Located on Corcoran Farm on 7th Street, NW, Harewood General Hospital operated from September 1862 to May 1866. It was one of about 25 hospitals opened in the Capital and Alexandria to care for wounded Union soldiers. This print illustrates the original “V” shaped design of the hospital, which could accommodate a total of 945 patients. As the war continued, hospital tents were erected to house additional wounded men, and are visible above the wooden hospital wards. At one point, 312 tents were built at the hospital, contributing an additional 1,872 beds. Medical operations at Harewood were directed by Surgeon Reed A. Bontecou, who used photography to document the injuries and treatments of his patients.
Washington D.C. hospitals were supported by the United States Sanitary Commission, a relief agency approved by the War Department on June 18, 1861 to provide assistance to sick, wounded, and travelling Union soldiers. Nurses and inspectors belonging to commission provided suggestions that helped to reform the U.S. Army Medical Bureau. Although the leaders of the Commission were men, the agency depended on thousands of women, who collected donations, volunteered as nurses in hospitals, and offered assistance at rest stations and refreshment saloons. They also sponsored Sanitary Fairs in Northern cities, raising millions of dollars used to send food, clothing, and medicine to Union soldiers.
Charles Magnus (1826-1900) was born Julian Carl Magnus in Germany and immigrated with his family to New York City sometime between 1848 and 1850. During the 1850s, he learned the printing business while working with his brother on a German language weekly newspaper, the Deutsche Schnellpost. He later began his own lithographer firm, producing city views and commercial letterhead designs. During the Civil War, he designed pro-Union envelopes and illustrated song sheets. The firm’s Washington, D.C. branch also produced small, hand-colored scenes of Union camps and hospitals. Soldiers purchased these picturesque scenes of camp life to send home to calm the worries of anxious family members.
Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.