John describes his transit from Washington to Philadelphia and the date of his transfer. December 13, 1862...the same date as the arrival of Walt Whitman at the train station in Washington during his efforts to nurse his wounded brother back to health. Could they have passed in the train station? Could Whitman have said a comforting word to a soldier like John W. Derr while passing by? I guess we'll never know...but it is interesting to contemplate.
The Broad Street Hospital was located at the S.E. corner of Broad and Cherry Streets and opened in February of 1862. It could accommodate 525 patients.
From Philadelphia in the Civil War (1861-1865) by Frank H. Taylor:
The Broad Street Hospital was opened February 2d, 1862, in the old station building of the Philadelphia and Reading Railway
Company on the site now occupied by the Parkway Building. Branches of this hospital were afterward established in the old market house on Broad street below Race street and on Cherry street east of Broad street. Surgeon John Neill was appointed in charge, his staff including Surgeons Thomas Yarrow, Henry Yarrow, Harrison Allen, H. M. Bel- lows, Henry Eggleton and Thomas Eggleton; Medical Cadets James Tyson, George W. Shields, E. R. Corson, Edward Livezy, J. W. Corson and W. R. D. Blackwood. The ladies actively interested in this
hospital were from the many prominent families then resident near by. This hospital was closed when the Mower Hospital was completed but was reopened for a short time after the battle of Gettysburg, the surgeon then in charge being W. V. Keating.
Broad Street Hospital, Philadelphia
December the 16 1862
My Dear Father,
I take my pen in hand to inform this few lines to you to let you know that I am well at present time and I hope that these few lines will find you in the same state of good health. Further I let you know that I didn’t get that letter yet with them ten dollars which I wrote for. Now I wish you would let me know whether you didn send it to me or not for I left Georgetown on the 13 of this month and I hadn’t it yet. Then I now must write to Georgetown for it if you did send it to me. My wound hasn’t healed yet but very near now. So I must come to a close for this time. These few lines from your son. Take the direction on the outside.