Union surgeon (Landis) writes of working in Hospital #1 in Nashville, late 1862

Dr. Abraham Hoch Landis wrote to his children and detailed his day-to-day activities in Hospital #1 (Nashville).

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.

A Confederate soldier wounded at the Battle of Franklin falls in love with a local resident while being cared for in a field hospital

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-12-20-19-pmCapt William F. Gibson, a Confederate soldier from Arkansas, was wounded in the face and stomach at the Battle of Franklin, November 30, 1864, fighting around the Carter Cotton Gin with Cleburne’s Division. Lying wounded and bleeding on the field, he was saved by a Union soldier, who recognized he was a Mason.

Gibson was carried to the doorstep of the Cummins’s House in Franklin where he was found by a young single woman named Laura Sowell who was visiting her uncle at the time. Miss Sowell was from Columbia and single at the time.

Laura nursed William these first few days and they eventually fell in love, writing letters to one another right after the Franklin conflict, and even 30 years later.

They never married. William was shamed by his disfigured wounds from Franklin and did not think he was good enough for Laura. She later married a prominent businessman in Columbia, Tennessee.

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Here are some pictures of the former Cummins’ home now located at 403 Cummins Street just a little south of downtown Franklin, very close to the Lots House.

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Confederate William F. Gibson, 8th Arkansas Infantry, was wounded in this vicinity where the original Carter cotton gin was positioned, and was found the next day by a Union soldier who noticed William wearing a Masonic pin. The Union soldier carried the wounded Gibson to the home of Dr. Cummins (pictured above) where he was cared for and tended by local Miss Laura Sowell, whom he fell in love with.

The importance of military hospitals in Louisville & Nashville during the Civil War

Nashville had 20-25 military hospital hospitals operating at any given time during the Civil War. At peak capacity, Nashville hospitals had roughly 14,000 men being treated, including hundreds of Confederates, even during the Union occupation that began in February 1862.

Nashville was the second largest military hospital network devoted to Union-use. Only Philadelphia had a larger military hospital system. As large as the Nashville military hospital system was, it could still could handle the amount of casualties that strained her capacity.

Thousands of wounded and sick Union soldiers were initially treated in a Nashville hospital and then routed to Evansville, Louisville or Jeffersonville for care in their respective hospitals. Many Union casualties from the Franklin-Nashville campaign were taken to Louisville for medical care.

One such Louisville hospital was #8, which later became known as the Monsarrat School (below).

Hospital #8 in Louisville, later known as Monsarrat School.

Hospital #8 in Louisville, later known as Monsarrat School.

Joseph Meyer was 23 years old when he enlisted in October 1864, Co.B., was mortally wounded at Franklin, died of wounds on 12/6/64 at Jeffersonville, Indiana. Buried at New Albany National Cemetery (IN), Gravesite B-86.