserve his department’s history made it possible for Welsh to provide “disease patterns in the Army of Tennessee, something not previously available” (p. 11). Welsh’s attractively bound compilation of medical records contains an extensive history of the Fairgrounds Hospitals, No. 1 and No. 2, located in the railroad hub of Atlanta (both would eventually be moved to Opelika in 1865 due to the shifting front of the war). The book’s first two chapters provide readers with an administrative accounting of those T H E A L A B A M A R E V I E W 76 facilities’ daily operations. Chapter three lists the orders and regulations that the Confederate Medical Department used to regulate admissions and discharges in and out of their hospitals. In the final four chapters, Welsh makes a lively contribution to the study of Civil War medicine by analyzing statistical data pertaining to patient admissions, distributions, conditions, and wounds. Readers, for example, learn that soldiers diagnosed with diarrhea at the Fairgrounds Hospital No. 1 had a longer “length of stay” in the hospital than those who were wounded in combat or suffered from rheumatism and other debilities. The book’s numerous tables, in sum, convey that disease and other forms of illness took a heavy toll on the Army of Tennessee. For example, table 5.9 shows that of the 732 soldiers who were admitted to the hospital September 1–21, 1863, only 32 percent returned to active duty. As table 5.8 illustrates, roughly half of all patients remained in the hospital for at least two to four weeks. These figures provide some statistical support to what historians have long known: disease severely hampered fighting capacity of the Army of Tennessee and other Civil War commands. The author also documents the number of patients who deserted from the army while receiving hospital care. It might have been more revealing had the book provided a sense of the geographic backgrounds of those who deserted. Were a large number of the deserters men from north Georgia counties for whom desertion was perhaps more convenient? The records the author uses could reveal such information, something...