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Browse Exhibits (5 total)


Ulysses S. Grant began his Overland Campaign in May 1864. The first two battles of this campaign, Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House, resulted in heavy casaulities. The wounded from these battles were evacuated from the battlefield to Belle Plain and Fredericksburg before being transported to permanent hospitals in Washington. Read about the deadly battles and the trains of evacuated wounded.

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Fredericksburg as a Hospital

In battle, proper hospitals were hard to come by or often too far away. If a building could be found near the field of battle it was used to house officers or wounded. By 1864 many areas in Virginia had seen battle or had been cut off from goods and supplies that would have normally come to the towns and cities. The wounded that arrived in Fredericksburg found themselves in a town already taxed in resources and lacking medical supplies. Learn more about Civil War medicine and the hospital conditions in Fredericksburg. Also see past and present photos of buildings used as hospitals, and profiles on doctors and officers present in the city in May 1864.

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Civilian-Supported Relief

Gettysburg provided an early example for the massive relief efforts that took place in Fredericksburg in 1864. Unattached individuals, state relief agencies, and national agencies like the Sanitary and Christian Commissions all provided relief for the sick and wounded of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House. Learn about Gettysburg relief efforts and the relief efforts of the Sanitary Commission and Christian Commission in Fredericksburg, as well as the delegates involved.

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Women's Relief Efforts

Women were indispensable to the Union war effort in their work from the home front, as well as the care of wounded soldiers in hospitals. The reform movement inspired women to take a more active role in society, and when the Civil War started, they used what they learned from their activities in moral reform to organize relief efforts at home. Their work expanded into nursing, and many prominent women cared for sick and wounded soldiers. Read about the reform movement, home front support, nursing, and the women relief workers present in Fredericksburg and Belle Plain.


Local Civilian Response

When wounded Union soldiers and relief workers arrived in Fredericksburg in May 1864, civilians were forced to open up their homes as hospitals for the wounded and as residences for the relief workers. Although many civilians were polite to their "guests," inside they were bitter about being forced to house the Yankees. Shortages of food and supplies were a problem for the soldiers and workers, which led them to take these items from civilians. This section contains information about the civilian responses, both positive and negative, to the relief efforts in Fredericksburg.