Tools of Mercy from Civil War Medicine Showcased at the CSS Civil War Center

CSS Neuse exhibit showcases medical tools of the Confederate and Union armies.

Of the 620,000 deaths during the Civil War, an estimated two thirds died of disease. The CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center exhibit “Agents of Mercy: Civil War Medicine” showcases some of the tools of the Civil War doctor, who may have been the most valued soldier in the regiment. The exhibit runs through July and is included with regular admission to the center.

“The exhibit is intriguing and informative,” observed visitor April Fetting. Other visitors can examine medical artifacts such as a knapsack filled with medicines, a kit with tools for amputations and bullet extraction, an apothecary chest and more.

At the start of the Civil War the medical branches of both armies were inexperienced and ill-equipped to treat the vast number of wounded or diseased soldiers that were to come. As the war progressed, advances were made in the treatment of wounds, prosthetics, anesthesia, sanitation, triage and overall care. Many medical advances in technology during the Civil War paved the way for modern medical practices.

The CSS Neuse is the only remaining commissioned Confederate ironclad above water. It was part of a new technology that the Confederacy used to combat the superior manpower and firepower of the Union Navy. Learn about this technological advance and warfare in eastern North Carolina at the CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center. The Confederate Navy launched the CSS Neuse in an attempt to gain control of the lower Neuse River and New Bern, but ultimately destroyed the vessel to keep it out of Union hands.

The CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center is located at 100 N. Queen St., Kinston, N.C., and open Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: adults $5, senior/active military $4, Students (ages 3-12) $3, ages 2 and under free. 

For additional information, please call the site at (252) 526-9600 x223. The CSS Neuse Center is within the Division of State Historic Sites in the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

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