KCWRT November meeting: Bite the Bullet: The Myths and Realities of Civil War Medicine


Much has changed in the century and a half since the Civil War. Technological advances have changed the face of battle and concomitantly the way we treat the casualties of war. But has the field of medicine changed as much as we like to think? Were the sawbones of yesteryear simply butchers? Are the skilled surgeons of today, armed with knowledge undreamed of by their 19th century predecessors, miracle workers in comparison?

Dr. Anthony Hodges has spent decades studying Civil War medicine. His “Bite the Bullet” is an overview of the techniques used by the military physicians of the 19th century to treat battlefield wounds and disease during the War Between the States. Original Civil War medical instruments will be shown to illustrate the medical and surgical treatments used by the Union and Confederate military, the results of those treatments, and how they contrast with the techniques of the modern military medical system.

Come join us Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, for a walk back in time as we examine medical procedures and outcomes then and now.

Dr. Anthony Hodges graduated from the University of Tennessee Center for the Health Sciences with a D.D.S. degree in 1981.  He is married to a dental school classmate, Dr. Jill Prichard Hodges, and they have three grown children. They reside on Elder Mountain, just outside of Chattanooga.  Anthony recently retired from dentistry after 33 years of practice.

He became interested in early American and Civil War history as a young child due to oral family history passed down to him by elderly relatives.  He began to collect Civil War artifacts as a young boy and items from his collection have been displayed in national parks and museums across the South.   He served as a National Park Service living history interpreter for nearly forty years.

Anthony began to study Civil War medicine in dental school and has lectured on the topic for over forty years.  He assisted Dr. Bud Robertson of Virginia Tech in the re-printing of the U.S. Army’s official twelve-volume medical account of the Civil War, The Medical and Surgical History of the Civil War, and wrote numerous Civil War historical articles for the Chattanooga Times-Free Press during the war’s sesquicentennial.

Anthony completed his fourth term as President of the Friends of Chickamauga/Chattanooga National Military Park in 2017 and now serves on the Advisory Board of the National Park Partners (the recently combined Friends of the Park and Friends of Moccasin Bend). He also serves as President of the board of the Tennessee Civil War Preservation Association.


He is a longtime board member of the East Tennessee Historical Society and Museum of East Tennessee History in Knoxville and serves on the Board of the Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center in Chattanooga. He is a past Commander of the Military Order of the Stars and Bars, as well as the Order of the Southern Cross. Anthony is a “Color Bearer” in the Civil War Trust, a member of the Sons of the Revolution, the Society of Civil War Surgeons, and the Company of Military Historians.

Fort Dickerson Living History Weekend, Oct. 26-27, 2019



Cherokee Fall Festival, Sept. 7-8, 2019

See below:


Tuesday, Aug. 6, Gone with the Glory: The Civil War in Cinema

Civil War films, despite their inaccuracies, provide us with an introductory platform for learning about the era’s issues, events, and personalities, argues historian Brian Steel Wills.

Come join us Tuesday, August 6, 2019, as Dr. Wills takes us on a fascinating tour of the Civil War in cinema.

Make your reservations by calling 865-671-9001.

Please note: The date listed in the Knoxville News Sentinel is incorrect. The above is the correct one. Because of the scheduling of the banquet hall, we are meeting on the first Tuesday this month rather than the second.

Scout’s Report – August 2019

xScout – August 2019

Scout’s Report – July 2019


x7-2019 Scout_FINAL_corrected

Scout’s Report – June 2019


x6-2019 Scout FINAL

New Civil War Mapping Resources

When the United States Army entered Knoxville in September 1863, riding alongside Gen. Ambrose Burnside was Capt. Orlando Poe.  An 1856 West Point graduate with the Corps of Engineers, Poe not only designed and coordinated the construction of the defenses of Knoxville; he was meticulous in his methods, record keeping and documentation.

Standing strong against a November 29 attack by the best assault troops of the Confederacy, Poe was proud of the fortifications at Knoxville.  He ordered the creation of detailed maps, employing Cleveland Rockwell and R.H. Talcott of the US Coast Survey to do original measurements. Only recently located at NOAA, the maps created by these assistants–Rockwell north of the river, Talcott south–display actual survey lines of sight used to locate specific military and civic features.      

North side:  https://historicalcharts.noaa.gov/historicals/preview/image/T00939-02-1864              

 South side:  https://historicalcharts.noaa.gov/historicals/preview/image/T00920-02-1864

The army knew exactly where its forts were and documented those locations with precision. It is important to note that the army maps are topographical; that is, they record the elevation of the terrain of Knoxville.  All elements on the maps are located with three dimensions.

Recently, graphic designer and historic map specialist Charles Reeves compiled information from the Poe 1864 map, the Rockwell and Talcott maps, Sanborn insurance maps and 1942 topographical maps from the US Geological Service.  All of this data lines up to confirm the accuracy of the mapping done in 1864 locating the Civil War features around Knoxville. Reeves was even able to establish longitude and latitude coordinates for the fortifications. Here is his beautiful map created in January 2019 along with contact information. Reeves’ work is also available from the East Tennessee Historical Society.


Charles Reeves, Jr. – reevesca@tds.net


10812 Dineen Dr

Knoxville (Farragut), TN 37934-1809




Scout’s Report – May 2019

Scout_May 2019




Volunteers at the Fort Dickerson Spring Cleanup


Volunteers L to R: John Burkhart, Jason Wasilewski, Eli Beatty, Fiora Cruey, Lincoln Hugo, Katherine Grote, Gene Akers, Dale Green, Jerry Patterson, Jack Spiceland, Travis Henson, Eric Wayland, Dennis Urban, Brian Burroughs. Absent from photo: Neil Williams, Ken Failing, & Jim Doncaster, photographer.

Volunteers across America spurred on by the American Battlefield Trust turned out on Saturday, April 6, 2019 to attend to the maintenance needs of museums and historic sites across the country. For us in the Knoxville Civil War Roundtable, this meant attending to the ongoing needs of our adopted site, Fort Dickerson. Seventeen people showed up for the event including eleven Roundtable members, four police explorers, and two of event-organizer Eric Wayland’s extended family. The beautiful morning made the work a joy, and much was accomplished. Thanks to the ongoing work at the fort by the Roundtable and the City of Knoxville, Fort Dickerson has never looked better. A steady stream of visitors to the site throughout the morning and early afternoon testified to the interest the fort now holds for the community.