Hospital Transports: A Memoir of the Embarkation of the Sick and Wounded from the Peninsula of Virginia in the Summer of 1862

By Natalie Babbitt and Laura L. Behling

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The care of the sick, wounded, and dying during the American Civil War was a complex endeavor that brought ordinary men and women into contact with the terror of the battlefield. Hospital Transports is a compilation of letters and other papers written by physicians and nurses serving aboard the Union hospital steamboat Daniel Webster in the summer of 1862. The text details sleeping arrangements, cooking and feeding schedules, medical practices, and the incorporation of liberated slaves from the Lee plantation into the daily work of the ship. Clearly described are the emotional, visceral reactions of the corps of medical personnel who, as their ship makes its way along the Potomac picking up casualties, question the philosophies at the root of war, and the metaphysical questions concerning the definitions of life and death.
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