Grosvenor Hospital and Grosvenor Branch Hospital

Grosvenor Hospital, and its branch at what is now known as the Lee-Fendall House, served the 3rd Division of General Hospitals. The first blood transfusion in North America was performed at the Grosvenor Branch.

Page updated on Jun 4, 2020 at 9:44 AM
Grosvenor HospitalImage 1: Grosvenor House Hospital, Capacity 160. (The Photographic History of the Civil War in Ten Volumes.) 
Grosvenor Hospital, Bird's Eye ViewImage 2: Grosvenor Hospital and Grosvenor Branch, located on a section of Magnus'  Birdseye View of Alexandria, Va. (Library of Congress.)
Grosvenor Hospital, Quartermaster MapQuartermaster map showing Grosvenor Hospital, with Grosvenor Branch and Queen Street Hospitals. 
Grosvenor Hospital, Quartermaster Map (detail) Quartermaster map, showing detail of Grosvenor Hospital
  Grosvenor Hospital, Quartermaster Map (elevation)


Quartermaster map, detail showing side elevation of wards.

Grosvenor Branch, Quartermaster MapQuartermaster map of Grosvenor Branch, now the Lee-Fendall House, on the left, across from the main hospital.
Grosvenor Branch, Quartermaster Map (detail)Quartermaster map of Grosvenor Branch Hospital, showing  deadhouse, pump and sink (privy). 
  Lee Fendall House Today
Grosvenor Branch Hospital is now the Lee-Fendall House Museum.
Civil War Hospitals Map: Grosvenor

History of Grosvenor Hospital and Grosvenor Branch Hospital

Grosvenor Hospital, 414 N. Washington Street
Grosvenor Branch Hospital, 614 Oronoco Street

The Quartermaster map shows that wooden barracks, for use as hospital wards, were built directly west of the residence at 414 N. Washington Street, along with laundry, deadhouse, one other structure, and a sink (ie., privy). The hospital opened on August 17, 1862. It was set up for the Third Division after Sept. 20, 1862, with 160 beds. 

The  Lee-Fendall House, across Washington Street, was called the Grosvenor Branch Hospital. The Branch Hospital property was originally owned by Revolutionary War hero Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee, the father of Robert E. Lee. He sold the lot to his cousin Philip Richard Fendall, who built this wood frame house in 1785. From 1785 until 1903, the house served as the home to thirty-seven members of the Lee family.  

The Lee period of residency was interrupted during the Civil War when, in 1863, the Union Army seized the property for use as a branch of the Grosvenor Hospital across Washington St. The Branch Hospital consisted of the existing three story home, a wood frame building with an “ell” extended along Oronoco Street. The Army also constructed a dead house. The hospital served the 3rd Division of General Hospitals in Alexandria, which according to a December 1864 census had a total capacity of 1,359. Dr. Edwin Bentley, in charge of the U.S. Army General Hospital in Alexandria, performed the first blood transfusion in North America at the Grosvenor Branch. (W. J. Kuhns, "Historic Milestones Blood Transfusions in the Civil War," Transfusion, Volume 5, 1965, pp. 92-94.)  

After the war the house was owned by Alexandria’s locally prominent Downham family (1903-1937), and one of the nation’s most controversial and significant 20th century labor leaders, John L. Lewis (1937-1969). The Lee-Fendall House is now an historic house museum, open to the public.

The Grosvenor Hospital was closed on April 24, 1865. 

First Person Accounts 

Historic Images

Image 1:  

  • Title: Grosvenor House Hospital, Capacity 160
  • Image Source: The Photographic History of the Civil War in Ten Volumes. Francis Trevelyan Miller, Editor in Chief, Volume Seven, Prisons and Hospitals. New York, The Review of Reviews Co., 1911. P. 235.
  • Image Date: 1861-1865.
  • Medium: Photograph
  • Rights Advisory: Out of Copyright

Image 2:  

Quartermaster Map

The Quartermaster map shows the Grosvenor Hospital along with Grosvenor Branch and Queen Street Hospital. Details include an elevation of the Wards.

Location and the Site Today

An office building now sits on the site of the Grosvenor Hospital barracks at 414 N. Washington Street. The Grosvenor Branch Hospital was located across the street at 614 Oronoco Street, where the Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden now highlights 1850s interior design, activities, and collections including many items from the Lee family. 

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