Orwell in Addison County, Vermont — The American Northeast (New England)
General Hospital – 1777
Mount Independence State Historic Site
“ . . . the new Hospital . . . 250 long & 24 wide.”
- Rev. Enos Hitchcock, June 14, 1777
This shallow, dry-laid stone foundation was for the largest building at Mount Independence – a 250-foot long by 24-foot wide, two-story, wood frame General Hospital. This boardwalk is nearly as long as the hospital. On February 13, 1777, American Northern Department commander Gen. Philip Schuyler directed Chief Engineer Jeduthan Baldwin to “lose no time in preparing and collecting the materials for a hospital, sufficiently large to contain six hundred sick, besides the necessary apartments for the Director, and the other officers of the hospital.”
Large quantities of nails discovered indicate the hospital was sided with planks and shingle-roofed. Four evenly-spaced stone mounds show placement of fireplaces and chimneys. Perpendicular to the west end wall is a 120-foot long by 20 to 24-foot wide stone foundation for an ell that may not have been built.
The hospital idea originated in November 1776 when two Continental Congressmen surveying medical care at Mount Independence and Fort Ticonderoga found shocking conditions. They urged “a strict Inquiry be made into the Conduct” of the medical staff and that conditions be improved. Congress resolved, on November
On March 12 Baldwin noted in his journal: “Drawd Plan for Hospital.” The site was a cleared area safe from enemy fire in the 1776 Second Brigade encampment. Baldwin recorded progress:
March 13 – Began to cut timber for Hospitals
March 18 – cuting timber for the hospital
March 29 – Getting Timber for ye Hospital.
March 31 – Finished giting timber
May 5 – Laid out the ground for the Hospital.
The north wall was raised on May 27, 1777. On June 14 Rev. Enos Hitchcock wrote “the Hospital about one third covered.” General Schuyler lamented to Congress on June 25: “not one single room in the hospital is yet finished, nor will it soon be in a condition to receive a considerable number of sick.” As the British approached, hospital builders halted their work to strengthen fortifications.
The hurried American evacuation on July 5 and 6 left no time to destroy anything. The British finished the hospital shell, outfitting it with a surgeon, four surgeon mates, an apothecary, and supplies from stuffed beds to kettles, bedpans, lamps, and brandy. By mid-month the first patients arrived – British and American wounded in the July 7 battles to the south at Hubbardton, Vermont, and Fort Ann,
When the British withdrew from the Mount on November 8, 1777, the medical department packed up all supplies, loaded them on a vessel bound for Canada, and burned the hospital. A 1990 archaeological study found only a few fragments of stoneware cups, medicine vials, and stoppers, and a British 20th Regiment of Foot button.
Respect our history. Take only photographs.
Erected by Mount Independence State Historic Site.
Location. 43° 49.478′ N, 73° 22.867′ W. Marker is in Orwell, Vermont, in Addison County. Marker can be reached from Mount Independence Road, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is along the walking trail in Mount Independence State Historic Site. Marker is in this post office area: Orwell VT 05760, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. To Repel the Enemy (within shouting distance of this marker); Third Brigade Encampment – 1776 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Heritage Travelers over the Years (about 300 feet away); Storehouse - 1776 (about 500 feet away); Burial Site (about 700 feet away); British Blockhouse - 1777 Foundation -1776 or 1777 (about 700 feet away); Lake Champlain and the American Revolution (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Orwell.
More about this marker. The lower left of the marker contains building diagrams with the caption, “This 1776 design for four 120-foot long hospitals planned for the Mount but never built may have been the basis for the designs of the 256-foot long General Hospital. Collection of the New York Public Library.” The middle of the marker features a picture, drawn by Gordon deAngelo of what “Archaeological studies indicate the general hospital may have looked like.” The picture is from the Collection of the Mount Independence State Historical Site. A photograph on the right of the marker, also from the Collection of the Mount Independence State Historical Site, shows archaeologists at work at this site. It has a caption of, “Archaeological studies in 1990 uncovered a waste pit outside the foundation that contained mostly beef bones, showing some food preparation may have occurred here.”
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. This series of markers are found on the walking trails in Mount Independence State Historic Site.
Also see . . . Mount Independence State Historic Site. Vermont State Historic Sites. (Submitted on May 24, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • War, US Revolutionary •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,036 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.