Nicole Salomone

  Historian, Writer, Lecturer

 A Tribute to Medical Times Past, But Not Forgotten


Imagine a time before health insurance.  A time when physicians and surgeons were not considered coworkers, but different disciplines all together.  A time when they could go to school for their craft, but more likely went into the military and learned from hands on experience.  A time when those who did go to school for medicine graduated in six years or less and may never have seen a real patient.

This is the time of 18th century medicine in England and the North American Colonies.  This is the time of Forgotten.

The US Colonies have rebelled against their English oppressors. Led by General George Washington, the Continental Army was charged to fight what was considered a lost cause.  Battles were fought: won and lost on both sides.  The Colonists established their own warfare tactics - taking the British by surprise and forcing them to rethink forming ranks and fighting in a line formation.

But, there is another story not told.  A more personal story.

What happened when a soldier (or officer) in the Continental Army got sick or wounded?

A little history. 

The American Revolution began with the shots fired at Lexington & Concord on April 19, 1775.  However, the Army Medical Department was not fully functional until 1779.  And, even after, the goal of the Medical Department was to record illnesses, injuries, and deaths of the regiments within the Army.  It was not to regulate care.  Men (and women) of all walks of life rallied behind the Cause (the Cause being freeing the North American colonies from the rule of King George III).  University trained physicians and surgeons mixed with book trained doctors and surgeons, military trained (learning by doing) doctors and surgeons, and domestic medicine (medicine learned and practiced at home).

At this time 'evidence based medicine' was defined as working if the symptoms of the illness went away.  

Book Synopsis 

All her life, Abigail Jones has been in the pinnacle of colonial American society. But, when her house is maliciously destroyed, she becomes a camp follower of the Continental Army. Ill-prepared or trained for such a life, she finds friends in the medical community. Before long, she is thrust into a world of politics and disease, where loyalty is a preciously rare commodity. Using her wits and personality, she treads the fine line between the intentions of the officers and the suffering of the soldiers, all while trying to fit in.

Novella Reviews

By Robert J. Source, (Feb. 2012)

Salomone has opened all the doors that your high school American history teacher left undisturbed. What was it like to be alive during the American Revolution? What happens to a woman, left independent by circumstance, in an age when women had few rights and fewer opportunities? The heroine, Abigail, finds herself dispossessed and without hope when her family is ripped apart by conflicting loyalties. She manages to secure a position as a medical assistant with Washington's ragged, retreating army. Her natural intelligence and instinct for survival help to guide her through a series of adventures.

The author introduces us to the medical tent, with it's never ending supply of wounded and afflicted, and the often barbaric practices that were common in an 18th century war zone. Salomone pulls no punches as we are plunged into the nauseating stench of blood, vomit, excretment, and the all too common presence of death. We hear the bonesaw, feel the leeches and maggots, drink the turpentine, even as food, clothing, and other supplies run out during the harsh winter in Valley Forge. Even as the dead are carried from the tent, their still warm corpses are stripped of their clothing to better serve the living.

Forgotten is populated by a delightful cast of characters, from the despicable William, to the kind but stern General Washington and his delightful wife Martha. Will Abigail survive, and maybe even thrive? We may have to wait for the sequel to find out. I found this book informative and highly entertaining.

By Lavendar Ironside, of Historical Novel Review (Feb. 2012)

Forgotten charts rare territory in the historical fiction genre: It’s centered around medical history, and follows the early career of a healer/nurse during the American Revolutionary War.
Abigail is a woman who has fallen from high society. When her abusive husband is mobbed and killed by Patriots under suspicion of being a Tory, Abigail eventually finds herself homeless and searching for a way to get by in life. A chance acquaintance with two Patriot soldiers leads her to the camp of the American army, under the command of General George Washington. Abigail’s small skill with home remedies affords her a place among the medical tents, where the staff is stretched thin and unable to cope with the disease and injuries of war.

As Abigail’s knowledge and confidence in her new role grows, she becomes a favorite among the soldiers and eventually develops a cure for a disease which has been raging uncontrolled throughout the camp. Many camp personages are unhappy with her rise to minor celebrity, and despise her for reasons ranging from apparent jealousy to misogyny. Abigail faces perils and enjoys kindnesses as both her enemies and friends increase in number. Eventually she accepts a position working in a doctor’s surgery clinic.
It is my assumption that this is the first book in a series, for the story ends abruptly with little resolution of the open conflicts.

The book is short – a novella – and is full of familiar names from history. Abigail forms relationships with George Washington, his wife Martha, Alexander Hamilton (and there is a hint of a burgeoning romance there), and more important figures from the Revolutionary War. It’s a fast read with occasionally difficult moments, as the author has clearly done her research on medicine during the War. Wrenching details of the treatment of serious war wounds and illnesses are not spared. If more books are to come, the series promises to be engaging and informative, and it’s nice to see a medical historical series taking shape, as such specialty niches are rare in historical fiction.

See Review here:
Forgotten Nicole Salomone 172 pages July, 2011 Independently published 


By Gregg S. Pressman MD, FACC, FASE (August 2011)

"This is an eminently readable piece of historical fiction involving an American woman, a well to do lady living in Manhattan, who gets caught up in the early storm of the American Revolution. The story moves at a brisk pace and accurately reflects life at that time. It opens a window onto the rupture in American society that resulted from the war and introduces us to ordinary citizens as well as Founding Fathers. Race relations and class relations are realistically portrayed. However, the real value of the book is in its depiction of the medicine of the time and the horrors of the infirmary tents.

While the prose is sometimes a bit overworked, the characters are well drawn and the story moves along with force. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in colonial history and especially those wanting to learn about camp life in the Revolutionary army."

By Jeremy Dwiggins (May 2011)

"If you like well-researched historical fiction, complete with no-way-they-couldn't-have-thought-that-was-good-for-you 18th century field medicine, go buy a copy or two!"

Jeremy was my cover artist for Forgotten.  He is immensely talented, professional, well priced and was the perfect partner in crime to help recognize the vision of my cover.  Jeremy's other designs include:

Logo design for Spectrum Scientifics (FUN SCIENCE TOYS!), Bunns Natural Food, Heather Lynne's CD Packaging, and his is the Jonathan Coulton T-Shirt Designing Winner!  To have him help recognize your marketing dreams, go to his website, and tell him Nicole Salomone sent you.

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