Letters of a Civil War Surgeon
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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105th Pennsylvania 105th Regiment 2nd Corps 3rd Corps advance Army of Northern battle Battle of Antietam Bedford Belle Plain Birney blankets Boys Brandy Station Brigade Burkesville Burnside camp near Fredericksburg camp near Potomac Camp Prescott campaign captured cavalry Chancellorsville charge Colonel commander Confederate defeat Division Hospital dollars duty Emma Watson enemy fear fight fire five front Genl Hooker Girls Grant horse Hospital 3rd Division killed leave Leesburg letter Lincoln Major Watson major wrote McClellan Medical miles months morning move mustered night North Northern Virginia November October October 26 Officers Petersburg picket Pontoons Poolesville Potomac Creek pretty rain Rappahannock rebels received Regt remain returned Richmond ride sent September 27 sick soldiers soon Stuart's Surgeon tent thing tion tomorrow troops Union army Washington Watson from camp Watson from Hospital weather weeks William Hartley Watson wounded yesterday
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...