The Union Army occupied Alexandria from the first days of the Civil War to the last. They used the town as a base for supplies, troop transfer, and other logistics, as well as to protect Washington, DC. Alexandria also became an important center for care of the wounded and sick. By the end of the war, more than 30 military hospitals were located in Alexandria, with 6,500 beds.
Churches, homes, the city’s largest hotel, and other buildings were taken over as medical facilities. A Quaker Meetinghouse, a girls’ seminary, a home belonging to the family of Robert E. Lee – all accommodated wounded and diseased patients. Elsewhere, hospital complexes extending over city blocks were built based on plans drawn up by the Quartermaster-General in Washington. Their main features were long, ventilated barracks (usually made of wood) in which patients could be divided into wards.
- Union Hospitals in Civil War Alexandria: A Short History.
- More on Alexandria during the Civil War
- First Person Accounts
- Mercy Street, the PBS drama, takes place at Mansion House Hospital.
Tour the Hospital Sites: an Interactive Map
Tour the Hospital Sites with an interactive map. The 23 hospitals located in Old Town Alexandria are shown on this GIS Story Map. Visit this link on your Smart Phone and explore these sites as you walk or bike around Alexandria, or print the Walking Tour Brochure and bring it with you.
The Union Hospitals
For each hospital, read a short history, view historic photos and Quartermaster Maps, and learn about the site today.