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Minnesota Eagle Scout Wins First Runner-up at National Competition!

2016 MNSAR Eagle Scout Contest WinnerWyatt S. Hahn, of the Northern Star Council Boy Scouts of America, represented the MNSAR in the national competition of the Eagle Scout Scholarship and Awards Program. The national winners are:

A Minnesota Eagle Scout has either won, placed or showed at the national level by the
NSSAR Eagle Scout Scholarship and Awards Committee eight times since 2002!

Congratulations Wyatt! Wyatt, from Hutchinson, Minnesota, was honored at the annual George Washington Day Observance and Luncheon where he received the Spreading Wings Bronze Eagle Trophy as the Minnesota winner. His mother and father were also in attendance. Wyatt read his patriotic essay which is presented below.

Wyatt’s application, four generation ancestor chart and his patriotic essay were sent to National SAR headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky to compete with other state winners where he won the $6,000 scholarship.

The Role of Medicine in the Revolutionary War

By Wyatt S. Hahn – 2017 MNSSAR Eagle Scout Contest Winner

The Revolutionary War not only included many events which made it famous such as the Battle of Lexington and Concord, the Battle of Saratoga, and the Siege of Yorktown, but also included people like George Washington, Charles Cornwallis, and Nathanael Greene. As with other wars, there are many people who were forgotten who actually made large contributions to the success of the army. Although medicine was not very advanced during the American Revolution, physicians, surgeons, and nurses all played a very important role especially as the Continental Army weathered a long and cold winter at Valley Forge between 1777 and 1778.

Giving a brief history of medicine during American Revolution is important to understanding the actions taken over the course of the war. The most common medicines used in the revolutionary time period included opium tinctures, calomel, a mercury compound, cream of tartar, and lavender spirits. One of the most common and advanced practices of preventing a disease, such as smallpox, was called inoculation. Inoculation

was the deliberate infection of individuals who did not have a disease in order to build immunity to it. The British army often sent troops infected with smallpox to the Colonial Army which resulted in an American death rate of 20 to 25 percent. George Washington called for all his troops to be inoculated, which lowered his death rates from 17 percent to 1 percent. Washington’s idea to put a poison in the body to reach a cure was brilliant because it is was the beginning of what we do for cancer today. As for medical training, doctors usually did not attend twelve to fifteen years of schooling as they do today, but often times simply spent a couple of years as an apprentice to a senior physician before beginning a practice of their own.

The need for hospitals grew drastically at the beginning of the war and four districts of hospitals. Four hospital districts were created: the Easter, Northern, Middle, and Southern. Conditions at these hospitals were poor and inadequate. Pay each day for the attending physicians was $6.00 and nine rations for the General Director, $4.00 and six rations for the Senior Surgeon, and $1.00 and two rations for the Surgeon’s mate.

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As winter fell on Valley Forge in 1777, the first record of any sickness came on December 23. On this day George Weedon, who always kept a very orderly journal, made the first comments regarding soldiers who had fallen ill. The journal stated that on December 26, 1777, “2,898 men were reported sick or unfit for duty largely due to the lack of clothing.” Then again on February 1 of the next year, the journal spoke that, “the number of incapacitated increased to 3,989, again traced to the need of clothing.” As numbers of those ill continued to rise and weather conditions worsening, the physicians at Valley Forge did all they could to prevent a complete wipeout of the entire army.

The behind the scenes medicine which took place during the American Revolution played a major role in the success as well as strategy of the armies. Because of this, the physicians can be seen as the forgotten heroes who made an impact on the outcome of the American Revolution.