McFarland Book of the Week: Civil War Hospital Newspapers: Histories and Excerpts of Nine Union Publications

CivilWarHospitalNewspapersSpar2017McFarlandCivil War Hospital Newspapers: Histories and Excerpts of Nine Union Publications

by Ira Spar, M.D.

TOCWOC’s Take: I appreciate the niche in Civil War publishing which McFarland fills.  They are known for original reference works as well as reprints of long-forgotten items of importance to students of the Civil War.  In addition, they cover obscure but often very interesting Civil War topics which very few other publishers are willing to tackle.  This book falls into the latter category.  It focuses on the nine still existing newspapers published at Union military hospitals during the Civil War by men who were recovering in these places as well as workers, though 19 total were produced. Each of the papers gets a chapter, as follows:

  • Hospital Register
  • Armory Square Hospital Gazette
  • The Soldiers’ Journal
  • The Cripple
  • The Crutch
  • Hammond Gazette
  • The Cartridge Box
  • Knight Hospital Record
  • Voice of the Soldier

None of these papers started publishing prior to 1863, and most didn’t start until 1864.  They varied widely in purpose, articles, and advertisements.  Some of the topics explored by author Spar include lists of admissions and discharges, information about health care delivery, humor, topics of race, the mail system, politics and more.  In many ways, they were similar to city newspapers of the time.


Publisher Info:

Nine of the 192 Union military hospitals during the Civil War circulated newspapers edited and printed by convalescents. The horrors of wound infection and amputation were reported in the words of surgeons, nurses and patients. Sermons cautioned against drink, tobacco and profanity while stressing patriotic sacrifice. Those who experienced the war wrote about it in simple narratives, and these are extensively quoted.

Convalescent life was painful and terrifying. Bedridden for months with fever and festering wounds, disabled veterans wondered who would respond to their needs. Who would hire them? Who would marry them?

This book covers the founding and development of nine hospital newspapers, each fully explored for such topics as patriotism, politics, religion, satire, romance and marriage, battlefield experience and treatment of prisoners of war.

Hardcover Edition

ISBN: 978-1-4766-6560-3

Publisher: McFarland (

Phone Number: 1-800-253-2187

Release Date: June 2017

Pages: 252


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