Designed to Cure: Civil War Hospitals in Vermont

Designed to Cure: Civil War Hospitals in VermontCivil War Hospital - wounded soldiers

Vermont History: The Proceedings of the Vermont Historical Society, Nancy E. Boone and Michael Sherman, vol. 69, no. 1 & 2 (Winter/Spring 2001): 173-200


President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton greeted a proposal from Vermont Governor Frederick Holbrook to open military hospitals far from the battlefront as “inexpedient and impracticable of execution.” By the war’s end, however, the army had created 192 general hospitals in its 16 military departments. Twenty-five hospitals were in the Department of the East, including three in Vermont. 

In 1894 former Governor Frederick Holbrook of Brattleboro described his negotiations with federal officials to establish hospitals in Vermont to treat sick and wounded soldiers from the New England region. Holbrook wrote that following a visit to the field hospitals in and around Washington, D.C., in December 1862, he convinced President Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to overcome their doubts that a hospital so far from the front lines would be “inexpedient and impracticable of execution. It was thought that many of the disabled men would die under the fatigue and exposure of such long transportation back to their state; and it was suggested that possibly some might be lost by desertion. It was also said that the plan would be an unmilitary innovation.”


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