Ruth's Genealogy

“I don't know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.” -Abraham Lincoln

Some time ago ( almost 2 years, I’m ashamed to say!) I requested and received the Compiled Military Service File from The National Archives and Records Administration for my 2nd great-grandfather, Nathan Blunt Kennedy. When the records arrived, I did a cursory examination of the them, then filed them away. I had always intended to transcribe them, but never “got around to it”.
This packet consists of photocopies of those surviving documents from Dr. Kennedy’s Civil War service. Almost all are hand-written in the script and style of the time, so some are a bit difficult to read. Since my ancestor was a physician, there are also several archaic medical terms to decode.
Several days ago I began my first story page at “The Doctor is In: The life and work of my second great-grandfather, Dr. Nathan Blunt Kennedy, Physician & Surgeon, 1836-1897”. In support of this writing, I have scanned several of the NARA documents and uploaded them to my “shoe box” at footnote for use on Dr Kennedy’s story page.
As I went through the more than 30 pages of photocopies trying to decide which to include, for the first time I actually read each document. Now I knew from my earlier quick look that Dr Kennedy had developed “hemorraging of the lungs”, diagnosed as Phthisis Pulmonalis. On further investigation, I discovered, thanks to, that the dear doctor had developed “Consumption of the lungs; strictly applied to the tuberculous variety. [Cleaveland1886]; Pulmonary consumption. Pulmonary tuberculosis. [Dorland]”. As there was esentially no cure for tuberculosis in the 1860s, my ancestor had contracted a disease that would affect him for the rest of his life!

Well, I have finally realized how important these NARA documents are to my research, so it is time to transcribe them. I have done several pages so far, and may I say they are fascinating! As an RN, I am especially interested in the medical aspect. Compared to today’s modern medicine, it’s amazing that anyone survived the Civil War!

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