Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Mercy Street on PBS

Clara Barton Home
PBS presents Mercy Street about nurses in the American Civil War. Mercy Street "takes viewers beyond the battlefield and into the lives of Americans on the Civil War home front as they face the unprecedented challenges of one of the most turbulent times in our nation’s history."

Mansion House
(Courtesy of PBS)

Mercy Street is set in Virginia in the spring of 1862. It follows the lives of two volunteer nurses on opposite sides of the conflict: Nurse Mary Phinney, a staunch New England abolitionist, and Emma Green, a naive young Confederate belle. The two nurses collide at Mansion House, the Green family’s luxury hotel that has been taken over and transformed into a Union Army hospital in Alexandria, Virginia. Alexandria was the melting pot of the region: with soldiers, civilians, female volunteers, doctors, wounded fighting men from both sides, runaway slaves, prostitutes, speculators and spies. The intersection of North and South in the small occupied town "creates a rich world that is chaotic, conflicted, corrupt, dynamic and even hopeful — a cauldron within which these characters strive, fight, love, laugh, betray, sacrifice and, at times, act like scoundrels." This series is about "the drama and unexpected humor of everyday life behind the front lines of war. It’s a fresh twist on an iconic story, one that resonates with larger themes we still struggle with today." PBS created a website for the series with extensive background information:

Surgeon's Tent Placard
The About page contains brief introductions to the series:
  • Preview: Coming in January
  • Preview: There is Mercy
  • Redemption Day
  • Mercy Street Behind the Scenes
  • Historical Accuracy 
The series contains six episodes:
  • The New Nurse
  • The Haversack
  • The Uniform
  • The Belle Alliance
  • The Dead Room
  • The Diabolical Plot
The uncover history page includes:
  • Behind the Lens: A History in Pictures
  • Real People and Places
  • Footnotes 
  • Resources for Teachers
Please check your local listings for schedule.

The following web sites provide other information on Civil War medicine:

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