By Tom Fournier
My knowledge or interests do not naturally align with science or medicine but I could not resist this list of medical supplies that come from the Messages and Letters of William Henry Harrison; Volume 2 Part 2. Harrison was governor of the Indiana Territory and led the American military forces at the victories at Tippecanoe (1811) and Moraviantown (1813). He had command of Fort Meigs in Ohio in 1813.
To my thinking, medical knowledge was at a strange crossroads at this time. Knowledge of anatomy had become quite advanced but the understanding of how it all worked still fell to a notion that the body had an ideal equilibrium and to solve for an illness or disruption meant restoring that equilibrium. Treatments such as bleeding, purging or blistering were still common. Equilibrium could be restored by releasing things like blood, urine, stool or perspiration. The body had four humours (blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile) and too much or too little of any of these humours would result in illness.
These articles are written and compiled by members of the 41st Regiment Living History Group.