Monday, April 13, 2015

Antietam: Inside the German Reformed Church hospital

Captain Henry Sand of the 103rd New York
died at the German Reformed Church hospital.
(New York State Military Museum)

A post Sunday included images of the beautiful Connecticut windows in the church on Main Street in Sharpsburg, Md., that was used as a hospital after the Battle of Antietam. Here are two interactive panoramas that I shot Saturday afternoon of the interior of what once was the German Reformed Church hospital. Now the Christ Reformed Church, the small, red-brick building has undergone at least two renovations since the Civil War.

If you were to step back in time to late September 1862, you'd see wounded soldiers on wooden planks, which were placed across the pews. Parishioners aided the overtaxed doctors, who treated terribly wounded soldiers whose stumps needed to be drained of pus and cleared of maggots and flies. Amputated limbs were tossed out the windows. Some wounded may have been placed in the balcony, which no longer exists. 

An Irish-born surgeon named Edward McDonnell kept a casebook in which he detailed the treatment of  wounded here. On Oct. 30, 1862, he witnessed the death of a horribly wounded New York officer, whose thigh had been mangled by Rebel artillery. "He was able to speak to within an hour or so of his death," the surgeon wrote of 25-year-old Captain Henry Sand of the 103rd New York, "and thus passed to another, and I believe better, world."

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