Continuing my research on hospitals in Williamsburg Virginia after the battle of May 5, 1862 I wanted to share the following with those that may be interested.

Here’s an observation on the dress of Confederate Surgeons with Joe Johnston’s Army of the Potomac, just before it becomes Bobby Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in mid-1862:

“The wounded in Williamsburg---400 or 500--- were left there in care of the rebel surgeons, who were sent into our lines for that purpose. Some of these doctors were quite intelligent looking men, but most of them were shabbily dressed and were only to be distinguished from civilians by the letters “M. S.”---signifying medical staff---on their hats.”

Taken from One Surgeon’s Private War: Doctor William W. Potter of the 57th New York, ed. John Michael Priest, 1996, page 23.

As an explanatory note, the retreating Confederates left Surgeon J. S. D. Cullen, Medical Director of Longstreet’s Division, and at least ten other regimental surgeons and volunteer doctors behind in Williamsburg to tend the wounded. They were taken up as prisoners by the Federals, but then released because of their non-combatant status.

Another interesting medical factoid is that Surgeon Cullen had his division stretchers identified with his name and one that was left at the Bruton Parish Church hospital in Williamsburg, survives in the collection of the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond.

Carson Hudson
Williamsburg, VA