Wound healing is a complex series of biochemical and cellular events. Optimally, functional material design addresses the overlapping acute and inflammatory stages of wound healing based on molecular, cellular, and bio-compatibility issues. In this paper the issues addressed are uncontrolled hemostasis and inflammation which can interfere with the orderly flow of wound healing. In this regard, we review the serine proteases thrombin and elastase relative to dressing functionality that improves wound healing and examine the effects of charge in cotton/cellulosic dressing design on thrombin production and elastase sequestration (uptake by the wound dressing). Thrombin is central to the initiation and propagation of coagulation, and elastase is released from neutrophils that can function detrimentally in a stalled inflammatory phase characteristic of chronic wounds. Electrokinetic fiber surface properties of the biomaterials of this study were determined to correlate material charge and polarity with function relative to thrombin production and elastase sequestration. Human neutrophil elastase sequestration was assessed with an assay representative of chronic wound concentration with cotton gauze cross-linked with three types of polycarboxylic acids and one phosphorylation finish; thrombin production, which was assessed in a plasma-based assay via a fluorogenic peptide substrate, was determined for cotton, cotton-grafted chitosan, chitosan, rayon/polyester, and two kaolin-treated materials including a commercial hemorrhage control dressing (QuickClot Combat Gauze). A correlation in thrombin production to zeta potential was found. Two polycarboxylic acid cross linked and a phosphorylated cotton dressing gave high elastase sequestration.