University City Artist and Photographer Sylvia Barkan created this mosaic of architectural treasurers.
a Civil War Hospital in West Philadelphia
Paper by Adam Clements, Saterlee General Hospital. Written April 22, 2010 for "Handling History" at La Salle University. Adam Clements is a Graduate Student in the La Salle University Department of History.
full paper - pdf
bibliography - pdf
The goal of the paper is not to analyze the medical aspect of the hospital. The advances made and the treatment given by the surgeons will be discussed, but for the author, Satterlee’s story lies more with the people, rather than the science. The staff and the patients made Satterlee what it was; an innovational and inspirational medical facility during one of America’s most trying times.
The motivation was to answer the broad questions: Who created Satterlee Hospital? Why was it built here in Philadelphia? Were there people without the pomp or rank who provided exceptional service nonetheless? What were the thoughts of the patients during their stays at Satterlee? Did they contribute to the facility in any way? Was Satterlee a standard hospital, or did it possess traits that made it different from other period facilities?
Satterlee was a fully-operational hospital from 1862-65, the majority of the paper focuses on the first year of its existence. It was during this time that Satterlee made its mark on the medical world.
The present-day Clark Park is partly on the site of
Satterlee, the Civil War's largest hospital, where many of
the Gettysburg wounded were brought after battle. According
to "West Philadelphia Illustrated," by M. Lafitte Vieira,
Philadelphia, Pa.: Arden Press, 1903, pp. 178-179:
"Satterlee Hospital stood
formerly at Forty-fourth street and Baltimore avenue. It
contained forty-five hundred beds and was next to the
largest hospital in the country. It was erected in 1861.
The vicinity was then rich in sylvan beauty and is now
quite a centre of West Philadelphia, and adorned by
handsome houses and graced by the Clarence Clark Park.
"In Stewart Bulkley's
reminiscences of Satterlee Hospital during the Civil War
a most interesting account is given of the tenderness and
devotion of Mother Gonzaga, who has passed away to her
eternal reward, and whose care of the sick and the
wounded will ever remain memorable. A veteran of the One
Hundred and Forty-second Regiment of Pennsylvania
Volunteers, said of the saintly Sister: 'Mother Gonzaga
was a mother to about fifty soldiers in the Satterlee
United States Hospital during the years from 1862 to
1865. No matter what the creed, her devotion was ever the
same, and not a few soldiers recalled in after years the
midnight visits of Mother Gonzaga--as she was called by
the men--her silent steps after "taps" and in the dim
gaslight were listened for, and with her white-winged
head-dress she flitted from bed to bed to soothe and
cheer the suffering soldiers.' She was one of the purest
and loveliest of women, and the mention of her name with
that of old Satterlee Hospital is only a fitting tribute
to her gentle memory.
"On the twentieth of May, 1862,
a requisition was made by Surgeon-General Hammond,
through Dr. I. I. Hayes, for twenty-five Sisters of
Charity to nurse the sick and wounded soldiers in the
West Philadelphia Hospital, known afterwards as the
Satterlee Hospital in honor of General Satterlee. Dr.
Hayes, of Arctic exploration fame, was appointed
surgeon-in-charge. The hospital grounds covered an area
of fifteen acres.
"At Forty-second street and the
Schuylkill, back of the Woodlands, there was, in 1862, a
steamboat landing, where, during the Civil War, the sick
and wounded were brought, and from there carried in carts
and all manner of conveyances to Satterlee Hospital, and
to a temporary hospital on Woodland avenue, where St.
Vincent's Home now stands."
from an account of the time:
This is perhaps the largest and
most complete Army Hospital in the world. It covers sixteen
acres of ground. There are 21 wards, containing 4500 beds.
The length of the buildings is 900 feet. There are
altogether 7 acres of floors. It was opened for the
reception of our brave sick and wounded soldiers, June 9th,
1862. Admitted up to May 27, 1864 12,773. Deaths, 260. Since
the great battles of the Wilderness and Spottsylvania, there
have been several hundred tents put up outside of the
enclosure, as the accommodations are not sufficient for the
large numbers of patients daily arriving from the field. The
principal officers are:
I. I. HAYES, Surgeon,
W. H. FORWOOD, Assistant Surgeon, U.S.A., Executive
J. WILLIAMS, Acting Assistant Surgeon, U.S.A., Acting
Charles P. Tutt, Acting Assistant Surgeon,
Capt. William Brian, Commander of Guard.
Chaplains, Nathaniel West, D.D., U.S.A., Alfred Nevin,
Officers of V. R. Corps on duty
at this Post :
Capt. William Brian, 1st Lieut. Shields, 1st Lieut. M.
Quartermaster Steward, A. Berg, Hospital Steward,
Commissary Steward, J. L. Kite, Hospital Steward,
In charge of Dispensary, S. S. Frics, Hospital Steward,
Chief Clerk, Daniel W. Martin, Hospital Steward,
Post Master, William A. Bulkley, Hospital Stewart,
Police Inspector, Theo. St. Clair, Hospital Steward,
Chief Ward Master, E. S. Morell, Hospital Steward,
Chief Female Nurse, Sister Gouraga.
Chief Printer, Sergeant J. D. Lemmon.
Chief Carpenter, J. Fletcher.
Chief Engineer, M. McA. Field.
Baggage Master, Theo. St. Clair, Hospital Steward,
Visiting days, Monday, Wednesday
and Friday, from 2 to 5 P.M. Special passes, approved by the
Surgeon in Charge, procured of the Executive Officer.
There are forty Sisters of Charity
in this Hospital, who are ever ready to relieve the
sufferings of its inmates. There is, for the accommodation
of the patients, a large Reading Room, with a Library,
Piano,; also, Sutler Store, Stationary and Newspaper Depot,
Barber Shop and Printing Office, where there is published a
very neat paper, called the Hospital Register, also a fine
Band of Music.