One Day in Doctor’s Life
July, 3d, 1863
I have not slept today at all. The wounded are brought every minute and I now have a feeling that this battle will never end. I suppose I must be tired, but after having seen so much death, I can hardly feel anything. I know I must save people’s lives and this is what I have been doing here, so close to each battle field, since this horrific war started. But is it really important now? What is the use of saving lives if those who survive are thrown again into the massacre of war which destroys my country?
General Lee believed that the Battle of Gettysburg will lead to our victory, but it is clear now he has been mistaken. Casualties make thousands, not hundreds. I am operating and operating, amputating the pieces of flesh, which used to be the feet that could walk along a beautiful spring meadow, the hands and arms, which could hug their beloved ones and shake the hand of a friend, hearing the hearts full of love and fear, which stop beating, closing the eyes which will never see the sky again.
I know why we are at war. We have no choice but to protect the way we live and the land we love. But isn’t the cost too high? Can’t we really find any way to compromise, to accept and understand that fact that political differences are killing our souls and devastating the country we love so much?
I wish I was deaf and could escape the moans of the wounded and the sound of the rifle and artillery fire, which means more losses to the Confederate army. I must get back to the surgery, back into the national nightmare. Oh, Lord, help us, as we can no longer help ourselves.