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It was Marquis James who told me how well one can establish personal connections with our American past. If one dusts the old records, he said, and tramps over the old sites, one can find living and tangible associations, old people who remember, new and intimate revelations, as well as the trees and stones and backdrops of our history. It all becomes alive again. I understand Marquis better now that I have had a little look of that kind to learn something about a Civil War doctor.
It began with Jim Bishop's book, where I read that the surgeon in Ford's Theatre who answered the call to care for Abraham Lincoln was a youngster of 23. The ink must still have been damp on his diploma, I thought. What a terrifying responsibility for so young a doctor and how magnificently he met it! For he had not only been quick
Dalldorf G. April Fourteen, Eighteen Sixty-Five. JAMA. 1961;176(12):1057–1058. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.63040250028036
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