Behind The Image, An Act Of Kindness, Camp Letterman, 1863

JPK Huson 1863

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#1
letterman sept 1863.jpg

Because this Tyson Brothers image of Gettysburg's Letterman Hospital includes a woman who is probably nurse it's one of my favorites. Not knowing who any of these eye witnesses to history were can drive you a little crazy although I live in hope the nurse is Sophronia Bucklin. Who were they? What's their story?

letterman on hill.jpg

If you snip around some of the massive tifs images of post battle Gettysburg can give you chills. Letterman above a town emerging from shambles.

Some of these ' story behind the image ' photos could belong to other forums. Both ' Soldiers Tales ' and the Gettysburg forum have a claim- if anyone wishes it moved, please say so? I'm smitten with what's behind nearly all ACW photos - the stories that happened in a place, who was there, what was that war?

This one from Letterman could be apocryphal but the date seems to confirm the story. 1864, so it'd be the recent past. I can't find it challenged either which tended to happen when stories were too outrageous. It was war. A lot of crazy stuff happened.

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It does make it more remarkable. By 1863 the Confederacy was feeling the pinch.

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It isn't embellished, something the apocryphal stories have in common. You know, someone sacrificing themselves heroically dashing in front of their noble, fallen comrade, taking the bullet shot by cowardly villains. If you can dash quickly enough to intercept a bullet, you'd also still be alive because there's a blue, bullet proof suit under your uniform.

The trouble with dismissing some of these because they can't be sourced is, we may miss a lot. I'm not saying this is true- Letterman's tents didn't fold until November, 1863. Between August and November, an awful lot of wounded passed through there. Each man had a story.
 

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Tom Elmore

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#3
One thing that caught my attention was the wreath over the tents. The star was the symbol of the Union 12th Corps, whose own hospitals closed around July 24 and the wounded (Federals and Confederates) transferred to Camp Letterman. Harriet A. Dada was associated with the 12th Corps hospitals before Camp Letterman was established, and both she and a Miss Bell went to Letterman on July 21 to prepare for the arrival of 150-200 wounded from the 12th Corps hospitals. A Miss Dysart and Phoebe M. (Agett) May also worked at the original 12th Corps hospitals. Phoebe was the wife of Assistant Surgeon Henry C. May of the 145th New York (12th Corps), who was in charge of a ward (first?) at Camp Letterman, and they worked together there. Dysart and Dada left Gettysburg on October 24.

Sophronia Bucklin worked in the section under a Dr. Chamberlain. There was a Surgeon Chamberlain with the First Corps, First Division, but it is more likely Surgeon Cyrus Nathaniel Chamberlain of the Sixth Corps (10th Massachusetts), who supervised the construction and organization of Camp Letterman.
 

Tom Elmore

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#4
Amazing story about Colonel Herbert, who must be Lieutenant Colonel James R. Herbert of the 1st Maryland Battalion. Herbert was wounded in three places on the night of July 2 while his men attacked the 137th New York on Culp's Hill, and he was initially treated at a field hospital by Assistant Surgeon Thomas Fanning Wood of the 3rd North Carolina. I am unable to further identify Mrs. Brown. Ironically, Herbert probably wound up in a 12th Corps hospital.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

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#5
One thing that caught my attention was the wreath over the tents. The star was the symbol of the Union 12th Corps, whose own hospitals closed around July 24 and the wounded (Federals and Confederates) transferred to Camp Letterman. Harriet A. Dada was associated with the 12th Corps hospitals before Camp Letterman was established, and both she and a Miss Bell went to Letterman on July 21 to prepare for the arrival of 150-200 wounded from the 12th Corps hospitals. A Miss Dysart and Phoebe M. (Agett) May also worked at the original 12th Corps hospitals. Phoebe was the wife of Assistant Surgeon Henry C. May of the 145th New York (12th Corps), who was in charge of a ward (first?) at Camp Letterman, and they worked together there. Dysart and Dada left Gettysburg on October 24.

Sophronia Bucklin worked in the section under a Dr. Chamberlain. There was a Surgeon Chamberlain with the First Corps, First Division, but it is more likely Surgeon Cyrus Nathaniel Chamberlain of the Sixth Corps (10th Massachusetts), who supervised the construction and organization of Camp Letterman.

Missed this for over a month and wish I hadn't! Thank you!! Boy does this post give me a ton of leads! It crushes my hope Sophronia is in the photo but I'll have to get over it. :angel: There are quite a few images floating around the internet that are just, plain wrong ( like the young pregnant woman at Brandy hospital identified as Cornelia Hancock- she isn't - and Julia Wheelock supposedly at White House Landing - it's not her- I don't want to add to the mess. No ego here, this stuff misses who these women were.

12th Corp Hospital, previously the Bushman Farm? You can never be sure when information comes from someone writing 50 years later, if it's correct. I keep running into nurse accounts, saying where they were or where some wounded man was taken- it's nearly impossible finding something from every hospital July 1863 since soooo many homes were hospitals but giving it a shot.
 

Tom Elmore

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#6
Most of the Twelfth Corps casualties initially were taken to the George Bushman farm. Some were also at the Abraham Spangler farm, while others were scattered among several other locations. The Bushman farm at first had about 1200 patients, including roughly 125 Confederates.
 



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