Poems from the Knight Hospital Record

Full-text version of Knight Hospital Record



“Lincoln-care” was the successful provision of health care for returning sick and wounded soldiers during our long and bloody Civil War (1861-1865). An antiquated and ossified medical system was replaced by federally operated system of 130 hospitals with 130,000 beds. Nine of these Union hospitals wrote, edited and published newspapers on the premises. Convalescent patients, doctors, nurses, clerks, and chaplains were the writers, type-setters and editors.  Soldiers documented their experiences with hospital literature trading pen for sword, providing empathy and understanding. This included poetry, a prominent feature of the nineteenth century that bestowed fame, celebrity and talking-head status to its finer practitioners. Melville, Whitman and Sigourney contributed works to these newspapers.     

The military hospital in New Haven, “Knight U.S. Army General Hospital,” produced the “Knight Hospital Record,” a four page document, issued weekly containing short stories, sermons, local and national news and lists of admissions, transfers and deaths. Medical Subjects covered were  amputations, disability and mortality. Other topics include battlefield experiences, economics, intemperance and the treatment of prisoners of war.

Veteran’s issues from war do not change. Going home, remembrance of the fallen and maimed, nostalgia, homesickness and residual stress phenomenon are defined and addressed with difficulty.

The poems in the PDF document are entered chronologically.  They cover patriotism, politics, religion, romance, sacrifice, the life of a soldier and prominent figures of the period.


  1. Spar, Ira MD. New Haven’s Civil War Hospital: A History of Knight U.S.
    General Hospital, 1862-1865. McFarland & Co. 2014.
  2. Spar, Ira MD. Civil War Hospital Newspapers: Histories and Excerpts of Nine Union Publications. McFarland & Co. 2017.