Wednesday, June 2, 2021


We are dedicated to the promotion of Medical Education from Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.  As a 501c3 Not-For-Profit, we actively promote this education through donations to our organization. 

Camp Letterman Fund Trust (CLFT) is the kick-off to the newest 160th-anniversary location in the Gettysburg area.  The CLFT projects showcase the "ultimate 1860’s experience on the actual ground of famous Camp Letterman Hospital Camp, Gettysburg Pennsylvania.

Working closely with Camp Letterman Village & Park (CLVP) a preservation-based mixed-use area to provide historical period activities and events while reinventing the natural backdrop to this beautiful area.  Known to locals in the 1860’s as a local park picnic location, this blends in perfectly with the historic significance of the days prior to the battle.  Then ultimately being used as the largest Union Hospital and caring for both confederates and federal soldiers alike, this sharing brings us together in a learning environment to be further educated on a portion of the actual site.

amp Letterman Fund Trust
, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, will work closely with thru education and other needed services to the historic Camp Letterman hospital site with the new Camp Letterman Museum & Visitor Center, historic Wolf Farm living history, Camp Letterman Hospital Re-creation with Monument Row, and outdoor teaching amphitheater and much more.  

The Camp Letterman Village and Park will bring a symbiotic connection to local favorite and international stop that provides an 1860's look into this location and bringing many other connected services & programs to the Gettysburg area.   


Camp Letterman Village & Park will contain the following

Camp Letterman Medical Museum & Visitors Center:

A high-tech medical training & research center, Advanced Medical Education & Training Center(AMTEC) Camp Letterman at the Wolf Farm;

Historic Wolf Farm Living History Re-creation;

Camp Letterman Monument Row;

Letterman Memorial Monument and

Camp Letterman Teaching Wolf Amphitheater & much more, while preserving hallowed ground.


Camp Letterman was once the largest field hospital ever built in North America. Camp Letterman General Hospital near Gettysburg was chosen for on the George Wolf Farm, east of Gettysburg on the York Pike for many reasons. The farm was near the main road and the railroad where a depot was established. Trains would deliver supplies for the Gettysburg camp and take recovering patients to permanent hospitals in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington.  

ver 30,000 soldiers of both armies lay wounded in temporary field hospitals at the close of the Battle of Gettysburg. As the Medical Director of the Army of the Potomac, Dr. Jonathan Letterman and his staff before the battle ended ordered more medical supplies to be brought to Gettysburg and he sent his ambulance corps over the field to move the wounded into more central medical stations.  
A central hospital was established on the York Pike east of Gettysburg and near the railroad and named Camp Letterman after Dr. Letterman. Wounded soldiers were taken from the field hospitals by horse-drawn ambulances to the new camp where they were housed in large canvas tents. Unlike the rigors of a field hospital, the new camp had cots with clean sheets and pillows. 

By August 7, 1863, most of the corps and field hospitals were closed and Camp Letterman was the only hospital remaining with over 3,000 patients. The camp remained at Gettysburg until November 1863 when the last remaining patients left, the tents were packed, and the doctors and nurses left for other battlefield hospitals. 

hen General Robert E. Lee left Gettysburg on July 4, 1863, with the Army of Northern Virginia, he was forced to leave his soldiers who were too severely wounded to be moved and who lay too close to the Union lines to be retrieved behind. Estimates vary, but his wagon train of wounded which he took back to Virginia was at least fifteen miles long. Major General George G. Meade, commander of the Army of the Potomac, was expecting another significant battle and took most of his army’s medical personnel and ambulances with him. This left Gettysburg, a town of fewer than 2,400 people, with over 20,000 wounded Union and Confederate soldiers to care for. Every building in and around the town was a hospital to help the wounded, including private residences. In addition to field hospitals all over the battlefield, some of the wounded were in woods with only trees for covering and some were in the open air on the field with none.

nce the railroad line into Gettysburg, which had been damaged by Major General Jubal A. Early’s raiders before the battle, was repaired on July 10, assistance was able to arrive. Help came from charitable organizations, foremost among which were the United States Sanitary Commission (USSC) and the United States Christian Commission (USCC), as well as individuals from the North and South. A limited number of Union surgeons were assigned to Gettysburg at this time and there were also some Confederate surgeons who had been ordered by General Lee’s medical director to stay behind. The Union wounded began being transferred to military hospitals in major cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington. The Confederate wounded were sent to prison camps, such as Point Lookout and others.

Some were so severely wounded that they could not be moved from Gettysburg. A central field hospital for them was established on July 22 at the George Wolf farm a mile east of the town on the York Pike. It was 150 yards from the railroad track so that supplies and personnel could arrive there and so that the wounded could be evacuated once they recovered enough. It was named Camp Letterman General Hospital after Major Jonathan Letterman, the Medical Director of the Army of the Potomac. Dr. Henry Janes, who was the Medical Director of all hospitals around Gettysburg, placed Dr. Cyrus N. Chamberlain in charge of Camp Letterman. It was the largest field hospital in North American history and consisted of multiple rows of over 400 tents.

y August 7, most all of the corps field hospitals had been closed and Camp Letterman was the only field hospital remaining at Gettysburg. It had over 4,000 patients, over one-third of whom were Confederates. At this point, most of the army surgeons were relieved and volunteers took over. The USSC and the USCC each had a section of tents and their efforts continued to be very prominent. As the cases which remained there were the most dire ones, Camp Letterman had a very high mortality rate. Careful records were kept because of the severity of these cases and records of them were sent to the Surgeon General’s office. There was also a temporary hospital cemetery established which had about 1,200 graves. (The Union dead there were later reinterred at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg and the Confederate dead were removed to the South.) The Union and Confederate soldiers were not separated in their facilities but were housed and treated together. A friendship developed among the soldiers of both sides there, who were all struggling for their lives. At one point, the USCC held a banquet for all of the wounded soldiers at Camp Letterman. This was the first instance of reunion at Gettysburg, which would reoccur so many times after the war.

The last soldiers were not evacuated from Camp Letterman until November 20, four and a half months after the battle and the day after the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. At that point, the hospital was closed and the remaining supplies were sent back to Washington. The remaining doctors and nurses left for other battlefield hospitals.

Camp Letterman existed for four months. Yet, in spite of its great significance, it has been largely forgotten in the annals of the Battle of Gettysburg and the Civil War. CLFT wants to change this with its new efforts.  It is also unknown to most visitors to Gettysburg today. Daniel Skelly, who was a young boy living in Gettysburg in 1863, wrote years later in 1933 of the site of Camp Letterman, “It has always been a wonder to me that the government, when it was acquiring the historic fields upon which the battle was fought and other sections now included in the reservation, did not buy these woods, one of the most historic and sacred spots on the field.”

he War Department erected a monument at the site in 1914 to designate Camp Letterman. Much of the site remains undeveloped today, though a Hilton Gardens Inn and a Giant Food Store stand on a portion of it. There is also a Camp Letterman monument on the grounds of the Hilton and there are markers about it in the parking lot of the Giant. The latter is on the site of the hospital tents. Camp Letterman was the previously proposed first site for a casino in Gettysburg in 2006. It was also previously considered as a site for a Target Store. Fortunately, the Target was later built to the east of the site.

The Camp Letterman Fund Trust is currently attempting to obtain the surviving undeveloped portion of Camp Letterman and preserve it as Camp Letterman Village & Park.  CLVP plans to build a Camp Letterman Medical Museum there to tell the story of Camp Letterman along with a 250 plus seat teaching Amphitheater. They are also planning living history recreations of the Camp Letterman Hospital and the Wolf Farm. In addition, some monuments to medical and civilian personnel at Gettysburg and a high-tech medical training and research center are planned for Camp Letterman Village & Park.

The website of the Camp Letterman Fund Trust Inc. a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit, telling more of the details of its plans, is at

Its mailing address is:

Camp Letterman Fund Trust Inc.
Attn:  Robert J. Sonntag, MS, President
495 Ridge Road
York Springs, PA 17372



For further reading on the wounded at Gettysburg after the battle, see:

Gregory A. Coco, A Strange and Blighted Land: Gettysburg: The Aftermath of a Battle. 1995. Gettysburg, PA: Thomas Publications.

Gerard A. Patterson, Debris of Battle: The Wounded of Gettysburg. 1997. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books.

George Sheldon, When the Smoke Cleared at Gettysburg: The Tragic Aftermath of the Bloodiest Battle of the Civil War. 2003. Nashville: Cumberland House.

For the field hospitals at Gettysburg, see:

Gregory A. Coco, A Vast Sea of Misery: A History and Guide to the Union and Confederate Field Hospitals at Gettysburg, July 1-November 20, 1863. 1988. Gettysburg, PA: Thomas Publications.

For pictures of Camp Letterman at Gettysburg see: 

National Military Park, Gettysburg, PA. National Park Service (

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division: Civil War, Camp Letterman (

Louis C. Duncan, The Department of the United States Army in the Civil War. 1985. Gaithersburg, MD: Butternut Press.

Son of the South (Link to Harper's Weekly Newspapers) leefoundation/civil-war/