Beyond the Antietam Battlefield: Hospital Centers

Beyond the Antietam Battlefield
Hospital Centers

As war raged during the four-year conflict, local residents witnessed the human cost of the fighting. Thousands of soldiers were wounded in battles and skirmishes, and much of the area resembled one big hospital ward for much of the war. Large government tent hospitals were erected in fields, and many churches, homes, barns, schools, and other public buildings were also used to care for the sick and wounded. In the fall of 1862, just days after playing host to both armies during the battles of South Mountain and Antietam, Frederick was inundated with more than 9,000 wounded and sick soldiers.
Westminster and Hagerstown played similar roles in hospital care, as did smaller towns such as Boonsboro and Burkittsville. Future US President Rutherford B. Hayes recovered in a Middletown dwelling from wounds suffered at nearby South Mountain; future Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes convalesced in Hagerstown at the Howard Kennedy home; and Paul Joseph Revere (inset), grandson of the famed Revolutionary War patriot, died in Westminster from wounds at Gettysburg. In October 1862, President Lincoln visited the wounded at Sharpsburg and made a personal visit to see Gen. George L. Hartsuff, who was being cared for in a private home in Frederick. During the war, 600 sisters from a dozen religious communities served as nurses. Following Gettysburg, the Daughters of Charity, based in nearby Emmitsburg, were among the first at the battlefield to give aid to the wounded.

This information was provided by the Hagerstown/Washington County Convention and Visitor's Bureau -