Thursday, September 24, 2009

Caring for the wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg: yankees aiding rebels

In several posts in this forum, we have discussed the everyday horrors of life in both Federal and Confederate prisons. As an alternative to this perspective, please allow us to consider the following excerpt from a volume entitled "Soldiers Letters From Camp, Battle-field and Prison." In this snippet, we hear Charles N. Maxwell, 3rd Maine, discusses the manner in which federal soldiers came to the aid of wounded and dying confederates on the Gettysburg battlefield. Maxwell writes:

On the morning of the 4th we took the front, and I was upon the skirmish-line watching the enemy's sharp-shooters, and exchanging shots with them. We were in the grass, and they several times climbed trees to see us, but we could take them out the first fire. That night, the cries of the wounded, during the storm which raged, was unpleasant in the extreme. I gave many of the rebel wounded water, and covered them up, for which they were grateful, and would urge me to take money. Our boys would mingle with them with the best of feelings — brave men after a desperate struggle respect each other.

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