- Nashville represented about 10-15% of the Union’s total hospital capacity.
- Nashville hospitals served about 100,000 wounded during the Civill War.
- During its peak, Nashville served about 14,000 men.
- Nashville had the third largest medical school in the United States.
- When lost to the Federals in February 1862, the Nashville hospital system represented 20-30% of the Confederate hospital capacity.
- Nashville had an 8-10% death rate during the Civil War.
- The Nashville hospital system was located along major rail and water routes.
- The Nashville hospitals served as a hospital-depot-nervous-system of sorts.
- By period standards, Nashville’s system was first-rate.
- The Nashville hospital system had to involve in the context of a fairly hostile environment.
Crane, Dr. William (1832-1904). Surgeon of the 71st Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Nashville, TN. December 15, 1864 – December 16, 1864.
These documents were Dr. Crane’s personal register for the killed and wounded at the Battle of Nashville which took place on the 15th and 16th of December in 1864. The register features the soldiers names, rank and whether or not they were injured or killed.
Dr. William Crane grew up learning medicine from his father. At the onset of the Civil War, the governor of Ohio appointed him to be in charge of recruiting and taking care of the soldiers families. He was involved with the creation of the 44th and 71st O.V.I. regiments and became the lead surgeon of the 71st O.V.I. in 1861 where he stayed until 1865.
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Hospital #2 was also the same as the one in the University Building.
Cowan’s partial description:
Dr. Josiah Reed enlisted as a private on September 24, 1862 and served in the 94th OH Inf. Co. I. After being wounded at the Battle of Stones River, his superiors put him on light duty in the dispensary at Hospital No. 2 near Nashville where he began his career in medicine. He worked in the hospital as needed including as a druggist, Our principas druggist having been taken away by his Colonel, wrote Reed, the principal duties of this department has devolved upon me, and to one not regularly brought up a druggist, it involves no trifling responsibilities My duties here are more constant then they would be in the field, but they are not attended with so many hardships and so much exposure. (Gen Hospital No. 2, Nashville, April 15, 1863). Serving in the hospital did not shield him from death. After the passing of his friend, Lizzie Woodward’s husband George, Reed wrote to Lizzie,
I am glad to hear your patriotic sentiments and know that you are resigned to the sacrifices we are called to make in these momentous times. I believe this nation will be preserved as a unit, but every family within its borders will have to make some sacrifice for its preservation. Oh how many families will be made desolate by the present bloody contest now in progress. News up to the present time shows very decided gains in favor of truth and liberty but the slaughter has been dreadful (Gen Hospt. No. 2 Nashville, May 14, 1863).
He wrote to her again a few days later, revealing more of the horrors of war while trying to maintain some optimism,
I have witnessed some very affecting scenes in the hospital as well as on the battlefield, some of which I will relate to you if we are permitted to meet again…I believe that it is profitable to look at things in their true light occasionally but perhaps it is not best to look too long on the dark side of the picture…I am still in the hospital, I shall probably remain here as long as my services are needed(Hospital No. 2 Nashville, TN, May 27, 1863).
Reed remained at the hospital for two and a half years and committed himself to studying during the odd hours of the day and attending medical lectures at the University of Nashville. He wrote to Lizzie, I am going to be an M.D. because I am attending a few lectures. There is too much to be learned for me to think of such a thing while in the service. I only expect to improve my opportunities to the best advantage (Gen Hospt. No. 2 Nashville, May 14, 1863). Over time, his relationship with Lizzie grew beyond friendship. He teased Lizzie after she did not write for some time,
I did not think you would abandon your old friend and correspondent so abruptly. I knew it was possible that you had fallen in love and perhaps married some dashing fellow whom you may have met with in your travels, but even then I would expect to hear from you and hear all the particulars. Won’t you make me your confidant in such an event? You did once… (Officer’s Hospital, College Hill, Nashville, TN, December 31, 1864).
Dr. Abraham Hoch Landis wrote to his children and detailed his day-to-day activities in Hospital #1 (Nashville).
U.S. General No. 1 (Volunteers) – 936 beds, led by B.B. Breed.
December 15, 1862 letter reads, in part:
“All the churches in town and many other buildings are used for hospital purposes. The sick soldiers that I am attending are in three large rooms. Every morning when I get up and get my breakfast I go into a room and find from 10 to 15 sick men. I go from one to another and write on a piece of paper what kind of medicine each one needs, and the paper is taken to the hospital steward and he doses out the medicine. When I get through one room I go to another room until I get done. One house in town is used to keep rebels in. I went to see them one day. They were hard looking cases. It would scare you to see them, there was so much dirt on the floor that I could hardly see it and their shirts looked as if they had not been washed in a month.”
Source below: HA.com
[Union Surgeon]. Dr. Abraham Landis Archive.
A large archive of over 450 letters relating to Union surgeon, Dr. Abraham Landis, with approximately 189 letters from Dr. Landis, dating from April 5, 1862 – April 24, 1865. Many of the letters are accompanied by their original transmittal covers. Landis’ early letters detail about his medical work in Tennessee near Nashville. In 1863, he was captured by the Confederates at Chickamauga and was taken to Libby Prison, and the archive has two letters from his time there and one immediately after his release. About half of the letters then cover his service in the Atlanta Campaign, the Battle of Resaca, movements on and around Dallas, Georgia, and on Kennesaw Mountain. Landis was then seriously wounded at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, and his letters that follow are about his recovery in hospital.
Abraham Hoch Landis (1820-1896) joined the 35th Ohio Infantry in November 1862 at the age of 41. However, before he was mustered into the 35th OH, Landis was already helping the army in a medical capacity.
Used as Hospital No. 14 by the Federals during the Civil War. Sketched by A.E. Matthews, member of the 31st Ohio Infantry. Besides being used as a hospital (No. 14), it was also used by the Provost Marshal and as a shelter for refugees.
The U.S. Army Hospital Steamer DA January waited at the Cumberland River landing after the Battle of Nashville to transport wounded soldiers to either Louisville or Nashville.
The DA January was a side-wheel steamer that served as a floating hospital. Outfitted to allow for the best in patient care, it contained a surgical suite, baths, a kitchen, nurses quarters, hot and cold running water, and an ice water cooler. Windows circulated air through the wards, which held nearly 450 beds. During its four years of service, the DA January transported and cared for more than 23,000 wounded men. It regularly visited the cities along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.
Cumberland Hospital 1864
Dear Father And Mother
I thought being as this was cristmas I would write you A fiew lines to let you know that I am well.. I hope this will find you all the same. Their is nothing mutch going on here now once in a while they take a mans leg of or pull a lot of boans out of a mans arm it is nothing to see them cut a man up. we dont think any more of it than we would of killing a hog at home. You have no idy how things is down here it is an awful sight to go through this hospital you can see men shot in every shape you can think of. their has bin 5 or 6 men died in this ward two of them was rebs one of them had his leg taken off. we did git plenty to eat for A while they have cut us down so we hardly git enough.. I havnot herd from the regiment yet I suppose they are down below Columbia some whare Will Stockton [i.e., Pvt. William H. Stockton, Company K, 84th Illinois Infantry] has a very soar fingure he is well every other way.. I would like to know how the boys come out. I fear their is more of them hurt before this their has bin some very hard fighting done this time they say they have to make room for 800.. more they are to come in to day. I would like to be at home to day I think I would git some thing good to eat and drink I think this is the last cristmas I will put in the army for A while when it comes my turn I will come a gin with out being drafted I think they will draft this spring. a great many they did draft was not fit for the servis so the last call wasnot all mad up I see in the paper
if the call is not mad up a gin the 15 of February their will be a draft mad their is lots that will go out of the servis this summer and they will have to make their place good.
Call Harrah [i.e., Pvt. John C. Harrah, Co. K, 84th Illinois Infantry] is in the Ohio floting hospital Newalbany Ind the last I herd from him he couldnot walk he was gitting better I dont believe he will ever be with the Regiment a gin if all of them does as much as Call has done they will do enough for one time.
I suppose their will be a big dance some whare a bout this time I would like to be at it I recon the old banjo hangs up behind the door as it use to with nothing but the base on it. well you will git tired of reding this slang so I will quit write often to your hopeful in the army
H H Maley.
Wm M and
E A Maley
Source: Univ of Notredame
Dear Father and Mother I thought I would write a fiew lines to let you know that I am well and I hope this will find you the same.. The first days fight just before dark I got a little tap on the sholdier with a piece of shell it was not a bad hurt but it was bad enough So I had to come to the Hospital the same piece hit All Cowden [i.e., Pvt. Albert Cowden, Co. K, 84th Illinois Infantry] on the leg so he can hardly walk.. Will Stockton [i.e., Pvt. William H. Stockton, Company K, 84th Illinois Infantry] was wounded with his own gun he shot the end off of his four fingurs of his right hand at the first joint. I havnot herd from the regiment yet I suppose they are after Hood yet you will see in the papers how the thing went. I think old Hood is gon up Salt Crick. their was lots of our men hurt they had to charge the rebs works their is some men here nearly shot all a way. Their is some wounded rebs here they are used the same our men is. It has bin very wet here since the fight begun I guess it will turn cold… They got all of our men that was wounded at franklin and all the rebs.. this Hospital is the best fixed thing I ever saw. We have very good grub and git enough of it.. I was in the fight until the first line of works was taken. we took one stand of collers and two guns we was forming when I got hit.. I suppose they will send me to the regiment in a day or so
I have wrote all I can think of so I will bring this to a close Write often to your Hoapeful
H H Maley
Wm M and
E A Maley
Source: Univ of Notredame
William A. Eichbaum, a Nashville bookseller, did this pen-n-ink wash drawing of First presbyterian Church and published it in a sketchbook in the 1850s. Located at present-day Fifth and Church. Federals used the church as a military hospital during the Civil War.
The church is renowned for it’s Egyptian design. The interior is modeled after the temple to Amon-Ra at Karnak.
View (below) of church as it looked in 1831, their first church building.