Gettysburg Hospital Sites Gets Signs, Tour
GETTYSBURG, Pa. - In a cooperative effort between Historic Gettysburg-Adams
County (HGAC) and The Hospital and Healthsystem Association
of Pennsylvania, 17 Union and 18 Confederate Civil War hospital
signs have been erected at sites which were known to have served
as field hospitals after the Battle of Gettysburg.
A "field" hospital was, as the name suggests, a place
in the battlefield area, such as barns, shops, homes, schools
and churches, which were used to give medical attention to the
While the battle lasted three days in July 1863, the pain and
suffering of wounded in Gettysburg continued into October when
the last field hospital, Camp Letterman, was closed.
As remembered by local citizens, rapid death was in many ways
more merciful than waiting for infection or pneumonia to slowly
take its toll. Nurses of the Patriot Daughters of Lancaster
noted in their diaries that the many hours thinking of family,
mothers, wives and children must have brought some small comfort
to those facing inevitable death.
A tour booklet titled "Gettysburg Civil War Field Hospital
Tour" prepared by HGAC gives tour instructions and distances
and times for those wishing to visit the hospital sites. The
booklet has more than 40 pages of illustrations showing each
sign and the site, four maps, archive photos and an index.
A typical entry is that for Union Hospital 17, the Hugh Culbertson
Farm: "Situated on Carrolls Tract Road between Cashtown
and Fairfield, this house was used as a hospital for the 6th
Cavalry. On July 3, 1863, the rear guard of the Confederate
Cavalry and the 6th Union Cavalry skirmished in this area. Private
George Platt, Troop II, of the 6th Cavalry saved the Union Colors,
was promoted to Sergeant, and awarded the Medal of Honor."
Board members Dick Miller, Jim Neely, Dave English and John
Shuss were instrumental in carrying out the tour project. Copies
of the 56-page brochure are available from board members or
through the HGAC office at P.O. Box 4611, Gettysburg, PA 17325;