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Matchless Organization

Matchless Organization

The Confederate Army Medical Department

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Guy R. Hasegawa, Foreword by F. Terry Hambrecht


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
282 pages, 6 x 9, 20 illustrations

Engaging the Civil War


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About the Book

The essential reference about a surprisingly well-organized medical department
Despite the many obstacles it had to overcome—including a naval blockade, lack of a strong industrial base, and personnel unaccustomed to military life—the Richmond-based Confederate Army Medical Department developed into a robust organization that nimbly adapted to changing circumstances. In the first book to address the topic, Guy R. Hasegawa describes the organization and management of the Confederate army’s medical department. At its head was Surgeon General Samuel Preston Moore, a talented multitasker with the organizational know-how to put in place qualified medical personnel to care for sick and wounded Confederate soldiers.
Hasegawa investigates how political considerations, personalities, and, as the war progressed, the diminishing availability of human and material resources influenced decision-making in the medical department. Amazingly, the surgeon general’s office managed not only to provide care but also to offer educational opportunities to its personnel and collect medical and surgical data for future use, regardless of constant and growing difficulties.
During and after the war, the medical department of the Confederate army was consistently praised as being admirably organized and efficient. Although the department was unable to match its Union counterpart in manpower and supplies, Moore’s intelligent management enabled it to help maintain the fighting strength of the Confederate army.


Guy R. Hasegawa, a retired pharmacist and editor, is the author of Villainous Compounds: Chemical Weapons and the American Civil War and Mending Broken Soldiers: The Union and Confederate Programs to Supply Artificial Limbs.


"Matchless Organization is an easy to read, extremely informative, and highly educational book that is a must for anyone interested in the medical aspects of the American Civil War, especially on the Southern side.  This volume is highly recommended."—Peter D'OnofrioJournal of Civil War Medicine 

“Guy R. Hasegawa has truly created a masterpiece of Civil War medical literature. His insight and incredibly thorough research of primary material is combined with a unique ability to present the complex and evolving Confederate Army Medical Department in an understandable and logical manner. This author draws the reader through the series of events that highlight the contributions of surgeon general Samuel Preston Moore and his staff’s critical work apparent in directing the remarkable success of this department.”—Jonathan O’Neal, MD, vice president, board of directors, National Museum of Civil War Medicine

“The story of the Confederate Army Medical Department has finally risen, phoenix-like, from the ashes of the great Richmond fire of April 2, 1865, which consumed the enterprise’s voluminous and historically rich records. Matchless Organization, is a tour de force recounting the organization, function, and fate of the Confederate medical service. Had other branches of the Confederate war machine worked as well as the medical department, the conflict’s outcome might have been different.”—Bill J. Gurley, coauthor of I Acted from Principle: The Civil War Diary of William McPheeters, Confederate Surgeon in the Trans-Mississippi 

“Hasegawa has made another important contribution to the study of the medical aspects of the Civil War. Using new sources, Matchless Organization offers new insights into the operations of the Confederate Medical Department managed by Samuel Preston Moore. Hasegawa’s important work on the Confederacy’s medical corps will stand for many years to come.”—Kevin R. Pawlak, author, Shepherdstown in the Civil War: One Vast Confederate Hospital
Matchless Organization fills a much-needed role in the study of Civil War medicine, since it enables historians to better compare and contrast the Union and Confederate medical departments. The use of a wide variety of primary source material to reveal the workings of the Confederate Army Medical Department sheds new light on its organization and staffing. Hasegawa’s latest book covers a broad range of subjects from personnel to the hospital and ambulance systems to the examination of surgeons, and also brings home the huge loss to history of all of the tabulated data from the Confederate Surgeon General’s Office.”—Terry R. Reimer, author of One Vast Hospital: The Civil War Hospital Sites in Frederick, Maryland, after Antietam
“Well researched and well written, Hasegawa’s book provides a scholarly account of the Confederacy’s medical department under the leadership of General Samuel Preston Moore. Organized thematically, it offers an insider’s view into the department’s operations and the versatility of its management. It is both innovative and thought-provoking.”—John S. Haller Jr., author of Battlefield Medicine: A History of the Military Ambulance from the Napoleonic Wars through World War I
“Hasegawa’s overview of how the Confederate medical system developed and functioned (or not) over the course of the Civil War is concise, clear, and as complete as available sources allow. This is information that anyone who studies, or even encounters, Confederate medicine in any way will want to have at their fingertips."—Glenna R. Schroeder-Lein, author of Confederate Hospitals on the Move: Samuel H. Stout and the Army of Tennessee

Matchless Organization will be of interest both to students of the Civil War but also to those interested in the history of the development of American military medicine."—"Scotty" KnightThe AMEDD Historian

“[Hasegawa’s] book is a worthy companion piece to Cunningham’s Doctors in Gray, offering scholars insight into the Surgeon General’s Office and the people who worked there. More importantly, however, it introduces new questions, particularly in regard to the relationship between the US Medical Department and the Confederate Medical Department. In the end, Matchless Organization is an invaluable reference for any scholar interested in Civil War medicine.”—Lindsay Privette, H-Sci-Med-Tech

“Essentially an organizational history, this is an outstanding treatment of a very neglected side of the Confederate war effort, and will primarily be of interest to the specialist in Civil War history or military medicine.”—A.A. Nofi, StrategyPage, The New York Military Affairs Symposium