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"Three Weeks at Gettysburg", Gettysburg Ephemera, by Bacon, All Original, 1863
Sweetpea Cottage has been very fortunate to obtain one of the more scarce publications relating to the Battle of Gettysburg. The three day battle was barely over when it became clear that there was an immediate need to address the nursing issues for the thousands of wounded soldiers from both sides. Georgeanna Murson Woolsey Bacon was one of the many women who struggled to get to Gettysburg to help nurse the wounded back to health. This 24 page booklet was written by her to describe her experiences and it was published within weeks of the conclusion of the battle.
This booklet is titled Three Weeks at Gettysburg, and was published by Anson D. F. Randolph of New York, dated 1863. The note on the cover says "This unpretending sketch of the labors of two Ladies among the wounded, after the Battle of Gettysburg, was originally printed for private distribution among a few of the Soldiers' Aid Societies. It is now, by request, reproduced for a more general circulation among the friends and contributors to the Sanitary Commission, in the belief that it cannot fail to stimulate and encourage them in their work." Considering the age of this piece, condition is quite good with scattered foxing. The original sewn single large stitch used to bind the pages together is still in good shape. This is a paper booklet and was never issued with a hard cover. It is a 24mo. (5 3/8 inches by 4 5/8 inches) pamphlet with printed wrap that was intended to be read by the public and then thrown away. For a piece such as this to survive is truly remarkable. It is fragile, but intact, and surprisingly well preserved.
The author worked with the United States Sanitary Commission as a nurse. She describes her experiences at Camp Letterman just outside of Gettysburg while attending the wounded from the battle. Besides nursing the wounded, she helped to feed many of the soldiers waiting to depart Gettysburg, some to return home and others to go to northern prisoner-of-war camps. While many books have been written about the battle itself, very little has been written about the aftermath. Bacon wrote this booklet for the homefront to stimulate interest in having women volunteer to help nurse wounded soldiers. Only one other copy is available on the internet, and that copy has significant cover damage. A delicate piece of ephemera such has this was never intended to survive the test of time. Yet, here is a true survivor. If you are a serious historian or Civil War enthusiast, this is possibly a once in a lifetime chance to obtain a truly remarkable piece of history.
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Ken and Joan Drews, Phoenix, MD
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