13th Alabama Surgeon Henry M. Clarkson Writes from Gettysburg, Pa. on July 4th, 1863 - He Cared for Wounded Confederate Soldiers in THE MCPHERSON BARN!

Imagine… this letter was written on July 4th at Gettysburg!  What sights this Surgeon must have seen and of course as we visit the historic Gettysburg battlefield we can still see McPherson’s Barn. 

Doctor Henry Mazyck Clarkson is writing his wife Jean.  Since he is in the field, obviously the letter is written in pencil… easily read and having a great look to it. 

Provenance: The great grandson of Clarkson walked into an antique shop in Gettysburg and sold this letter (name provided to buyer). 

Clarkson was a native of Charleston, S.C., one of 16 children.  On Christmas day 1860 he enlisted as a Private in the Columbia Flying Artillery and was stationed at Fort Moultrie.  He was promoted to Corporal and placed in command of Gun No. 13.  On January 9th, 1861 he as one of three gunners to fire on the Star of the West as the ship attempted to enter Charleston Harbor to resupply the Union Garrison at Fort Sumter.  His shot was the only one fired from Fort Moultrie.  After firing on Fort Sumter, he served with Col. Alexander H. Boykin while waiting for his surgeon’s appointment (He had studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania).

His greatest ordeal came in the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg.  Early on the morning of July 1st, 1863, Henry established a field hospital in the area of South Herr’s Ridge.  By late afternoon, fighting forced him to relocate the hospital to the McPherson barn.  For the next two days, the fighting raged on around him, and casualties poured into his hospital in an endless stream.  When the Army of Northern Virginia crossed the Potomac and regained the safety of Virginia on July 4, Henry remained behind and for the next three weeks treated the wounded of both armies.  According to his granddaughter Eleanor Lee Templeman, “[He] received high praise from the officers of both armies for his untiring and impartial service to the wounded of both North and South.”  In recognition of his services, HENRY’S PHOTOGRAPH WAS PLACED ON THE WALL OF FACES AT THE GETTYSBURG VISITOR’S CENTER IN 1998.

The letter begins, “In the midst of scenes of battle and of carnage I have barely time to take advantage of the very earliest opportunity to write you.”  Take time to read this fine 2 page letter.  It is certainly deserving of the finest Gettysburg, medical or Confederate collection.

#G165AL - New Price $1,295