Fred C. Hurt, Hospital Steward

Fred Carlton Hurt was born in Waynetown, Montgomery County, Indiana on July 28, 1876. His father, William Johnson Hurt, was a doctor. At the time of his enlistment into the U.S. Army Medical Department Hospital Corps, he was in the sophomore class of the Indiana School of Medicine, Indianapolis. He died of typhoid fever probably on August 9, 1898 at Fort Monroe, Newport News, Virginia.

Sources: Sketch by Nancy Hurt Diener, a descendant of Hurt, in The Spanish American War and Private Fred C. Hurt, June to August 1898 (a scrapbook), Crawfordsville District Public Library, Crawfordsville; Montgomery: Your County Magazine (December 1988), 19. Crawfordsville Daily Argus, August 10, 13, 1898. Materials cited here are from the scrapbook. Copies of the Hurt materials are in the Indiana Division, Indiana State Library.

Newspaper article: "The First One To Go"

. . . Waynetown can boast of one of her sons now at Chicamauga. Fred Hurt for some time has been making an effort to secure a place in the hospital corpse, and on Saturday received notice of his appointment conditioned on his passing the examination. On Tuesday morning, without a good bye to the boys or telling any one, he in company with his father, went to Indianapolis and reported. . . .

Newspaper article: "At Chicamauga"

Hurt, Camp Thomas, Chickamauga Park, Ga., to Dear Folks at Home, June 26, 1898

. . . The papers say the health in camp is improving, It's not so, When I came here there was 75 men in our hospitals. Today we have 125. Our corps is allowed 90 men to do the various kinds of . . . work about the hospital, and today we only have 14 able for duty. They have to call men from the ranks to nurse and help us out. . . .

Newspaper article: "At Chicamauga"

Hurt, Camp Thomas, Chickamauga Park, Ga., to Mrs. Brant and Bettie, June 28, 1898

. . . Each regiment contains about 2,000 soldiers and have a hospital of their own. Then come the division. We are the main division being the first. We have the largest "field hospital" at Chickamauga and all serious cases are brought to us. At present we have 150 men . . . who are bad sick. There are only 10 men who go on duty at one time to take care of 150. We go on 12 hours and are off 24. We have two crews and while one is on the other is sleeping. We get $30.00 a month I understand. . . . I won't allow myself to think of the possibility of returning home for I am a "Regular" and not a "Volunteer" and am in for three years hard work. If the war ends before the three years have passed I will get a discharge and go home. . . . I would like very much to see Waynetown, my parents, my grandfather and my friends there. If you hear any of the boys talk of going to war, try and discourage them if they are going for a "picnic" for the picnic soon wears off and here you are to stay and you can't tell how long. . . .

Hurt, Camp Thomas, Chickamauga Park, Ga., to Gertrude Jachman, Indianapolis, July 9, 1898

. . . We are all packed up ready to go to Cuba but I am in doubt whether we will get to go or not. . . . This tintype if not spoiled or broken will give you an Idea how I look after setting up all night and having just marched 8 miles to get a bite to eat. You shall have a photo in the near future.

Photo of Fred Hurt

In his letter of July 9, 1898, Fred Hurt indicates to Gertrude Jachman, that he will send a photograph later of the tintype that he describes. This photograph fits that description: "The cross is red, the pants stripe green, the sack is a medicine bag. The moustache a summer luxury" (Hurt, Camp Thomas, Chickamauga Park, Ga., to Gertrude Jachman, Indianapolis, July 9, 1898). Jachman reportedly was Hurt's fiancée.
Image: Crawfordsville District Public Library and Indiana State Library.

Hurt, Camp Thomas, Chickamauga Park, Ga., to Gertrude Jachman, Indianapolis, July 16, 1898

. . . I came down here expecting to go to the front and I am trying every means to get there. . . . Our work is alful hard on us, and sometimes we are compelled to go without anything to eat. It is the most trying experience I have ever run across. If we were only at the front it wouldnt be so bad, but here we are nursing 200 patients in the Hospital and none of us ever saw a spaniard. I call it true Patriotism to nurse all the contagious diseases. . . .

By the way, do you suppose I will ever get to see you again? That question passed through my mind last night while I was setting up with a case of Typhoid Fever. . . . And if I get back to Indiana the first place I will go will be your town and see you before I go home. . . . To tell the truth I dont expect to ever get home if I go to Puerto Rico . . . .

Medical Tent

Medical Tent

In late July or early August 1898 Fred Hurt's medical unit was transferred to Fort Monroe, Newport News, Virginia. There he contracted typhoid fever and died probably on August 9, 1898. After his death, his nurse, Caroline Robin, corresponded with Hurt's father, Dr. W. J. Hurt, and apparently sent these pictures. In an undated letter (circa winter 1898), she wrote: "Your boy, expecially became very dear to me, and it is something I shall never forget." She also described the hospital camp. "We have twenty beds to the ward. . . . the ward is composed of four tents. We . . . have everything we need to make the men comfortable. Thanks to the Red Cross Auxi.iary. . . . At first they only had male nurses, then we came down . . . . by Sept 1st we had 11 trained nurses on the field at night, and two in most of the tents during the day."

Images: Crawfordsville District Public Library and Indiana State Library.