“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Shepherdstown in Jefferson County, West Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)


“The Whole Town was a Hospital”


—Antietam Campaign 1862 —

Shepherdstown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 28, 2007
1. Shepherdstown Marker
Inscription. In September 1862, after the Maryland Battles of South Mountain and Antietam, Shepherdstown became a scene of indescribable suffering. “The whole town was a hospital,” wrote resident Mary Bedinger Mitchell. “There was scarcely a building in town that could not with truth seek protection under that plea.”

The wounded Confederates streaming into Shepherdstown after the South Mountain actions of September 14 became a flood totaling 2,000–3,000 by the 18th, the day after Antietam. Soon even places normally deemed unfit for human habitation were turned into hospitals. They included the old abandoned tobacco warehouse at the north end of Princess Street and the incomplete town hall, now Shepherd University’s McMurran Hall, in front of you. Mary Mitchell wrote, “The unfinished Town Hall had stood in naked ugliness for many a long day. Somebody threw a few rough boards across the beams, placed piles of straw over them, laid down single planks to walk upon, and lo it was a hospital at once.”

Shepherdstown experienced the passing of armies for another two and a half years, but the events of the 1862 Maryland Campaign proved the most traumatic for the residents.

(Sidebar) “ The wounded continued to arrive until the town was quite unable to hold all the disabled and suffering.
Markers at Corner of German and King Streets image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 28, 2007
2. Markers at Corner of German and King Streets
They filled every building and overflowed into the country round, into farm-houses, barns, corn-cribs, cabins,—wherever four walls and a roof were found together....There were six churches, and they were all full; the Odd Fellow’s Hall, the Freemasons’, the little Town Council Room, the barn-like place known as the Drill Room, all the private houses after their capacity, the shops and empty buildings, the school houses,—every inch of space and yet the cry was for more room.”
—Mary Bedinger Mitchell.
Erected by West Virginia Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the West Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 39° 25.852′ N, 77° 48.342′ W. Marker is in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, in Jefferson County. Marker is at the intersection of German Street (West Virginia Route 230) and King Street (West Virginia Route 480), on the right when traveling west on German Street. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Shepherdstown WV 25443, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 1862 Antietam Campaign (here, next to this marker); Shepherd State Teachers College (here, next to this marker); Civil War Hospital Site
Trinity Episcopal Church image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 28, 2007
3. Trinity Episcopal Church
(a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Civil War Hospital Site (within shouting distance of this marker); Spirit of 1775 Beeline March to Cambridge (within shouting distance of this marker); Mt. Nebo Lodge No. 91 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); George Washington Heritage Trail (about 400 feet away); Reformed Church Parsonage (about 500 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Shepherdstown.
More about this marker. The Marker features an 1800s picture of Shepherdstown, in particular what appears to be the Trinity Episcopal Church on West German Street.
Categories. Science & MedicineWar, US Civil
International Order of Odd Fellows Hall image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 28, 2007
4. International Order of Odd Fellows Hall
One of many buildings used as a hospital, the building is currently a public library standing across the street from the markers.
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,740 times since then and 150 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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