U.S. Army Hospital on Penn Common - York, PA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
N 39° 57.386 W 076° 43.639
18S E 352459 N 4424350
After the battle of Gettysburg, Yorkers sent over 30 wagons filled with nurses, volunteers, food and supplies. Doctors at York Hospital treated more than 14,000 soldiers during the war, losing only 200.
Waymark Code: WMGQZN
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 04/02/2013
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member Turtle3863
Views: 2

The modern city park in downtown York known as Penn Park or Penn Common was once a huge field hospital and tended to the wounded and dead from the Battle of Gettysburg. The former location of the York Fair and the U.S. Army Hospital during the Civil War, Penn Commons Park is a beautifully restored greenway that features a tennis court, playground, and pavilion. The park also features the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial. Marked by granite-metal figures, this memorial is dedicated to the men who fought in the Civil War.

The hospital cared for 14,256 sick and wounded soldiers during its three years of operation, from 1862 to 1865. Statistics show that 7,500 returned to active duty, 3,700 were furloughed, 1,100 soldiers were discharged, 1,300 transferred and only 193 died. This was very good survival and recovery rate.

The Chief Surgeon, Dr. Henry Palmer, and his staff seemed to follow the most modern practices of treatment of the day. Cleanliness, exercise and other activities were stressed. When the main buildings were converted from army barracks windows and ventilators were installed and the hospital was whitewashed inside and out. Fat round stoves at each end of each building provided heat. The story goes that when local businessman Samuel Small was asked for a couple of rocking chairs for the soldiers’ comfort, he sent a wagon full. A chapel was built and the patients had access to a library.

The men ate in three shifts, 800 at a time. A train-like system got the food in front of them quickly. Menus included mutton pot pie on Monday and Thursday, Pork and beans on Tuesday, Fresh vegetable soup on Wednesday, Boiled cabbage and potatoes on Friday, Irish stew on Saturday and Roast beef and mashed potatoes on Sunday.

There was much support from the local community. York women formed “The Soldiers’ Aid Society,” preparing bandages, baking bread and helping care for the sick and wounded.SOURCE

There is a Civil War Trails historic marker in the foreground of the Soldier's and Sailor's monument which reads:

From the Civil War's earliest days through its darkest hours, York played an important role in the Union cause. After turning the York Fairgrounds into a training camp during the opening weeks of the Civil War, the U.S. Army built temporary barracks on Penn Common to house the thousands of new volunteers. A year later, York's operations shifted from training raw recruits to treating the wounded. An army hospital was established at Penn Common and the first 19 patients arrived on July 1, 1862.

As the Confederate Army approached in June 1863, most of York's convalescents were moved to a temporary infirmary in nearby Columbia. Those too sick to travel remained with Dr. Henry Palmer, the surgeon in charge of the York hospital. The Army of Northern Virginia captured him and his patients as prisoners of war. Palmer managed to escape, and aided the wounded from the Gettysburg battlefield.

After the battle, York's citizens sent more than 30 wagons filled with nurses, volunteers, food, and supplies to Gettysburg. Soon more than 1,000 injured filled the hospital on Penn Common. Physicians at the York hospital treated more than 14,000 soldiers during the war. They lost only 200.

There is another bronze marker with an embossed reproduction of the plan for the General Hospital York, Pennsylvania 1862. The bronze tablet is raised up on a stone, rectangular prism base, about 2 feet high. The raised inscription reads: PENN COMMON - York, Pennsylvania - Since 1741, when the Town of York was founded, Penn Common has been used as an area for public gatherings. In 1816, the Common was deeded to the Borough of York by the heirs of William Penn to be kept as a "public Common forever." During the Civil War, it became the site of a military hospital where over 14,000 Union troops were treated. In 1890, the City if York developed this land into a public park for its citizens. - Renovations: 1979 - Funded by the City of York and the U.S. Heritage Conservation Recreation Services aided by the Pennsylvania Department of Community Affairs and the Penn Common Planning Committee.

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