‘Blue, Gray & Crimson’ In The News

There’s an excited author at Gazette665 this morning! Here’s the official media release about my book from Christian Newswire.

‘Blue, Gray and Crimson’ by Sarah Kay Bierle Presents an Unforgettable Civilian Story of Gettysburg

TEMECULA, Calif., July 27, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — Sarah Kay Bierle’s new novel, “Blue, Gray & Crimson: A Story of Civilian Courage at Gettysburg” will educate and inspire young readers and their families as it brings the American Civil War to life.

Blue, Gray & CrimsonBierle’s first book, released earlier in July, offers her unique perspective on the civilian heroes of the Civil War and shines a light on their valor and bravery. Published as historical fiction, Bierle describes her novel as “a story in which the main characters are fictional, but are surrounded by and interacting with real historical figures, settings, and events in a way that accurately reflects the societal norms of the era.”

Bierle’s extensive research unearthed the real life experiences of Gettysburg civilians. When asked by an inquirer how she researched the facts about the American Civil War and Gettysburg, Bierle responded, “I spent eight months studying Gettysburg civilians, the town and countryside, the battle, certain military units, the care of the wounded, the aftermath of the battle, the building of the National Cemetery, and the events surrounding Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.” She continued, “I used approximately thirty books on the subjects, reliable websites, and sources from Gettysburg National Military Park research library.”

Sarah Kay Bierle is a historian, writer, and living history enthusiast who has wanted to write books since she penned a first sketch of “Blue, Gray & Crimson” at the age of nine. Bierle was homeschooled from kindergarten through high school, completed an accelerated distance learning program for college, and graduated from Thomas Edison State College with a BA in History.

When asked why parents should buy “Blue, Gray & Crimson” for their children, Bierle replied, “This book presents historically accurate information through an unforgettable story of courage and faith. Using real, likeable fictional characters, the story emphasizes traditional family values and positive character qualities to encourage, teach, and entertain young readers.”

While “Blue, Gray & Crimson” is a historical fiction novel, it reminds readers that God is their refuge and strength…no matter what happens. Even when a peaceful world explodes with battle, chaos, and confusion, God is still there; He still cares for His children, and He has a purpose.

“Blue, Gray & Crimson” is available online at the author’s website Gazette665, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Order your signed copy today through Gazette665’s Blue, Gray & Crimson Page.

Your Historian (and Author),

Miss Sarah

P.S. Have a great day…and Back to Gettysburg blog series continues tomorrow. ūüôā

 

It’s Official – Blue, Gray & Crimson Is Now Available!

Blue, Gray & Crimson: A Story of Civilian Courage at GettysburgLooking for some easy, insightful summer reading? A family read-aloud? A Civil War story for next school year?

Blue, Gray & Crimson: A Story of Civilian Courage at Gettysburg is one of the first historical fiction novels to focus on the civilian experience in the Gettysburg countryside. (Most Gettysburg fiction has a military or town setting.)

I spent eight months researching Gettysburg civilians, the battle, and the aftermath before I put pen to paper (or hands to keyboard!). And I’m pleased to share the historical facts in an easy to read, entertaining form.

Readers will meet a fourteen year old girl and her family and witness their shock, horror, and confusion as the Battle of Gettysburg explodes on their doorstep. Themes of courage, strong faith, and self-less actions present admirable character qualities throughout the story.

Learn more about the story, the history, and the author HERE!

Blue, Gray & Crimson is available through Amazon and Barnes&Noble.com. Signed copies are available through Gazette665 – CLICK HERE!

Your Historian (and Author),

Miss Sarah

P.S. Questions about the book, research, or writing? I’d be happy to answer any questions in the comments!

 

 

The 27th Indiana: Bayonets & Flags

d8c1363aa70247346cfade826dac980a

No Copyright Infringement Intended. (http://www.history.army.mil/html/bookshelves)

Then they charged forward with fixed bayonets. The¬†Union flag unfurled and fluttered in the breeze made by the forward rush. It was a desperate attempt…

No, this isn’t the story of the 20th Maine. (You can read my thoughts on that here.) This is the story of the 27th Indiana Infantry at Gettysburg. One of the fictional soldiers in Blue, Gray & Crimson is in the 27th Indiana, so warning! This may contain a slight spoiler to the story. (Don’t worry I’m not giving away any key point to the plot, just some historical details!)

The Regiment: Fighting Record & Fun Facts

Mustered into the service on September 12, 1861 (exactly 5 months after the start of the Civil War), the 27th Indiana Infantry consisted mostly of farm boys from the countryside or young men from small towns. Prior to Gettysburg, the regiment fought at Battle of Front Royal, Battle of Newtown, First Battle of Winchester, Battle of Cedar Mountain, Battle of Antietam, and Battle of Chancellorsville. They also had their fair share of roundabout marching and “boring” life in camp.

Some of the regiment members were exceptionally tall; one man was 6 ft. 10 in.! (Remember the average height of the Civil War soldier was 5 ft. 8 in.) A couple of these Indiana soldiers found General Lee’s Special (Lost) Orders 191 during the Antietam Campaign, which provided valuable information to the Union generals.

The 27th had a fierce fighting record going into Gettysburg. They had held the cornfield at Antietam, a highly contested piece of ground. They had stopped a Confederate advance at Chancellorsville, giving other Union regiments time to reform. By the end of the war, the 27th would be in the top 20 regiments with highest losses.

27th Indiana Monument at Gettysburg (http://gettysburg.stonesentinels.com/union-monuments/indiana/27th-indiana/)

27th Indiana Monument at Gettysburg (http://gettysburg.stonesentinels.com/ union-monuments /indiana/27th-indiana/)

Gettysburg: A New Testing of Courage

So the men of the 27th were experienced fighters by July 1863. As part of the Union XII Corps, they took a position on Culp’s Hill on July 2nd and worked on building fortifications throughout that day.

In the early evening, with Union lines collapsing to the south, commanding generals were grabbing any available troops and hustling them down to the fighting. The brigade the 27th belonged to was ordered down to the Peach Orchard area. But somebody forgot to give them good directions and they got lost, therefore arriving too late to be thrown into that fight. In the twilight, the men turned around to march back to Culp’s Hill.

But there’d been some excitement in their absence. The Confederates had attacked and now had taken up residence in the fortifications. Night fighting increased in the darkness, but eventually faded. Regiment commanders plotted a counterattack.

The Charge: Heroic…But Unsuccessful

The next morning (July 3) the shooting began at daybreak. Union troops partially regained the lost ground, but the 27th and other regiments in the same brigade found themselves in the woods along Rock Creek, sort of northeast of Spangler Spring.

Across the creek, Confederate sharpshooters sniped at the regiment, until the Union commander convinced some artillerymen to lob a few shots that direction. The day progressed with Confederate attacks on other parts of the Culp’s Hill line. In front of the 27th Indiana, some Confederate regiments had set up a line across an open meadow and behind a stonewall.

This is the 27th marker in the meadow. The photo looks toward where the Confederate lines would have been. (http://gettysburg.stonesentinels.com/union-monuments/indiana/27th-indiana/)

This is the 27th marker in the meadow. The photo looks toward where the Confederate lines would have been. (http://gettysburg.stonesentinels.com/union-monuments/indiana/27th-indiana/)

Some Union commanders still hadn’t figured out that front attacks rarely worked and ordered two regiments into the field to drive away the Rebels. The chosen regiments were the 2nd Massachusetts and the 27th Indiana. The men from Massachusetts went first, the Indiana soldiers followed, rushing into across the open meadow.

The 27th charged farthest into the field. (Today, there is a stone marker showing their location). They held their line, exchanged fire with the Confederates. The Union flag changed hands almost constantly as flag-bearer after flag-bearer was shot. Eventually, seeing the hopelessness of success, the officers withdrew the regiment.

The rest of the day passed with skirmishing for the 27th. They did not repulse Pickett’s Charge, but rather maintained their position in the Culp’s Hill area. However, their difficulties that day were not over. The Confederates sniped at anyone venturing into the open field, making it impossible to remove or aid the wounded. This was a terrible situation for the injured men, and it must have been equally horrible for the survivors to see and hear their comrades pleas for aid and be unable to give relief or comfort.

After The Battle: Forgotten?

On the night of July 3, the Confederates retreated from the Culp’s Hill area. The wounded of the 27th Indiana were removed to nearby XII Corp field hospitals. The dead were buried.

And then the regiment departed with the rest of the Union army in a futile pursuit of Lee’s Confederates.

Years later the veterans of the regiment would return and dedicate memorials and position markers for their regiment, but this unit has been almost forgotten, except in the detailed texts.

That’s changing. I don’t want this regiment to be “lost and forgotten.” Here’s a sneak preview from the book:

‚ÄúOur regiment got farther into the field. The fire was dreadful. I saw our flag, torn with bullets, fall from the bearers‚Äô hands as they were shot, but I thought that flag was worth fighting for.‚Ä̬† ~Sergeant Edward Morten, 27th Indiana Infantry

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

P.S. What do you think? A new regiment of heroes? I’d like to hear your opinions!

 

 

 

 

Beyond The 20th Maine

I have something to confess. I committed sacrilege in the Gettysburg historical community. How? I didn’t write about (or even mention) Colonel J. L. Chamberlain or the 20th Maine regiment in my book.

gettysburg-1993-12I know, it seems unbelievable. And for your information, I have seen the movie Gettysburg, I have stood at the 20th Maine position on Little Round Top, and – being a young woman who’s not blind – I’ve swooned (a little) over The Colonel’s photos. So how did the un-imaginable, “horrifying” act of sacrilege happen?

Well, let me share three things I learned while reading a good-size stack of Gettysburg military books. And at the end of the article, I’ll share the regiments of the soldiers who interact with the civilians in my story.

1. The 20th Maine Was Not The Only Regiment At Gettysburg

We know this. (Or at least we think we do!) But¬†I just LOVE – that’s sarcasm, there folks – how¬†Every. Single. Book. published since about 1994 mentions the 20th Maine and the¬†crucially dramatic fight on the Union’s left flank. It’s everywhere; the children’s books, the YA books, the¬†large 3 inch thick history books. Chamberlain, Chamberlain, Chamberlain, 20th Maine, 20th Maine, 20th Maine.

However, the interesting thing? Chamberlain himself acknowledged that¬†without the rest of the brigade – gracious, without the rest of the Union army – the battle wouldn’t have been won. (See I¬†have read his writings!) Little Round Top wouldn’t have mattered if the 1st Minnesota hadn’t kept¬†the Rebels off Cemetery Ridge. Little Round Top wouldn’t have mattered¬†if the XI Corps hadn’t held onto to Cemetery Hill. And hey, why don’t we ever hear much about the units on Culp’s Hill, which was the right flank of the Union line? If they’d collapsed, Chamberlain would’ve really been in a mess. (Though he’d probably have said something like¬†“Bayonet them both ways” – apologies to General Forrest for misusing his¬†quote.)

So, there were hundreds of regiments holding the Gettysburg line. Many played a significant role in the defensive battle. And yes, there were other bayonet charges!

391px-Gettysburg_Battle_Map_Day2

I’ve circled Culp’s Hill on the map

2. The¬†Union’s Right Flank¬†Was Far More Significant¬†Than Most¬†Of Us Realize

If you’d asked me when I was 14 about the¬†Union right flank at Gettysburg, I could’ve told you it was¬†on Culp’s Hill…and not much else. After all, most of the action was on the left flank with the 20th¬†Maine, right? Wrong. Here’s what I learned later on –

Culp’s Hill (see map) was very important to the Union line. It was guarding their escape route, down Baltimore Pike. (Fortunately, General Meade never had to issue escape orders.) It was also guarding the rear of the Union position.

One startling reality for the Culp’s Hill fighting is that it lasted significantly longer than left flank conflict. Artillery fire¬†toward the right flank¬†began in the late afternoon of July 2, then faded off after a couple hours; the attacks disintegrated into confused night fighting, paused, and then exploded for another six hours of battle in the morning of July 3.

Keep in mind that artillery wasn't real effective on Culp's Hill - so this tree was shot down by bullets. This photo gives a dramatic example of how metal was flying through the air during this infantry fight.

Keep in mind that artillery wasn’t effective on Culp’s Hill – so this tree was probably¬†shot down by bullets. This photo gives a dramatic example of how metal was flying through the air during this infantry fight.

3. The Culp’s Hill¬†Conflict Is Unique At Gettysburg

As I’m writing this, I’m imagining the confused looks after that last heading, so let me explain. Culp’s Hill was densely wooded. True, the undergrowth had been cleared in previously years, so it was fairly “open”, but let’s just say it’d be hard to see the forest for the trees. All those trees meant something very significant – it was next to impossible to use artillery on this part of the battlefield. Culp’s Hill is an infantry – and infantry only – fight. No cavalry, limited, ineffective artillery. That’s very unique in the Gettysburg battle. (**Note: there was artillery around the Union right flank area, but as far as the attacks actually¬†on Culp’s Hill, it is insignificant.)

Another interesting development in the Union right flank lines is the intentional order to build fortifications. Okay, yes, all across Gettysburg battlefield men piled up fence rails or stones for some shelter. But, on Culp’s Hill, the generals actually gave orders for the men to dig and build fortifications. This is one of the first times in Civil War history that trenches are built during a battle. Unfortunately for the Union soldiers the entrenching tools (handy shovels and big axes) were in the supply wagons, which were still a long distance away, so they had to use their cups, plates, and bayonets to construct their shelters!

So…Culp’s Hill (like other places at Gettysburg) evolves into its own unique conflict and it really deserves more study and “limelight.”

The Lucky Regiments

I didn’t write about the 20th Maine in Blue, Gray & Crimson. I decided it was time for new regiments to get some attention or glory. How about the 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry, 27th Indiana, or 10th Virginia?

Since the book isn’t due for release for a few¬†more l…o…n…g weeks (Yes, I’m having trouble waiting too!), I thought I’d introduce you to the real regiments featured in the story. Hopefully, you’ll enjoying “meeting” the real units of the fictional characters who interact with the civilians.

So unfurl your Union flag and polish those bayonets because next week we’re making a bayonet charge with the 27th Indiana Infantry Regiment at Gettysburg.

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

P.S. What do you think? Time for some new regiments to have their recognized moment of glory? Or shall we continue watching the 20th Maine’s charge on replay?

(Where is my Gettysburg DVD anyway…that still¬†sounds like an interesting way to spend the evening!)

Mad at me about my tirade about Chamberlain? Okay, here’s my¬†four part series on that hero; Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

5 Myths About Civil War Medicine

Eight years ago the words “Civil War Medicine” sent me running the opposite direction. Those books weren’t touched with a 3 foot pole, and doctors at re-enactments were avoided like the plague. (I’m so glad I’ve been enlightened!)

Civil War Hospital Flag (Photo by Miss Sarah, Prado Park, 2015)

Civil War Hospital Flag (Photo by Miss Sarah, Prado Park, 2015)

Why am I telling you this? Because I have a pretty good guess that this topic might not be “interesting” to you. And I’d like to change your mind.

In the last two weeks, we’ve learned that one of the Gettysburg civilians’ main roles during the battle was taking care of the wounded, and we’ve learned how the injured soldiers arrived at the field hospital in the parlor. Today, I’m going to¬†discuss five myths surrounding Civil War medicine that I’ve heard or addressed during the last few years while doing presentations on the subject.

1. There Was No Painkiller (Other Than Whiskey)

FALSE

Real anesthetics – primarily chloroform and ether – were used routinely during surgical operations. However, doctors were not precisely certain when unconsciousness became death, therefore they only gave enough anesthetic so the patient would’t feel the pain; often times the soldier was semi-awake and might struggle if he didn’t want the operation.

In all the medical books I’ve read (no, I don’t need that 3 foot pole anymore; I actually buy the books by myself, horror!) I’ve never seen any references to “bite on this bullet while I cut off your arm.” Other historians’ findings agree with this.

After the surgery, if the supplies were available, there were other painkillers with names like laudanum or morphine. The former was usually administered orally, but morphine was often put directly in/on the wound. The scary thing: these medicines were highly addictive and some soldiers suffered the consequences for the rest of their lives. Safer herbal remedy were sometimes used when “traditional” supplies were not available, particularly in the South.

Civil War Minie Balls (Photo by Miss Sarah, Prado Park 2015)

Civil War Minie Balls (Photo by Miss Sarah, Prado Park 2015)

2. Amputation Was The Only Choice

FALSE

Many people have this idea that every wounded soldier landing on an operating table was going to have an amputation. (I’m reminded of my brother’s “helpful” comment: what do you do for a head injury?) Most of the surgeons actually performing operations were highly skilled. They would evaluate a patient’s injuries and make a decision from there.

Now, it must be admitted that most field hospital surgeries were amputations. Why? Because the weaponry had changed. During the Civil War, the troops were using rifles and Minie Balls – those bullet would come out of the rifle spinning at a high velocity and when they hit bone, that bone was shattered beyond repair.

Perhaps you’re thinking: I’ll revise my myth – all injuries to limbs resulted in amputation. Again, FALSE. At Gettysburg, there were injuries from falling off rocks or tripping on uneven ground; those soldiers’ limbs got splinted, not amputated.

3. A Soldier Was Most Likely To Die From A Battlefield Injury

FALSE

More soldiers died of disease during the Civil War than from bullets. Dysentery and malaria were the top culprits, followed by typhoid, measles, and other a host of other illnesses.

While doctors lectured the troops about keep the drinking water clean (I’m leaving that to your imagination; no details today), they had no idea what really caused illness. In fact, the illness Malaria comes from “Mal – Air” or “bad air.” Huh?

The medical field was still in the dark ages during the Civil War. Way back in Ancient Greece, Aristotle¬†had theorized that humans got sick because A) there was bad air or B) something was out of balance in the body. Thus, the cures were get away from the bad air…or bleed, blister, or purge the body to get the fluids back in balance. This is what the Civil War doctors believed and were practicing.

Ugh – you might be thinking you’d like to be the “lucky” soldier who gets a bullet wound, especially since there’s primitive anesthetic? Well, read on to the next myth…

4. Doctors Were Careful Not To Pass Germs From Patient To Patient

FALSE

Civil War Surgical Instruments (Photo by Miss Sarah, Prado Park 2015)

Civil War Surgical Instruments (Photo by Miss Sarah, Prado Park 2015)

Civil War doctors had no idea what germs were. Remember, according to their knowledge, people get sick because of bad air or improperly balanced body fluids.

While they did have an idea that wounds must be keep clean (sort of), they’d use the same sponge on multiple patients, pile on the unsterilized bandages, and give medicine from the same unwashed spoon. Surgical operating procedures were worse; the operating table wasn’t cleansed, the instruments were wiped hastily on already used cloth, and hands weren’t washed.

Often, the wounded soldier had a good chance of surviving an operation, but then he faced a new enemy: infection. Infection came in many disgusting forms in a hospital, and many soldiers who originally seemed to be recovering died from its effects. (I’ll spare you the details.)

Union Surgeon's Coat (Photo by Miss Sarah, Prado Park 2015)

Union Surgeon’s Coat (Photo by Miss Sarah, Prado Park 2015)

5. Doctors Were Unkind

FALSE

At an¬†initial glance from a Civil War soldier or a modern day historian, the doctors do look like butchers. But, digging deeper into primary sources by soldiers and doctors, reveals that these surgeons and other medical personnel had compassion and were doing the best they could in terrible situations. Of course amputating a limb or probing for a bullet was horribly disgusting, but these surgeons were doing the best they could to save their patient’s life. Sure, if you look hard enough, you’ll find an example of a terrible army surgeon, but the vast majority I’ve read about were strong, dedicated men.

The Union army left only 106 doctors in the Gettysburg area to care for approximately 21,000 men. Those doctors worked to the point of exhaustion. Some died after weeks of fighting to safe lives.

In the decades after the war, some doctors saw the advancement in the medical field and greatly regretted their limited knowledge during the Civil War. But, still, they did the best they could, and I believe they deserve a better legacy and more honor than they typically receive in general history books and popular perspective.

Conclusion

Well, I hope our myth-busting has been enlightening and not too graphic. I’m sure you’ll appreciate our modern medical skills, medicines, and facilities a little more. But, mostly, I hope you’ll have a new appreciation for the soldiers who were injured fighting for the heritage of our country and a greater respect for the surgeons who tried to heal them.

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

P.S. Which topic was most surprising to you? Any un-answered questions? I’d be happy to chat in the comments.

 

From Battlefield to Home

After detailing battle strategy and fierce fighting, many Gettysburg books come to a close with stark casualty numbers smoothed over by a quote from the Gettysburg Address. Often, there is no explanation of what happened to the wounded, the prisoners, or the dead.

What happened to a soldier at Gettysburg after he was wounded? How did he end up in a Gettysburg civilian’s home or barn? Today, we are exploring the¬†wounded soldier’s route from the battlefield to his home through the Letterman medical system.

Dr. Jonathan Letterman (and why he’s important)

Dr. Jonathan Letterman

Dr. Jonathan Letterman

When the American Civil War began in 1861, the medical departments on both sides were severely understaffed, but no worries – the war will only last 90 days, right? (Wrong.) The disastrous Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas) brought the reality of war to both sides, and, among other things, it revealed the inadequacy of the medical divisions.

During 1862, a skilled doctor with military experience was appointed medical director of the Union Army of the Potomac. His name was Jonathan Letterman, and he determined to improve the quality of care for the wounded/sick men. His advancements in military medical care logistics were so successful that they are still used today, though “updated” with modern technology.

Dr. Letterman founded the ambulance corps (these ambulances were horse or mule drawn wagons) and a system of battlefield evacuation, which included first aid, triage, mobile field hospitals, and base hospitals. Dr. Letterman’s evacuation system was pioneered at Antietam and was successful at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.

Gettysburg proved to be a challenge for Letterman’s medical system. Expecting another battle in the following days, the Army of the Potomac took most the ambulances and doctors along as it followed Lee’s army. Only 106 doctors were left in Gettysburg to care for approximately 21,000 wounded. However, the actual battlefield evacuation system worked well; it was afterward that the problems really started.

Don’t Forget The Confederates

In just a moment we’re going to “follow” a Union soldier through the Letterman Medical System, but I don’t want you to think the Confederates had no battlefield medicine plans.

The Confederate system was very similar to the Union’s, and they did have good doctors. Dr. Hunter McGuire is believed to have pioneered the use of ambulances during spring 1862 and if this is accurate, then he was using them before Dr. Letterman.

Unfortunately, the Confederate medical records were burned during the fires in Richmond (1865), so it’s hard to know exactly when they made changes and introduced new systems. Thus, we’ll use the Union perspective in this article.

A Wounded Union Soldier at Gettysburg

Wounded He tumbled to the ground as his left leg could not support his weight. He cried out in pain and frustration; the regiment moved forward, farther into that field. Glancing down, he saw blood coming from his left leg. He drank the last drops of water in his canteen and eased into a semi-comfortable position. Unlike some of his comrades who were staggering to the rear, he couldn’t move and would have to wait for help.

Civil War Wounded“First Aid Station” A short time later, some stretcher bearers came running from the little stand of trees a hundred yards back. They found him, hoisted him onto the wood and canvas stretcher and began to run back to shelter; a few bullets flew around them. After the horribly uncomfortable stretcher experience, he found himself behind a little rise of ground, shaded by some trees in this semi-protected area. Someone bandaged his leg – “You’ll lose the leg, but you’ll be alright. We’ll get you on an ambulance when they arrive.” Other men around him weren’t so lucky; the ones who could walk were told to head to the field hospital three miles back, others were badly wounded and died before the ambulances arrived.

Field Hospital The six men crowded into the ambulance breathed a sigh of relief when the bumpy wagon came to its final halt. He was hastily examined and placed in a row outside the door of a house. The sun beat down, then darkness came. Now, the surgeons in the parlor were working by lantern light. Not every doctor was a surgeon, only the most careful¬†and most qualified were on the surgical team at this brigade or division hospital; he was grateful for that. Then it was his turn. The table was wet, the pain was bad when the surgeons examined…then he didn’t remember much, the pain faded a little with the anesthetic. When he woke up, he was lying in a barn and his left leg had been amputated. He was thirsty. Hours and hours later, a frightened young girl brought him a cup of water and some food.¬†Feverish days passed.

Wounded soldiers in general hospital, American Civil WarGeneral Hospital By mid-July, the surgeons decided he was well enough to be moved to a general hospital farther east. He was loaded into an ambulance with five other men and taken to the Gettysburg train station. There, they were placed in empty boxcars and the train chugged slowly eastward. He ended up in Philadelphia, but he heard others were sent to Baltimore, New York, Washington, or other large towns. The general hospital consisted of large, long, wooden building called wards; there were beds with sheets, good food, consistent medicine, doctors, and nurses. With care, encouragement, and a healthy diet, he recovered.

Home He’d written to his family as soon as he could, but today he couldn’t believe it; he was almost home. The train slowed to a stop and he could see his parents. Carefully, balancing his crutches, he got up and hobbled off the train. He didn’t know what would happen next. Maybe when he was stronger and¬†the wound was completely healed, he could get a wooden limb. That would be better than using crutches all his life. But, he didn’t think about that. He was home. He’d gone from battlefield to home, and, receiving the best care possible, he had survived.

Conclusion

Dr. Letterman’s system of battlefield evacuation and hospital organization revolutionized military medicine and gave soldiers the best possible chance of survival.

Unfortunately for the Gettysburg civilians, this system required the requisitioning of their homes, barns, and property for the use of field hospitals. (See Town & Country for more information.)

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

P.S. Do you see the similarities between the Letterman System and the modern military system? What are some technological advancements which have helped to improve first-aid on the battlefield or in civilian life?