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Moments in Surgical History
July 1, 2004

Homeopaths, Surgery, and the Civil War: Edward C. Franklin and the Struggle to Achieve Medical Pluralism in the Union Army

Arch Surg. 2004;139(7):785-791. doi:10.1001/archsurg.139.7.785

An important aspect of the Union army medical corps throughout the Civil War was the clinical discord that pitted allopathic, or orthodox, physicians against sectarian, or unorthodox, physicians. Allopaths dominated the corps and its examining boards and consequently denied commissions as army surgeons to sectarian practitioners such as the homeopaths. This probably affected surgical manpower needs, since many well-trained homeopathic surgeons, like Edward C. Franklin, one of the nation's busiest and most prolific surgeons, wished to serve in the northern army but were unable to do so.