A "Malicious Design"

A "Malicious Design" (HM2BR9)

Location: Winchester, VA 22601
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 11.113', W 78° 10.225'

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Burning the Winchester Medical College

This is the former location of the Winchester Medical College. In the spring of 1862, Union soldiers from Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks's command allegedly entered the building and discovered a partially dissected African American boy. They also found what they believed was the skeleton of Watson Brown, one of John Brown's sons killed during Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859. Medical school students had reportedly brought Watson Brown's body to Winchester for dissection. Winchester resident John Peyton Clark claimed that the city's Union commander, Col. George Beal, 10th Maine Infantry, ordered Watson's remains recovered and buried and the College burned. On the evening of May 16, 1862, the College did burn, although contemporary accounts differ about who was responsible. When three fire engines arrived to douse the flames, Union soldiers allegedly stopped them.

Winchester's Confederate sympathizers took some solace from the belief that the Federals had not retrieved Brown's skeleton but that of an unidentified person. Local diarist Mary Greenhow Lee wrote the day after the fire that Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire had removed Brown's skeleton from the premises before Confederate Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson evacuated Winchester two months earlier. Lee regarded McGuire's action as "foiling" in advance the "malicious design" of

the Union troops to punish the College and to give John Brown's son a proper burial. In 1881, John Brown, Jr., retrieved his brother's remains and buried them next to their father in North Elba, N.Y.

Watson Brown Courtesy West Virginia State Archives

Col. George L. Beal Courtesy Nicholas Picerno Collection

Wincheter, 1856 painting by Edward Beyer, with detail of the Winchester Medical College Courtesy Museum of the Shenandoah Valley

Dr. Hugh Holmes McGuire founded Winchester Medical College in 1847. His son, Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire, was Gen. Jackson's physician. Courtesy Handley Library Archives
HM NumberHM2BR9
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails, Shenandoah at War
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, September 28th, 2018 at 11:02am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 744398 N 4341145
Decimal Degrees39.18521667, -78.17041667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 11.113', W 78° 10.225'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 11' 6.78" N, 78° 10' 13.5" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 302 W Boscawen St, Winchester VA 22601, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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