Posted by: ushistoryfiles | June 18, 2010

Society of Civil War Historians: Day 2 – Borders, Religion, & Medicine

Day 2 of the SCWH conference brought too many excellent choices for me to attend them all.  I started the day with the panel that examined the Civil War on the border.  While there isn’t enough room to go into the details of all 4 presentations here, I will say that I walked away with some new thoughts.  Chief among them is that perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to rely on the borders of states to define “the border”.  Also, when the enemy is “over there” localism and self-preservation becomes the motivating factor.

The second panel looked at religious aspects of the Civil War.  Biblical foundations for neutrality in Kentucky were examined, preaching in Missouri & apolitical sermons, and northern religious views on the war.  Such notions as political preaching and loyalty oaths for preachers as a violation of the separation of church & state and Northern preaching as a fusion of religion and politics were explored.

Medicine was the topic of the last panel I attended.  Satterlee General Hospital in Philadelphia was the topic of the first paper.  I didn’t realize just what a complex it was.  In many ways it resembled a modern hospital and then some with a library, billiard room, but of course military barracks.  The panel also looked at women working in Confederate hospitals and some of their experiences.  The session ended with a presentation addressing reactions to and caring for those who lost a limb (or limbs) during the war.

More tomorrow.


  1. Nice blog, I just started looking through it. On this topic, you have to consider the work of the Daughters of Charity and other Catholic sisters. They took a neutral position in the war and were actually allowed to move back and forth across the border in the early years of the war. Plus, they provided many of the nurses in prisons, on battlefields, administering hospitals and on troop transports. There’s a lot of interesting stories about them.

    Jim Rada

    • Thanks, Jim. As scholars look at religion in relation to the Civil War I think that more groups like the Daughters & Sisters of Charity will come to light. Thanks for mentioning them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: