skip to main content









Donation Heart Ribbon

San Diego Author Profiles Forgotten Civil War Hero

Evening Edition

Aired 7/3/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Scott McGaugh, Author of Surgeon in Blue



Surgeon in Blue: Jonathan Letterman, the Civil War Doctor Who Pioneered Battlefield Care

In his work promoting the USS Midway, museum spokesman Scott McGaugh can tell you just about anything you'd like to know about that famous aircraft carrier.

But it seems McGaugh's penchant for history does not stop at the 20th Century.

He's written a book about one of the American Civil War's unsung heroes, a man credited with inventing modern battlefield medical treatment.

Jonathan Letterman's greatest triumph came at one of the darkest moments in American history — the Battle of Gettysburg. That battle's 150th anniversary is being remembered this week.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.


Avatar for user 'David Lucero'

David Lucero | July 27, 2013 at 10:52 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

Our nation is very lucky for the outcome of the Civil War. This particular battle still strikes a chord with me and I make a point of watching historical movies depicting events leading up and through this battle. Still amazes me how the soldiers of both sides were disciplined enough to march single fire through a hail of gunfire right up to the Union Army's position (some actually made it, but were repelled). As a veteran myself I'm glad to see how our training has improved our chances of survival.

What the medical doctors and injured and dying, not to forget nurses, went through was nothing short of miraculous. Men would lose entire limbs from a single shot (a large .50 caliber round ball!). Aside from this book you can learn a lot from Ken Burns' Civil War and the classic Civil War Journal. Along with the book mentioned here you will learn a lot about this subject.

( | suggest removal )