Richmond hospitals commemorated with highway marker

On April 12, recognition will be given to Richmond’s Chimborazo Civil War hospital as well as others in the Confederate capital that cared for injured soldiers. Chimborazo was noted both for its size and its efficient operation. A state historical highway marker will be dedicated at the site on Saturday at 3 p.m. The program includes speakers and a walking tour of the hospital site.

The hospital, named after a hill on which it was located, began as a soldiers’ camp where close to 100 wooden barracks were constructed early in the war. They were abandoned when the men left for the front. When the need for a military hospital became evident, the buildings were commandeered for that use, and Chimborazo opened in October 1861. Between 20 and 30 surgeons were on staff, and a large contingent of detailed and disabled soldiers as well as slaves sent to the hospital by their owners cared for the patients. Women also served at the hospital, mainly as matrons charged with feeding the solders, writing letters for them and administering medicine.

At times the number of patients reached almost 4,000. It was in operation until April 1865.

There is little to see of the hospital now. Most of it was quickly torn down for use as firewood by local residents. By the early 1900s, the last of the structures was gone. Today, the Richmond National Battlefield Park operates a medical museum at the site.

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Linda Wheeler · April 8, 2014

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