Blog Posts


Orrin's Health and Mortality

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Following its demoralizing defeat at the Battle of Chancellorsville (April 30 – May 6, 1863), the Army of the Potomac was left traumatized and undermanned. The number of casualties that it had experienced, including those killed in action, mortally wounded, wounded, missing in action or deserting since the start of the Civil War in 1861 had reached approximately 120,000 men. What were the numbers of casualties incurred by the 72nd New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment,a  part of the Excelsior Brigade, in which Orrin L. Getchell was serving as a private? Why did Orrin's estimates of the numbers of casualties experienced by his Regiment differ from those from other sources, and how were such figures compiled? And most importantly, how did the high numbers of casualties affect Orrin's outlook as the Army of the Potomac entered into preparations for the Gettysburg Campaign?

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Orrin L. Gatchell, a private in Company D of the 72nd New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment of the Excelsior Brigade, was wounded in the Battle of Chancellorsville. He wrote about his wounds to his family in Anson, Maine in his letter of May 8, 1863.

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