Letters from a Civil War Surgeon

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9781882190638: Letters from a Civil War Surgeon
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Dr. Child'ss is a writer of wit, humor, candor, understanding, emotion and fact. His letters to his wife take us into the Civil War, into his time, as we relive most of the major battles, the struggles, and are given special insights into the politics. As a witness to the assassination of Lincoln he writes an eyewitness account that leaves you speechless.

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About the Author:

Dr. Child was born at Bath, NH, on February 24, 1834. He received the usual education in the modest school near his home. He entered Dartmouth Medical School in 1854, graduating in 1857. After his graduation, he began a practice in his native town of Bath. In August, 1862, he was commissioned assistant surgeon of the Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers and later surgeon of that regiment; as such he served with marked ability until the close of the war, and was often called to accompany dangerous and difficult expeditions. He was present at every battle from South Mountain and Antietam to Deep River and Reams Station. At the close of the war he was division surgeon, and was discharged with the regiment.

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"Yesterday passed over a battlefield - how terrible - awful." Harpers Ferry, Sept. 16, 1862.

"Day before yesterday I dressed the wounds of 64 different men - some having two or three each ... today I am completely exhausted ... the days after the battle are a thousand times worse than the day of the battle ... The odor from the battlefield and hospitals is almost insupportable." Hospital near Antietam, Sept. 22/25, 1862.

"There are 75 dead of our regiment out of 250 ... (many) others were wounded ... Ned Carleton is undoubtedly dead ... I saw and conversed with a man who was wounded by the same same shell. He said (Ned's) blood and brains flew all over him." Fredericksburg, Va., Dec. 18, 1862.

"I tell you I laid close when the shells were pouring over into our line. The bullets rattled like hail in the oak trees." Near Falmouth, Va., May 7, 1863.

"I have been over the field today. I will not attempt to describe the horrors of a battle field. It has been one of the severest of the war. Dead men and horses cover the field three miles long and one mile wide. The stench is awful, the rebs fought desperately, but we have the victory this time. The cannonading still continues in the distance." From a camp near Gettysburg, Penn. July 5, 1863.

"How soon the year has gone. But how many changes during the year. Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Brandy Station, Thoroughfare Gap, Gettysburg, Falling Waters are places that will ever be fresh in my memory." Point Lookout, Md., Nov. 26, 1863.

"As I write this I can hear a ball whizz by." Petersburg, Va., Oct. 4, 1864.

"My dear wife: Wild dreams and real facts are but brothers. This night I have seen the murder of the President of the United States... Just at the close of an interesting scene, a sharp quick report of a pistol was heard and instantly a man jumped from the box in which was the president, to the stage - and rushing across the stage made his escape. This I saw and heard. I was in the theatre - and sat opposite the President's box. The assassin exclaimed as he leaped 'Sic Semper Tyrannis' - Thus always to tyrants." Washington D.C., April 14, 1865.

"I could not sleep last night. The wild scene of last night will never be forgotten by me. I shall remember the fiend like expression of the assassin's face while I live." Washington D.C., April 15, 1865.

"As soon as I could make my way through the confused, excited and almost frantic crowd, I went around to the President's box [and] asked if I could be of any assistance. The reply was - "No, as his own physicians and others are already with him." The curtains at the entrance of the box were partly drawn and I could see the bleeding, lifeless form of our beloved President stretched out in an easy chair, while his wife sobbing and fainting knelt on the floor by his side. One glance was enough. God grant I may never see such a sight again." From Dr. Child's narrative dictated in 1915.

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