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Book shares stories of inventors after the Civil War

In his book, "After the Civil War: The Heroes, Villains, Soldiers and Civilians Who Changed America," James Robertson shares the stories of some men who invented items or developed procedures used during or after the Civil War.

Christopher Miner Spencer

Designed and perfected the repeating rifle, which was dismissed by the Ordnance Department because it altered longstanding procedure, but President Lincoln tested it himself; 7,500 rifles were ordered, and it became the standard armament of the Union cavalry.

Not being able to keep pace with the Winchester, a nearly bankrupt Spencer sold his company to Winchester. By 1901 he had designed a steam-powered automobile and was looking to aviation development. Died in 1922.

Jonathan Letterman

Developed military medicine on the battlefields and what became today's emergency medical system. He created the ambulance corps to get the wounded off the field and to immediate medical attention, using a chain of treatment centers. Resigned from the army in 1864 after criticism from his superiors.

Moved to California and in 1866 opened his medical practice in San Francisco. Twice elected coroner; died in 1872. (Slightly built, quiet, organizational and administrative skills, lonely after death of wife and removal of two daughters to live with relatives.)

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