A voluntary organization, the United States Sanitary Commission (USSC) provided medical and physical relief to Union soldiers during the Civil War. It was formed in 1861 by order of Simon Cameron (Secretary of War) and endorsed by President Abraham Lincoln, yet it depended on the efforts of supporting organizations -- not the government -- for funding. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the USSC had branches across the northeastern states and a department headquartered in Kentucky. Relief agents working for the USSC included women and blacks who often risked their lives treating soldiers. The USSC also established the "Soldier’s Home" in Washington, which helped soldiers deal with the government bureaucracy and provided medicine and food.
This rich collection contains medical reports from physicians and surgeons on illnesses, disease, injury, living conditions and the hygiene of the troops; letters and documents on inspectors’ examinations of hospitals; documents showing material distributed to benefit the soldiers; records of the Statistical Bureau on camp inspections, general hospitals, battlefields, the hospital directory, regimental returns of loss and gain, muster reels; and much more. The collection will appeal to Civil War historians, especially those researching the social aspects of the war and the soldiers’ daily living conditions. Medical historians and genealogists will also find this a valuable source.
Number of reels: 28