History of the RSM
Feature of the month - August
The Medical and Surgical History of the British Army
We are pleased to announce that The Medical and Surgical History of the British Army which served in Turkey and the Crimea during the War against Russia in the years 1854-55-56, a rare two-volume work published in 1858 and held in the RSM Library, has been conserved following a generous donation made via our Adopt-a-Book appeal by one of the Fellows, Dr Christopher Silver.
The volumes which were in a very poor condition have been fully rebound and the pages de-acidified and laminated. Several fold-out maps included in the volumes have also been repaired.
This work was presented to Parliament in 1858. It gives meticulous details of the cholera epidemic that decimated the British Army encampments during the Bulgarian and the Crimean phases of the war.
It is a pioneering work in that during no previous military campaign was any written record kept of the care provided to the sick and wounded that might be of help in any future conflict.
Dr Silver writes that this is "an immense book describing a significant part of the history of the Crimean War. The account is very detailed and crammed with statistics, tables and charts and is also a poignant story of bravery and fortitude in appalling circumstances, due more to Nature and administrative incompetence than to the enemy. The figures mask dissention for there is no mention of Florence Nightingale or her nurses or the Sanitary Commission of 1855."
"The volumes were in advanced decay and, now refurbished, are a record of the situation with which Andrew Smith, the Director General of the Army Medical Department, contended."