Long, long ago — maybe some time in the 17th century — and far, far away — but almost certainly somewhere in the Alps — two valleys lay next to each other, ringed by high mountains and linked by a sole, lonely path. One unusually warm Christmas Eve two children set out on the path from the northward valley, through pine forest and over the pass, to visit their grandmother in the valley to the south.
July 1 marked 150 years since the beginning of the Battle of Gettysburg, a crucial victory for the Union and a turning point in the Civil War. But it came at an enormous cost to both sides — thousands of soldiers were killed and tens of thousands more were wounded.
However, it might have been even worse had it not been for a surgeon named Jonathan Letterman, who served as the chief medical officer of the Union's Army of the Potomac. He presided over some of the bloodiest battles in U.S. history and, over the course of a single year, revolutionized military medicine.