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Gallery Tour of “Soldier Health in Revolutionary Pennsylvania”
June 23, 2019 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pmFree
Washington Crossing Historic Park’s 2019 Evening with the Curator series continues on Sunday, June 23 at 7 PM with a tour of the Visitor Center exhibit, “Soldier Health in Revolutionary Pennsylvania.”
Park curator Kimberly McCarty will lead a guided tour of the exhibit, which illustrates the greatest danger that soldiers faced during the Revolutionary War: disease.
Capacity is limited to the first 15 registrants. Registration opens May 1 and ends on June 21 or when capacity is reached. To register, please call the Visitor Center at 215-493-4076.
Though conflicts during the Revolutionary War resulted in casualties on both sides, more Continental soldiers died from illness than wounds sustained on the battlefield. At the time, very little was known about preventing the spread of bacteria and infection, which allowed diseases such as scabies, dysentery, small pox, typhus and yellow fever to plague the troops. In fact, 6,000 of the 17,000 soldiers in Pennsylvania in August 1776 were ill.
In the exhibit, visitors can step into a sick room that recreates the spaces that soldiers recuperated in during the Continental Army’s 1776 encampment at the Thompson-Neely House. Soldiers were treated there for wounds and illnesses contracted while marching through New Jersey to Bucks County before crossing the Delaware to attack the Hessians in Trenton.
“Churches, taverns and homes were transformed into sick rooms where wounded and ill soldiers were sent to be treated and convalesce,” says McCarty. “Our exhibit portrays this important aspect of the Revolutionary War soldier experience.”
The exhibit also displays medical tools that doctors would have used to treat patients. Instruments, bedding and linens would not have been cleaned between patients, which allowed disease to propagate. As a result, soldiers often preferred to remain with their regiments because they often died due to unsanitary and overcrowded conditions.