Letters of a Civil War Surgeon

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Purdue University Press, 1996 - Biography & Autobiography - 176 pages
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From September 1862 until May 1865, Major William Watson served as surgeon with the 105th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers, which fought at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and elsewhere. Over the course of three years at war, he wrote 91 letters to his family, in which he describes his own war against death and disease. This well-educated and sensitive young man has left us a variety of impressions of camp life, marches, and battles; of a soldier's matter-of-fact willingness to accept-though not without grumbling-the rigors of his lot, of concern with the job at hand and with immediate needs like food and shelter; and of a veteran's indifference to the flag-waving of professional patriots. In spite of his often acute criticisms of the Union's military leadership, Watson never faltered in his belief in the Union cause and the ultimate outcome of the war nor in his dedication to Lincoln's major goals.
 

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Contents

III
11
IV
69
V
121
VI
141
VII
155
VIII
165
IX
167
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Page 21 - SEE before me now a travelling army halting, Below a fertile valley spread, with barns and the orchards of summer, Behind, the terraced sides of a mountain, abrupt, in places rising high, Broken, with rocks, with clinging cedars, with tall shapes dingily seen, The numerous camp-fires scattered near and far, some away up on the mountain, The shadowy forms of men and horses, looming, large-sized, flickering, And over all the sky — the sky ! far, far out of reach, studded, breaking out, the eternal...

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