Nov 23, 2011

Richmond’s Medical Miracle

(NYTimes) During the opening months of the Civil War, the streets of Richmond, Va., filled with bloodied bodies. The thousands of Confederate wounded were treated in a range of makeshift hospitals hastily established in hotels, factories and private homes. But by autumn, as hopes the conflict would be brief faded, it became clear a war of this magnitude required a modernized medical response.
That fall Samuel P. Moore, the Confederate surgeon general, secured both the facilities and the personnel to provide such a response at Chimborazo, a 40-acre plateau just east of the Confederate capital’s stately Church Hill neighborhood (the site got its name from Mount Chimborazo, an inactive volcano in Ecuador, famous at the time after being “discovered” by the German explorer-scientist Alexander von Humboldt). Occupying 150 buildings, it was one of the largest hospitals in the world, typically serving around 4,000 sick and wounded soldiers at a time. Continued

Photo: Phoebe Yates Levy Pember, a nurse/administrator at Chimborazo, who later wrote "A Southern Woman's Story: Life in Confederate Richmond," which is still in print.