Image from Library of Congress photos; Nurses and Patients at Camp Letterman, Gettysburg, PA
I put the following blog together in late February of 2018, but thought it was worth reprinting inasmuch as my interview with Frankie Blaine, Lydia Blaine Lape, and Eli Smith brought Camp Letterman up several times and it had played an integral part in the plot involving Caleb O'Connor.
What follows is the story of Camp Letterman during the time immediately after the Battle of Gettysburg and the time in which the tent hospital was dismantled. I have relied heavily on my historical essay in WALK BY FAITH and research done for A TIME TO HEAL.
The battle of Gettysburg left a profound imprint on the town in the days, months, and years after hostilities ended on 3 July. If you can, imagine a community of about 2,400 people being occupied by perhaps twice as many Confederate soldiers (the total number of CSA troops involved in the battle was 75,000, but these were dispersed throughout the general area). This meant the soldiers needed food and depended on the people and the land around them for sustenance, which created a food crisis for the people of Gettysburg. Although outside assistance arrived within a few days of the battle’s end, the people were left to recover on their own and the town did not bounce back to its pre-battle prosperity.
It also meant that nearly every home and public building in the town was used to house the wounded. However, the massive number of wounded soldiers from both sides required more than the treatment they could receive at individual homes, public buildings, and army field hospitals. On 5 July 5 1863, the Headquarters for the Army of the Potomac issued a circular stating the need to establish a general hospital at Gettysburg. Part of the reason behind the circular was that Union troops had gone after General Robert E. Lee’s retreating forces, taking badly needed supplies and medical personnel with them. The large number of wounded remaining in home, civic, and church “hospitals” needed skilled treatment on a large scale. Most of those caring for the wounded at that time did not have any medical training beyond that which was necessary for family illness and injury. The majority of the caregivers were women because most of the male population had vacated Gettysburg – for various reasons – prior to the battle.
Dr. Jonathan Letterman, Medical Director of the Army of the Potomac, ordered people in his command to construct a central hospital to care for wounded soldiers left behind in Gettysburg. The hospital was named after him. Today Letterman is known as the “Father of Modern Battlefield Medicine.”
Meanwhile, in Gettysburg, Dr. Henry Janes had oversight of the field hospitals, which included those located in the town proper and scattered throughout the battlefield. One source says Janes was dealing with a total of 20,995 soldiers, 14,193 of whom were Union and 6,802 (estimated) Confederate. That’s a LOT of people to move and consolidate. His first act was to get those who were mobile out of the town and to send them on trains to their homes or military hospitals, or in the case of Confederate soldiers, to prison, a subject which I dealt with in A TIME TO HEAL. Amazingly, about 16,800 soldiers were able to be relocated. And yet, that left about 4,200 who were still in need of hospitalization.
The site for Camp Letterman was located east of Gettysburg along the York Pike. It was chosen for a few reasons. First, it was near the railroad, making it convenient for patients to be moved to other facilities when they were well enough to travel. The hospital, located on part of the George Wolf farm, also was chosen because the land there was elevated and dry, had trees to provide shade, and had a natural spring to provide water.
Camp Letterman became a model for other medical camps. It had over 400 hospital tents, planted 10 feet apart and organized in rows. Each tent could hold ten patients. When the weather cooled during the fall, each tent had a stove to provide heat. Medical officers were responsible for 40-70 patients and were aided by around 40 female nurses.
Other tents at the site housed a mess hall and cooking facility; operating rooms, a morgue, and embalming stations; and quarters for support staff, surgeons, the U.S. Sanitary Commission, and the U.S. Christian Commission. Not surprisingly, the location also contained a hospital graveyard. When all was said and done, it held 1200 graves, about two-thirds of which were the final resting place of Confederate soldiers.
The hospital opened for patients in mid-July 1863. Considering the destruction done to Gettysburg’s railroad and telegraph lines, this is an amazing feat. However, to those living in the town and trying to care for and feed the wounded, the approximately two weeks between the end of the battle and the opening of Camp Letterman must have seemed like an eternity. Food shortages and lack of other supplies put undue stress on already stressed town people. (Read A TIME TO HEAL to get a sense of what this might have been like.)
Once the wounded had been moved and were being cared for at the general hospital, Camp Letterman’s patient population began to drop. It was 1,600 by the end of August. By late October the number of patients stood at 301, and by 10 November, only 100 remained at the hospital. The facility closed on 20 November 1863, day the day after the Soldiers’ Cemetery was dedicated by President Lincoln.
The camp was dismantled after that. Nurse Sophronia E. Bucklin, who watched the activity, noted, “the hospital tents were removed—each bare and dust-trampled space marking where corpses had lain after death-agony was passed, and where the wounded had groaned in pain. Tears filled my eyes when I looked on that great field, so checkered with the ditches that had drained it dry. So many of them I had seen depart to the silent land; so many I had learned to respect …” Hours, days, and months of medical care, worry, and human connection were disappearing.
Here is a picture of old footprint of Camp Letterman overlaid with that of contemporary encroachment.
All trace of Camp Letterman almost has vanished due to contemporary suburban expansion. As you can see from the map (prepared under the supervision of Curt Musselman of the National Park Service), a Giant Foods supermarket, a Hilton Garden Inn, and other signs of 20th and 21st century life have been built on the camp hospital's location. Please note that the Mobile Home Park is no longer there. But there is good news: some folks are working to preserve what remains and hope to memorialize the soldiers, medical staff, and nurses there.
What is remarkable about Camp Letterman was the quick response to the crisis of a large number of wounded with scant medical care and the construction and organization of a large field hospital. For 1863, it was an amazing feat and on this achievement alone, the site deserves to be preserved for future generations.
If you’d like to take a tour of the camp, please visit Licensed Battlefield Guide Phil Lechak’s websites. They contain photos, videos, and more, It's fascinating whether you’re a hard-core military history buff or simply curious about Camp Letterman.
https://www.gettysburgdaily.com/camp-letterman-part-1/. Phil Lechak’s essays.
See you on Wednesday!
In the final part of this series, we look at the implications of breaking the law on the side of compassion. Frankie and Lydia thought they had arranged Caleb’s escape so that no one would notice. But their plan was not fool-proof and resulted in unintended consequences.
Eli arrived at our interview early, saying his stepdaughters would be arriving shortly.
Eli [sniffs the air]: Mm… is that coffee?
Janet: Yes, it is. Would you like some?
Eli: How did you get coffee? It’s as scarce as a hen’s teeth these days.
Janet: Different time stream. [pours cup of coffee]
Eli: What’s that?
Janet: Don’t ask, Mr. Smith.
Eli: Call me Eli. May I call you Janet?
Janet: Of course.
Eli [points]: What’s that thing? The thing you got the coffee from?
Janet: A coffee maker. Would you care for cream or sugar?
Eli: Both, please. And I like my coffee rather sweet, please. [frowns] A coffee maker? Egad! Where's your tin pot? Where's the stove? The wood? The fire?
Janet: Don’t think about it too much.
Eli: Ah. I see. You’re the author, aren’t you?
Janet: I am. I’d like to talk to you about the time Capt, Frost and several soldiers showed up at your house in Middletown.
Eli: I don't know why. You already know what happened, don't you?
Janet: I do. But I’d like you to tell the readers how things looked from your point of view.
Eli [grins]: Oh, so you’re a lazy author.
Janet: Very funny.
Eli: My wife likes my jokes.
Janet: She’s a saint.
Eli: I see what you’re doing. Saint Maggie. Ha. [grins again] Just remember who coined that phrase, my dear author.
Janet: I don't think you'll let me forget.
Lydia and Frankie hurry in.
Lydia: Sorry we’re late.
Frankie: Coffee! May I have some?
Janet: Of course. [pouring coffee for both sisters] I’d like to jump to Middletown. August 4, 1863, if you don't mind. The family living in Gettysburg has paid a visit and has just left, leaving you, Lydia, behind. And you, Frankie, have been living in Middletown with your mother and stepfather, as well as Gideon Opdyke, and Nate and Emily Johnson.
Frankie: Yes. Mama and Papa said I was too young to live on my own. [gives Eli a cool glance] They're wrong, of course.
Eli [sipping coffee]: Mm. No, we're not.
Frankie: My beau, Patrick was there, too.
Eli: And now you know why she needs to be chaperoned.
Frankie [rolls her eyes]: He was recovering from a war wound. He had been shot in the leg.
Lydia: He surprised a very nervous Union sentry.
Frankie: And of course, the children – Bob and Natey – were living in MIddletown, too.
Lydia: We're a rather large group of family and friends when all is said and done.
Eli: Capt. Frost had bullied Matilda into telling him where Lydia went. He came tearing up our drive that morning. Four soldiers on horseback were with him. And one was driving the team pulling a wagon.
Frankie: Little Natey was right in the path of the wagon. Mama raced out and pulled him away just in time, tripped, and fell down as the wagon passed.
Lydia: Our mother is expecting a baby, so we immediately were concerned that she or the baby might have been injured.
Eli: Nate and Emily’s little boy was more scared than hurt. Maggie had twisted her ankle but otherwise was fine. As for the baby – it’s a tough little thing and is doing what it is supposed to do. But it was a close call for all concerned.
Janet: The whole thing must have been frightening.
Eli: We didn’t know what the hell was going on.
Eli: Heck. We didn’t know what the heck was going on.
Janet: Did you have any idea why Capt. Frost was there?
Eli: None at all. Not until he told me.
Janet: Eli, was Gideon telling the truth? Did he truly desert from the Confederate Army?
Eli: Oh, yeah. He was a deserter, all right. He and his brother Lemuel lived in Blaineton, but that cad Lemuel threw his lot in with the Confederate States. Then he forced Gideon to join the C.S.A. army, too. By chance Gideon ended up wounded and in our house during the battle. When I got to the house after the fighting was over, he told me he didn’t want to be part of this bell-fired madness any longer.
Janet: So you helped him desert.
Eli [shrugs]: Why not? He was a nice fella. The straightforward kind. Said he didn’t want to fight with the C.S.A. anymore and I believed him.
Janet: How did you change his identity?
Eli: It was easy. All was in chaos immediately after the battle. We simply got rid of his uniform and dressed him in some old clothes. His unit had left with the Confederate retreat, so they didn’t give a fig where he was. Once things started calming down in Gettysburg and the Union Army took over, we brought Gideon up to Middletown where no one would be the wiser.
Janet: But you didn’t expect him to –
Eli [interrupts]: Confess? No, I didn’t.
Janet: And why did you confess to helping him?
Eli: I didn’t confess. I offered to help explain Gideon's situation. A difference in semantics to be sure, but I had no desire to go to prison or get hanged.
Janet: And yet you still ended up locked in the prison wagon with Gideon.
Eli: Obviously I hadn’t intended for that to happen.
Frankie: When the soldiers left with Papa and Gideon, I felt so guilty.
Janet: Did you regret helping Caleb desert, Frankie?
Frankie: No! It was the right thing to do.
Lydia: What we regretted was not being more careful. The day Capt. Frost came to collect the men, I should have told him that Caleb had died from disease.
Janet: You weren’t very pleased with Capt. Frost, were you?
Lydia [Laughs]: I was furious! Furious with our government for healing men and then sending them off to a prisoner of war camp. Furious with Capt. Frost for not listening to me and for being so stubborn.
Eli: But he had orders. He was a soldier and he had to do his duty.
Frankie: Yes, he did. But the problem was that our mistake could have cost you your life, Papa.
Eli: Frances, any act of compassion, or justice, or mercy can have repercussions. I figured out what you had done while in the county jail. I just hoped I would be able to explain why I had given aid to Gideon. Both our lives were at stake. Finding myself at the end of a rope was not in my plans.
Janet: And were you able to explain?
Eli [chuckles] : Well, I’m here, aren’t I? [more seriously] Actually, I had a little help at the hearing from my wife.
Frankie: And from us.
Eli: You know, I think we drove the District Provost Marshal a bit mad.
Janet: Well, we’re out of time. If our readers are interested, they may find this story – and others – in the third book of the Saint Maggie series, A Time to Heal. Thank you, Frankie, Lydia, and Eli for chatting with me.
Eli: Any time, friend. Anytime. Say, may I have more of that coffee?
Janet: Of course.
Eli: If you ever ask us back, will you promise to bring that contraption with you and boil us up another cup?
Janet: Oh, I promise.
Camp Letterman, from the Library of Congress photo archives
I continue my interview with Lydia Blaine Lape (21) and Frankie Blaine (17) from my American Civil War “Saint Maggie series.” On Monday, the young women talked about their feelings regarding Confederate soldiers and treating enemy wounded. In this part of the interview, they discuss Lt. Caleb O’Connor, a C.S.A. soldier with whom they became friends.
Janet: We left off the last time with you coming upon Lt. Caleb O’Connor as he lay pinned under two dead bodies on the battlefield.
Lydia: Lt. O’Connor had a leg wound, made all the worse because he had not received immediate attention.
Janet: That’s dangerous.
Lydia: It certainly was. I thought he might need to have the leg amputated if the infection could not be brought to heel.
Frankie: He wasn’t the only man in our wagon. We had four total. Two of them died shortly after we got them home.
Lydia: Fortunately for Lt. O’Connor, he responded well to the cleansing of his wound – it was a painful process, but I did not have to amputate. I was grateful for that. I dislike doing amputations unless a man’s life is in danger without it.
Janet: It’s usual for a young woman of 1863 to be a practicing physician.
Lydia: I was fortunate. Our town’s physician spotted my interest in and saw my aptitude for medicine and took me on as an apprentice. I had the opportunity to observe one leg amputation. But that wasn’t enough for Gettysburg.
Janet: What did you do?
Lydia: I went for help. I knew there was a hospital in the Union School, so I ran there and badgered the doctor into letting me observe and then perform a few amputations.
Janet: That was quite aggressive of you.
Lydia: Well, It was not a moment to be ladylike. We were in the midst of the battle. Also, I kept thinking of my husband Edgar. Because he did not make it, I was all the more determined to give as many men as possible the opportunity to return to their homes.
Frankie: Almost every soldier we treated had family and friends at home.
Janet: And Caleb O’Connor was one of those men who survived.
Lydia: Not only survived but thrived.
Janet: Frankie, you became especially close to him.
Frankie: I did! He told me he was from Virginia and had been in the army and away from home for a year. He was worried about his wife – her name is Lottie – and James, their baby. Caleb hadn’t heard from Lottie since May, and it was already July! [quietly] Made me realize how much I hate the war. People get killed or wounded. But even the people who aren’t in the army end up wounded one way or the other. It’s brutal and wasteful. [looks up] I asked him why he joined up.
Janet: What did he say?
Frankie: He said he did it because his country had been threatened. He didn’t own slaves. Not a one. He just wanted to protect his family. What he didn’t expect was that the war would go on for years. But, then, we all thought it would be over in a few months.
Janet: Was that conversation what made you want to help him?
Frankie: No. It made me feel sorry for him, and angry that we were all so stupid as to get into this war. What made me want to help Caleb was when I asked a question. If he could do anything right now, what would that be? And he said, “I’d leave this damn war behind.” He wanted to find his wife and little baby and get as far away from the war as he could. It broke my heart. He was just like our men in so many ways.
Janet: What did you do?
Frankie: Prayed for him. And I found my answer through that prayer.
Janet: That was a dangerous decision to make. How did you help him run away?
Lydia: We pretended Caleb had developed a fever, which I diagnosed as a communicable disease.
Frankie: We moved him from the front parlor to the back parlor, where none of the other soldiers were, and said it was for the protection of the other men.
Lydia: We did this on July 11. At that time, Lt. O’Connor had recovered enough to move on his own.
Frankie; That was also the day Capt. Philip Frost showed up at our door. He wanted to take inventory of the men in our house for the government.
Lydia: You see, there had been reports of Confederate officers walking around Gettysburg. That meant the officers might have spoken with the town's Copperheads –
Frankie [interrupts]: People opposed to the war.
Lydia: I was going to get to that Frankie. Please let me finish my sentence.
Frankie: I apologize.
Lydia [to Janet]: The government didn’t want the Copperheads sharing information with Confederate officers about our army’s locations and possible movements.
Frankie: Capt. Frost made the inventory and noted who among our patients was Union and who was Confederate. The Union and Confederate soldiers who were still bedridden from their wounds were to be sent to Camp Letterman, the tent hospital set up about a mile outside Gettysburg.
Lydia: The problem was what would be done with those who were able to walk. Union men were to be returned to their regiments but –
Frankie [interrupts]: Confederate soldiers would be sent to a prisoner of war camp!
Lydia: The prisoner exchanges between the North and South had been suspended. So, prison camps had been constructed to hold captured soldiers. We realized that we were healing Confederate soldiers so our government could put them in prison.
Frankie: Can you imagine? Healing people just to imprison them?
Lydia: We kept Caleb hidden in the back parlor. We burned his Confederate uniform and had him wear civilian clothes. On July 29, Capt. Frost moved the men out of our house. Fortunately, he did not take a headcount, and did not bother to check the back parlor because we didn't have anyone in there on his first visit. A few days later, we took a trip up to Middletown. Caleb went with us and got off when we reached the town. The plan was for him to walk up to Harrisburg, catch a train to Maryland, and make his way south.
Frankie: We don’t know what happened to him, but we hope and pray he found his wife and son.
Janet: You took an enormous risk helping an enemy prisoner escape. You could have been imprisoned or given the death penalty.
Lydia: We know.
Frankie: We know because Papa almost took the punishment.
Janet: And our readers need to hear the rest of this story, because your actions had some unintended consequences. Would it be possible to have your stepfather come with you on Friday?
Frankie: Oh, yes. He loves to talk! But you’ll have to tell him to watch his language.
Lydia [exasperated]: Frances…
Frankie: Well? He likes to use bad words. A lot.
And I'll leave you here, folks. See you on Friday with Frankie, Lydia, and their stepfather, Eli Smith.
(My photograph. Part of the Gettysburg battlefield. I just couldn't put up the old photos of the dead on the battlefield. Too grizzly, even in black and white.)
The Civil War is a complex, nuanced period in the history of the United States. And, while it is tempting to boil it down to the simple statement, “North=good, South=bad,” that is not a helpful stance to take.
One of the things I have attempted with the Saint Maggie series is to point out the many facets of the war and what fed the nation’s divide. I have tried to resist easy assumptions. The books where the war is most clearly the backdrop to the story are Walk by Faith and A Time to Heal.
That is why I thought it might be appropriate to interview Lydia Blaine Lape and Frankie Blaine, Maggie’s two daughters, about an incident that takes place in A Time to Heal.
In the novel, we are introduced to Lt. Caleb O’Connor when, after the battle of Gettysburg, Chester Carson, Lydia, and Frankie go onto the battlefield to search for wounded soldiers, despite the fact that they already have wounded lodging in their house.
Here is the first part of my interview with Maggie’s daughters. [Note: Lydia and Frankie are interviewed as they were in September of 1863. Lydia is 21 years of age, and Frankie is 17.]
Janet: Good morning, ladies. It’s good to see you.
Lydia: I am happy to see you, too!
Frankie: We seldom see you, but we always know you’re there. Kind of like God.
Lydia: Frances! Don’t be blasphemous.
Frankie [giggles]: Well, Miss Stafford is going to ask us questions that she already knows the answers to. She’s doing it because an essay would be quite boring if she were to write it all from her own point of view. We’re much more interesting!
Lydia [exasperated]: I’m sorry, Miss Stafford. My sister is being improper.
Janet: It’s all right. I know her well. And, actually, she’s correct.
Lydia: Yes, but she needs to develop some tact.
Frankie: May we go on with the interview? Papa would enjoy this so much! He used to own a newspaper, you know.
Janet: I do. So… what made you two go out into the battlefield that day?
Lydia: It was Frankie’s idea. Actually, I was content to stay at home and care for the soldiers we already had. But Frankie suggested that we go out and look for more injured men.
Frankie: During the battle, I had been staying outside town at Beate Schultz’s farm. She’s the aunt of my friend Gus Schultz.
Lydia: She was staying there because Frankie had done a very foolish thing. She and Gus decided to watch the beginning of the battle and ended up running ahead of the Union Army’s retreat. We didn’t see her again until after the battle was over. Mama was worried half to death.
Frankie: I wasn’t being foolish! It was exciting, and we had no idea that the fighting would come into our town. Anyway, you went off to deliver someone's baby that morning. So Mama had two of us to worry about!
Lydia: Yes, but I managed to return to our house, and it’s a good thing. too. I came upon our first wounded men on the way home. [to Janet] Like many other people in Gettysburg, our house became a hospital.
Frankie: My beau Patrick found me after the battle and brought me back home. On the way home, I saw so many men were lying in the fields. Some were dead, but there were others who had been wounded and needed help.
Janet: When did this happen?
Frankie: July fifth. It was the second day after the battle had ended.
Lydia: When Frankie proposed that we go into the fields, I thought she was mad.
Frankie: Men were suffering, Liddy. We couldn’t just leave them there to die all alone. I never would have been able to sleep at night.
Janet: Were these men Union or Confederate?
Frankie: Didn’t matter. Mama always emphasizes Jesus’ commands to “love God” and “love neighbor.” Of course, during our time in Gettysburg that was hard for me to do. At first.
Janet: How long were you in Gettysburg?
Lydia: We arrived in early March of this year.
Lydia: Yes. This year.
Frankie: Our house in New Jersey was burned down.
Lydia: The town's sheriff thought we'd be safer if we moved away for a while.
Frankie: Apparently, some folks in Blaineton didn't like us because we're abolitionists. They also didn't like our friendship with Nate and Emily Johnson because they're colored.
Lydia: And, of course, there were rumors about us having a stop on the Underground Railroad.
Janet: Did you?
Frankie: Of course! Nate and Emily started it years ago, and then invited Mama and Papa to help.
Lydia: So now we are in Gettysburg. It has been a long sojourn, which I fear, would be a tiresome story for your readers.
Janet: Don’t be so sure about that.
Frankie: It’s September already. We've been in Pennsylvania for six months! Can you believe it, Liddy?
Lydia: Blaineton seems so far away now, like a dream.
Frankie; I wish I were living in Gettysburg now.
Janet: That's right. You moved, didn't you?
Frankie: Not because I wanted to. Mama and Papa made me do it. Now I live with them seven miles north of in Middletown. They said I couldn't stay in Gettysburg unchaperoned. [Mutters] Even though Mr. Carson and Grandpa are living there and would make fine chaperones…
Lydia: You still have things to learn from Mama before you strike out on your own. [to Janet] Shall we move along?
Janet: By all means. Frankie, you have a big heart. I noticed that you said it didn't matter whether wounded soldiers belonged to the Union or Confederate army.
Frankie: It didn't the day I suggested we go into the fields. But it wasn't always like that. As the Confederate army got closer the weeks before the battle, I wasn't very good at loving God and loving my neighbor. I think if I really had loved God, I would have seen that all of us are God's children, regardless of which side we were on. But I was angry about slavery. Still am. Slavery is what's evil. I thought, if men are fighting for the side that embraces slavery, and slavery is evil, then they must be evil, too.
Janet: What made you change your mind?
Frankie: I was working in a field hospital during the battle because I couldn’t get home and I wanted to be useful. I did my best to treat the Confederate soldiers the same as I treated our boys. But it wasn’t really the same, because my heart wasn’t in my actions. I felt kind of guilty about that, so, I started thinking about a Bible verse as I worked. The one about when we give aid and care to others then we are doing the same for Jesus. After keeping that in my mind, I looked down at a man – he was wearing a butternut uniform – he was my enemy. And suddenly, I didn’t see him. I saw Jesus in him.
Janet: Wow. That was a profound experience.
Frankie: It was. I can’t forget it.
Lydia: Even though I share the same beliefs, thanks to our mother, I still was hesitant to leave those in our house and look for more injured soldiers. I was only thinking about what was convenient and helpful for us. So, I had forgotten the command to love others, too.
Frankie: I told her I had heard that some people were going out and finding injured men.
Lydia: And that made me think about the men lying out in the fields who needed our help. My husband, Edgar, had been killed in May during the Chancellorsville campaign. I realized how glad I was that someone had found him and moved him to a field hospital, where he could be cared for in his final moments. Papa and Patrick were there as he passed on, too. Was it luck? Or was it something else? I don't know. But I thought: if women like us don't do this kind work, who will?
Frankie: Most of the people living in the town and taking care of the wounded were women.
Lydia: So, we went into the battlefield. Mr. Carson, our good friend, insisted on driving the wagon for us.
Frankie: He didn’t want us to go out alone. He’s like an uncle to us.
Janet: And that’s how you met Caleb.
Lydia: Yes. He was among the wounded, pinned under two other dead men.
Janet: But after you brought the men back to your house, you still continued to go above and beyond for Caleb.
Lydia: We did.
Janet: And it led to some big problems for you.
Frankie [whistles]: And how!
Lydia [rolls her eyes]: Frances… please behave...
Come back Wednesday to hear more of my interview with Frankie and Lydia as we unpack how compassion and compassionate actions can fly in the face of social convention but, more importantly, the law.
Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder