Posts Tagged ‘hospitals’

The catalogue record for this item at the Library of Congress

“[Many hospitals] were built on a pavilion model, with separate, single-story, ward-size buildings arranged in rows or a semicircle and designed for good ventilation. These hospitals had additional buildings for kitchens and other supportive services.”
Glenna R. Schroeder-Lein. The Encyclopedia of Civil War Medicine (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2008), page 140.

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This soldier returned to his birthplace on Virginia’s Eastern Shore after discharge. He’d been hospitalized in Brazos and New Orleans and was sickly the rest of his life. He died in a Baltimore hospital in 1891.


Mother – 495,474 / —–, Dinah Moore


Declaration for Dependent Mother’s Pension, Dina Moore, 16 January 1891
70 years old; residence, Pungoteague, Accomac Co., Va.; post-office address, Pungoteague, Accomac Co., Va.
“… she is the mother of Moses Moore … in the service of the United States, died in Baltimore, Md. … August 1878, from the effects of rheumatism brought on by exposure in the army. He was treated by a doctor for it the same year he came home out of the war.”
“Also personally appeared, S.E Wise residing at Craddockville, Va., and J.A. Wise, residing at Craddockville, Va … [acquainted with her 20 years and 10 years, respectively …”


Declaration for Dependent Mother’s Pension, Dinah Moore, 11 July 1900
75 years old; residence, Craddockville, Accomac Co., Va.; post-office address, Craddockville, Accomac Co., Va.
“the soldier died at Baltimore, Md. … November 1868 of the effects of cold and exposure received in service of war of rebellion. My son was sick from the day of his discharge until his death.”
“Also personally appeared, James Sturgis residing at Craddockville, Va., and John Major, residing at Craddockville, Va … [acquainted with her] 60 years and 55 years, respectively …”


General Affidavit, John Bailey and James Sturgis, 18 August 1900
[Bailey] 64 years old; residence, Craddockville, Accomac Co., Va.
[Sturgis] 81 years old; residence, Craddockville, Accomac Co., Va.
“[The soldier] was never married and lived with his mother … from the time of his discharge from the service of War of the Rebellion until a short time before his death when he went to Balto., Md. for treatment during 1891 and died in the Public Hospital.”


General Affidavit, Dinah Moore, 27 October 1900
80 years old; residence, Craddockville, Accomac Co., Va.
“I am the claimant abovenamed, and the mother of Moses Moore, who served in the War of the Rebellion in Company ‘F’ 1st Regt. U.S.C. Cavy. instead of Co. ‘F’ 10th Regt. U.S.C. Inf.  as set forth in my application for mother’s pension filed August 8th 1900.”


Sworn Statement, Dinah Moore, 22 January 1901
86 years old; residence, Craddockville, Accomac Co., Va.; “The father of the soldier abovenamed was a slave man and he died previous to the enlistment of my son Moses Moore … I cannot recollect the date of my husband’s death. He died a slave. His name was Dennis Moore. …”


U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of the Pensions (Form 3-337), 6 June 1901
” … Aug 31/65, Absent sick Post Hospl Brazos;  Oct 31/65 Sick at Corps d’Afrique Hospl, NO. La. … also borne [on the roll] as Moses Moor … Born in Accomac Co., Va. Age 19 years. A laborer.  Dark eyes. Black hair. Light complexion. Height 5 ft 5 in. Name of owner not found. Name of Moses Moore not found on rolls of Co F, 1 U.S.C. Cav. …”


General Affidavit, Dinah Moore, 21 August 1901
84 years old; residence, Craddockville, Accomac Co., Va.
“… his discharge paper was lost at the time of his death. The soldier of abovenamed was of dark complexion, black hair, black eyes, and five feet five inches or thereabout. Was from near Pungoteague, Va. and was about 19 years old at enlistment and the soldier was a slave.”
[Note: Information for two people had been entered on this form and then scratched out — E.F. Wharton, 56 [?] years old and James Sturgis, 76 years old — Leslie].

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“Originally known as the Norfolk Naval Hospital, this famous facility was an outgrowth of the 1798 Congressional act creating the Marine Hospital Service. Fort Nelson, a Revolutionary defense work guarding the Norfolk harbor, was chosen as the hospital site in 1826. The architect, John Haviland of Philadelphia, produced a preeminent work of Greek Revival institutional architecture. The decastyle Doric portico, finished in what Haviland described as ‘chisel dressed Virginia freestone,’ is a masterpiece of monumentality. Distinctive are the narrow frieze windows forming the triglyphs. The shallow dome capping the operating room was added during a 1907 expansion. The hospital has had a distinguished record of service, treating naval casualties of every American conflict since its opening. Now flanked by modern hospital facilities, Haviland’s original structure is undergoing a careful rehabilitation.”
Summary: Virginia Department of Historic Registers, Portsmouth Naval Hospital


“Tne Naval Hospital has had distinquished service serving those in need …. In April, 1862, the Confederate government surrounded the building with earthworks and renamed it Fort Nelson. The next year it was occupied by Northern troops and re-established as a federal army hospital.”
National Register of Historic Places – Final Nomination Form – Portsmouth Naval Hospital – #124-0036

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Ephraim Crocker and his wife Matilda were born enslaved on the same farm in Southampton County, Virginia. In fact, he and the owner’s son were born a few days apart. Two female witnesses had lived on the same plantation. The soldier was shot during a skirmish near Petersburg, recovered at the military hospital in Portsmouth and lived the rest of his life “across the river” in Norfolk.


Invalid — 262,081 / 996,023
Widow — 1,141,152 / 872,751 

Marriage License, Ephraim Crocker & Matilda Sykes, 23 June 1868
[date/place of marriage] 23 June 1868, Southampton Co., Va.
[husband’s age, condition] 21 years old, single
[wife’s age, condition] 21 years old, single
[race] colored
[husband’s birthplace, residence] Southampton Co., Southampton Co.
[wife’s birthplace, residence] Southampton Co., Southampton Co.
[husband’s occupation] farmer


Soldier’s Affidavit, Howell Jones, 22 December 1880
“[Ephraim Crocker] was wounded in hip & lip on Plank Road at Fort Hill 2 miles from Petersburg, Virginia, was carried to City Point, Virginia, — thence to “The Hall” hospital, Portsmouth, Virginia. Remained under treatment about 2 1/2 months and then returned to company about 1st April 1865.
“After Lee’s Surrender, Regiment was ordered to Santiago, Texas. Then mustered out of service. …My post-office address is Cary’s, County of Southampton, Virginia.”


General Affidavit for Any Purpose, Howell Jones, 27 June 1881
“[Ephraim Crocker] was wounded while engaged in skirmish with enemy March (I think) 1864. I saw him brought in. He was wounded near Fort Hill, which is situate in Prince George Co., Va. near Petersburg, Va. He was carried to general hospital (Hall) Portsmouth, Va. No medical testimony can be obtained as there is no Dr. near here who was at Fort Hill, where said soldier was wounded, not at Portsmouth, Va. at the time when said Ephraim Crocker was there under treatment. When dismissed from hospital returned to regiment and then with regiment returned to Texas. The gunshot wound did not exist after return home but scar did and does exist.”


Questionnaire, Ephraim Crocker, 27 October 1898
[residence] 35 Goff St., Norfolk, Va.
[married] Matilda Crocker – Matilda Sykes
[when, where, by whom] June 1867, Southampton Co., Va., Rev. Allen
[record] marriage register, clerk’s office, Southampton Co., Va.
[previously married] no
[living children] Violet (about 27 years old), James (23 years old)


Deposition, Ephraim Crocker, 14 December 1901
“I am 58 years of age; laborer; and I live at 35 Goff St., Norfolk, Va… I do not know when I enlisted or was discharged. I joined the Army just before Christmas and served till the following March one year.
“I was born a slave in South Hampton [sic] Co., Va. and was owned by old Bob Ridley. Ephraim Crocker is the only name I have ever gone under and I got that name from my father who was Isaac Crocker. I had no relatives in the Army. I enlisted at Ft. Hatten. Do not know where Ft. Hatten is located; that is in what state. I was mustered out in Texas but we were brought to City Point for final muster out. …

“I gave my discharge to Mr. Brown soon after discharge; gave it to him when I was applying for my bounty. I was paid $100 bounty in two years after discharge.

“Sykes was my Col. …. I do not recollect name of my Lt. Col. …. Draper was Major … McIntyre was my Captain … Spencer was my Lt. … I do not recollect the name of my other Lt. …. Steele was Orderly Sgt. of my Co. and Langley was a Corporal…The only comrade whose name I can recollect is that of Nimmer. I do not recollect his first name. I cannot recollect the name of the Surgeon of the regiment, nor do I recollect the name of the Chaplain.

“After enlistment at Ft. Hatten we came to Norfolk and while here I was taken with a severe case of pneumonia and was in the hospital for some time with it; that was the only regular sickness that I ever had in service. From Norfolk we went to Ft. Giddes and then to Texas. I was in no battles. I was in Texas seven months. We went by ship to Texas but I do not know name of place where we took ship. We landed at Brazos Santiago, Texas, and we spent our time either there or in Brownsville. After discharge, I lived fifteen years in South Hampton [sic] County and then moved here. Have always been a laborer since discharge. I get six dollars a month pension….

Mr. Hubard got my claim through for me; charged nothing and I paid them nothing. He always swears me and I have vouchers executed before the 4th.

“My witnesses in my old law was Chas. Irker, John Brown, Peter Shubert, Albert Jones, and Jacob Shubert. I paid each of my citizen witnesses fifty cents, but we soldier boys just witnessed for each other. I was a witness for Peter Shubert and Albert Jones. Shubert had a cold in service. Jones had cold in service; we all had colds in service. That is all I recollect special being the matter with either of them.”


General Affidavit, Ephraim Crocker, 1 April 1908
62 years old; 27 Johnson Ave., Norfolk, Va: “That I learned my correct age from my owner before I enlisted … which made me born December 25, 1845 as I was 18 years old at enlistment on Dec 3rd, 1864.
“My owner’s son and my self [sic] were nearly the same age being just a few days difference in in our ages but I have no record of my age and my owners are all dead so there is no possible way for me to prove it except by my enlistment, and if at any time I have made a different statement it is owing to my not being able to read & write and a mistake on my part.”


General Affidavit, Harrison Diggs & Henry Etheridge, 22 November 1908
[Diggs] 61 years old; resident, Norfolk; post-office address, 276 Brewer St.; [Etheridge] 56? [sic] years old; resident, Norfolk; post-office address, 40 James St.; “That they have been well and intimately acquainted with claimant for ten or more years; that they have seen much of him during this time and are well acquainted with his habits and physical condition; that they are informed that he suffers from rheumatism, injury to left foot, disease of heart, weak eyes and back and general debility …”


Declaration for Increase in Pension, Ephraim Crocker, 5 January 1915
[physical description] 5′ 7″; black complexion; gray eyes; black hair; laborer; born a slave in Southampton County, Virginia


Questionnaire, Ephraim Crocker, 15 July 1915
[living children] Violet Ann Crocker, living, born August 1871; E. James Crocker, living, born December 1875 and “they are both living at Norfolk, Va.
[The information recorded on this questionnaire is identical to the information provided on the questionnaire dated 18 October 1898 except for the question about living children. The more recent questionnaire provides more complete information about the children’s names, birth dates, and whereabouts — Leslie]


Death Certificate [copy], Ethran [sic] Crocker, 1 April 1919
[place of death] 748 Johnson Ave., Norfolk, Va.
[length of residence in city where death occurred] 28 years
[sex, race, status] male, colored, married
[age] 74 years
[occupation] laborer
[birthplace] Va.
[father’s name, birthplace] Isaac Crocker, Va.
[mother’s name, birthplace] Violet Crocker, Va.
[informant] James E. Crocker, 748 Johnson Ave., Norfolk, Va.
[cause of death] senile gangrene, 30 days; granition
[signature] E.W. Baxter, 218 E. 28th St.
[burial] Calvary Cemetery, April 3, 1919
[undertaker] Baker & King, Norfolk, Va.


General Affidavit, Patsey Parker, 16 May 1919
81 years old; post-office address 785 Nicholson St., Norfolk, Va.; “That she has known the claimant ever since she was born; that they belonged to the same owner before the War as did also Ephraim Crocker; that they were both younger than she and she knew them from their infancy; that they were never married prior to their marriage to each other; that she was present at their marriage but does not remember the date, but it was in the third year after the surrender; that they lived together as husband and wife from the date of their marriage until the death of Ephraim Crocker last month and were never separated or divorced from each other and that the claimant has no [sic] remarried since his death.”


General Affidavit, Peggy Jones, 21 May 1919
70 years old; 718 Lindsey St., Brighton, Portsmouth, Va. … “That she was raised on the farm of Mr. Bob Riddley in Southampton County, Va., that both the claimant and her late husband Ephraim Crocker were raised on the same farm and they all grew up together as children and she knows that neither the claimant or her late husband were ever married prior to their marriage to each other; that she does not remember the date of their marriage but it was a few years after the end of the Civil War and she was present when the Rev. Mr. Allen them; that she has known them ever since their marriage and knows that they were never separated or divorced from each other but lived together as husband and wife until the death of Ephraim Crocker on April 1, 1919; and that the widow has not remarried since his death.”

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Dawson Gordney had an eventful life. He fell from his horse and was shot during a skirmish. He was married several times — as were his wives. One of his former wives was treated in the Central State Asylum for Colored Insane in Petersburg, Virginia. It appears that the Clerk of the County Court of Norfolk County committed perjury and forgery while handling Gordney’s pension application. The veteran died at the National Soldiers’ Home in Hampton, Virginia and was buried nearby at Hampton National Cemetery.


Invalid — 386,103 / 444,942
Widow —  994,469 / —-,  Louisa Gordney

War Department, Adjutant General’s Office, Washington, DC, 3 March 1883
“May 16/64 report shows him wounded by falling from horse. June 28/64 absent sick at Ft. Monroe. Hospital register not on file. The records of the office do not show nature nor location of wound.”


Deposition, Edward R. Pitt, 29 July 1889
50 years old; farmer; post-office address, Bowers Hill, Norfolk Co., Va. “It was about two months from the night of the skirmish before I saw him. … I remember that the claimant was in the company with us at the time of the skirmish but we had fallen back (Dawson Gordney) was missing.”


Deposition, Dawson Gordney, 29 July 1889
50 years old; farmer; post-office address c/o A.H. Martin, Box 203, Portsmouth, Va. I claim pension for a gunshot wound in the seven days fight between Petersburg and Richmond, at the skirmish on the turnpike, May 1864.

“I was the flag bearer when I was shot, and after being wounded, I fell from my horse and was trampled over by the rest of the company. None of the horses hurt me, the horses stepped over me.
Captain Whiteman was the commandant when I was wounded. I was wounded in the nighttime. I was mounted and had hold of the bridle of my left hand. The flag was strapped on to the pommel of the saddle. We were sent to cut off a wagon train.
Q. What comrades were with you when you were wounded?
A. Ord. Sgt Thomas Pitt, Ed Pitt, Dick Colden, Albert Jones, James [?] Jones, Zachary Johnson, Bob Winburn, Fred Powell, that’s all I can think of. …
Q. When and where did you enlist?
A. At Norfolk, Va., Dec 13, 1863, I was not mustered out with my regiment on account of my wound.”


Deposition, Jacob Ashburn, 3 August 1889
6[illegible] years old; farmer; post-office address, Bowers Hill, Norfolk Co., Va. “I know that he was shot in the hand somewhere near Deep Bottom on the turnpike road, in a ‘scrimmage’ about May 1864, I have forgotten the date, but we were trying to cut off a rebel wagon train. …
Q. How do you know that he was wounded?
A. Because he hollered out.


Deposition, Richard Colden, 3 August 1889
60 years old; laborer; post-office address 818 Crabbe St., Portsmouth, Va.
Q. How do you know that Gwathmey was wounded?
A. I was right behind him when he fell off his horse. He said he was shot.
Q. How do you know which wrist was shot?
A. I saw it the next morning
in camp. I did not see the wound. I saw his hand wrapped up.
Q. Which hand or wrist was it?
A. I am positive it was the left….”


Deposition, Albert Jones, 3 August 1889
46 years old; laborer; post-office address 16 Clifford St., Portsmouth, Va. “I have known [Gwathmey] twenty-six years. I knew him before enlistment … He was treated by Dr. Gray in camp a day or two and then sent to Hampton Hospital. I did not see him anymore after he went to hospital at Hampton until I came home after discharge.


Deposition, Sias Washington, 3 August 1889
about 50 years old; farmer; post-office address, Portsmouth, Va.
“I was not there when he was shot. I was on duty at camp.”


Deposition, Wm. T. Pitt, 5 August 1889
50 years old; farmer; post-office address Churchland, Norfolk Co., Va. … [Gwathmey] was a Sergeant and flag bearer in my co. I did not know him before enlistment.
“He received a wound in the back of the hand. I do not know which hand. I was not present at the time, I was sick in camp … I saw the hand when he returned to the regiment. The back of the hand was raw and looked like a sabre wound. I never heard that he shot himself. I heard that he was wounded by the enemy and it was the general impression in the co. that he was so wounded at the time.  He did not go to Texas with us. He deserted.
“He came back to the regiment when he got better of his wound but he deserted and I did not see him again until two years after discharge. … He lives about five miles from me. When I was up and well I used to see him about twice a month but I have not seen him for nearly a year now. I have been down sick for fourteen months.”
[One of the witnesses in this deposition was Marnie or Mamie Pitt. Is she related to me through the Pitt brothers of Nansemond County? — Leslie]


Deposition, Squire Bright, 6 August 1889
48 years old; post-office address 313 Dinwiddie St., Portsmouth, Va.
“I remembered that [he] was shot in one of his hands in a skirmish on the turnpike between Bermuda Hundred and Petersburg in 1864. I don’t remember the month, but I remember that the wheat was high at the time and it must have been near warm weather. I remember we were down in a deep cut when the rebels fired down upon us from the edge of the hill above when Sergt. Gwathmey was shot.”
Q. How do you know that he was wounded in the hand?
A. I was there. I know that before that volley was fired his hand was allright [sic] and when he was struck by the ball he hollered out “Boys, I’m shot. I’m shot.”  I saw his hand after he came to camp. The wound was between the wrist and the knuckles.”


Letter from M.B. Bailey, Chief of the Law Division, Bureau of Pensions, to the Acting Chief of S.E. Div., 31 October 1889 
[This is my summary of a five-page typed letter in the folder:  It appeared that Alvah H. Martin, Clerk of the County Court of Norfolk County “unlawfully witheld $536.00 of the $636.00 due [Gordney].” Martin claimed that Gordney had paid him for a “piece of land near Scott’s Creek”  but Gordney denied Martin’s claim.  The Court Clerk then withheld Gordney’s pension papers. Bailey asked that a Special Examiner be directed to proceed to Norfolk, Va., and thoroughly investigate this matter in connection with the charges made by the soldier in his deposition, which, with the exception of the intimations of perjury and forgery against Martin, are substantially corroborated by the evidence …
“If, on the completion of his examination the Examiner should be of the opinon that forgery or perjury had been committed … he should report these facts at once to this Bureau, and await further instructions, –  unless, in his opinion there is danger of escape of the guilty party or parties, in which event he should consult at once the U.S. Attorney, and take his advice as to the propriety of  procuring warrants for the guilty party or parties.” — Leslie]


Affidavits for Neighbors and General Purpose, Tom Riddick & Cyrus Washington, 31 August 1891
[Riddick] 50 years old; residence King Street, Norfolk Co., Va. and [Washington] 60 years old; Godwin Street, Norfolk Co “that we were in the same company during the War of the Rebellion and was with him when wounded … we have known him and lived near him ever since the close of the war”


General Affidavit, Albert Jones, 17 October 1892
49 years old; post-office address 1114 Chestnut St., Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va…. “That he is intimately acquainted with the claimant from having served with him in the same co. and regt. during the war, and having lived in the same community that he has lived since the close of the said war, and at this time he lives within four blocks of him, that he is now in bad health and unable to work and he has often contributed to his relief.”


General Affidavit, Thomas Reddick, 19 October 1892
53 years old; residence Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va. “[T]hat he is living in the same neighborhood as the claimant … that he is well acquainted with the claimant from the fact of being his comrade-in-arms same Co. and Regt. during the late war.”


Marriage License [copy], Dawson Gordney & Louisa Johnson, 29 September 1896
[Marriage] Portsmouth, Va., 1 October 1896
[Ages] 55  years old and 31 years old, respectively
[Birthplaces] Southampton County, Va. and Nansemond County, Va., respectively
[Residence] Norfolk County, Va.
[Husband’s parents] Henry Gwathmey and Angelina Gwathmey
[Wife’s parents] Elias and Mary Gray
[Officiant] John C. Dennis


General Affidavit, Newell Jones & Edward Riddick 22 April 1897
[Jones] 57 years old, Portsmouth, Va. and [Riddick] 55 years old, Virginia; have known the claimant at least 25 years


Questionnaire, Dawson Gwathmey, 4 June 1898
[Married?] Yes, Louisa Gwathmey nee Louisa Gray; widow Louisa Johnson
[When, where, whom] about 1864, Norfolk, by Rev. J.C. Dennis
[Record?] Clerk’s Office, City of Norfolk
[Previous marriage] No
[Living children?] No


Deposition, Dawson Gwathmey alias Gordney, 20 March 1902
60 years old; laborer; 406 Cook St., Portsmouth, Va.
“I was born in Southampton, Va.; was a slave; was owned by Peter Olds. My father was Henry Gordney and it was from him I took my name. I worked on a farm before I enlisted.
“I never got a discharge when I left the army for the reason I was wounded and did not go to Texas, but during Cleveland’s first administration a discharge was sent me which I herewith hand you. … My correct name is Gordney, but not being able to read and write some people got the name mixed and called me Gwathmey.
“[After I was wounded] I returned to my company but was never able to resume duty. The regiment went to Texas after I rejoined them and was there some twelve months but I did not go.
Jeptha Garrard was my Colonel.
Jerry Whiteman was my first Lt. but I cannot recollect who was my Lt. Col.
“Seips was Major and Lt. Col.
“Whiteman always acted as Capt. of my Company. Hart was 2d Lt. He said he was from Syracuse.
Thomas Pitt was my Ord. Sgt. Edward Pitt was Commissary Sgt. Genus Jones was Duty Sgt.
“A man named Elliott now of Portsmouth, Va. eat and slept with me still I have forgotten his first name. …
James Allen Smith of Washington, DC was my attorney. So far I’ve paid him personally nothing.”
“The Pitt boys, Dick Colin, and Genie Gray were my witnesses. They charged me nothing. I was never a witness for any of my witnesses.

Mr. Rutter executes my vouchers; charges me seventy-five cents; he always swears me; he never executes my vouchers before the 4th. I only pawned my pension papers once and that to Mr. Diesendorf; that was a number of  years ago.  I do not now owe Mrs. Diesendorf anything. …

“I had a slave wife named Jane Brinkley. She went to Richmond in time of war and has been married three times since she left me …

“I next married in 1863; married Bythy Falk. I had no ceremony with her; just took up and announced ourselves husband and wife. Lived with her eighteen years. I first had her at Suffolk but later on we came to Portsmouth and here my wife went insane and was sent to the asylum at Petersburg, Va. where she died about four years ago. The court considered me divorced though I never made an application for one.  I next married Louisa Johnson who was the widow of Harry Johnson who died in this city eight years ago. I married my last wife seven years ago in Portsmouth, Va. We were married by Reverend Denning. My wife was only married once before I married her and she and Harry Johnson separated and as I said he died eight years ago.

“I have no children under 16 years of age.”


General Affidavit, Jack Flemming & Jack Wilson, 7 November 1904
[Flemming] 48 years old, residence 1427 Green St., Portsmouth, Norfolk County, Va. …”well and personally acquainted with Dawson Gordney for 10 years and see him about three or four times a week…
[Wilson] 56 years old, residence 1110 London St., Portsmouth, Norfolk County, Va. … “well and personally acquainted with him for at least 40 years more or less as he was in the  same regiment as me. I have seen him nearly every week during that time … ”


General Affidavit, Albert Crump, 11 November 1904
about 75 years old; residence 1145 London St., Portsmouth, Va. “personally acquainted with Dawson Gordney for 45 years, knew him before the war, was in the same regiment with him & have been a neighbor to him for the past 30 or 35 years”


Claimant’s Affidavit, Louisa Gwathmey, 13 January 1913
50 years old; post-office address 1101 Glasgow Ave., Portsmouth, Va.  “Dawson Gwathmey alias Gordney died in Portsmouth, Va., January 8, 1907, at my house 1100 London St. and that his body was carried to National Soldiers Home for burial. That my first husband has been dead one year before I married the second and that my name before marriage to Dawson Gwathmey alias Gordney was Louisa Johnson

“That Gwathmey or Gordney’s wife whose name was Bithey died at the Central State Asylum some years ago. If date of death is required it is probable that it can be obtained from the Doctor at the above named institution, Petersburg, Va.

“On this 30th day of January 13, Minnie Brown and Annie E. Boush whose names appear in this affidavit dated 14 January 13 further swear that Dawson Gwathmey’s wife Bithey died some years ago in the Central State Asylum, Petersburg, Va. And that Dawson Gwathmey lived from his marriage to his death with Louisa Gwathmey.”

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Diversional Occupation, Central State Hospital, Davis Bottom, Superintendent of Public Printing, 45th Annual Report of Central State Hospital

In recent years, the history of the institution and its patients has received the attention of scholars including this examination of race and mental health in Virginia: “In 1869 the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia passed legislation that established the first asylum in the United States to care exclusively for African-American patients. Known as Central Lunatic Asylum for the Colored Insane and located in Richmond, Virginia, the asylum began to admit patients in 1870. This thesis explores three aspects of Central State Hospital’s history during the nineteenth century: attitudes physicians held toward their patients, the involuntary commitment of patients, and life inside the asylum. Chapter One explores the nineteenth-century belief held by southern white physicians, including those at Central Lunatic Asylum, that freed people were mentally, emotionally, and physically unfit for freedom. Chapter Two explains the involuntary commitment of African Americans to Central Lunatic Asylum in 1874. Chapter Three considers patient life at the asylum by contrasting the expectation of “Moral Management” care with the reality of daily life and treatment.”

“Race and Mental Illness at a Virginia Hospital: A Case Study of Central Lunatic Asylum for the Colored Insane, 1869 – 1885” [thesis] by Caitlin Douchette Foultz, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2015 @ https://scholarscompass.vcu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4864&context=etd

Asylum Project

Central State Hospital

Virginia State Hospitals for Mental Health (1934)


On February 25, 2019, I added the following:
Some — not all — of the records of Central State Hospital are available:

Library of Virginia: A Guide to the Records of Central State Hospital, 1874-1961

The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Central State Hospital

There’s talk of a digitization project that would provide online access to the records.
I’m trying to determine its status.
Journal and Guide: Project on Central State Asylum Is Topic of Talk, March 1, 2018


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hospital-wharf-500x495“The basic principles for organization and support of the battlefield used in the Civil War were designed by Doctor Jonathan Letterman, the Medical Director for the Army of the Potomac. Doctor Letterman’s ambulance system, field hospital system and medical supply system soon became standard throughout the Medical Department….The Letterman system improved the care provided to the soldiers and established a standard for base requirements for personnel, equipment and supplies. The second concept to come out of the Civil War was the use of dedicated vehicles for medical evacuation. By the end of the war, control of selected boats, trains and wagons, was given to the Medical Department for evaluation of patients.”

Colonel Henry O. Tuell, III. “Medical Mobilization Since 1860: From Apathy to Action.” (Fort McNair, Washington, DC: National Defense University, The Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 1992), page 7.


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“Front View of the Hospital”

“The National Home for Disabled American Soldiers was created by Act of Congress approved March 3, 1865. The original designation was ‘The National Asylum’; but the word ‘Home’ was substituted for ‘Asylum’ by the Act of January 23, 1873 [page 17]”

“The organic law of the National Home specified that volunteer soldiers and sailors of the Army and Navy, disabled while in line of duty, should be eligible for membership, and that the officers of the Home should be chosen from among the volunteer officers of the Union forces in the War of the Rebellion [page 19]”

“One of the largest buildings on the grounds of the Home is the hospital, which is in charge of the surgeon-in-chief, with a corps of assistant surgeons [page 102]

See Optic Views and Impressions of the National Soldiers’ Home, South Branch NHDVS, Near Hampton, Virginia As Seen and Described by One of Its Members by Edward L. Cobb (1910) for a complete history of the Home. You might be especially interested in “Chapter XXIII: The Hospital.”


On November 10, 2019, I added this text:
“The Southern Branch (now the Hampton VA Medical Center), located in Hampton, Virginia, opened in 1870 as the fourth branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. The site of the Southern Branch is enhanced by Hampton Roads Bay, Jones Creek, and St. Johns Creek, the natural features that surround it. The Board of Managers established a branch in the South for two reasons: to provide a branch close to home for the U.S. Colored Troops and to add a branch in a temperate climate for all veterans. The Southern Branch may be the first Federal facility specifically planned and established as an integrated facility. Very few African American veterans took advantage of the facility; however, the Southern Branch became very popular among many other veterans.
[Emphasis is mine — Leslie]
See “National Park Service — Southern Branch: Hampton, Virginia” for the complete article.

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West Lodge, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Washington, DC, circa 1898

The Government Hospital for the Insane (now known as St. Elizabeth’s Hospital) was established in 1855. Though the hospital was at capacity with the mentally ill, a significant amount of space was made available for sick and wounded soldiers. The Navy also had personnel who were patients at the hospital.

The West Lodge for African American male patients was originally built in the 1850s. This photograph shows it as it was expanded in size circa 1898. The building was demolished in the 1960s.

See St. Elizabeth’s Hospital: A History by Thomas Otto for a complete history of the hospital. You might be especially interested in “Chapter 3: The Civil War Comes to St. Elizabeth’s.”


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Many soldiers were ravaged by chronic ailments stemming from their military service. Thomas Land was treated at the National Soldiers’ Home in Hampton, Virginia and at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, DC. The circumstances surrounding his move to the District of Columbia require investigation. 


Invalid — 1, 023,460 / 1,000,889
C — 2,563,239

Deposition, Thomas Land, 14 June 1893
56 years old; laborer; residence and post-office address, 112 Nicholson Street … “I first applied for pension about April 1891 with W.R. Drury. Jacob Odum and Lafayette White went with me to be my witnesses to identify me as they had been in my company. W.R. Drury was the only white man in the office that day. Mr. Drury wrote out my application for me and I signed it by touching the pen and Odum and White signed my paper in the same way.”


Deposition, Jacob Odum, 14 June 1893
about 50 years old; laborer; 51 Fox Lane, Norfolk, Va. … “I have known Thomas Land ever since we were together in the Army and I was a witness for him when he applied for pension with W.R. Drury. I went there with Land that day to identify and Lafayette White went along to be his other witness. W.R. Drury was the only white man there that day. I touched the pen to Land’s application and we were then sworn by W.R. Drury. I am certain that W.R. Drury swore us as he was the only white man there at that time. I did not see anyone put the seal on the application.”


Deposition, Lafayette White, 14 June 1893
60 years old; laborer; residence and post-office address 133 St. Paul St, Norfolk, Va.
“I have known Thomas Land ever since we served together in the Army and I was a witness for him when he applied for pension at W.R. Drury’s office. Jacob Odum went along to be the other witness. W.R. Drury was the only white man there that day We all three signed Land’s application by touching the pen and we were then all sworn by W.R. Drury by holding up on hands. I am certain that W.R. Drury swore us as he was the only white man there.”


General Affidavit, Thomas Land, 20 February 1895
58 years old, post-office address is 112 Nicholson St., Norfolk


Questionnaire, Thomas Land, 6 August 1898
[Married?] Widower, Alice Way, Alice Land … died Aug 1880
[When, where, by whom] 1871, Norfolk, Rev. Tucker
[Record exists] Marriage register, Norfolk City
[Previously married] No
[Living children] None living


Deposition, Thomas Land, 31 December 1901
“I am 65 years of age, a carpet cleaner, and I reside at 296 Princess Anne Ave. … I was born and raised in Norfolk Co., Va. I was a slave: was owned by John J. Peters. Edward Land was my father. I have never gone under any other name than that of Thomas Land.
“I was in two long battles: in Chickahominie [sic] Swamp and Drury’s [sic] Bluff. Henry Tripp of my company was killed at the battle of Chickahominie [sic] less than 20 minutes after the engagement began. I was in a number of skirmishes….

“After enlistment in the army I remained around Va., up and down the James River; went to Gloster [sic], Yorktown, Ft. Powhatton [sic], etc., till the war closed and then they took us on a boat to Texas. We took the boat at City Point and landed at Brazos Santiago, Texas. We went to no other town in Texas. We were in Texas from June 1st and remained there till about the next March.
Jeptha Garrard was my Col.; Sykes was Lt. Col.; Brown was Major; Charles Dey was my Capt.; William Ricker was 1st; Lt. Brown was 2d Lt.
Joseph Fuller was Ord. Sgt.; White, was a Duty Sgt.; Ricks, Bent and Fulford were also Sgts.; Isaac King was quartermaster Sgt….

“I get a pension of eight dollars a month under the New Law. I am totally deaf. I also suffer with my kidneys and lungs. I am ruptured; was ruptured while undergoing medical examination at Hampton, Va., in 1895. I was examined so roughly that I was ruptured as a result of same. I have had rheumatism for thirty-eight years. … I was in the hospital for it for three weeks…. I also contracted dysentery; lung trouble and eye trouble in service. … I was as hearty as a buck before I entered the army. I was examined by three doctors before I enlisted in service and was pronounced sound.
Mr. Hubard was my attorney. He charged me fifty cents for every letter he wrote for me. He also executes my vouchers. He charges me fifty cents for executing each voucher.”


Ancestry.com. U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers,
, [database on-line] (accessed 14 October 2011)
Thomas Land admitted 13 October 1905 … 22 March 1906; re-admitted 4 November 1911; disability, deafness; Protestant; upholsterer; nearest relative, brother, Frank Brown, 23 Gordon Ave., Norfolk, Va.


Declaration for Pension, Thomas Land, 17 May 1912
75 years old; resident of Norfolk County, Virginia … born August 15th, 1836 at Norfolk, Va. … His post-office address was 7 Burks Court, City of Norfolk, Va.


Letter from Government Hospital for the Insane to the Pension Bureau,
18 February 1919
“Thomas Land … died in this hospital on the 1 February 1919 … Cause of death; Primary, Senile dementia; Immediate, Broncho-pneumonia…. The hospital records show him to have been widowed.”


Pensioner Dropped, Department of the Interior, Bureau of Pensions,
25 February 1919
“death Feb 1, 1919 … St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Washington, DC”

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