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  • 2nd Corp Hospital, 1863
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Soldier-carved Lead Disc (buzzer), dug 2nd Corp Hospital site, Gettysburg


Product Description

This is another nice piece being offered, it is a large soldier-carved lead disc, made from melted bullets. It has a diameter of 1 ¾” and there are two small holes punched in the middle. Buzzers are button-like whirligigs that make a sound which can be modulated by how quickly it is spinning and by the tightness of the string. The object is whirled by alternately pulling and releasing the tension on the cord. The whirling object makes a buzzing or humming sound, giving the device its common name. A buzzer is often constructed by running string through two of the holes on a large disc and is a common and easily made toy (see pictures). It was recovered years ago at the Schwartz Farm, Gettysburg, which was the site of the 2nd Corp Field Hospital (see period photographs).

A "field" hospital was, as the name suggests, a place in the battlefield area, such as barns, shops, homes, schools and churches, which were used to give immediate medical attention to the wounded and dying. While the battle lasted three days in July 1863, the pain and suffering of wounded in Gettysburg continued into October when the last field hospital was closed. As remembered by local citizens, rapid death was in many ways more merciful than waiting for infection or pneumonia to slowly take its toll.

The Jacob Schwartz farm and vicinity, located about three miles south of Gettysburg near Rock Creek, was used as the Union Second Corps hospital. They treated both Union and Confederate wounded. This disc is in very nice condition, and no doubt belonged to a wounded soldier while being treated at the hospital. Any young man of that era would be very familiar with such items, as they were very popular during the 18th and 19th centuries. There are examples of these buzzers which were made of lead in "Collector's Illustrated Encyclopedia of the American Revolution", by Neumann and Kravic (see pictures). 

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$3.50 (Fixed shipping cost)