Hospital Sketches

 I have tried in the past to complete Block of the Month quilts in years past and never been able to keep up, so in 2019 I said I wasn’t going to even try.  Then Fat Cat announced one that I couldn’t resist and I figured it was fre, so I’d at least get the patterns, I got the first block done and saw the first block of Barbara Brckman’s Hospital Sketches block of the month on Civil War Quilts  and I just loved it so I decided to attempt it as well.  Amazingly enough I stayed caught up until the last month.  That one did take me a little longer but I still finished.

Each of the Block of the Months that Barbara does takes inspiration from some aspect history and includes a lot of historical facts along with the block.  I have the blocks completed from an earlier one called Westering Women which was about the wagon trains.  Hospital Sketches focused on the nurses who served in Civil War field hospitals. The entire program I kept thinking there had to be something about Gettysburg and sure enough the final block was about Camp Letterman in Gettysburg.  We were already going to be down there that weekend and I could remember seeing several other field hospitals but I didn't recall seeing  Camp Letterman so we went on a hunt for it.  There isn’t much to mark it’s location today, just a monument on the side of the road, a small interpretive area at the edge of the grocery store parking lot and a plaque at a hotel which stands on the site today.  One woman we spoke to said her mother recalls the area being beautiful with a park, but its become very developed and we drove past it often without knowing the significance. 

Camp Letterman was actually a consolidation of several of the field hospitals, and the plaque lists the sites which were used before the consolidation.  One of the first field hospitals was on the grounds of the Lutheran Seminary.  In fact this is where the unit that many of the men in my hometown (including my 3rd great grandfather) served in fought. Their unit was nearly finished with their enlistment and were preparing to return home to Harrisburg to muster out.  Today there is a great museum at the Seminary and they follow the account of George McFarland from the 151st.  He was a school teacher and the last of the parents to be released from the hospital.  When he returned home he was not recovered enough to teach in his classroom so the students gathered around his bed!
The 151st PA Infantry monument.  My 3rd great grandfather fought in this unit.  

The Lutheran Seminary from the 151st monument.  

Over the winter months I don’t think the field hospitals are open for any tours or programs so when I started quilting it, my goal was to be finished before the field hospital was open. We visit Gettysburg often and I follow a number of related social media pages, but somehow I missed the announcement that the visitors center and much of the programming was open again. This past weekend we camped at Caledonia so that we could go in to the battlefield in the mornings and take pictures at some of the field hospitals.  

We usually take a picture with President Lincoln when we go to the visitor's center, so I thought this would be fun.

The McPherson farm and field hospital
The Spangler Farm and field hospital.  Patients were treated in the barn, the home served as doctor's quarters.

The Spangler Farm and Field Hospital

The Spangler Farm and Field Hospital

The Spangler Farm and Field Hospital-operations were done in the barn.

The Spangler Farm and Field Hospital

After driving around the battlefield we thought it would be fun to take pictures with the other Lincoln statues in town.  


  1. What a wonderful post! I love, love all of your amazing pictures. What a wonderful way to connect this beautiful quilt with the past that inspired it.

  2. Oh my! I found this through Barbara's post today. This is so amazing! I love that you connected with Camp Letterman and it is wonderful to see the quilt in this venue. Thanks for sharing.

  3. How awesome to take your quilt there

  4. What a great idea taking your quilt to Gettysburg for photos! I love the quilt with Abe Lincoln. It's such a beautiful quilt!

  5. I found this post on Barbara B's blog. Your quilt is so beautiful and as a Gettysburg College alum, very fun for me to see these photos!

  6. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  7. Oh how fun! What a fabulous quilt and the photos are wonderful! Congratulations!


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