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Jonathan Letterman Correspondence and Diary 1860-1864; 1924; 1972
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Biography

Biographical Note

Pennsylvania native Jonathan Letterman, 1824-1872, graduated from Philadelphia's Jefferson Medical College in 1849. From 1849 to 1860 he served as an assistant surgeon for the Army Medical Department in Florida, Fort Ripley, Mn., Fort Defiance, N.M., and Fort Monroe, Va. When the Civil War began he was serving in California. In 1862 he was appointed Medical Director of the Army of the Potomac. In this capacity, Letterman reorganized medical treatment of wounded by establishing mobile field hospitals, triage, and efficient distribution of medical supplies. For this work, he became known as the father of battlefield medicine. He left the army in 1864, relocated to California and was coroner of San Francisco when he died.