Camp Letterman The Very Dregs of the Battle by Glen Hayes
from the Loyal Legion Historical Journal - Fall 2018 (see pages 10-11)
Love, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage or by the removal of the patient from the influences under which he incurred the disorder.
The Battle of Gettysburg was fought from July 1 to July 3, 1863 resulting in 51,000 casualties. When the armies left Gettysburg, more than 20,000 wounded soldiers were left behind in field hospitals, churches, schools, private homes, and elsewhere. In the three weeks that followed the battle, the Union medical department put forth an herculean effort to ready 16,000 of the wounded to be transported by rail to hospitals in various towns and cities.
However, the condition of more than 4,000 Union and Confederate wounded was too serious to travel. A decision was made that if the wounded could not be sent to a hospital, then a hospital would be brought to the wounded.
Camp Letterman General Hospital, named for Dr. Jonathan Letterman, Medical Director of the Army of the Potomac, would be set up about a mile from Gettysburg. Although the hospital would consist of tents instead of buildings, it would be run the same as a general hospital operating in a permanent structure. It would be the first general hospital located on a battlefield….