Member of the Year
- Jan 16, 2015
photo: @Field Master
Part I (July 3-14)
Peter Tinsley, the Episcopalian chaplain of the 28th Virginia Infantry in Garnett’s brigade, left a detailed journal of his experiences during and after the battle. Late in the day on July 3, he proceeded to Pickett’s division hospital at Bream’s mill on Marsh Run, where he would spend much of his time over the next few weeks looking after the wounded. He often visited Bream’s (Black Horse) tavern nearby and occasionally other field hospitals in the area. I thought it might be of general interest to extract and summarize his encounters and pertinent observations of patients, surgeons, civilians and events. I have taken the liberty of adding the full name and rank the first time an individual is mentioned, with other notes added in brackets. Tinsley’s journal was found online from Wheaton College’s Archives and Special Collections.
July 3. Tinsley proceeded to Bream’s mill, escorting the body of Major Nathaniel C. Wilson of the 28th Virginia. There he found Brigadier General James L. Kemper, badly wounded; Colonel Henry Gantt of the 19th Virginia, shot in the face and mutilated but not mortally wounded; Adjutant McIntire [presumably James Davis McIntire of the 19th Virginia]; and Col. William Dabney Stuart of the 56th Virginia. Tinsley stayed at the house of local farmer John F. Currens, adjacent to the mill. [The mill was identified as Mineral Mills on the 1858 map of Adams County. At some point Kemper was moved to a room in Currens’ house.]
July 4. Lieutenant Colonel John Thomas Ellis of the 19th Virginia died in the morning, never having regained consciousness. He was buried in his overcoat and blanket by his brother-in-law, 2nd Lieutenant David S. Garland of Company H, 19th Virginia, under an apple tree in Currens’ orchard; Rev. Perkins [?] performed the service. In the afternoon, Tinsley oversaw the burial of Maj. Wilson, wrapped in a blanket with his sword beside him, under a walnut tree on the slope of a hill fronting Currens’ house, just as a pelting rain commenced. 1st Sergeant Lucien S. Jones of Company F, 19th Virginia died from a wound in the bowels. Surgeon Edward Rives, 28th Virginia, was left in charge of the division hospital, joined by Surg. Alexander S. Grigsby, 1st Virginia; Surg. T. P. Mayo, 3rd Virginia; and Assistant Surg. William S. Nowlin, 38th Virginia. Tinsley and the surgeons pitched their tents in Currens’ yard and took their meals in his house with food they had supplied. A servant girl named Mary prepared the meals; Mrs. Currens was absent.
July 5. Lieutenant Charles B. Griffin of the Salem Artillery visited the hospital, which then held 250 patients. Tinsley attempted to visit his brother [in the Second Corps], but the latter was occupied on the skirmish line. He saw Maj. Gen. Jubal Early and his aide, Lt. A. L. Pitzer, who returned with Tinsley to visit Gen. Kemper. [Pitzer had assisted Union Maj. Gen. Barlow on July 1.] Kemper also received a visit by his brigade surgeon, Charles B. Morton. Kemper expected to die – a coffin had been sent by a quartermaster and his valuables (except his watch) already given to others. [Kemper lived until 1885.] About 1 p.m., a Federal battery opened up a half mile from the hospital, firing at Confederate pickets approximately a half mile west of the hospital. An hour later New Jersey soldiers [Torbert’s brigade] of the Union Sixth Corps arrived; they were “very polite and kind.” Corps commander Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick visited Gen. Kemper. Tinsley also saw Brig. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren, Chief of Engineers. Both generals promised to send medical supplies immediately.
July 6. Tinsley accompanied Surg. Grigsby into town to obtain supplies. Federal Chief Surgeon Henry Janes told them to draw on him for all commissary and medical supplies. [Janes had overall charge of hospitals in and around Gettysburg once Jonathan Letterman departed with the army, and he stayed until the early winter.] Tinsley and Grigsby also met a Russian captain assigned to Gen. Meade’s staff.
July 7. Tinsley walked over the battlefield with Asst. Surg. B. C. Hamilton, 24th Virginia, and found the dead nearly all buried. Afterwards, Tinsley called on Gen. Kemper.
July 8. Tinsley buried Private Cleophas A. Loving of Company C, 8th Virginia, who died of a wound in the bowels. Surg. Mayo and others went into town.
July 9. Tinsley accompanied Surg. Rives into town for supplies. They met Captain Rankin, post quartermaster, who forwarded an abundant supply of bacon, crackers, tea, coffee, sugar, rice, brandy, etc.
July 10. Tinsley joined Surg. Mayo and Asst. Surg. Nowlin, accompanied by ten male nurses, to visit Pickett’s wounded in Federal field hospitals. They met female doctors [?] from the North, of whom Tinsley wrote disapprovingly for their alleged lack of modesty, contrasting them unfavorably with the “Maryland ladies” who visited their hospital [see also https://civilwartalk.com/threads/ba...te-wounded-at-gettysburg.179418/#post-2331237]
July 11. Tinsley accompanied Asst. Surg. B. C. Harrison, 56th Virginia, on a visit to a field hospital and returned to find Mr. Spalding (“brother of the Yankee major”) with Dr. Laird, their family physician. [Major Israel Putnam Spalding of the 141st Pennsylvania was wounded in the Peach Orchard and subsequently taken to a Confederate field hospital. He died on July 28, with his brother Hanson Spalding by his side.] Private Joseph Huffman of Company C, 28th Virginia, cooked for Tinsley and the surgeons. Coffee was supplied to their hospital by the Christian Mission and the Sanitary Commission.
June 12, Sunday. Tinsley held a short service at the mill for Armistead’s brigade, and in the afternoon in the orchard for the other brigades. A Pennsylvania militia captain visited the hospital to identify patients for removal. Gen. Kemper was annoyed by curious civilians who came to gawk at the Confederate wounded.
July 13. Tinsley baptized Private John James Fore, Company H, 18th Virginia, and in the evening sat with Gen. Kemper, who seemed to be improving. [Fore survived the war.]
July 14. Mrs. [illegible] of Baltimore visited the Breams mill hospital. She arrived in a buggy driven by a “she doctor” who said she practiced medicine near Chambersburg.
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