The Douglas and Stanton hospitals, two of about 25 hospitals opened in the Capital and Alexandria to care for wounded Union soldiers, were located at I and 2nd Streets and opened in early 1862. “Douglas Row,” composed of the three large brick houses near the center of the print, was constructed in 1856-1857 through an investment by Senator Stephen Douglas, the Northern Democratic candidate who ran against Lincoln in the 1860 Election. Upon its completion, Douglas and his wife moved into one of the homes, and Senator Henry Rice of Minnesota and Vice President John C. Breckinridge purchased the others. Douglas died shortly after the outbreak of war, and his widow, Adele, and Senator Rice offered their homes to the government for use as a military hospital. The government accepted and also seized the home of Breckinridge, who had become a major general in the Confederate Army. Stanton Hospital was erected in the vacant square outside of Douglas Row and was named after Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.
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.
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