Mr. Fisher and Miss Kessinger it was a pleasure to meet you at Harpers Ferry on Saturday.
To Noah Briggs I give the credit for my steward’s impression. I was wearing his frock and used his pharmaceutical collection and paperwork. And it is thanks to his pharmaceutical notes and guidance (with a dose of Joseph Janvier Woodward’s Hospital Steward’s Manual and time well-spent at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine) that I can talk a bit to visitors about Civil War-era medicine. A steward’s impression is a new one for me and without question a work in progress.
The highlights of Harpers Ferry for this one of two stewards was listening to Mr. Briggs and Mr. Fisher discuss surgical procedures and pharmaceuticals with visitors. The delight on Noah’s face as he read the Latin labels of each of his 40 odd bottles of real or faux-made-to-look-and-taste-like-the real-medicine was infectious. I enjoyed my opportunity to talk about Civil war era medicines and what medicines might be prescribed for ailments still with us today.
The unplanned double steward situation was a bit awkward. I thought of putting on my private’s sack coat and letting the other steward do his thing, but he took a couple of breaks to walk about and get warm (the room we were stationed in had a tantalizing but non- functioning stove and a heating system blowing down cold air ) so I kept as I was. I spent much of the time as a doorman anyway, letting people in and out of a problematic door with a sticking lock. As the temperature fell later in the day, I draped my great coat over me and could have represented a private for all anyone knew.
Next year, if there are multiple groups with medical impressions, we might coordinate ahead of time so that we can work in shifts in the doctor’s office (and rig that door open) or set up shop in a larger area with a hospital-like venue rather than a doctor’s office.
My view--worth 2 cents or as much as GM stock.
All in all it was a worthwhile experience and I would gladly do it again next year.
Brady's Sharp Shooters
28th Massachusetts Co. B
The Loudoun-Hampshire Mess