State Highway Marker

State Highway Marker

Monday, May 29, 2017

Hospitals on the Pamunkey

Interior of a Union hospital ship

An interesting Wikipedia article on a little known aspect of the Civil War- the hospital ships of the United States Sanitary Commission. The Commission was a privately funded and led relief organization run out Washington during the war. Some notable members of the organization include Frederick Law Olmsted and George Templeton Strong.

The Commission created and ran the Hospital Transport Service, a network of dozens of converted steamers that transported ten of thousands of Union wounded to hospitals out of the war zone.

Some of the vessels that operated specifically on the Pamunkey River were, the Elm City, Commodore, Louisiana, State of Maine, Kennebeck, Daniel Webster No. 2, John Brooks, Whilldin, Knickerbocker, St. Mark, and the Euterpe.*

Some other sites of interest on this topic:

*Note from A MEMOIR of the Embarkation of the Sick and Wounded from the Peninsula of Virginia in the Summer of 1862.-Compiled and Published at the request of the Sanitary Commission. 

"The St. Mark arrived about this time, a splendid clipper East-Indiaman, and, after her, the Euterpe, both first-class new sailing vessels, entirely reconstructed interiorly by the Commission, as model hospital-ships, and having their own corps of surgeons, dressers, &c. Drawing too much water to come up the Pamunkey, they anchored at Yorktown, and the sick were taken down on steamboats to them, and they made the voyage round to New York in tow of steamers."

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