Notes from the past…

Civilian vs Soldier

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As I continue to study and transcribe Dr. Kennedy’s Civil War file, I came across one document that I had not previously seen. It is entitled “Contract With A Private Physician”. It was drawn up on 1 Oct 1862 between Dr. Kennedy and the Confederate States Army. Dr. Kennedy was to be paid the princely sum of $80 per month (can you imagine!) for his medical services, which are “necessary because of the insufficient number of medical officers” presently available to the Confederate forces.


So Dr. Kennedy became a civilian employee of the Confederate Army in October 1862. Dr. Kennedy was living in Lauderdale Springs, Mississippi at the time of this contract, where he had already been attending the Confederate sick and wounded. Why the contract now? To extradite payment for services rendered? Future consideration when the Confederacy triumphs? Improved availability of drugs and supplies that a contract might ensure?
What was the state of the Confederacy on Oct 1862? The battle of Antietam had occurred only a month earlier, with massive casualities for both sides. It is now apparent that this conflict cannot be won in a just a few days or weeks and that the death and destruction it will cause will be like nothing America has ever seen. Abraham Lincoln will not let the Union disintegrate and the Confederacy must fight a bitter, all-out battle if it is to survive.
Perhaps Dr Kennedy has seen the reality of the day and is resigned to its inevitablity. At any rate, this contract was canceled on 31 Oct 1862, and shortly thereafter, in February of 1863 Dr. Kennedy enlists with the 27th Alabama Infantry Regiment as an Assistant Surgeon.

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