Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
Blown up from a colorized illustration, a packed ward in one Philadelphia hospital gives an indication of scope of care received. Any soldier here fought and had lain on a battlefield somewhere. Scooped up by stretcher and ambulance, a field hospital coaxed life into him before rail or steamer- or both, met another ambulance, at docks or station. It must have looked a lot like Heaven, despite their healing miles ahead.
Stretchers were hospital beds in this tent ward, at Gettysburg's 2nd Corp Hospital. Beds in wards changed- heal or die, the same. From here, a repaired and busy railroad took wounded to Philadelphia, Maryland and Washington.
With apologies to lelliot for cluttering up her forum, been on some ' nurse ' searches lately. Sidetracks lead all over the place. The medical forum tends to pay for it, when information needs to be siphoned off!
The thing is, anyone whose ancestor was wounded during the war has done their share of tracking- cannot just be me, tracking various relatives via ambulance, stretcher, steamers and wards. Nurses show up variously, filling in the blanks on what they endured by way of suffering, care received, buddies lost. Sanitary Commission records as well as Confederate army records give a glimpse of the ' where's ' although not all- especially in the South so many homes were used as hospitals you just know some homeowners still do not know of the men healing and dying where a family now grows and lives.
Please excuse the lack of Confederate documentation. It just isn't there, vanished, destroyed during the war, lack of resources making photos and artists more rare- or not found yet. Fredericksburg Evangelical Lutheran Church, like so many, contained front line wards. No knowledge if both sides were treated here- seems likely, with churches opening doors to wounded throughout the war. Francis Xavier, Gettysburg, famously opened to both but you know it was a shining symbol- wounded were welcome.
What was it like, in a hospital? Boy does it vary. Which hospital on what part of the journey? Written accounts tell us at length- seeing some, albeit only a handful, tell us a little more.
Massive General Hospital at Hilton Head was only one of so many, you can't track them down. From here back to war, or on to a major city hospital.
Everyone's seen this image of Carver Hospital, Washington, DC. Long, long way from a ward in a hot tent, 2nd Corp Hospital, in Pennsylvania. Only using ' Gettysburg ' as an example because documentation is easiest to find.
We'd come a long, long way from Bull Run, where wounded pulled themselves into Washington streets, to be taken in by citizens.
Or from here, at Letterman. Nurses write that 100's of men were sent daily, from Letterman to the whitewashed wards in cities.
Harewood, not in existence in 1861, a ward of wounded made it this far. Crazy to think of each man's story, and journey there.
Of course Winslow Homer would leave us images from the wards- wish we knew where, a nurse writing home for a wounded man.
Too many reaches overload, next post, more wards, talking.