Monday, October 17, 2022

Booknotes: A Place of Rest for our Gallant Boys

New Arrival:
A Place of Rest for our Gallant Boys: The U.S. Army General Hospital at Gallipolis, Ohio, 1861-1865 by Christy Perry Tuohey (35th Star Pub, 2022).

Civil War books are one of the best ways to learn about U.S. geography. But knowing how to correctly pronounce the names of a great many small cities and towns is another thing. It's easy enough to satisfy yourself when reading about a place like Gallipolis, Ohio, but I would imagine that in-person presenters have to do a lot of additional homework in this sphere in order to escape groans from local audiences. In the matter of Gallipolis, a quick swing through Google seems to reveal a lack of universal agreement among Ohioans themselves and between residents and their West Virginia neighbors across the river. Anyway, most people seem to go with gal-li-po-LEES.

But enough of that. The purpose of this Booknotes post is Christy Perry Tuohey's A Place of Rest for our Gallant Boys: The U.S. Army General Hospital at Gallipolis, Ohio, 1861-1865. In it the author explores the origins and operations of the military hospital established in Gallipolis as well as the personal stories of its staff, volunteers, and patients.

Strategically located near the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha rivers as well being close to the Point Pleasant stomping grounds of the Mothman, Gallipolis "was uniquely situated to become a hospital site. Its proximity to early Civil War battles in western Virginia and location on the Ohio River made it an ideal place to receive patients arriving via steamboat from remote battlefields and field hospitals. The people who cared for the ailing warriors came from all quarters: a young teacher who switched to nursing when hospital cots filled her classroom; a New England surgeon who survived Confederate capture and a bloody Southern battle to take charge of the Army hospital; a hospital steward who nursed his regimental comrade back from the brink of death, and how together they ended up treating casualties in Gallipolis."

The volume is well supplied with drawings and photographs. Additionally, the book's appendix section includes surgeon, staff, and patient rosters. Compiled from numerous primary and secondary sources, the Union and Confederate patient lists, while lengthy, are not, and likely cannot be, exhaustively complete.

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