Date of Award

Spring 3-2021

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Dr. Kurt Hackemer

Second Advisor

Dr. William Mayhan

Third Advisor

Dr. Douglas Peterson


Medicine, Crimean War, Civil War, Neurology, Florence Nightingale, William Hammond, Silas Mitchell, Turner's Lane Hospital

Subject Categories

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine


In 1855, three high ranking military officers organized as the Delafield Commission traveled across Europe during the Crimean War. They were tasked to consider, report, and upon their return, implement the advancements they observed from the militaries across the European continent. During their travels, the Delafield Commission evaluated changes in artillery, cavalry, and military medicine. Upon their return, the members of the Delafield Commission published their reports, and a year later the Civil War began. As the war continued, innovations from the Crimean War were implemented, including withing the Union Army Medical Department. Major medical reform was facilitated by Dr. William Hammond, the Surgeon General from 1862 to 1864, who was appointed to that position following a recommendation from George McClellan, a member of the Delafield Commission. As advancements from the Crimean War were implemented, the Army Medical Department began to make changes of its own, spearheading the medical revolution that occurred during the Civil War. One of the major products of that revolution was the emergence of neurology, a new specialization within American medicine, and Turner’s Lane Hospital, the first neurological hospital in the United States. The Delafield Commission documents and their utilization by American physicians in the Civil War allowed for major medical reform to occur, which in turn accelerated the emergence of neurology within the United States.



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