Civil War Era Studies
"While surgeons were well acquainted with the horrors of a field hospital in the aftermath of a grand battle like Gettysburg, the civilians of the North were woefully unprepared for the carnage at play in the halls of their local institutions and homes until it presented itself in full-colored glory in front of their very eyes. Senior Michael Colver finally picked his way down the long slope of Cemetery Hill, across the borough and onto the campus of his alma mater on Monday the 6th of July. “On our arrival,” he recalled, “we found in and around the building, according to the estimate given us, seven hundred wounded rebels.” The campus was transfigured from the placid and quaint to the grotesque and horrific. Colver ascended the staircase into the hellish depths of the building. “When I came to my room I saw it afforded ample accommodations for three.” One bleeding Confederate reclined in his bed. Two more lay splayed on the floor. As Colver stumbled through the halls, stepping around and over body after body, he heard nothing but, “the moans, prayers and shrieks of the wounded and dying,” of the, “poor, deluded sons of the South.” Enmity melted from his mind. “Only a heart dispossessed of all feeling of humanity,” Colver mused, “could refuse sympathy and help in such a time as that.” [excerpt]
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Rudy, John M. "A time to be born, and a time to die." Interpreting the Civil War: Connecting the Civil War to the American Public (February 26, 2013).