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October 4, 2019
Gettysburg History Symposium Friday Program
Presented by Gettysburg National Park Service and Gettysburg Foundation
This year attendees are invited to enjoy the collective efforts of Gettysburg National Military Park and Gettysburg Foundation as they treat you to the experience that you have come to expect from the Park's Semi-Annual Seminar and the Foundation's Fall Muster combined into one exciting event!
Friday Evening Program: Jonathan Letterman – Revolutionizing battlefield medicine in the Army of the Potomac with Jake Wynn, Director of Interpretation at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum
Few officers had as much impact on the well-being of soldiers during the Civil War as Major Jonathan Letterman. The wiry medical officer from southwestern Pennsylvania took on the role of Medical Director of the Army of the Potomac in the summer of 1862. Over the subsequent 18 months, Letterman completely transformed how that army cared for its wounded. Letterman established an organized ambulance corps, oversaw the training of stretcher bearers, redeveloped how battlefield hospitals were established, and implemented systems that encouraged accountability and professionalization among the army’s medical personnel. Letterman and his surgeons saved countless lives during the conflict, and their ability to adapt in the face of horrific carnage and overwhelming challenges revolutionized battlefield medicine. This presentation will examine Major Letterman’s legacy, built during his time with the Army of the Potomac from July 1862 to December 1863. It will also scrutinize the state of emergency medical care in the mid-19th century, providing context for the decisions that Letterman and his team faced during the Civil War. The Friday evening program will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. An informal reception with appetizers and cash bar will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Saloon.