Woman's Work in the Civil War: A Record of Heroism, Patriotism and Patience

By L. P. Brockett; Mary C. Vaughan | Go to book overview

THE HOSPITAL CORPS AT THE NAVAL ACADEMY HOSPITAL, ANNAPOLIS.

THOUGH the Naval Academy buildings at Annapolis had been used for hospital purposes, from almost the first months of the war, they did not acquire celebrity, or accommodate a very large number of patients until August, 1863, when Surgeon Vanderkieft took charge of it, and it received great numbers of the wounded men from Gettysburg. As the number of these was reduced by deaths, convalescence and discharge from the army, their places were more than supplied by the returning prisoners, paroled or discharged, from Libby, Belle Isle, Andersonville, Millen, Salisbury, Florence and Wilmington. These poor fellows under the horrible cruelties, systematically practiced by the rebel authorities, with the avowed intention of weakening the Union forces, had been starved, frozen, maimed and tortured until they had almost lost the semblance of humanity, and one of the noble women who cared for them so tenderly, states that she often found herself involuntarily placing her hand upon her cheek to ascertain whether their flesh was like hers, human and vitalized. The sunken hollow cheeks, the parchment skin drawn so tightly over the bones, the great, cavernous, lackluster eyes, the half idiotic stare, the dreamy condition, the loss of memory even of their own names, and the wonder with which they regarded the most ordinary events, so strange to them after their long and fearful experience, all made them seem more like beings from some other world, than inhabitants of this. Many

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