(Kathy’s A to Z blog posts are tidbits of fact gleaned from her research for her historical fiction novel LIKE A RIVER.)
During the American Civil War, hospitals were set up where they were needed, close to the battlefield. Surgeons’ tents were kept busy, and cities of tents sometimes sprung up to house the wounded.
Armies also took over churches, schools, and even private homes to tend to the wounded. After a huge battle like Gettysburg, nearly every building in town sheltered wounded from one army or the other.
|A private residence appropriated to house injured and sick soldiers.|
Amputations were frequent. It was the only known way to deal with severe wounds 150 years ago. Without knowledge of germs as a cause of infection, the same surgeon’s tool was used on dozens of patients without being cleaned. Many amputees died as a result, but 50,000 survived.
The hospital in my novel was inspired by Confederate Colonel Alfred Shorter’s home in Rome, GA. Originally used as a hospital for Confederate wounded, the Union Army used the mansion for their own wounded after they invaded Rome in spring of 1864.
When I toured the mansion, it was a school. Plans were being made to restore parts of it to its antebellum state. I’d like to make a return trip to see how it looks now.