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

A “Malicious Design”

Burning the Winchester Medical College

 
 
A "Malicious Design" Marker image. Click for full size.
By T. Elizabeth Renich, September 22, 2018
1. A "Malicious Design" Marker
Inscription. 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
A "Malicious Design" Marker image. Click for full size.
By T. Elizabeth Renich, September 22, 2018
2. A "Malicious Design" Marker
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.

(captions)
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
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails, Shenandoah at War.
 
Location. 39° 11.113′ N, 78° 10.225′ W. Marker is in Winchester, Virginia, in Frederick County. Marker is at the intersection of West Boscawen Street (U.S. 50) and North Stewart Street, on the right when traveling west on West Boscawen Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 302 W Boscawen St, Winchester VA 22601, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Daniel Morgan House (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Catherine B. Conrad
A "Malicious Design" Marker image. Click for full size.
By T. Elizabeth Renich, September 22, 2018
3. A "Malicious Design" Marker
(about 400 feet away); Little-Holiday House (about 600 feet away); Thomas, Sixth Lord Fairfax of Cameron (about 600 feet away); Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd (about 700 feet away); Braddock Street Methodist Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); Sheridan’s Headquarters (approx. ¼ mile away); Washington’s Office (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Winchester.
 
Categories. EducationScience & MedicineWar, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 29, 2018. This page originally submitted on September 22, 2018, by T. Elizabeth Renich of Winchester, Virginia. This page has been viewed 108 times since then and 8 times this year. Last updated on November 21, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 22, 2018, by T. Elizabeth Renich of Winchester, Virginia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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