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Monday, June 3, 2013

The Wounded Left at Gettysburg

By Alfred Jay Bollet, M.D.
 
[Medical Director of the Army of the Potomac, Major Jonathan] Letterman calculated that 14,193 wounded were collected and cared for during the battle. In addition, he reported that 6,802 Confederates "fell into our hands" after the battle. These men were among the most seriously wounded, and had been left behind, too ill to be transported, when the Confederate army retreated across the Potomac. Many Confederate surgeons stayed behind to help care for them.
 
With nearly 21,000 wounded soldiers to treat, the surgeons working in Union medical facilities at Gettysburg labored day and night, completely overwhelmed. "I worked until three o'clock in the morning," wrote Surgeon Peltier of the 126th New York (3rd Division), "then slept about an hour on the ground among the wounded."
 
Excerpted from: Civil War Medicine: Challenges and Triumphs
 
IMAGE: Louisiana State Monument, Gettysburg
 

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