Daniel M. Holt, a successful country doctor in the upstate village of Newport, New York, accepted the position of assistant surgeon in the 121st New York Volunteer Army in August 1862. At age 42 when he was commissioned, he was the oldest member of the staff. But his experience served him well, as his regiment participated in nearly all the major campaigns in the eastern theater of the war—Crampton’s Gap before Antietam, Fredericksburg, Salem Church, the Mine Run campaign, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, the 1864 Shenandoah Valley campaign, and Appomattox.
In A Surgeon’s Civil War, the educated and articulate Holt describes camp life, army politics, and the medical difficulties that he and his colleagues experienced. His reminiscences and letters provide an insider’s look at medicine as practiced on the battlefield and offer occasional glimpses of the efficacy of Surgeon General William A. Hammond’s reforms as they affected Holt’s regiment. He also comments on other subjects, including slavery and national events. Holt served until October 17, 1864 when ill health forced him to resign.
The Kent State University Press is the publishing arm of Kent State University. Our imprint is controlled by an editorial board composed of Kent faculty scholars. As a member of the Association of American University Presses, the Press is included in the select group of more than 100 university-sponsored scholarly presses, whose outstanding programs make them an important segment of the academic and publishing communities.The Press began in 1965 under the direction of Howard Allen and published in the University faculty strengths in literary criticism. In 1972 Paul Rohmann became the Press’s second director and expanded the Press’s publishing program to include regional studies and ethnomusicology. In 1985 historian John Hubbell assumed the directorship and grew the staff and publishing program to include widely regarded lists in Civil War and Ohio history. Today, under director Will Underwood, the Press annually publishes two journals and 35 titles in history, literature, and regional studies that further knowledge of the humanities and preserve and promote a literate society.