Confederate General Hospital (Mt. Jackson)
Backstory and Context
In 1861, local doctor Andrew Russell Meem was commissioned to design and construct the Confederate Hospital.1 The hospital was constructed in Mt. Jackson because the town was the western terminus of the Manassas Gap Railroad, which provided the Confederacy access to northern Virginia battles.2 Prior to the war, Dr. Meem was a well respected local resident who was a graduate of both Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania Medical College. He was also the local head surgeon for the town. He stayed at the Harrison House, which was owned by Col. Levi Rinker who also owned the land where the hospital was built.3 Rinker also owned the plot of land across from the hospital where soldiers were buried.
The hospital was designed with three, two-story buildings which were approximately one-hundred and fifty feet in length and could accommodate 500 wounded soldiers at a time. 4 The staff at the hospital included: Dr. Meem, two assistant surgeons, five stewards, ten nurses, eight cooks, and five laundry workers. The building was in continual use throughout the war, aside from six months in 1862 when the hospital was not in active use. 5 After the end of the war, the hospital buildings were dismantled and the Union army used the lumber from the buildings to construct buildings throughout the town and the lumber was used to build housing for the U.S. Army at nearby Rude’s Hill.6
Dr. Meem became ill in February 1865 and was admitted to the Harrisonburg General Hospital where he soon died at age 41.7 His wife, Ann Meem, was his assistant at the hospital and she helped to organize the Ladies’ Soldiers and Aid Organization to provide food, clothing, and supplies to the Confederate soldiers. Her organization conducted one of the first Confederate Memorial Day services at the nearby Confederate cemetery in May of 1866. 8
A historical marker was created in 2010 by the Virginia Civil War Trails organization. This marker was replaced, however, by another marker nearby. The exact location of the marker is: 38° 45.291′ N, 78° 38.025′ W. The marker is located at the intersection of Main Street (US 11) and Nelson Street, while traveling north on Main Street. 9 The Confederate hospital marker is located in front of the Holtzman Oil Corporation and next to a state historical marker for the hospital.