Alexandria During The Civil War: First Person Accounts

The occupation of Alexandria by Union troops forever changed the social, cultural and economic fabric of the old seaport town. For four years, Alexandria was an occupied city, enduring the longest military occupation by Union troops of any town during the conflict. We are fortunate to have a number of first-person accounts of this trying period of Alexandria’s history.

Page updated on Mar 9, 2020 at 8:48 AM

Alexandria During The Civil War: First Person Accounts

The following accounts include dramatic excerpts from the diaries of relief worker Julia Wilbur and of a secessionist housewife who fled Alexandria as Union troops arrived; a letter from a head nurse at one of the many hospitals; the writings of an English journalist and an American war correspondent; and selections from  The Local News, Alexandria’s wartime newspaper. Additional accounts are provided from patients and staff at Alexandria's Union Hospitals.

The Civil War in Alexandria


First Person Accounts


Accounts from the Union Hospitals

Camp Convalescent

  • Views of a Nurse 
  • Views of a New York Soldier 
  • Views of a Pennsylvania Soldier 
  • Views of a Wisconsin Soldier  

Downtown Baptist Church Hospital

  • Nurse Clarissa Jones

Grace Church Hospital

  • Letters of William Wallace, patient 

Grosvenor Hospital

  • George Washington Bellows, patient
  • Edwin Bentley, Surgeon 
  • Washington Post, June 4, 1960 (about the impending demolition of 414 N. Washington Street) 

King Street Hospital

  • Edward French, patient
  • Family stories from Sigmund Bernheimer  

Mansion House Hospital

  • Mary Phinney von Olnhausen, Nurse 
  • Judson, Patient/soldier 
  • J.B. Porter, Surgeon 
  • Fragment of letter from a patient 
  • Official card for patient S.D. Newcomb  

Sickel General Hospital

  • Joseph Richardson, patient
  • B. F. Sells, patient
  • Joshua Ingalls, patient  


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