The churches of Gettysburg were the first to offer their facilities to serve the needs of wounded soldiers borne from the battlefield on July 1st. Public buildings and many private homes followed the lead in showing care and mercy.
As soon as the churches opened their doors, ambulances arrived with their fightful cargo. The work to restore the mutilated bodies began, continuing around the clock. Postoperative care and food preparation fell mainly to the tireless efforts of women volunteers.
It was a scene of immense suffering! Agnes Barr, a member helping at the Presbyterian Church, recalled, "the shrieks and groans of the wounded were heart rending."
Churches continued to be used as hospitals after the armies departed, causing parishioners to forego normal services, prompting Sallie Broadhead to note in her diary, "we have had no Sundays...the churches have all been converted into hospitals."
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