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

Shockoe Hill Cemetery

Site of the Alms House Hospital

 
 
Shockoe Hill Cemetery CWT Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, December 17, 2014
1. Shockoe Hill Cemetery CWT Marker
Inscription. Shockoe Hill Cemetery (the first owned and maintained by the city of Richmond) opened in 1822. It was one of three cemeteries on Richmond’s northern edge, including the Hebrew Cemetery and a free-black and slave burial ground. Shockoe Hill was for several decades the favored cemetery for Richmond’s elite, especially after the interment of Chief Justice John Marshall in 1835.

Between 1861 and 1864, General Hospital No. 1—the Alms House Hospital—was located in the imposing brick city poorhouse (built in 1860) just north of here. The cemetery became many Confederate soldiers’ last resting place, especially those who died at the hospital. Near the end of the war, the building served as the Virginia Military Institute Corps of Cadets barracks. Cadets too young to march away watched from upper-story windows as Richmond burned on April 2-3, 1865.

All Southern states (except Arkansas) are represented here by soldiers killed in battle. Including both wartime casualties and veterans, about 500 Confederate soldiers rest at Shockoe Hill. Prominent among them are Irish-born Gen. Patrick Theodore Moore, who survived a severe head wound to command local defense troops late in the war, and Dr. Charles Bell Gibson, a leading surgeon who supervised the Alms House Hospital. Fourteen of the dozens of girls and young
Shockoe Hill Cemetery CWT Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, December 17, 2014
2. Shockoe Hill Cemetery CWT Marker
women killed in the March 13, 1863, explosion at the Confederates States Laboratory on Brown’s Island are also here. Not all of the Cemetery’s occupants were loyal Confederates, however. Many noted Unionists are here, including spymaster Elizabeth Van Lew, former Congressman John Minor Botts, and others who remained loyal to “the old flag.”

Dr. Gibson treated Union prisoners of war here at the Alms House Hospital, despite loud objections from Confederate politicians and newspapers. At least 500 were buried just outside the east Cemetery wall. They were disinterred after war and reburied at Richmond National Cemetery.

Elizabeth Van Lew, from a leading Richmond family, was an anti-slavery Unionist who built an extensive spy network, sent valuable information to Union commanders, and helped Federal soldiers escape imprisonment. Many Richmonders shunned her after the war, but she was proud that Gen Ulysses S. Grant considered her the Union’s most valuable resources in the wartime capital.

(captions)
(upper left) Alms House and cemetery - Courtesy Library of Congress
(lower center) Gen. Patrick T. Moore, from The Photographic History of the Civil War, Vol. 10 (1910)
(upper right) “Prisoners of War at the General hospital” Courtesy Daughters of Charity, Province of St. Louise, St. Louis,
Alms House building in background image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, December 17, 2014
3. Alms House building in background
The General Hospital, City Home Hospital, Alms House Hospital. Built shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War by the City of Richmond as a poor house. Rented by the City Council to the Confederate authorities in June 1861 as a military hospital. Continued in use as such until December 1864 when it was reclaimed by the City for rental to the Virginia Military Institute as their temporary location. Suffered heavy exterior damage when the nearby powder magazine was exploded on evacuation night. Taken over by Federal authorities and again used by them as a poor house. Returned to the City in December 1865. It was used for many years as the City Alms House. Still in use and owned by the City of Richmond. Earliest use by the Confederacy was for wounded Union prisoners. Soon became the first of the large General Hospitals. Capacity about 500 patients. Dr. Charles Bell Gibson, surgeon-in-charge. [Confederate Military Hospitals in Richmond by Robert W. Wait, Jr., Official Publication #22 Richmond Civil War Centennial Committee, Richmond, Virginia 1964.]
Missouri

(lower right) Elizabeth Van Lew Courtesy Library of Congress
 
Erected 2014 by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Location. 37° 33.135′ N, 77° 25.852′ W. Marker is in Richmond, Virginia. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Hospital Street and North 4th Street, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Richmond VA 23219, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Shockoe Hill Cemetery (a few steps from this marker); Union POW Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Shockoe Hill Cemetery (within shouting distance of this marker); "The Great Chief Justice" (within shouting distance of this marker); Brown's Island Disaster (within shouting distance of this marker); Hebrew Cemetery (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Engine Company No. 9 Fire Station (approx. 0.3 miles away); Saint Joseph Catholic Church (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Richmond.
 
Also see . . .  Friends of Shockoe Hill Cemetery. (Submitted on December 17, 2014.)
 
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesScience & MedicineWar, US Civil
 
John and Mary Willis Ambler Marshall image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher
4. John and Mary Willis Ambler Marshall
John Marshall. Son of Thomas and Mary Marshall was born the 24th of September 1755. Intermarried with Mary Willis Ambler the 3rd of January 1783. Departed this life the 6th day of July 1835.
UDC Monument image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher
5. UDC Monument
In this vicinity are buried 220 Confederate soldiers and 577 Union soldiers that are recorded, as well as hundreds of other soldiers of whose burial no record was made. Erected by Elliott Grays Chapter U.D.C. 1938.

Note: The Union POWs were actually buried next to the City Hospital building east of 4th Street.
Patrick Theodore Moore image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher
6. Patrick Theodore Moore
Brigadier General, C.S.A. 1821-1884 and his wife Mary Randolph Mosby 1823-1875.

After recovering from a head wound inflicted at Bull Run, Moore served on the staffs of Generals Longstreet and Pickett. From September 1864 to the end of the war, he commanded the local defenses of Richmond.
Surg Charles Bell Gibson CSA. Feb 16, 1816 - Apr 23, 1865. image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher
7. Surg Charles Bell Gibson CSA. Feb 16, 1816 - Apr 23, 1865.
Elizabeth L. Van Lew image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher
8. Elizabeth L. Van Lew
1818–1900. She risked everything that is dear to man–friends-fortune-comfort-health-life itself-all for the one absorbing desire of her heart-that slavery might be abolished and the Union preserved. This boulder from the capitol hill in Boston is a tribute from Massachusetts friends.
John Minor Botts image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher
9. John Minor Botts
Born September 16, 1802. Died January 9, 1869. He was under all circumstances an inflexible friend of the American Union. “I know no North, no South, No East, no West; I only know my country, my whole country and nothing but my country.”
Shockoe Hill Cemetery image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, December 17, 2014
10. Shockoe Hill Cemetery
Several victims of the March 1863 explosion at the Confederates States Laboratory on Brown’s Island are buried here.
Almshouse, Richmond, Va. image. Click for full size.
By Alexander Gardner
11. Almshouse, Richmond, Va.
Library of Congress [LC-B815- 860]. Used as CSA General Hospital #1. Charles Bell Gibson was the surgeon-in-charge. Shockoe Hill Cemetery is in the foreground.
Richmond City Hospital image. Click for full size.
By Alexander Gardner
12. Richmond City Hospital
Library of Congress [LC-B815- 898] Many Union POWs were buried here east of Shockoe Hill Cemetery. The soldiers were later moved to Richmond National Cemetery on Williamsburg Road.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 17, 2014, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 342 times since then and 42 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on December 17, 2014, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on September 21, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   10. submitted on November 5, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   11, 12. submitted on September 21, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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