During 1862, the North urgently put in hand an effort to improve the quality of medical care. As with other Civil War developments, the battle of Antietam, with its huge casualty list, was the spur. A new director of medical services, the young, energetic well-educated William Hammond, was supported by the United States Sanitary Commission, a voluntary organisation that became a power in the land. It collected medical supplies, recruited several thousand nurses, and provided welfare facilities for soldiers, both sick and healthy, all over the Northern states.


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