Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

PITTSBURGHERS GO SOUTH TO TEND TO THE WOUNDED [Corrected 06/30/12] Series: EYEWITNESS

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

PITTSBURGHERS GO SOUTH TO TEND TO THE WOUNDED [Corrected 06/30/12] Series: EYEWITNESS

Article excerpt

When citizens of Pittsburgh financed two relief ships to care for casualties after the Battle of Shiloh, the doctors and nurses on board "recognized every soldier of the army of the Union as our own."

That policy contrasted the medical efforts sponsored by other communities. "All the boats which had preceded us specified as the objects of their relief, troops of a particular State," businessman Felix R. Brunot wrote in The Daily Pittsburgh Gazette on May 6, 1862. "Some refused to take the sick, their aid being meant only for the wounded."

When the steamships Marango and J.W. Hallman arrived, appropriately enough, at Pittsburgh Landing, Tenn., on April 16, the health care staff began to care for everyone. Every soldier, "whether sick or wounded, [was] entitled to our gratitude and such aid as we could give," Brunot wrote.

Born in 1820 and trained as a civil engineer, Brunot earned his fortune in grain milling and steel making. During the Civil War he turned his attentions to relief of soldiers. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton issued a pass to Brunot "which permitted him to go through the lines at all places to take charge of hospital work," according to writer John Newton Boucher, the author of "A Century and a Half of Pittsburg and Her People."

Army officials ordered the Marango to travel about four miles farther downstream on the Tennessee River to pick up sick and wounded soldiers at Crump's Landing. The Pittsburgh team's ship pulled up next to a hospital barge.

"The barge was crowded with men in all stages of diseases -- some lying on bunks or cots, many on the floor -- with inadequate attendance, no suitable food, almost no medicines and not the slightest approach to the comforts which render sickness tolerable," Brunot wrote. "The atmosphere of the place was so laden with exhalations from the sick as to repel the more timid of our company . …

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