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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Richmond in Madison County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
 

Mt. Zion Church - Field Hospital

 
 
Mt. Zion Church - Field Hospital Marker image. Click for full size.
By Lee Hattabaugh, May 6, 2010
1. Mt. Zion Church - Field Hospital Marker
Inscription. THE SANCTUARY BECAME A SURGERY

On the day of the battle, August 30, 1862, the temperature hovered near 100 degrees. As the battle raged, ambulances drawn by sweating horses raced into the churchyard, bringing more and more casualties to Mt. Zion Church. By afternoon, this small churchyard was filled with men who were wounded, some dying, all awaiting medical attention.

Inside the church, where the doctors struggled to keep up with the flow of wounded, it was almost unbearably hot. In the sweltering church the doctors performed operation after operation, most of them amputations. The urgency of the battlefield and the state of medical science did not allow more sophisticated care. One Indiana soldier remembered seeing amputated arms and legs thrown from the south side rear window of this building to the yard outside.

Local residents, many of them members of the congregation, brought food and drink to the doctors and wounded at the church. All day, wagons came to the church. Some left filled with wounded men who were taken to local homes where they could recuperate. Others carried the bodies of the dead at the Richmond City Cemetery for burial.

THE DOCTORS WERE ILL PREPARED

Dr. Bernard J. D. Irwin, medical director, Union Army
Mt. Zion Church - Field Hospital Marker image. Click for full size.
By Lee Hattabaugh, May 6, 2010
2. Mt. Zion Church - Field Hospital Marker
When the wounded arrived, they were quickly divide into three groups, mortally wounded, the slightly wounded, and those requiring immediate attention. This scene from a Virginia battlefield was repeated at Mt. Zion Church.
of Kentucky, was charged with insuring that each regiment had the medical officers and supplies that would be needed if the army went into battle. the medical situation of the Army of Kentucky's regiment was grim. On his arrival in Lexington in late August 1862, Dr. Irwin found the medical corps as inexperienced as the men who were marching for battle. "[The] few medical officers...had neither medicines, instruments, ambulances, tents, or camp equipage, to enable them to perform their duties. With three exceptions the medical officers were inexperienced in service and had but vague ideas as to the extent or sphere of their duties."
 
Erected by Civil War Discovery Trail.
 
Location. 37° 40.414′ N, 84° 15.226′ W. Marker is near Richmond, Kentucky, in Madison County. Marker is on Battlefield Memorial Highway (U.S. 421) 0.8 miles south of Berea Road (U.S. 25), on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is on the grounds of the Mt. Zion Church. Marker is in this post office area: Richmond KY 40475, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Civil War Field Hospital (a few steps from this marker); Michigan Light Artillery Regiment / Batteries F and G (about 300 feet away, measured in a
Mt. Zion Church - Field Hospital Marker image. Click for full size.
By Lee Hattabaugh, May 6, 2010
3. Mt. Zion Church - Field Hospital Marker
Civil War medicine was appalling by our standards. Three of four battlefield operations was an amputation. Though surgeons were vaguely aware that clean conditions decreased the rate of infection, they did not know to sterilize their equipment! Between operations they often wiped their hands or equipment on their shirts or towels, spreading microbes from one patient to the next.
direct line); Union Artillery (about 400 feet away); The Confederates Crush The Union Left (approx. 0.2 miles away); Manson's First Line (approx. 0.2 miles away); Manson's Mistake (approx. half a mile away); A Reckless And Useless Charge (approx. half a mile away); Barnett Burial Ground (approx. half a mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Richmond.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
 
Categories. Science & MedicineWar, US Civil
 
Mt. Zion Church - Field Hospital Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, March 30, 2012
4. Mt. Zion Church - Field Hospital Marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Lee Hattabaugh of Capshaw, Alabama. This page has been viewed 1,049 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Lee Hattabaugh of Capshaw, Alabama.   4. submitted on , by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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