The Little Post Hospital on the North Loup River


Each U.S. army post in the west has a unique story and the medical history of Fort Hartsuff is no exception. Fort Hartsuff was only in existence from November 1874 to May 1881. Unlike most western U.S. Army posts during that era, all four physicians who served at Hartsuff during its existence were not commissioned army medical officers, but rather army civilian contract physicians. In supplementing medical information that exists in this log, what they wrote provides a good description of associated military and civilian activities which occurred in the north central region of Nebraska during that period of the state’s development.

The medical log of Fort Hartsuff consists of eighty-four handwritten pages. In contrast to other post medical logs of the period, there are some portions which lack any medical descriptions and others in which nothing is written at all for a couple of months. By its midexistence, life and activities at Fort Hartsuff were rather calm and some people might have described it as a most desirous station to be assigned to. Post physicians were required to submit a monthly summary letter of the hospital activities, including the financial aspects, to the army’s Surgeon General’s Office. Aside from relating the medical history, treatments, expenses and administrative records of the hospital, other requirements for the medical log of each fort stipulated inclusion of monthly meteorological and other scientific data of a post. In essence, each log is also a daily diary of the social, political, economic, and everyday life aspects encountered by ordinary people in the garrison and civilians who lived and worked there. Numerous photographs, a few facsimile reprints of original documents, and an index to full names, places and subjects add to the value of this work.

Todd E. Harburn, Foreword by Roye Lindsay

2023, 5½x8½, paper, index, 270 pp
ISBN: 9780788428968