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Harrisonburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Confederate General Hospital

Harrisonburg Female Academy

 
 
Confederate General Hospital CWT Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, December 27, 2010
1. Confederate General Hospital CWT Marker
Inscription. Harrisonburg was Rockingham County’s seat of government and largest town, and it was an ideal site for a hospital. When the Civil War began in 1861, although the railroad had not yet extended to Harrisonburg, the town sat at the intersection of four turnpikes, including the macadamized Valley Turnpike, the main avenue for travel through Virginia’s Great Valley.

Various buildings in Harrisonburg were used as temporary hospitals from the outset of the war. The most important of these was the Harrisonburg Female Academy at this location on Main Street. The large, three-story building had been built on this site in 1852. It was converted to hospital use in 1861, and Harrisonburg physician Dr. W.W.S. Butler was appointed surgeon in charge.

The academy building became an official Confederate General Hospital in October 1862. By the next July, 763 patients had been treated. Of that total, only 19 had died, a remarkable record for any Civil War hospital. Many of the fatalities were buried in Harrisonburg’s Woodbine Cemetery. There were so many sick and wounded in Harrisonburg during the summer of 1863, as troops retreated from Gettysburg, the hospital could not hold them all.

As control of Harrisonburg alternated back and forth from Confederate to Union forces several times during the war, doctors staffing the
City of Harrisonburg Municipal Building image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, December 27, 2010
2. City of Harrisonburg Municipal Building
hospital also changed sides. After the Battle of Cross Keys, more than 100 sick and wounded Union soldiers were left in and around the town with five Federal surgeons remaining behind to take care of them.

“Only a little time elapsed … before the building used as a school house in days of peace was converted into a hospital, and from that time until the summer of 1865 it was never without the sick and wounded. … Several battles were fought near the town, and the hospitals were often filled with the wounded of both armies.”
— Orra Gray Langhorne, Our Women of the War (1885)
 
Erected 2010 by Virginia Civil War Trails and Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 38° 26.771′ N, 78° 52.171′ W. Marker is in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Marker is on South Main Street (U.S. 11) 0.1 miles north of Campbell Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 345 South Main Street, Harrisonburg VA 22801, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Warren-Sipe House (within shouting distance of this marker); Hardesty-Higgins House
Harrisonburg Female Academy image. Click for full size.
December 27, 2010
3. Harrisonburg Female Academy
(about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); McNeill’s Rangers (about 600 feet away); The Big Spring (approx. 0.2 miles away); Harrisonburg (approx. 0.2 miles away); Court Square & Springhouse (approx. ¼ mile away); Rockingham County World War I Memorial (approx. ¼ mile away); The Woodbine Cemetery (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Harrisonburg.
 
More about this marker. On the lower left is a sketch with the caption, "Collecting the wounded after an engagement, 1864" Courtesy Library of Congress

On the right is a water color with the caption, "Harrisonburg Female Academy (demolished in 1879), watercolor by Austin Loewner" Courtesy Massanutten Regional Library

On the lower right is a "You Are Here" map of downtown Harrisonburg.
 
Also see . . .
1. Civil War Trails in Harrisonburg & Rockingham County. (Submitted on December 28, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
2. Virginia Civil War Trails - Harrisonburg and area. Civil War Traveler
Hospital attendants - collecting the wounded after the engagement... image. Click for full size.
By William Waud, circa October 1864
4. Hospital attendants - collecting the wounded after the engagement...
Library of Congress [LC-USZC4-3609]
(Submitted on December 28, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 

3. Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation. (Submitted on December 28, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Cannon in front of the Municipal Building image. Click for full size.
By Linda Walcroft, December 13, 2011
5. Cannon in front of the Municipal Building
Cannon stands to the left of the building entrance as seen from Main Street; marker is to the right of the entrance.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 28, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,377 times since then and 84 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on December 28, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   5. submitted on January 14, 2012, by Linda Walcroft of Strasburg, Virginia.
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