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

A "Malicious Design"

Burning the Winchester Medical College

A "Malicious Design" Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed 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
Paid Advertisement
Click on the ad for more information.
Please report objectionable advertising to the Editor.
Click or scan to see
this page online
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 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.

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.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EducationScience & MedicineWar, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is May 16, 1862.
Location. 39° 11.113′ N, 78° 10.225′ W. Marker is in Winchester, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of West Boscawen Street (U.S. 50) and North Stewart Street, on the right when traveling
A "Malicious Design" Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By T. Elizabeth Renich, September 22, 2018
2. A "Malicious Design" Marker
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. Touch for directions.
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 (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 United 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.
A "Malicious Design" Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By T. Elizabeth Renich, September 22, 2018
3. A "Malicious Design" Marker
Credits. This page was last revised on February 26, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 22, 2018, by T. Elizabeth Renich of Winchester, Virginia. This page has been viewed 817 times since then and 178 times this year. Last updated on November 21, 2018, by Devry Becker 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.

Share this page.  
Share on Tumblr

CeraNet Cloud Computing sponsors the Historical Marker Database.
U.S. FTC REQUIRED NOTICE: This website earns income from qualified purchases you make on Thank you.
Paid Advertisements

Dec. 8, 2023