Civil War Era Medicine and Chimborazo Medical Museum – Free October Tours and Lectures
The commemoration of the sesquicentennial anniversary (150 years) of the Civil War has created unique opportunities for us to look at the conflict from entirely new or under-explored perspectives. How many times have you given real thought to the sheer number of seriously injured soldiers that suddenly flooded government hospitals during the battles?
“Chimborazo”: a funny name for a Civil War-era hospital; it’s the name of a hill situated on the east end of Richmond that was dubbed after an inactive volcano in Ecuador. When volunteer Confederate troops first gathered en masse to train and organize, they built encampments on Chimborazo , leaving behind dozens of structures when they marched to the front lines.
Confederate Surgeon General commandeered the buildings for use as a military hospital, and young Richmond physician, Dr. James B. McCaw, took his spot as the facilities only chief throughout the war. 75,000 soldiers were treated at Chimborazo during its 3 ½ year existence. After it closed in April, 1865, most of the buildings were ultimately torn down by southerners desperate for firewood. The last structure was gone by the early 1900s, and Richmond operates most of Chimborazo Hill as a park.
The Chimborazo Medical Museum commemorates the Confederacy’s largest and most successful medical hospital. Exhibits not only recount the history of the original hospital, but also the state of medicine, especially battlefield treatment and the effects of epidemics during the Civil War.
On October 29, visitors can attend “Hospital on the Hill” walking tours and learn about Richmond’s Confederate-era medicine from National Park Service Rangers. The free tours will be offered between 9 AM and 4 PM, commencing at 3215 E. Broad Street. If you are interested in more information, contact the National Park Service at 804-226-1981.
Want even more insight into the subject? Retired Army Surgeon and Civil War Authority, Dr. T. Adrian Wheat will be giving free lectures on the “Evolution of Military Medicine” at the Virginia Historical Society at 428 N. Boulevard on October 26 and 27. More information is available from the NPS at the same number listed above.
Don’t miss these free opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of medicine during the Civil War in the Confederate States. Book your accommodations at an Historic Richmond Inn today and take part in the commemoration activities!