The Civil War in Missouri

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Medicine Case of Dr. John Green

ca. 1860-1880
MHM Collections

Dr. John Green’s medicine case contains vials of drugs in powder form, which would have been mixed with water and taken orally. All of the medicines shown were commonly used during the Civil War, such as Dover’s powder—a compound of opium and ipecac. Ipecac, jalap, and rhei treated intestinal disorders such as diarrhea and dysentery. Quinine was used to combat malaria.Green, a Massachusetts native, studied in London, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna before beginning private practice in Boston. During the Civil War he became acting assistant surgeon in General U. S. Grant’s Army of the Tennessee, a Union force in the war’s western theater. After the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862, Green took charge of the hospital boats Ella and Fanny Bullitt and worked closely with the St. Louis–based Western Sanitary Commission. Following the war he established a medical practice in St. Louis.