tv The Civil War Hospital Workers in Civil War America CSPAN May 5, 2018 3:53am-5:02am EDT
like to take a moment now to introduce our next speaker. dr. jane schulz. jane is a professor of english at indiana university purdue university indianapolis, where she has taught since 1988 and where she received the trustees 2016 andching award in establish faculty award in 2015. we believe this is really the first time that the museum and the symposium have included a professor of english on the program, but there's a reason for that. as you will see from the printed programs, dr. schulz is essentially an honorary historian and she has held adjunct appointments in her university's department of history and also in the department of medical humanities and health studies, american studies, women's studies, and philanthropic studies. her medical is works, published
programs and media appearances have been at the intersection of the disciplines of history, medicine, and literature. she has also served as a visiting professor in the school of nursing and the college of liberal arts and sciences at the university of connecticut, university of sydney, australia, and cambridge university, england. known in the civil war community as the author of "women at the front, female hospital workers in civil war america," buzzard and this published in 2004, a finalist for the lincoln prize. her program today is entitled what they worked for -- gender, power, and hospital toil, 1861 to 1865. ladies and gentlemen, dr. jane schulz. dr. schulz: i think of myself as
a closet historian. i want to thank john koskinen for inviting me to this event, and to john and christie and the staff for all of their hard work and arrangements for this. i know it takes an amazing amounts of forethought and coordination to pull this off and of course, thanks to endured theiras entire saturday with us. we are very grateful you are here and we hope to continue the conversation with you for many years. advantages of being invited to a venue like this is that it allows us to meet those whose works we've read about but might not have ever had the chance to meet. i'm pleased to meet amy taylor for the first time, but robinson, who have also never met but i known his work for many years. i'm also glad to see my own --
my old friend p carmichael after a few years, also happy to make the acquaintance of laura lee. i'm going to talk about the medical war this afternoon, in the context of three fairly ordinary people who lived through extraordinary times before returning to ordinary but change lives after the war. one area of the civil war that has been classically understudied has been health care. until the last decade or so, a decade or 15 years. just after the war, of course, the union surgeon general's office and the army medical departments published a number of books and pamphlets, many of which are up at the national library of medicine in washington. in their work culminated six volume behemoths collection,
medical and surgical history of the war and the rebellion. 1875s published between and 1888. and during the war, confederate as well as union medical journals offered information about new procedures and medicines to surgeonsand 1888. and during the who have the time and inclination to read them. but of course, the largest laboratory was out there in the rear of battles in military hospitals, where people learn by doing, which of course, has always been one of the watchwords of medical training. you see one, you do one, you teach one. and i think that's often what happened during the civil war as well. aside from the appearance of doctors and blue, by adams and doctors engraved by cunningham
in 1952 in 1958, and several contribution histories about relief workers in the united states sanitary commission, there really were not very many secondary sources until recently. i think the primary archives -- archives of primary material have been beckoning us, however. the national archives, which is my second home, state and local archives as well as hundreds of published and unpublished accounts by medical workers, some of which are obviously in the new materials that but robertson was talking about this morning. and indeed, accounts of the that these hospital workers and surgeons took care of, all of these were waiting, waiting patiently for a new
generation of scholars to investigate in hope of assembling a greater portion of a very complex fabric that was the medical war. why this began to happen in the first decade of the 21st century is up for interpretation. but as medical matters have played an increasing role in american lives and american consciousness in this new millennium, it's not surprising have providedies this emphasis and really begun more to turn this direction. since 2000, we've seen books and articles on surgery, on the surgical core, on various diseases, on trauma, we are in a talked about this morning i will say little more about it, on hospitals, both confederate and union, and relief work, these have been written by people like margaret humphreys, susan mary
grant, shot a divine, todd savage, just to name a few. there are many more people out there who have been invested in this work and i write now have a doctoral student in pittsburgh who is actually working on such a topic. so i'm very happy even though i'm in indiana and she's in pittsburgh, she is working on this. this sort of work i think has got us taking more carefully about how the health of fighting forces was integral to the prosecution of the war and in referencing the interactions of military and civilian medical workers, we've also gained thatht into the politics assigned medicine a more powerful status in the united states after the war than that of other professional groups like nurses, for example. interactions and medical
future growing prominence in the mid-19th century revealed to us a lot how such individuals negotiated with one another, given their gender racial and class identities. it centered on the free professional history of nursing and relief work, and network i have attempted to tease out from the ambiguities of job assignments, among an early women who worked in military hospitals. i have done this in a number of articles and two books, women at the front, which is out there on the table in front, which was thisshed in 2004, and then which is fairly extensive edited and annotated diary from this woman, harriet eaton, who was
born in boston area and moved to hartford, connecticut and spent most of her adult life in portland, maine. and had lots of interesting things to and had lots of interesting things to say about her various power struggles with darius surgeons, even though she tried to do it very politely. the first conclusion of this work on nursing history was for me to note that more than 21,000 women were hired by union hospitals alone to provide all manner of relief services during the war. women were copying, they were doing washing, they were feeding and helping faith patience and delivering medicines and reading to patients, they were writing , some of them could play the piano and were singing with their patients, having their
patients sing with them. they help people pass the time of day in addition to providing these various domestic and custodial services. for more than a century after the war, folks were trying to such womenwork of and few historians were interested in doing this, they spoke of around 3000 nurses who had been hired in the union, given the rank of nurse, by the army nursing super -- superintendent, dorothea dix whose name many of you will recognize as one of the primary activists for other reform of mental health in the united states. was these historians were only looking at a very small cross-section of those who had been appointed as nurses, women who had been given their
because of elite social status and a high degree of whole.y skills on the we look at records in the national archives, it becomes clear that among these 21,000 women who provided relief services, working women and women of color had not been called nurses when they entered the service, but instead they had been named cook, laundress or matron, despite often performing many of the same tasks that nurses did. in the confederacy, we also have thousands of women hospital workers with one third to one half we believe being slaves. the difficulty in plotting out the confederate numbers is that many medical records were destroyed in 1865 with the burning of richmond.
we do not have an accurate sense . our confederate hospital morning reports and from this we can estimate about how many we think there were and what percentage women were such slaves or possibly freed people. the issue of how we categorized hospital workers led to another significant finding or problem. that was the pension inc. -- the army nurses 30 years after the war had happened in 1892, a nurses pension act was finally passed. this act stipulated that only those who had been called nurse and who had served a minimum of six months in hospitals and who could prove they had served that long were granted pensions.
that tension was a $12 monthly pension. you see the problem. all of those cooks and laundress $12nd matrons who needed a monthly stipend more than many of the more well-heeled women who had been called nurse were now in eligible to apply for pensions. one of the people i'm going to talk about this afternoon is among those who filed for pensions but had not been called mariah, i that is will talk about her in just a bit. let me just pause and provide an outline of where we are headed. to three people i'm going talk about all had connection to the medical service. all came to it as outsiders. they were outside to the elite that made upcians
the union army medical department and later the surgeon general's office. they were outsiders to the army nurses superintending office, they were outsiders even to many of the ladies aid societies that made up the u.s. sanitary commission and similar confederate groups. what i want to suggest about all three of these people is that despite significant differences in each individual's background prospects, work, and so forth, they all shared a neophyte status, they were all tender feet that kept them humble and ofnerable to the whims handlers who sometimes knew less than they did about the conditions of men in the field or men and women in hospital cots. they had an area of expertise
that was perhaps not as valued as it might have been. i see the work that scholars have -- that scholars are doing now on the war as an attempt to bring us back to understand how important this was. think their, i hard-won experience during the war gave them the sense they had a claim to national citizenship and they might not have had that before the war. they have this claim despite the fact that one of them was a confederate in poverty after the war and another was a domestic for the rest of her working life. this was while she was able to work. the first person i'm going to talk about is union assistant surgeon morgan baldwin who was from indiana, from a small town about 20 miles north of
indianapolis. assistant surgeon was quite miraculously attached to the 32nd massachusetts infantry, a regiment whose chief surgeon was the colorful adams of boston. baldwin'sk about experience at gettysburg. the second is a woman who escaped slavery and went to work for the union hospital outside of washington as a laundress. maria.e was we know of her because she made an application for a pension in 1895. mariacord of women like is rare given the dearth of alludedation that
people like her during the war. the third person i will talk about is kate cummings. she was a confederate nurse from mobile, alabama, who i've been thinking about for the last 30 the most who left us eloquent diary about nursing to come out of the war between the states. , as richardable hart well understood in 1959, for its details about soldiers, their afflictions, their medical treatment, the politics of hospital space, and the slow death of confederate medicine and confederate well as medical supplies and other supplies dwindled. at the start of the war, i'm going to start with morgan baldwin. to point outi want
that at the start of the war the union medical service was underprepared and i imagine the same goes for the confederate medical service as well. in 1861, there was a surgeon general, 30 surgeons called usa , 84 assistant surgeons and 100 hospital beds. that is not very many hospital beds. after there had been far greater attention to the fact that this war was not going to last for three months, it was going to last much longer, we still had one surgeon general, now we have an assistant surgeon general, we had a medical inspector general and six medical inspectors, 170 u.s. army surgeons, 547 surgeons of volunteers, 2100 regimental 3000 880 two assistant
regimental surgeons, 85 acting staff sergeants, and 100,000 hospital beds. i'm glad it is not today otherwise everyone would be complaining about how much money we spent on it. this is quite an extraordinary development. afraid i do not have the same data on the confederacy and i apologize for that. this will give you an idea of what the challenges were. heads, administrative the surgeon general's office began to shelve medical officers with orders and circulars, it was not easy for them to manage surgeons at the regimental levels. you see how many of them there were. at the libraryng
of congress, every time i'm in the area i try to go somewhere and read a manuscript or two. on aneen working autobiography by a union surgeon who was all over the eastern and western theater and ultimately a man a usa volunteer, called william mcdonald who advanced quickly over the course of a couple of years from in it -- from an inexperienced assistant surgeon to finally a chief surgeon of a regiment. and under surgeon to an army corps. , he was very tactical about it, he got recommendations when he needed them and got people to speak well of him. he was definitely a promotion seeker. we know that the surgical service was extremely
hierarchical, it commanded a certain form of obedience and tact and diction from the surgeons who wanted to get promoted and he was very successful in making his way through the ranks because as an assistant surgeon he did not want to be associated with regiments where some of the physicians did not have particularly good medical training and many of the men were not fit for service. he was always upset about the too many recruits should have been turned away at the door because after one winter it was clear they would never recover and they do not have the constitution to be good soldiers. morgan baldwin was one of these regimental surgeons. he was thrilled to be associated i amthe boston regiment, afraid i do not have a
photograph of him, i am sorry about that. background was he had grown up in a small town in the midwest where he was apprenticed as a young teenager to the town doctor, who as it turns out had no formal medical training but had learned through being a country doctor that there were certain things he could do like pull teeth. he was able to prescribe and so forth and gave these medical books to morgan -- to morgan baldwin and baldwin became interested in something that his master could not teach him, which was surgery. he was fascinated by this. i would say that by the late his master help tempt get to the medical college of ohio in cincinnati which was relatively close to where he lived. 25-month courses and
-- he goes back to indiana and apprentices for a couple of years with the new knowledge she has gained and he begins to see advertisements, announcements from the surgeon general's office which are advertised in local newspapers about the union armies need for more surgeons, particularly at the regimental level. he sends out and application, they want to talk to him, he goes to washington for examination because at least in the first half of the war people were very careful to make sure doctors knew what they were talking about in matters of medicine and all of the other areas of medical learning that they wanted for people taking care of soldiers in regiments to
have and he learns he has been appointed an assistant surgeon to a boston regiment, again the 32nd massachusetts, which had recently lost its own assistant surgeon. ofs was right around june 1863. baldwin was thrilled to be among eastern surgeons who had had elite training in medical schools like the university of pennsylvania and he was assigned call things like take sick every morning, soldiers that did not feel well would talk about their complaints, he would prescribe something for them or give them something. he did this, he started to learn about what would happen when there was a battle. if you note from that date, here he was in the eastern theater, as the armies began to a near
gettysburg and chambersburg in late june, he was close by. his first medical experience was at gettysburg. talk about trial by fire. this is not a photograph, it is a graphic i think conveys something of what this was like. there are a few photographs you can see them in frederick, maryland, at the civil war medical museum. they have several good ones. they are not always willing to share their images, otherwise i would be showing them to you now. the 32nddams of massachusetts was known for keeping dressing stations where soldiers would be carried if they were wounded in battle, he kept them very close to the rear of battle lines and usually
within range of the firing. quiteade morgan baldwin anxious, to say the least. he was at gettysburg all three days and here is what he told us on the second day, july 2. he tells us that the medical unit for the regiment was compelled to move three times because shots kept getting closer and they were concerned that some of the medical staff would be wounded. this happened fairly regularly during the war. they move their jazzing stations three times during that day. at the last of these three stations, a man with exposed intestines starts to scream for baldwin's help. fairlyurely -- it is clear that he is mortally wounded. at the same time baldwin is attempting to help this man, surgeon adams goes by and
screams at baldwin, saying you cannot be helping a dead man. you have to go on to somebody who can be saved. this is the form of triage that people are dealing with. , as surgeonight baldwin is returning to the where adams and other surgeons are performing amputations, he comes upon a group of loose hogs who are feeding on deceased bodies outside. this was not a good day. perhaps this first day under fire, it was officially the second day, i think it was probably his worst day in the service and it happened right at the beginning of his true service.
i will say about this is i think it made him a veteran very quickly. in theructed him terrible choices that surgeons had to make, and they were always making such choices. like soldiers, they would wait around and wait around, the surgeons did the same thing until there was a battle and that was unimaginable brutality and staying up all around the clock, being extremely exhausted, hardly able to focus. after the war, surgeon baldwin is around for quite a bit longer but he is released before the end of the war. indiana and he practices medicine, taking over for the man to whom he was
apprenticed, though he never again and the medical emergencies he witnessed during the war. when he wrote about this medical work in the war years later, he noted ironically that the war itself had been his best mentor havingknew that witnessed so much loss of life, so much human sacrifice, that he would dedicate himself to keeping his community from harm in any way that he could. he practices medicine in his little community until a ripe old age. to maria tolliver. the lack of medical records make it very hard to find the marias of the war. until i located an obscure microfilm at the national archives.
i want to say this is also about 25 years ago, which listed pension application numbers and names of women who had filed for , or had beenr 1892 awarded pensions by special act of congress after the war. women who had been fugitive slaves and had gone to work in military hospitals were invisible to me and everyone else, or should i say, i knew they existed from the oblique references to them in the personal accounts of the literate, and i did not know how their waridence of experience, particularly in their own voices. once i got that microfilm list, i began looking at all the pension applicants and i found those who had been slaves or free people in reading through around 2400 pension applications. occasionally i got a handout
beause after the name would colored. here is a person of color, i will reproduce this quickly so i can take it home and digest everything that is there. ist we know about maria this, she was born on a plantation in williamsburg, virginia around 1840 and she was sold into king william's county as a young teenager. we have no image of her, either. she escaped to washington in 1862 as a slightly older teenager, making her contraband and after several months she found work with dr. james pettijohn to work at a hospital
in camp barker which was a was a brand -- which contraband hospital, a place that looked like this. this is not the exact hospital, this is one in nashville, tennessee. this was also known as friedman's hospital -- as freedman's hospital in washington dc. you can find references to it in other wartime accounts. -- hired under the category insistsress, tolliver in her pension that both she and her husband henry were nurses at the hospital and they would wait on patients, give them medicine, and had full control of the patients. this is what she writes in her pension deposition. and henry contracted small parks while they were serving and they were sent to the small parks -- to the
smallpox ward of the hospital. this is where they were sent to theyerate and at the time were able to be more notes thatt, maria they nursed both black and white patients. she makes a particular point of testifying that she did not cook , she did not wash close, she took care of other sick people, both black and white. names other workers who could cooperate the pension claims. one was a woman called louisa who notes that she did the nursed, but that maria the smallpox patients. fraser testified she had gettingy seen maria medicine at the dispensary and
she came to the kitchen to pick up food and deliver it to her patients. another witness somebody else mentioned in maria's application was betsy lawson. it was betsy lawson who was tolliver's nurse when she fell ill with smallpox. betsy lawson notes that as tolliver recovered she did all manner of work but especially nursing. we know these things because application to the pension bureau in 1895 and was busy finding witnesses to testify on her behalf, naming names not only of the people she worked with but the surgeons who sponsored her work and so forth for two or three years it took her to put all this information. service recordhe of hospital attendants from the american civil war, and i did this about 20 years ago, we
learn that among those 21,000 union female hospital workers, about 11% of them were african-americans. that is that we can identify from those index cards. my guess is there was probably a higher percentage, a higher number and percentage of african-american women, especially in the eastern theater. women,that many black especially fugitives who do not want to be discovered, were simply not counted. this is where we get into fuzzy math. died, really it was more like 750, the same we can meet -- the same can be said for people who provided more service. says evidence i have found we have undercounted the representation of black women. were appointed to these low prestige jobs, this
particular frame is of a woman in the sea islands who is a laundress. it seems like such a bleak photo to me but it is also such an important photo because even though the woman in it is a small portion of this very large photo of buildings and so forth, it really does tell us that this is the kind of work that many slave and contraband women were assigned to do. these kinds of jobs did not necessarily put them in close contact with surgeons or soldiers, although there were exceptions. thatow from photographs there was at least one black nurse who served on the union ship red rover, some of you may know about this case. sometimes black women were hired
such as white nurses matilda cleaver john who was a well-educated black woman in washington who cared for the wii is a may alcott and the abolition -- who cared for louisa may alcott when she fell end ofgeorgetown at the 1862. here's a picture of that hospital. people have ugly things to say about this hospital which had been retrofitted from a hotel and they talk about things like the latrines in the hospital being contiguous with the kitchen and so forth. we know that germs abounded there before anyone knew what germs were. quite a lot of surgeons who begin to understand the principles of antisepsis, even before pastor was widely
eurraced -- even before past was widely embraced by the medical community. the workses directed of many of the black relief workers and this gave many of to worke women alongside black women for the first time in their lives. women like susie taylor who had inaped from the sea islands 1862 with her uncle, she became a regimental laundress for the 33rd u.s. colored troops and continued to move north. who haded patients diphtheria, she took care of shoot a guncould and knew how to clean guns and so forth. she did every possible kind of work, including nursing but was still known by the government as
a laundress. the fact that we can hear maria's voice through her pension record is evidence that she wanted recognition for her war work and she was finally granted her pension. she was able to make the case and they accepted it when she was no longer able to work herself in her she considered herself a citizen with rights, despite the jim crow world in which she was living at the time. she was lucky because not all fugitiveser position, who went to work in hospitals ,ere paid regularly, if at all could prove that they, too, did the work of nursing. 1890's,kers died by the such women were generally not grant pensions.
many women who were deserving of this were not able to get their monthly stipend for their war work. i shall move on to kate cummings. is her portrait still hanging in the museum? can anybody tell me? no one knows? it's not there. ok. i have to locate it again. it may be down in alabama at this point. that's working cummings was from. that's where kate cummings was from. as a confederate nurse, kate cummings was a more likely hospital nurse than we might have first imagined. testimony of people like wilson, aevans hel-received not novelist, testifies that white women concerned about reputation took
a rather dim view of hospital work. she is quite worried of a single solely herwill reputation -- as a single woman that will sully her reputation. it became clear that by 1862 that women did not take up this burden in the confederacy regardless of their marital status. chestnut shrank from the prospect of doing such work, unlike her friend, alisa mccourt. i always wondered why is that chestnut demurred when it came to doing much work in the hospital. she occasionally brought food, but she is not what i would consider a nurse like cummings.
perhaps because chestnut did not have any children of her own. .his hit her in a place kate cummings was a spin stress who perhaps have than widowed women who had to go to work. we have a picture of phoebe yates, one of my favorite women from the era. she had been widowed just before the war insert in this city's hospital, which i'm sure all of you know about. she took a practical view of the work that she was doing. r, but she poo wanted to be independent of her family. this job gave her that opportunity. she simply pooh-poohed the idea
that this would harm her socially in any way. addition -- edition of her reminiscence of the hospital in the 1860's. she falls into a similar category -- she is left a relative fortune when her husband dies. she uses that fortune to fit out hospitals in alabama and tennessee. she used all the money she had at her disposal to make hospitals move into those areas. cumming, she was born in scotland sometime around 1830, we think. i looked for her on ancestry.com. i haven't quite found her. she immigrated with her parents and many siblings, one of 10 children, to montreal in the
1840's. sometime in the early 1850's, the family went down to mobile. her father was a grocer and a banker and a smalltime businessman and the family ended up at the gulf of mexico in mobile. her mother and one of her sisters helped florence nightingale in crimea. kate notinctly asked to volunteer for nursing for the confederacy, which i find interesting. 1862, just after the battle of shiloh, kate got her chance when a group from her church was deputized to help the wounded around florence, mississippi. she talks about her travel over to corinth from mobile. she tells us that, for the first nine days in attendance on
soldiers when she arrived, that she was unable to wash herself or anyone else, she was unable to undress, she was unable to sleep on anything but the floor, and that is for maybe a couple of hours a day. once, she slept on a box. her skirts were tipped with blood and other effluvia. quite an initiation for her. time, one ofover the stalwarts of surgeon samuel stout in the medical corps of the army of tennessee, which pioneered the flying hospital system, a mash unit. cumming spends the next 3.5 years watching confederate troops and government support disintegrate.
i think of her as a cheap witness to the destruction of the confederate body. because shenusual was quite frank in criticizing confederate troops in her diary for what she saw as a lack of physical and psychological fortitude. of course, the diary was a private form, so she was more candid in it then maybe writing but she was anxious to publisher diary after the war. she felt it would make a good source of income for her in that assumption, i'm afraid she was terribly wrong. when her papers at the alabama department of archives and -- its in montgomery letter after letter talking about the difficulty she had selling her diary.
that is to louisville publishers -- she finally got john morton of louisville to publish it in 1866. 1890's, she publishes another version of the diary. it is quite interesting to read it. while we see her critical of the confederacy, she's equally disgusted with yankee depredations that she witnessed. really, i think she left all of her non-conciliatory references to soldiers and to president lincoln in the published texts. those are there for anyone to see. they are quite striking. what i want to zero in on with regard to cumming is that her realistic depiction of medical trauma deteriorates over time.
it's not so much her ability to chronicle what she sees as it is the sense that language no longer has the power to represent what is with the civil. initially, she gives is highly descriptive catalogues of suffering. here's one of them. maybe withly, again, in a month or so after she joins the forces in 1862. first mang the war, to write is mr. robbins, about 50 years of age, the doctors say he's one of the worst wounded. there is very little hope of his recovery. mr. mcveigh is an irishman, much i emaciated. the bonus protruding about an inch. to the left is mr. gruber, wounded in both knees. while marching, a cannonball took off one and part of another . the very sight of his base is distressing.
the effluvia from his wounds is sickening. there are a dozen or so badly wounded. one without a leg, one without an arm, and one with ones that are awful to look at. there's an irish man with his arm in a sling. opposite him is mr. horton, another great supper. -- sufferer. sparks,e of him is mr. whose leg wound makes him grown day and night. mr. robinson is about 17. half of his leg is a solid sore. he wails most dolefully. we find it impossible to assuage his pain. it's like this all over the first part of the diary. cumming is careful in the first months. she provides the names and regiments of the men she nurses.
she goes home with the deposition of the property so relatives can come claim it. by the second year for service, she has scaled back her effort. men die nameless in amputation wars. men brought in at night are dead by morning. the stretcher bearers have not the least idea of the names. you see this terrible pall fall over hospital work. 1864, she goes for six weeks without drafting a single entry like she had previously been doing every couple of days. in the last dismal months of the war, she writes only sporadically, abandoning mosttive for a practice closely resembling medical
charting. when a soldier of the third florida infantry dies unexpected leak, she knows he's one of five brothers have died in service. when a record in these few words. she simply alludes to language she cannot create. she is fatigued beyond language at this point. 1865, sometime after appomattox, she travels home 400 miles. she's 400 miles from mobile at that time. when she canagon get a ride. otherwise, she walks. she can get one very short boat ride. she spends much of the rest of her life trying turn money for herself and for other women left penniless by the war. she becomes a sunday school teacher.
this is the ordinariness she returns to. we can say about kate cumming that she clearly suffered from the burnout that other medical workers also experienced. we can surely say this about morgan baldwin and maria oriah tolliver. pensions were not considered a handout, but fair payment for federal service. it with hered support of the washington, d.c. hospital. what we come to understand is that the trauma associated with battlefield events did not affect only soldiers but, as lauren put it so eloquently this morning, and visited many families and children and indeed those who had laid hands in
healing on sick and wounded men. these try must did not dissipate because the war ended in 18 to five. after people even returned to ordinary lives, bubbling up unpredictably throughout their lifetimes. usis incumbent upon all of to remember that we only get fragments of stories. there's always more that we do not see under the surface of the visible. when lucy buck says we shall never any of us be the same as we have been, she's in joining us to think and imagine what is visible because it is finally are only way to encounter the fullest mysteries of the past. thank you. [applause]
>> questions. comments. kathleen? louisa may kept hospital sketches. >> its virtues and limitations y gosh.ae i haven't talked it for a while. budvirtues are perhaps what was talking about first thing this morning. she is very successful in exacting feeling through this narrative, particularly of olcott's narrative of john, who she calls a virginia blacksmith,
but we've learned in recent years that he's actually from pennsylvania. gets closer than just about any narration or narrative of relief worker -patient interaction to telling us what is really important about the war. and makes visible the work that women did, putting their hands on a patient's body to let them know that someone was there with them, holding them and helping them through what was often great pain, fear of death, and a number of other things. is what ist marvelously wonderful. commentst to which he on racial issues -- she is very clear about racist behaviors
among hospital staff. she is a person who comes from a butly abolitionist family, she is not herself trying to escape that category, either, as a white person. she is fair-minded about what happens when white women, white men who hadn't lived in communities with people of color before met and interacted with them andnteracted with certain racial assumptions muddied those interactions. kate calls them out. the hospital sketches -- paradoxicalay in way be the humor of that text. -- in a paradoxical way be the humor of that text. partly the lighthearted prose
style that all caps has -- all caught has -- a sensible readers will always get that some of that comedy is covering the tragedy. that is off the top of my head. >> thank you. i think your point about burr bound struck me. it was part of her career as a writer. do you think burnout was more prevalent? after the war, they found it difficult. there isn't a sense that this was a period in which they rights that would be used in a struggle for women's rights. there was a break after the war
of deep and period painful adjustment to the conditions of peace. fullyon't think i heard your question. about burnout. >> i'm sorry. i didn't get that. it did take people a long time to recover from this. as i wanted to suggest i don't think they ever really did fully recover from it. as we know from the work of eric about later wars and part of the civil war, soldiers certainly suffered from repeated episodes of trauma and i'm sure that these hospital workers did as well. some of them actually write about it. not many, but some talk about having fearful dreams after the war. she herselfbecause
is being treated for mercury poisoning. she's being treated in a way that subjects are to that after the war. delirium ise interio being created by that -- it's fairly common that people would return to the war in this particular way and the trauma would resurface. once people see images like that, they are very hard to erase. it takes a long time to arrest them altogether. i was thinking about this this morning with lauren's collection of images. these images are so strikingly powerful, it's both hard to look at them and each time i intended to look away, i was drawn back to them. i think there's a kind of compulsion about this that is
probably fairly true for those who witnessed hysterical scenes during the war with a measure of consciousness and receptivity. you happy how mercy street turned out? what was missing from it? >> i was always teasing -- have you seen mercy street, people in the audience? good. i was really -- i had a great time working on this program, in part because i was able to comment on all of the scripts. the same guy who did the scripts zabel, he wasid the presiding man for the screenplays for mercy street. he was in doubt a draft of a new episode -- send out a draft for
a new episode. whether i was teaching or grading papers, i would drop everything to read it. i would spend the whole day reading the script and commenting on it. it was quite fun. a lot of what i would do aside from trying to correct what i thought would be blocking mistakes -- they wouldn't have done it this way, they would have done it that way. a lot of what i did was to comment on language that was too 21st century. that's not how they would have said it. they would have said it this way. i won some of those battles and lost some of those battles. in general, they were very receptive to it. if i have a criticism about the way these 12 episodes turned out, it's that they tried to load every unusual circumstance that happened in any military hospital anywhere in the union or confederacy into each
episode. sometimes, it seemed like too much. the pace of time in hospitals was very slow that our current mode of cinematic display to give you rough jump cuts edited very quickly so the audience doesn't get bored but maybe some people would have conveyed the idea of what was going on in civil war hospitals a bit better. [applause] >> thank you.
on 48 hours every weekend bringing you lectures and roundtable discussions, historic sites, archival films, and more. you can find our tv schedule on c-span.org/history. >> professor of civil war studies and director of the civil war at gettysburg college. he wrote his dissertation under the direction of gary gallagher.