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  • Camp Letterman Oak Witness Magnifying Glass
  • Camp Letterman Oak Witness Magnifying Glass
  • Camp Letterman Oak Witness Magnifying Glass
  • Camp Letterman Oak Witness Magnifying Glass
SKU: WT-146

Camp Letterman Oak Witness Magnifying Glass


In the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg, military leaders realized that the town’s farms, private homes, churches and other buildings that had been pressed into service as makeshift regimental hospitals were so overwhelmed by the numbers of dying and wounded that many soldiers who had been unable to find shelter were being cared for in gardens and other outdoor spaces. 

Thankfully, the government acted quickly to authorize the creation of a new general field hospital. Built sometime after July 8, 1863, it opened just weeks after the battle on July 22. It was named Camp Letterman in honor of Jonathan Letterman, M.D., the "Father of Battlefield Medicine" who created medical management procedures that transformed not only Civil War-era medicine, but medical care for thousands of soldiers in subsequent wars.

The tents of the hospital complex were erected east of Gettysburg along the York Road. Union Army surgeons, nurses and members of the U.S. Sanitary Commission then began rendering care to soldiers from both sides of the conflict, ultimately evaluating and treating all of the wounded who had been transported from the various battle sites around Gettysburg. Meals were prepared for the men by a sizable force of cooks, while guards kept the peace among those who were ambulatory. Those needing more advanced treatment or who were doing well enough to be moved out for convalescent care were subsequently sent on to the Union's larger hospitals in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Camp Letterman closed on November 20, 1863, having provided care for more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers.

  • Gettysburg Sentinels crafts products from wood reclaimed from an oak Witness Tree that still stands today on the grounds of what was once Camp Letterman, just east of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  This majestic tree almost certainly dates to the 18th century.

    All of our products include documentation related to the tree.

  • Available without engraving.

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