Confederate General Hospital

Confederate General Hospital (HMQAV)

Location: Harrisonburg, VA 22801
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 26.771', W 78° 52.171'

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Harrisonburg Female Academy

Harrisonburg was Rockingham County's seat of government and largest town, and it was an ideal site for a hospital. When the Civil War began in 1861, although the railroad had not yet extended to Harrisonburg, the town sat at the intersection of four turnpikes, including the macadamized Valley Turnpike, the main avenue for travel through Virginia's Great Valley.

Various buildings in Harrisonburg were used as temporary hospitals from the outset of the war. The most important of these was the Harrisonburg Female Academy at this location on Main Street. The large, three-story building had been built on this site in 1852. It was converted to hospital use in 1861, and Harrisonburg physician Dr. W.W.S. Butler was appointed surgeon in charge.

The academy building became an official Confederate General Hospital in October 1862. By the next July, 763 patients had been treated. Of that total, only 19 had died, a remarkable record for any Civil War hospital. Many of the fatalities were buried in Harrisonburg's Woodbine Cemetery. There were so many sick and wounded in Harrisonburg during the summer of 1863, as troops retreated from Gettysburg, the hospital could not hold them all.

As control of Harrisonburg alternated back and forth from Confederate to Union forces several times during the war, doctors staffing the hospital also changed sides. After the Battle of Cross Keys, more than 100 sick and wounded Union soldiers were left in and around the town with five Federal surgeons remaining behind to take care of them.

"Only a little time elapsed ? before the building used as a school house in days of peace was converted into a hospital, and from that time until the summer of 1865 it was never without the sick and wounded. ? Several battles were fought near the town, and the hospitals were often filled with the wounded of both armies."
— Orra Gray Langhorne, Our Women of the War (1885)
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Year Placed2010
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails and Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, September 8th, 2014 at 10:13pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 685921 N 4257471
Decimal Degrees38.44618333, -78.86951667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 26.771', W 78° 52.171'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 26' 46.26" N, 78° 52' 10.26" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 345 S Main St, Harrisonburg VA 22801, US
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