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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Gettysburg in Adams County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Camp Letterman

 
 
Camp Letterman Marker image. Click for full size.
By Karl Stelly, April 30, 2019
1. Camp Letterman Marker
Inscription.  Bordering Sheetz in front of you is Camp Letterman Drive, named after one of the largest field hospitals of the Civil War. The hospital was located on about 80 acres of the George Wolf farm, one-half mile west of where you are standing. Why such a huge medical encampment?

On July 3, 1863, at the close of the Battle of Gettysburg, thousands of wounded Union and Confederate soldiers remained behind as the armies withdrew. The wounded were scattered about in numerous temporary field hospitals, and on July 5th Dr. Jonathan Letterman, Medical Director of the Army of the Potomac received orders to "...establish a general hospital at Gettysburg for the wounded that cannot be moved..."

Dr. Letterman chose the Wolf farm as an advantageous site because of its high ground, abundant spring water, and close proximity to the York Road and Gettysburg Railroad. Row after row of tents were pitched, drainage ditches dug, cooking, supply, and sanitary facilities installed, surgeons and nurses brought in, and soon the first of over 4,000 patients were received at historic Camp Letterman.

On August 17, 1863 Gettysburg's newspaper
Camp Letterman Marker image. Click for full size.
By Karl Stelly, May 6, 2019
2. Camp Letterman Marker
This view is towards the northwest, with the marker near the center of frame. Camp Letterman Drive is the street behind the marker.
reported: "Everything is being done to relieve and soothe the suffering...Deaths do daily occur, but from the severity of many wounds, this cannot be prevented."

Camp Letterman was closed on November 20, 1863, the day after President Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery. Sophronia Buklin, one of approximately 40 female nurses at Camp Letterman, describes in her diary the closing of the camp: "...the hospital tents were removed—each bare and dust-trampled space marking where corpses had lain after death-agony was passed, and where the wounded had groaned in pain. Tears filled my eyes....So many of them I had seen depart to the silent land, so many I had learned to respect."
 
Erected 2019.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial SitesScience & MedicineWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln series list.
 
Location. 39° 50.641′ N, 77° 11.95′ W. Marker is near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in Adams County. Marker is on Camp Letterman Drive south of Lincoln Highway (U.S. 30), on the left when traveling south. The marker is on the edge of the parking
Camp Letterman Marker image. Click for full size.
By Karl Stelly, May 6, 2019
3. Camp Letterman Marker
This view is taken from across the street (Camp Letterman Drive), showing the Sheetz Store and the marker.
lot for the Sheetz Gas Station & Convenience Store. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 30 Camp Letterman Drive, Gettysburg PA 17325, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Location of Field Hospitals (approx. 0.4 miles away); Lincoln's Gettysburg Speech (approx. 0.4 miles away); "The sight of blood never again affected me" (approx. half a mile away); "His recovery . . . is yet considered doubtful" (approx. half a mile away); a different marker also named Camp Letterman (approx. half a mile away); W.H. Monfort Farm (approx. 0.6 miles away); Garber's Battery - Jones's Artillery Battalion (approx. 0.9 miles away); Tanner's Battery - Jones's Artillery Battalion (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gettysburg.
 
Portion of Camp Letterman, View Towards Gettysburg image. Click for full size.
By Tyson Brothers, 1863
4. Portion of Camp Letterman, View Towards Gettysburg
General Hospital, Gettysburg, August, 1863 Library of Congress [LC-B8184-5350]
Surgery Scene at Camp Letterman image. Click for full size.
Photo by P.S. Weaver; Photo courtesy of Gettysburg National Military Park
5. Surgery Scene at Camp Letterman
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 23, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 1, 2019, by Karl Stelly of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 136 times since then and 49 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on May 2, 2019, by Karl Stelly of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.   2, 3. submitted on May 7, 2019, by Karl Stelly of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.   4. submitted on May 3, 2019, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   5. submitted on May 7, 2019, by Karl Stelly of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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Oct. 28, 2020