Personnel Organization

The organization of the military medical personnel was very similar between the United States and the Confederacy. Several of the surgeons in the Confederate army were defectors from the North that carried with them an effective organization of medical personnel.6 Each regiment had a surgeon with two assistant surgeons beneath him.4 The assistant surgeon was in charge of helping the surgeon with whatever was necessary, including following immediately behind the center of his regiment in a battle and providing first aid care for the wounded. Soldiers with no medical qualifications could also be assigned to hospital duty to assist surgeons.


At the beginning of the war, surgeons in the Northern army were all commissioned militarily. As the war went on, volunteers and civil practice doctors were put under contract and assisted the Union surgeons. In total, there were about ten thousand medical men who gave assistance to the North throughout the course of the Civil War.6