The last few weeks I’ve been sharing details about the United States Sanitary Commission and the United States Christian Commission and their work during the American Civil War. So the natural question is: what did they bring to Gettysburg?
I Have In My Hands A List
Well, here’s a list of supplies received by 1 corps hospital during a 10 day period. Keep in mind that there were about 10 corps hospitals at Gettysburg…and smaller field hospitals too. All irreverent comments in (parenthesis) are mine and certainly not in the original list.
Dried fruit – 3,500 lbs.
Lemons – 116 boxes (time to make lemonade? No, seriously, that’s what they were for)
Preserved fish (probably dried) – 3,600 lbs.
Catsup – 43 jars (that’ll go well with hot dogs – sorry, re-enactor joke)
Pickles – 400 gallons (I’ll pass, thanks…)
Canned oysters – 72 cans
Fresh eggs – 8,500 dozen (so that’s 102,000 eggs, if I understand correctly)
Concentrated milk – 12,500 lbs.
Ice – 20,000 lbs.
Fresh bread – 10,300 loaves
Crates of medicines, such as: aloe, alum, ammonia water, calomel, camphor, laudanum, & quinine
Shirts, drawers, and other clothing – 40,000 pieces (the ladies have been busy sewing!)
Sheets, blankets, mosquito nets – 11,700
Towels and napkins – 10,000
Sponges – 2,399 (love the precise counting!)
Bandages – 110 barrels (how many in a barrel is a mysterious question)
soap – 250 lbs.
crutches – 1,200 pairs
fans – 3,500 (this is the air-conditioning, guys)
bay rum – 100 bottles
candles – 350 lbs.
(This list is from “A Vast Sea of Misery” by G.A. Coco, page xvi)
So what do you think? Was the USSC and USCC successful? My mind is spinning trying to imagine collecting, transporting and distributing all that stuff to just 1 field hospital!
Maybe the better question is what didn’t they bring to Gettysburg?
P.S. What’s your favorite item on the list?