Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    Cumberland Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee: Civil War Ledger Book of Patient Deaths, August 1863 - April 1866.
    A 6.5" x 8" hardbound ledger book with approximately seventy-four pages filled in by hand listing the patients who died during the above dates; the Name, Rank, Company, Regiment, Date of Death, and Cause of Death are noted for each of the 1528 souls listed (1437 plus a separate section listing 91 "colored soldiers"). This is important original source material for Civil War historians, especially those who study the Ohio units that helped form the Army of the Cumberland as nearly 20% of the soldiers listed are from Ohio regiments. Considering that this was just one of more than 180 such Union hospitals, it is sobering to think of the horrible toll this war took on the young men of our country. Binding loose but pages bright and the writing is strong and legible, very good. Included with this lot is a small group of research material.

    Cumberland was one of eleven Union hospitals in Nashville set up to support the Army of the Cumberland under Generals Rosecrans and Thomas. The battles which likely sent them patients included Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, Franklin, and Nashville. It had 900 beds and was led by Major (later brevet lieutenant colonel) Burkitt Cloak, a Kentucky surgeon with the US Volunteers Medical Staff. The Department of the Cumberland had set up an elaborate and effective system of hospital trains to transport the wounded from battlefield to hospital running between Atlanta, Chattanooga, Nashville, and Louisville. The patients were carried aboard on stretchers that were suspended from straps along the wall of the cars and the locomotives were painted red to identify them to the bands of Confederate guerillas who often attacked the railroads. A New York Times article from July 7, 1864 (copy included), discusses the Battle of Kenesaw Mountain and its heavy losses: "The suffering heroes of the fight come pouring in with every train's arrival, and are consigned to the various hospitals. We have had daily large accessions since July 1, from Kenesaw Mountain, as well as from points of former conflicts. The hospitals here are all full. Cumberland Hospital has now upward of 3,100 patients. A new and spacious hospital, the Sherman, has been erected near and to the east of the Cumberland, and has several hundred inmates. A hundred hospital tents, to contain twelve patients each, have been put up, in connection with hospital No. 2, and are daily filling up. The Officers Hospital is also full." Once at the hospital, they received the best care available whether Union, Confederate, citizen, or contraband (escaped slave).

    From a casual glance through the pages of this ledger, we note several things.
    Ranks: As there was an officer's hospital, it is not surprising to see that most of the deaths noted are of privates, corporals, and sergeants. As a matter of fact, it is death number 792 on December 16, 1864, before a 2nd lieutenant is listed- John H. Secrest of "K" Company, 123rd Indiana Infantry, who died of an abdominal gunshot wound. At that point, more officers begin to show up probably due to the overwhelming numbers of casualties.
    Non-Military: Not all who died at Cumberland were soldiers. There are several dozen listings including: Citizen teamster; Refugee from Georgia; Tennessee refugee; Govt employee; Hospital steward; Citizen; Colored matron; Colored woman; Colored girl; Colored child; Medical cadet US Army; Teamster Signal Corps US Army; Scout for Major General Milroy; Confed States Army, Unknown Federal soldier; Unknown Confed States soldier; Discharged soldier; and Contract nurse. In the "Colored Soldiers" section, several are listed as "contraband."
    Disease: It has been said that for every Civil War soldier killed in battle, two others died from disease or illness. This ledger seems to support that claim with numerous references to deaths from dysentery, typhoid fever, diarrhea, pneumonia, and even measles.

    We note an entry for February 1, 1866, where a contract nurse named Thomas Parker is listed as having "burned to death." A long article was found in the February 2, 1866, edition of the Nashville Union and American titled "Fire at the Cumberland Hospital. One of the Inmates Burned to Death. Great Destruction of Property". In it is found the source of the fire: "No doubt exists in regard to the origin of the fire. A contract nurse named Thomas Parker, who slept in a room adjoining the Dispensary, had gone to bed about 10 o'clock in a state of intoxication, leaving a candle burning on his table; and the supposition is, that in moving about, as a man in that state is apt to do, the candle was overturned, and as the building was of wood, it soon took fire... Efforts were made to save the unfortunate man; but it was found impossible... We understand that he was a discharged soldier, about twenty-two or three years of age... His dreadful fate suggests a moral too plain to require comment." A printed copy of the article is included.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2016
    11th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,020

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $200,000 (minimum $19), plus 20% of any amount between $200,000 and $2,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $2,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 May 3 Luxury Accessories Signature Auction - Beverly Hills.

    Learn about consigning with us

    You reach a customer base that is in many ways completely unknown to the major auction houses, and your marketing to this base is as professional as one could hope for. As I continue to wind down my holdings.
    Michael Z.,
    Hawthorne, NY
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 September 21 - 22 The David and Janice Frent Collection Presidential &  Political Americana, Part VI Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 September 21 - 22 The David and Janice Frent Collection Presidential & Political Americana, Part VI Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $648,838