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Dead, wounded outnumbered Gettysburg in war's wake - abc27 WHTM

Dead, wounded outnumbered Gettysburg in war's wake

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GETTYSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

There wasn't much to be thankful for in Gettysburg on July 4, 1863.

The small community of 2,500 was outnumbered by the dead and injured after three days of intense fighting, and the scene was gruesome.

"It was awful, just awful," said Barbara Shultz, a Civil War reenactor. "You had to take a day at a time and do what you could do to clean up the carnage."

The bodies of about 8,000 soldiers needed to be buried, along with 3,000 horses. Thousands more were wounded and in need of medical care.

"For every person that died in the field, two died in the hospital from disease or injury," reenactor Doug Gill said.

The George Spangler farm, among others, were transformed into hospitals.

"The town was still in chaos," Gill said. "I mean it was in federal control and they were out taking care of the wounded as best as they could."

Medical equipment and supplies were scare.

"Some of the resources were the same, but they were the best at the time," Gill said. "Today, we would cringe at what those doctors were putting patients through, but they were practicing the best medicine at the time."

For many Gettysburg visitors, learning about the past makes them appreciate the present because of the sacrifices made in 1863.

"I could say they were a lot tougher than I was," Gill said. "I don't know if I could go through what they went through."

 

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