View Full Version : Moderate AAR of Harpers Ferry

12-05-2007, 01:54 AM
Well, lots of downtime at HF this December. Too bad; I was a perfect picture opportunity of period correct, sitting at the window with my ink pot, straightedge, pen, cleaning cloth and hospital books. The books are being composed to lay to rest the flatulence that doctors were ignorant, made wil guesses, had no idea what the medicines were doing &c. This is bull and we know it. Read Beasley's books, Parrish's books; John Erichsen spilled ink on a thousand pages discussing the art and science of surgery.

I continued to fill out my Patient Register aka, Book One. I ruled out an accouinting book according to the form for a patient register in the Revised Regs. I have the patient names already - about a hundred. Some fictional, others recycled from past events. Now comes the fun part of inventing symptoms and conditions to put into the "Remarks" section.

I also started on entries to my Treatment Register, aka Book Two. This book corresponds to the initial patient regiater via an assigned number to each entry. I based my entries on the basic format I remember from the Winder Hospital ledgers. Name, age, occupation, date admitted, and the notes:

1. Roe, Jonathan. Age:25 Occupation, Farmer Admitted: 3/12/6X

"Pat. admitted 3/12/6X CC mild cough and flux. Admin 2
gtt T.O. b.i.d. ad libit. Admin 10gr. Syr.Scil. Flux dried up after 2
days, cough suppressed. Pat. discharged 3/14/6X."

Pop quiz: You get to translate the entry to longhand English if you really want to know what was written.

I had fun with the list of Latin abbreviations. My notes got mixed further and further into an esoteric linguistic stew as the day wore on. I broke up the monotony of entries by hauling out disease notes and writing down symptomology for a variety of illnesses. The unfortunates in Company D got caught in a major outbreak of malaria or cholera, and the entries were designed to show the reader how the communicable diseases whipped through whole companies in a few days.

I threw in some minor injuries for fun. Someone got hit in the head during bayonet drill. (Stand further apart, fellas!) Held him overnight to make sure he did not have a concussion. Stitched up a couple of fistfighters, and treated a burn from someone spilling hot water during cooking. (**** Jonahs keep me in business. NOT the symbiotic relationship I was looking for.) Someone else got two stitches after nicking himself with a pocketknife cutting onions for his soup.

Here's an interesting note - it's difficult to write the apothecary symbols for "fluid drachms", "minums", &c. with pen and ink, particularly for us doomed lefties. The symbols do not show up in Microsoft's collection of symbology either, which is a hassle when you are trying to type an explaination on how to write a prescription.

Book Three in this bureaucratic trilogy will be the Prescription Book, where I will write up the exact prescriptions which were used on each patient listed in the register. (Gotta account for the supplies used somewhere.) Some of them I will write on separate slips of paper and glue into place, as though I scribbled it somewhere else and glued it into the book just now. The other copy of said prescription will be tied/shellacked/written on the envelope of the medicine container itself. Thus the final goal of showing how the paper can trace the medication from me to the patient and how we accounted for the usage.

Questions? Read up on the sources I cited. Still questions? Ask here.

12-05-2007, 10:48 AM

It was great to meet you and see your kit and paperwork at Harper's Ferry. I must say I was impressed with the time I spent there and please to see so many civilians in town in period attire! Made it almost look like a real functioning town.

Thanks for letting me take photos of your assembled stuff. Those bottles are much larger in person than they seems in the photos.

12-06-2007, 04:39 AM
And it's people such as yourself and who post to this forum who make the research worthwhile!

12-06-2007, 11:09 AM
Noah sounds like you got it "going on." Will you be at Gettysburg in July?

12-06-2007, 10:44 PM
Will you be at Gettysburg in July?

Nope. Neither one.

'I survived a Gettysburg reenacment and all I got was this lousy heatstroke."