From Russia with Love: John and Nadine Turchin

By Ryan Nadeau ’16

In August 1856, Ivan Vasilievitch Turchaninov and Nedezhda Dmitrievna Lvow arrived in the United States. The two had been married for only three months, and were both natives of the Russian Empire. Ivan was descended from a family of Cossacks with a strong military background in whose footsteps he followed by attending military school in St. Petersburg. He had served as an army captain during the Crimean War, stationed in the critical port city of Sevastopol, and was part of the forces sent to put down rebellions in both Poland and Hungary. It was while stationed in Russia that he had met Nedezhda, a highly educated and articulate woman with ties to the aristocracy.

Brigadier General John Basil Turchin [120156]
Brigadier General John Basil Turchin.
The two shared a secret passion—aside, that is, from their love. Both were committed liberals, with connections to republican intellectuals considered subversive to the autocratic reign of the Tsars. And after Russia’s humiliating defeat at the hands on the Western powers in 1856, both were firmly tired of that autocracy. In April 1856, after Ivan obtained a one year leave of absence from the army, he and Nedezhda eloped to Krakow, then part of the Austrian Empire, and quickly fled to the United States, where they hoped to make a new home in a republican state. Neither spoke a word of English upon arrival, but they wasted little time Anglicizing their names. Ivan and Nedezhda Turchaninov became John and Nadine Turchin. Continue reading “From Russia with Love: John and Nadine Turchin”

Playing Catch-Up: Jonathan Letterman and the Triage System

By Bryan Caswell ’15

"Dr. Jonathan Letterman (1824-72)," Wikimedia Commons.
“Dr. Jonathan Letterman (1824-72),” Wikimedia Commons.

Gettysburg has more than its fair share of heroes. While the overwhelming majority of these larger-than-life figures was intimately acquainted with the conduct of the Battle of Gettysburg, a few stand apart from tales of martial valor. The most famous, of course, is Abraham Lincoln, yet he is not the only man associated with the aftermath of Gettysburg. In the immediate aftermath of the battle, provisions for the care of the wounded and dying left behind by both armies were organized by Major Jonathan Letterman, Medical Director of the Army of the Potomac. Known today as the ‘Father of Battlefield Medicine,’ Letterman has been hailed by historians of the American Civil War as a great medical and surgical innovator, revolutionizing methods of efficient care for wounded soldiers in the field and inventing what has become known as the triage system for prioritizing wound treatment. I’ve been party to numerous tours and talks that have recognized and hailed Letterman for these landmark accomplishments. There is simply one problem with this widespread notion, however: it is, in fact, incorrect.

Continue reading “Playing Catch-Up: Jonathan Letterman and the Triage System”