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Old January 19, 2008, 11:10 PM   #271
4V50 Gary
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Join Date: November 2, 1998
Location: Colorado
Posts: 17,073
If you haven't been to Frederick, Maryland, then you've missed the Museum of Civil War Medicine. It's worth a visit and they've got a t-shirt that advertises embalming services. Anyhow, while perusing the papers, I found this.

Quote:
NASHVILLE DAILY UNION, January 12, 1863, p. 1, c. 3

Embalming the Dead—A Process Practicable to All.

The modern processes by which the bodies of officers and soldiers of the army have been embalmed and restored to their friends is not the least of the blessings which science has bestowed upon the world since the beginning of the war. The expense of this process, in most cases, places its advantages beyond the reach of people of moderate means. Those who have adopted the business as a profession, are in some cases, extortionous in their charges, particularly where officers are the subjects; and the whole matter is surrounded by professional secrecy impenetrable to persons of unscientific tastes.
A matter of so great general utility and importance should not be monopolized or turned wholly to individual emolument. It may not be out of place to give, in this connection, a simple recipe by which any physician or surgeon of ordinary capacity can embalm the dead, and preserve them from decomposition or putrefaction for a length of time to answer all practical requirements. The following was handed to me shortly after the battle of Antietam, by the Medical Director of the Ninth Army Corps:
The liquid chloride of zinc injected into the cerebral or femoral artery, will preserve bodies from decomposition or putrefaction for a great length of time.
The mode of obtaining this liquid is to take (say) one quart of hydrochloric acid to an earthen vessel, and add small pieces of zinc until reaction ceases.
The liquid may be diluted in the proportion of one part to four of water. From one quart to three pints of this dilution chloride of zinc will be sufficient to effect the purpose desired.
H. W. Rivers,
Surgeon of Volunteers, and Medical Director
Ninth Army Corps.
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