Gangrene and Glory: Medical Care during the American Civil War

By Frank R. Freemon | Go to book overview

BY SPRING 1865 EVERYONE, NORTH AND SOUTH, knew that the end was near. Sherman was loose in the Carolinas. The city of Mobile was about to fall. The Confederates waited for the great spring offensive in Virginia that would end their experiment at nationhood. Each soldier waited, hoping that he would not be the last casualty of the War.

During winter 1864/65 the Army of the Potomac grew stronger. Reinforcements arrived from the North: more black troops, more drafted men. Each division constructed its own field hospital, housing the patients in large tents. New rail lines connected the field hospitals to the small port of City Point. At that location, a complex of warehouses, supply depots, and hospitals, all temporary wooden structures, sprouted up like spring buds. The medical authorities of the Army of the Potomac supervised the construction of six thousand new hospital beds at City Point. Medical Director McParlin and his colleagues were

A series of tent hospitals were erected behind the fortification lines around Petersburg. This drawing from Harper's
Weekly
shows ambulances bringing wounded to the field hospital of the 1st division, Ninth Corps. HW

-181-

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