Civil War Period
This site marks important advances in the history of military medicine. Here Army doctors, nurses, and Daughters of Charity shaped its practice in modern form. Caregivers treated at this 18 acre complex over 30,000 sick and wounded soldiers, Union and Confederate alike.
General Nathaniel Banks opened the first hospital here for three weeks in August 1861. The site offered advantages of central location, good roads, public utilities, plus railway access to Baltimore and Washington.
Afterward the 3rd Wisconsin Infantry maintained an infirmary until it became Army General Hospital No. 1 in June 1862. The facility included two stone barracks from the Revolution, several frame structures, and eleven wards to better accommodate patients. Schoolgirl Florence Doub recalled seeing gate guards, board fencing and "large white tents, put up in streets ... marked A, B, C..."
On September 6, General Robert E. Lee captured the Hospital and staff, adding nearly 500 wounded Confederates to the 150 Union soldiers to sick to evacuate. General George B. McClellan reoccupied Frederick a week later. Ensuing clashes at South Mountain and Antietam soon sent thousands of wounded to Frederick. When the Hospital swelled beyond capacity, schools, churches, and even private residences rescued the overflow as the town became
"one vast hospital."
Army General Hospital No. 1 continued to serve the Blue and Gray for the duration of the war, tending wounded from the Battles of Gettysburg (July 1863) and Monocacy Junction (July 1864), each conflict sending more wounded than the previous. Finally, with peace restored, the Hospital closed in September 1865 with a government auction of all supplies.
Between 1862 and 1865, lifesavers at this Barracks pioneered innovations of transport, triage, and treatment which continue today as standard practice in the United States military.
1777 — As the American Revolution unfolded, the Maryland General Assembly authorized construction of the Barracks.
1782 - 1783 — German prisoners of war captured by the Americans were quartered here at what later became known as the "Hessian Barracks."
1802 — Lewis and Clard used the barracks as a depot for supplies gathered to outfit their Corps of Discovery expedition to the American West.
1812 - 1815 — By April 1812 United States troops were quartered here, among them the 6th U.S. Infantry, as well as militia from Maryland and Virginia.
1850s — The Agricultural Society of Frederick County held their annual exposition here. This evolved into what is now the Great Frederick Fair.
1865 — Doctors nurses and volunteers cared for soldiers wounded at South Mountain, Antietam, Gettysburg, Monocacy, and other Civil War battles.
1868 — The Maryland School for the Deaf occupied the barracks and surrounding property. To make way for the school's Main Building, the west wing of the barracks were dismantled.