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How to Use the Images

 

Inquiry Question

Historical Context

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Visual Evidence


Photo 1: Amputation being performed in a
hospital tent, Gettysburg, July 1863.
[Graphic] Photo 1 with link to higher quality photo.
(National Archives and Records Administration)

Photo 2: Field hospital after the battle,
Savage Station, VA, 1862.
[Graphic] Photo 2 with link to higher quality photo.
(Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-B811-0491)

The Civil War was the first war in which the horror and death of the battlefield was extensively recorded by photographers. Even the gruesome scenes of field hospitals did not escape the camera's eye. Although there were no photographers traveling with Sherman's army at the time of the Battle of Bentonville, much can still be learned about field hospitals by examining photographs taken at other locations.

Questions for Photos 1 & 2

1. Write a separate description for each scene. Note things like the setting, the number of people, what they are doing, how they are dressed, and so on.

2. How do the differences of the two scenes indicate the changes made as a result of the Letterman plan?

3. How do the conditions exhibited in Photo 2 differ from modern operating theater? Would surgery during the Civil War have "done more harm than good?"

* The photos on this screen have a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a high quality version of Photo 1 and Photo 2, but be aware that each file will take as much as two minutes to load with a 28.8K modem.

 

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