Scholars Saturday at the Pry House

The Pry House Field Hospital Museum will host its first Civil War Scholars Saturday on April 26, 2014. The event is a one-day symposium with leading experts in American Civil War history. International scholars from diverse backgrounds will each give an individual presentation followed by an open and engaging discussion with the audience.

Appropriate to the Pry House’s location, this first program will focus on the Battle of Antietam, specifically its physical impact, and how people and communities coped in the hours, days, and months which followed. Presenters will include: 

9:45 AM – Coffee and Welcoming Remarks

10:15 AM – Antietam: The Aftermath; by Ted Alexander – The Battle of Antietam is the single bloodiest day in American history, but for the people living along Antietam Creek death, suffering, and struggles continued for months and years afterward. The battle transformed the area into one vast hospital for wounded soldiers. Passing armies stripped the land of food, livestock, and other necessities, leaving deadly diseases, thousands of graves, and millions of dollars in destroyed property. It would be more than a generation before the community fully recovered.

Ted Alexander is Chief Historian of Antietam National Battlefield and author of several works, including The Battle of Antietam: the Bloodiest Day, and a host of scholarly and popular articles on Civil War history. Mr. Alexander is also a leader for many Civil War seminars, symposiums, and tours across the region.

11:15 AM – When the Bullet Hits the Bone: The Impact of Civil War Ammunition; by George Wunderlich – The modern weaponry of the 1860s brought a scale of carnage to Civil War battlefields that was unprecedented in American warfare. More than 200,000 soldiers were killed by small arms and artillery fire during the war, and several times more suffered crippling injuries and amputations. George Wunderlich will scientifically explore what happened when these battlefield projectiles met human flesh and bone, explaining what made Civil War ammunition so uniquely and horrifically destructive.

George Wunderlich is Executive Director of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and internationally recognized expert on diverse topics including Civil War Medicine, ballistics and firearms, and historical instruments. For 25 years, Mr. Wunderlich has contributed to historic preservation and education at national, state, and private parks and museums too numerous to mention, and regularly appears as an expert contributor for PBS, the BBC, the History Channel, and National Geographic.

12:15 PM – Lunch – A light lunch will be available on site at the Pry House Field Hospital Museum. The museum will be asking for donations in lieu of charging for food items.

1:00 PM – The Birth of Battlefield Evacuation; by Dr. Gordon Dammann – When the Civil War began in 1861 there was no system in place to handle the thousands of casualties which resulted from major engagements. In the wake of the Battle of Antietam in September 1862, the Union Army of the Potomac’s Medical Director, Dr. Jonathan Letterman, created the first comprehensive system of staged evacuation and care. This system brought order to every stage of patient care and ensured that combat casualties received prompt and efficient medical attention. The Letterman Plan became a model for both armies and continues as a cornerstone for modern combat and emergency medicine today.

Dr. Gordon Dammann is the founder of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and author of several books, including Images of Civil War Medicine and Pictorial Encyclopedia of Civil War Medical Instruments and Equipment, Volumes I-III. Dr. Dammann is a frequent speaker at Civil War round tables and historical societies in Maryland and his home state of Illinois.

2:00 PM – Civil War Veterans Pensions; by Wayne Motts – The provision of military pensions to disabled veterans and their families dates back to the Revolutionary War, but the massive scale of modern military pensions began during the Civil War. Both the U.S. and former Confederate state governments provided sizable pensions to Civil War veterans and their families. Pensions were initially provided for only those who suffered disability as a direct result of military service, but over decades the system was expanded to provide pensions for virtually all Civil War Veterans. The money paid out for Civil War veterans pensions eventually totaled in the billions of dollars.

Wayne Motts is Chief Executive Officer of the National Civil War Museum and author of Trust in God and Fear Nothing: Lewis A. Armistead, C.S.A. among other works of Civil War history. Mr. Motts is the former director of the Adams County Historical Society, a respected scholar of Civil War history, and has been a Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide for over 25 years.

Civil War Scholars Saturday will take place outdoors under a large tent on the grounds of the Pry House.

Though not required, attendees are strongly encouraged to pre-register online in order to assist event organizers in planning. To register, visit A donation of $10 is suggested for attendees, in order to help fund future programs like this at the Pry House Field Hospital Museum.

The Pry House Field Hospital Museum is located at 18906 Shepherdstown Pike (MD 34), Keedysville, MD.

For more information, please contact Kyle Wichtendahl at or 301-695-1864 ex 1013.



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The Barton Patient Rolls

Search through the patient list from Clara Barton’s records.

The Barton Rolls

Frederick Patients after the Battle of Antietam

Search through our list below of patients that were treated in Frederick after the Battle of Antietam.