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[21] have visited such places and reported the sickening sights, but I can not describe their ghastly realities. Later I became more familiar with such scenes, yet I can never forget that dreadful night. Its horrors overshadow all spectacles I witnessed on other battlefields, and the memory of what I saw there will remain with me to the end.

The Union dead were usually sought out by their surviving comrades by regiments, and buried together in orderly manner, and their graves marked by headboards, upon which were inscribed the name, regiment and company of the person buried. The burial of the Confederate dead at Crampton Pass is thus described by Comrade Beckwith: “I went over the line and position occupied by the Rebels for a considerable distance and saw many of them lying on the field dead. Those I saw had not changed much from life, but they lay in all shapes and positions. Many were shot through the head. I came along to a burial detail. They had dug a long trench on the mountain side. The dead Rebels were carried to it and laid side by side until one tier was made, when another was piled on top until all the dead in the vicinity were gathered up, when the earth was put back over the mound.”

During the first months of the war the care of the wounded was left entirely to regimental medical officers. Each regiment was expected to gather up its severely wounded and take full care of them, until they were sent to general hospital. This plan did not work well, because in every battle some regiments suffered many casualties and others scarcely any. Consequently some medical officers would be overworked and others have nothing to do. On this account a reorganization had been made by which the medical force was consolidated in brigade, division and army corps, and thus the labor was more evenly distributed.

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Clinton Beckwith (1)
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