Students of Civil War history often harbor a sterilized impression that veterans included only the living, who returned home to pick up the threads of their previous existence, and the dead, who were laid to rest with honors in local or national cemeteries. In truth, there were many who fell in between: neither dead nor physically intact, they suffered debilitating injury or disease for their remaining lives. Records of some 260 such individuals in the Bangor Historical Society provide insight into the medical and surgical problems suffered by Civil War veterans. Their conditions fall into four categories: those who suffered preexisting diseases and injuries; those who contracted diseases in the field brought on by stress, poor food, poor sanitation, and exposure; those who suffered battlefield traumas; and those who suffered from “heart palpations,’’ perhaps an early version of combat fatigue. This article suggests that distinctions between these categories are not always clear-cut. John Blaisdell, a prior contributor to Maine History, was born in Bangor and educated at the University of Maine, the University of Washington, and Iowa State University. He is currently an instructor in the Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences at the University of Maine.
Blaisdell, John D.. "The Wounded, the Sick, and the Scared: An Examination of Disabled Maine Veterans from the Civil War." Maine History 42, 2 (2005): 66-92. https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/mainehistoryjournal/vol42/iss2/5