Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Hospital Sketches #9: Star of the East - Camp Letterman

Hospital Sketches Block #9 by Becky Brown

Our last block in Hospital Sketches recalls a giant field hospital set up after the Battle of Gettysburg in July, 1863. Gettysburg's three-day fight in Union territory resulted in the largest number of casualties in the war with 45,000 to 51,000 soldiers killed, wounded, missing or captured. Neighborhood volunteers were joined by official staff who traveled to tend to the wounded, among them several women discussed earlier, such as Georgiana Woolsey and Annie Bell.

Sarah Middleton Robbins Broadhead (1831- 1910)

Quaker Sarah Broadhead, 32 years old, was one of the Gettysburg volunteers. Four days after the battle:
"This morning we started out to see the wounded, with as much food as we could scrape together, and some old quilts and pillows.  It was very little, but yet better than nothing....  I assisted in feeding some of the severely wounded, when I perceived that they were suffering on account of not having their wounds dressed. I did not know whether I could render any assistance in that way, but I thought I would try.
 July 8 — Again at the hospital early this morning. Several physicians and lady nurses had come on from Washington the previous evening, and under their care things already began to look better." 

Block 9 by Janet Perkins

Dr. Jonathan Letterman (1824-1872)

The Union Army soon established a hospital near the railroad east of Gettysburg, naming it Camp Letterman for Dr. Jonathan Letterman, Medical Director for the Army of the Potomac who'd ably attended to wounded after the Battle of Antietam a year earlier. The hospital, which operated for only five months, was a huge temporary complex. 

Camp Letterman, 1863
Decorating hospitals with evergreen swags and wreaths was
considered cheering. One learns to recognize photos of Camp
Letterman by the decor.

Block #9 by Bettina Havig

During the weeks after the battle the wounded Union and Confederate soldiers were moved to more permanent hospitals or sent home while 4,200 too injured to travel remained at the Camp.

The site began with 400 tent wards, each treating 10 soldiers.

Dark days inspire black humor. Here Drs. Chamberlain and Lyford
pose with a patient and two of their victims in their "Office."
Camp Letterman was well-photographed.

Organizations such as the Sanitary Commission, the Christian Commission and the State Relief Agencies set up their own areas.

Sanitary Commission offices under an arch.

The seated man with the white beard is New Yorker Gordon Winslow.
The woman is probably Mrs. H.C. May

Gordon Winslow (1807-1864)
Winslow was a chaplain and a 
Sanitary Commission administrator. 

The King of Prussia Historical Society has a series of Gettysburg photographs
labeled with names, helping us identify the people at Camp Letterman.

The center woman in the plaid dress is Anna Morris Holstein, who
 served with her husband Major William Holstein in
supplying the field hospitals for the Army of the Potomac.

Anna Morris Ellis Holstein (1825-1900)
CDV of Anna taken during the war with the field photo

Anna Holstein was from Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. After the Battle of Antietam in 1862 she and her husband "gave up our sweet country home, and from that date were 'dwellers in tents,' occupied usually in field hospitals, choosing that work because there was the greatest need, and knowing that while many were willing to work at home, but few could go to the front."

Major William Hayman Holstein, Seward King, Mrs. Knowles, 
Anna Morris Holstein, Dr. H.C. May, Mrs. May, Rev. Gordon Winslow

Perhaps this is a portrait of the Holstein's "Valued friends who regularly met in our tent, when the fatiguing duties of the day were over."

Katherine Fish Winslow is thought to be the woman on the left with husband Gordon Winslow at right. The Doctor on the table is possibly Cyrus N. Chamberlain, the jokester from Massachusetts, and the seated woman is Sarah Smith Sampson from Maine. 

Block 9 by Paula Smith

Sarah Smith Sampson (1836 - 1907)

Sarah Smith Sampson from Bath worked with Maine Relief and spent several weeks at Camp Letterman. The larger photo looks to have been taken long after the war by the curly fringe (we'd call the hairstyle bangs). See block #4 for more information about the Maine organization. 

As patients died or recovered enough to travel home and to other hospitals the tents were packed to go to the next battle. By October only 300 patients remained and in November, after President Lincoln gave his short Gettysburg Address in the hospital cemetery, Camp Letterman closed.

Crowds in Gettysburg for the cemetery dedication

The Block

Our final block appeared in many quilts in many variations.

It's in the lower right corner in this humorous stereograph from
the end of the 19th century

Esther Blair Matthews inked a name "Star of the East" on her 1858 quilt
in the collection of the Virginia Quilt Museum.

Crocosmia, the Star of the East 

See more about the pattern history here:

By Block #9 anarchy reigns. Follow the pattern!?!
You'll have to choose the parts you like. I couldn't get
all five petals in there or the stems.

To Print:
Create a word file or a new empty JPG file.
Click on the image above.
Right click on it and save it to your file.
Print that file. Be sure the square is about 1" in size.

For the background cut a square 18-1/2".
Add seam allowances to the pattern pieces if you are doing traditional applique.

The last block is non-directional so goes on a
north/south axis.

Becky Brown
Added dots

8-1/2" x 8-1/2"

Cut a 9" square
1 Each of B and E to I
2 of C
1/2” Finished bias stem

Denniele Bohannon's #9 Star of the East Sprout
with an extra freckle, finishing to 9"

After the War:

Locket inscribed:
"Presented to A.M.Holstein from the wounded officers 
and soldiers,1st Div, 2nd Corps,Gettysburg,July 1,2,3, 1863."
The photo of the locket is from her Find-A-Grave file:

Anna and William Holstein were among those discussed in this series who went to Annapolis, Maryland after the war to tend to Union prisoners from the Andersonville prison. After that grueling duty the Holsteins went back to Pennsylvania in the summer of 1866. 

The Hosltein's farm in 1877

Anna published her memoir Three Years in Field Hospitals of the Army of the Potomac in 1867 and remained an activist, working to preserve Mount Vernon and the Valley Forge Battlefield, until her death at 75.

Colonel Cleveland Winslow (1836-1864)

One wonders how much post-traumatic stress syndrome hospital workers had to deal with for the rest of their lives. One sad clue: Chaplain Gordon Winslow, the white-bearded man in the Gettysburg photos, died in May, 1864 after falling overboard from Sanitary Commission steamer The Mary Rapley on the Potomac River. He was accompanying 28-year-old son Cleveland Winslow, mortally wounded at the Battle of Cold Harbor. Old newspaper accounts of people falling overboard always beg the question: Did he jump?

1858 Sampler Quilt by Esther Blair Matthews (1776-1866) 
Collection of the Virginia Quilt Museum

Esther included several of the stylized, popular album designs such as the pineapple, a wreath, the Star of the East and the tulips, but many seem to be drawn directly from nature.

Block 9 by Barb Sanders

Extra Reading:

Three Years in Field Hospitals of the Army of the Potomac by Anna Morris Holstein


Jeanne said...

Haha -- anarchy reigns! Thanks for another excellent series Barbara!

Susie H said...

This has been a wonderfully educational series. I've certainly been enjoying the BOMs too. Thank you, Barbara!!

Wendy Caton Reed said...

Thanks for a fabulous sew-a-long! I've had a ball following everyone's progress. Now, if I can just finish this one before the next one starts....

Teresa H said...

Thanks for another wonderful, educational and fun BOM project. I learned so much history and the stories were wonderful. Great job!!
Teresa Heinze

Mary Says Sew! said...

EQ also has this with the name, Mexican Rose.

Judy said...

All this sadness of this war, makes me wish I could go forward in time, and get antibiotics, iv’s of saline and D5w, penicillin, bandages, blankets, and food. It was such a sad time. And thank you Barbara for all the information. Your words took me there to see all of this. What a great historian you are.

Joanne Gledhill said...

Thanks so much . While I have not finished mine yet. I am enjoying working on it. Joanne

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