View Full Version : hospital steward for doing a living history class

csa steward
03-16-2008, 11:56 AM
i be doing a living history and want any ideals to show and tell what a hospital would do.

03-16-2008, 12:05 PM
The steward was basicly a male nurse. He would be responsible for changing bandages, feeding and administer medicines, etc.

03-16-2008, 01:26 PM
Hospitals in theory cured people. The steward was an over glorified pharmacist and clerk, doing inventories, requisitions, and filling prescriptions.

03-16-2008, 05:03 PM
I'm going to second exactly what Noah said. If you want to know what a hospital steward in the Confederate Army did, read "Repairing the March of Mars." Pharmacy and paperwork were his main duties and the tasks upon which he spent his time.

If you check out the publication by the MOC on Confederate Hospitals, you will see an example of a form used to give extra duty pay to men assigned to hospital duty on page 21. I have seen this same form in the complied military service records at the National Archives. Cooks, nurses, apothecary and other individuals are listed here.

In the case of one hospital steward, he was listed as an apothecary on one of these forms prior to being appointed as a hospital steward. If you want the specific name of the steward upon whom I speak, just let me know and I will try to dig it up....

03-17-2008, 12:02 AM
And I will reciprocate Mr. Aycock's remarks and suggest you read Repairing the March of Mars to get an idea of the day-to-day steward duties.

Add to the list Civil War Pharmacy by Michael Flannery, and Civil War Medicine: Challenges and Triumphs by Alfred Bollet. Both books explain the pharmaceutical aspect, North and South - how it should have been and how it actually was.

I'd also like to correct gently to jgr1974 that a nurse and a steward were two different job descriptions. The steward we have discussed already; the nurse's job was to tend to the patients, change dressings, wash, feed the patients and so on. Most of this job fell to male nurses, particularly the washing part.

I cannot speak for the Confederacy but by c. 1863 in the Union Army the stew became a general administrator. Junior stewards would be assigned to the dispensary or the kitchens, or the laundry, and so forth, and they would report to a senior steward, who answered to the hospital's senior surgeon. The paperwork did not change; the responsibilities for it were more evenly distributed or assigned to the clerks who wound up being human xerox machines. You would see this clear-cut chain of command at a strategically stable post, such as the DC general hospitals or the depot hospitals like City Point. A large division or corps hospital would have to allow for flexibility in the field.

On occasion a steward might assist with surgery or handle minor wounds, thus freeing up the surgeons to work on the severe cases.