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Sunday, August 14, 2016

New York Hospital and the Civil War

By Elizabeth M. Shepard, 2-1-13


At the dawn of the Civil War, New York Hospital was located at its first site on Broadway between Duane and Worth Streets. From April 1861-February 1862, New York Hospital had an agreement with the New York State Militia to accept sick or wounded officers and privates. From February 1862 until the end of the war, the hospital had an agreement with the U. S. Medical Department to accept non-commissioned officers and privates from the Union Army.

The hospital already had a long standing agreement with the U.S. government to treat merchant seamen. The soldiers were treated both before and after being sent to the front. Most soldiers were housed in the North Building to the right of the main building. When there were many wounded soldiers, some stayed in the main building. The heaviest year was in 1862 due to battles in Antietam, Shiloh, and Fredericksburg. In May 1862, some residents were fired after they wrote a letter of complaint to the U.S. Army that they were not being paid to treat the soldiers. By end of the war over 3,000 soldiers had been treated at the hospital.

During the war, the hospital was staffed by several prominent attending physicians and surgeons, assisted by the house staff. Many of these doctors rose to the call to serve in the Civil War. One attending surgeon and two house surgeons were active with the U.S. Sanitary Commission and one attending surgeon was a consultant for the war department. Twenty five attending and house surgeons served for the Union and one house surgeon served for the Confederates.

Image: Crowds gathered in Union Square on April 20, 1861

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