It was a horrible scene, the shouts, the taunting, then the firing of the muskets. Men lay dead around my feet. Others shot and dying, writhing in pain. The governor arrived and tried to calm the crowd, but they wanted immediate justice. The crowd wanted the heads of the soldiers responsible….we will see if justice is served.
…and your old Doctor Hart has spent much of that time healing from a major spinal surgery. Fortunately, I had a better doctor than I wielding the scalpel. The eminent Dr. Cronk had that pleasure….and her post surgery manner and care has been exceptional. Her skills and care were so good that I am 3 months ahead of schedule in my healing.
But, enough about my troubles, I am here to wax on about the tensions that are building in and around Boston. Word has it a small contingent of British regular soldiers have been wreaking havoc in and amongst the townspeople. I am headed there tonight to assess the situation, and hopefully my skills as a surgeon will not be needed.
I’ll be helping to open a new exhibit on early American medical history at the museum on Saturday. So, please stop by and help them out, visit the exhibit, and even get your picture with me if you like. This is an exhibit that yours truly helped provide the background research on the medical state of America during the period of the revolution. I would be grateful if folks took some time to stop by and support this great place.
Here’s an excerpt from their opening statement:
May Day/Opening Weekend Celebration at the Museum!
Saturday, May 3rd, 2014, 10:00am – 4:00pm
Free! (but donations are appreciated!)
Join us on the first Saturday of the 2014 season to be one of the first to see four new exhibits and participate in hands-on learning about the Revolutionary War era. Learn the history of the Revolutionary War thru the lens of the Ladd-Gilman House. Experience the new Children’s Exhibit at the Folsom Tavern. Learn more about the new exhibits on medicinal use and practice during the Revolutionary War, and the history of the Society of the Cincinnati through guided tours from our graduate interns. Celebrate May Day with traditional crafts, and bring a picnic to enjoy on our grounds. Perfect for families and all those who love history!
For more information, visit them online at http://www.independencemuseum.org/index.htm
As I walked up the long path, a path buttressed by a white blanket of snow, I could clearly see the red door before me. Approaching the door, the regal black iron door knocker came into view. The blank stares of the face, surrounded by a laurel, I reached out to knock on the door to gain entrance.
It is with a heavy heart that I bear witness to the most tragic and cowardly act upon my home soil. There is nothing to say, only to feel. I leave you with a most apropos quote, from one of our founding fathers, that rings true today as it did when written in a letter by John Adams in 1775:
“The town of Boston is a spectacle worthy of the attention of a deity, suffering amazing distress, yet determined to endure as much as human nature can, rather than betray America and posterity.”
Ask yourself if we can live up to the aspirations of our founding fathers, or will we be afraid to persevere. This is a question everyone of us must ask of themselves in the coming days and weeks.
Leaving the garrison here at Westpoint, NY, I will need to take a ferry across the Hudson River. Being as it will be spring time, the river could be high, and the passing a bit rough and treacherous for myself, horse, and belongings. To the ferryman, being a fine and upstanding man (recommended by His Excellency) I put my utmost trust.
We will travel down the Hudson, and up the Peeks Kill River, to Peeks KillTown.
…from WestPoint, NY to Boston, MA.
I am currently working out the logistics to travel from the garrison here at Westpoint, NY to Boston, MA. This journey is one of an assignment, appointed by none other that His Excellency, Gen. George Washington. An assignment which I have been entrusted by Gen. Washington, and all the officers of the 2nd Massachusetts Regiment, to travel as a civilian doctor (on horseback) to Boston to retrieve a large sum of gold His Excellency has in trust at a certain legal office. This precious cargo is intended to provide the officers of the 2nd Massachusetts their back pay for their years of service to this fledgling country. It will be a grueling journey, one I am sure will be fraught with many challenges, dangers, and adventures.
Until that time, this journal will be documenting my planning of the route. I write this journal as a testament for future travelers and others of inquiring minds. Please, follow my progress toward this goal. As the calendar closes in to springtime, I will set out when the travel will be most favorable. You are all welcome to follow along…….if you dare.
Arrived on Friday afternoon for the setup of the camp. We established our encampment outside the fort, in an attempt to defend it against the reports of British regulars in the area. The hospital tent went up well, but, with room getting tight as more units arrive, the hospital became locked into a dead-end street. It will be difficult to treat the men there, so I will need to make plans to perform my craft in a more open area. Friday night came, along with a little chill. The wool blankets provided just enough warmth for sleeping. However, during the night, I heard the patter of a light rain descending upon us all. Hopes are it stops before the sun rises and morning gun is fired.
Saturday morning was chilly, but bearable. The light showers had ended before dawn, and there was a heavy fog hanging above the battlefield beyond the fort. Knowing New England this fog will burn of as soon as the sun rises above the trees and bears down upon us for the day. I could hear the camp stirring from within my tent, so, I decided to join them before morning gun. I dressed in my short clothes, donned my wool full length green cloak, green wool liberty cap, and headed out to obtain that elixir of life from the dining fly………coffee……..
Officer’s call was struck, so I headed off to the command tent to receive our orders for the day. As the meeting went on, I discovered there were new recruits in the ranks that had not been inoculated for the pox. It was decided the inoculations would be best done after morning drill, as the men paraded back to the camp. I began to develop an inoculation plan for the men, and scouted out an appropriate area and recruited a nursing staff from the existing camp followers. As fate would have it, the best location for the procedure was just in front of our dining fly and fire pit. The smoke from the fire will server well to stave off the infection by purifying the air, and it was on the side of the parade ground making it ideal for the purpose.
The drill went well, the men look sharp and ready to defend the fort if needed. On their march back, they were lined up to receive the inoculation per orders of the commander. Most men took it well, a few were hesitant at the sight of the scalpel, but were reassured by the lovely nursing staff at my side. The nurses were essential and we all worked as a finely oiled machine. As I finished with the scalpel, I handed it to Nurse Donna, who scrubbed it in the soapy wash, then handed it to nurse Laura for rinse and drying. Meanwhile I was applying the smallpox soaked thread to the newly opened incision. As I finished the inoculation on one soldier, the sanitized scalpel was ready for the next soldier. I was quite impressed with these new nurses, they were not only helpful and efficient, but eased the tensions of the men during the procedure with calming and reassuring words, and a lovely smile.
The battle was upon us following a wonderful nooning prepared by Mr Longtooth. The British regulars pushed the Militia lines, while the regular Continentals were assembled for the final push. I positioned myself and the water-bearing ladies behind the lines. I watched the battle, with an eye on the fallen men in the field. As the lines advanced, and I deemed it safe, I instructed the water bearers to enter the field, to attend to the fallen men. As the battle lines advanced further, I went onto the field, with my hospital flag flying, indicating that the area was under the control of the hospital department. We watered down those that needed it, and covered the faces of those that we beyond our help, and were now in the care of a higher power.
The British regulars were thoroughly routed from the field by the skill and bravery of the American forces. however, I feel this will not be a lasting situation.
As the sun set beyond the camp, and darkness descended upon us,
…the camp was in the process of castremetation. We were directed to our designated area to raise our canvas. We soon discovered one of the commanding colonels had appropriated his own offsite lodging (it must be nice to be an officer) and would not require his place in camp. The Adjutant graciously offered the space for the flying hospital, allowing us to extend ourselves.