Night & Day Archives » Night & Day

Why They're Called "Sawbones"

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The Civil War's violence was catastrophic and sustained: more than a half million Confederate and Union soldiers killed during four long years of fighting. Imagine the gruesome, endless work that military doctors and nurses had to perform using mostly crude -- by our standards -- equipment and chloroform and ether as surgical anesthetic. A new exhibit, Medicine in the Time of the Civil War, brings this aspect of the conflict into sharp focus at the Saint Louis Science Center (5050 Oakland Avenue; 314-289-4400 or www.slsc.org). Medicine in the Time of the Civil War features genuine period medical tools and objects as well as a model of a Civil War-era field hospital replete with both authentic artifacts and reproductions. Using the materials and facts on display, you'll come away with a better understanding of the widespread suffering soldiers experienced -- and of the valor of the medical teams trying to do their best under truly horrendous circumstances. Medicine in the Time of the Civil War opens on Saturday, July 2, and remains on display daily through Sunday, September 4, and admission to the exhibition is free.
July 2-Sept. 4, 2011

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