Saturday, July 1, 2017

Booknotes: Civil War Hospital Newspapers

New Arrival:
Civil War Hospital Newspapers: Histories and Excerpts of Nine Union Publications by Ira Spar (McFarland, 2017).

"Nine of the 192 Union military hospitals during the Civil War circulated newspapers edited and printed by convalescents. The horrors of wound infection and amputation were reported in the words of surgeons, nurses and patients. Sermons cautioned against drink, tobacco and profanity while stressing patriotic sacrifice. Those who experienced the war wrote about it in simple narratives, and these are extensively quoted."

More from the description: "This book covers the founding and development of [these] hospital newspapers, each fully explored for such topics as patriotism, politics, religion, satire, romance and marriage, battlefield experience and treatment of prisoners of war."


A chapter is devoted to each of the nine newspapers, all of which were published from eastern hospitals. Here are the names of the papers, with the hospital and hospital location in parentheses:
  • Hospital Register (Satterlee in Phila.)
  • Armory Square Hospital Gazette (Armory Square in Wash.)
  • The Soldiers’ Journal (Augur in Alexandria)
  • The Cripple (Div. No. III in Alex.)
  • The Crutch (Div. No. I in Annapolis)
  • Hammond Gazette (Hammond in Pt. Lookout, Md)
  • The Cartridge Box (York in York)
  • Knight Hospital Record (Knight in New Haven)
  • Voice of the Soldier (Sloan in Montpelier)
The appendix section arranges some basic hospital data (names, locations, # of beds/occupants, medical officer in charge) in tabular format for U.S. Army general hospitals and those directly attached to a selection of military departments (Department of Washington, Department of Pennsylvania, Middle Department Hospitals, and Department of the East). The final appendix does the same for the hospitals of origin for each newspaper and also includes some circulation information.

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