As you may know we have been posting blogs about Lynchburg, Virginia’s Old City Cemetery since the beginning of the year. We are almost at the end of highlighting a different part or aspect of this unique, historical and widely visited corner of Lynchburg.
This month we are featuring the Quartermaster’s Glanders Stable. Although the Quartermaster’s stable, that housed the thousands of horses and mules essential to the operation of the Civil War was actually located at the “fairgrounds” (which included the present E.C.Glass High School campus) it is represented and presented on the grounds of the Old City Cemetery.
Lynchburg was one of the four quartermaster depots for the Confederacy. The depot’s main function was to supply General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia with the necessary horses and mules needed to conduct the war effort. Over a 15 month period, of the 6,875 horses stabled in Lynchburg, only 1000 were sent into the field. Almost 3,000 died, 449 were shot and the remainder were unfit for service. The great glandes epizootic was affecting the horses, mules and even humans. The stable allowed for innovative medical research on the disease and how it was affecting the cavalry horses.
What is glanders? The respiratory disease, which causes major respiratory distress and death, was a virus spread at watering troughs and in unhealthy stable conditions where the horses were prone to nuzzle. Infected mucus was easily passed from one animal to another as horses use their noses and the sense of smell to identify and communicate with one another. There was no cure.
Doctor Terrell and Doctor Page studied 19 horses stricken with glanders, conducting postmortem examinations at various stages of the disease’s progression. They also intentionally transmitted the disease from a sick horse to a healthy one, sacrificing it 33 days later to study its advanced and terminal symptoms.
Prevention of the disease was the only solution to controlling the epidemic. Horses and mules were placed in uncrowded, well-ventilated stables, which introduced good sanitation and a healthy diet. The animals no longer used communal watering troughs. Any infected animals were destroyed. The ancient disease known as glanders was not completely eradicated until 1934.
Placed on the cemetery grounds, across the street from the Chapel and Columbarium, is a marker describing this important contribution to veterinary medicine. Dr. John Jay Terrell, a Quaker, is mentioned. He helped eradicate smallpox, in humans at the Pest House (blog post 1/12/16), and eradicate the spread of glanders in the animals who served a very important role in the war.
For many people in Lynchburg, the “Confederate Cemetery” is the Old City Cemetery. Early maps often referred to Confederate Cemetery, not Old City Cemetery. Why are there over 2,200 Confederate soldiers, from 14 states, buried in Lynchburg?
Although there was no significant military engagement in or near Lynchburg, the city was home to the second largest permanent hospital center in the Confederacy. The Civil War was the first war, fought in the United States, where injured soldiers were removed from the battlefield, placed onto box cars and taken to the nearest “hospital town” for treatment, surgery or to die. As Lynchburg had three major rail lines soldiers were oftentimes brought here. Tens of thousands of soldiers, both Union and Confederate, were treated in local hospitals (previously used as tobacco warehouses). When they died they were brought to the city’s only public burial ground, Old City Cemetery, where it was customary to bury “strangers” and those without relatives nearby.
In 1861 the first of 2,500 Civil War soldiers was buried in the cemetery. There are over 2,000 white marble headstones in the Confederate section, each with two lines of inscription. The first line gives the soldier’s initials and the second line gives an abbreviation for his military unit and state. The headstones were installed by the Southern Memorial Association between 1904 and 1915, at a cost of $1.25 each.
In 1866 the Union soldiers buried in the cemetery were exhumed. Many were sent to their hometowns. Approximately 200 Union soldiers were relocated to Poplar Grove National Cemetery near Petersburg, VA.
The Confederate Section is bordered on 3 sides by a boxwood hedge and the old brick wall on the fourth. The 500-foot long, five foot tall brick wall was constructed in 1886. You enter this section of the cemetery through the entrance arch. Made from granite, the arch was built in 1926. It serves as a gateway and a memorial.
In 1869 the Monument to the States was erected. It is the oldest Confederate monument in Virginia and the fourth oldest in the United States. Each of the 14 blocks bears the name of a state represented by soldiers buried here. The order of states is based on the space needed for the lettering, not the number of soldiers from each state buried here.
In 1931 the large concrete bench, Veteran’s Bench, and the domed temple or belvedere, Speakers Belvedere, were built for the annual Memorial Day ceremony. The Memorial Day ceremony has been held almost every year since 1866. It is a most interesting and educational ceremony to attend. Review the Old City Cemetery calendar of events for next year’s date and time.
In addition to the graves of individual Confederate soldiers is a section called Negro Row. Ten African-Americans are buried within or adjacent to the Confederate Section. Most of those buried in Negro Row were slaves who worked in the local military hospitals. Others included body servants of Confederate military officers. The only woman buried in the Confederate Section during the war was a slave known only as “Jane”.
The first Civil War soldier buried in Lynchburg was Pvt.Thomas P. Plunkett. He died of disease at the old Lynchburg College hospital on June 17, 1862. There are six known soldiers buried here who died in the Battle of Lynchburg, June 17-18, 1864. Three known soldiers buried here were deserters. All died when shot for desertion.
Using data from George A. Diuguid’s excellent cemetery records a six-sided kiosk and information display was erected in 1995. Descendants can use the kiosk to search for their soldiers name and burial location.
Throughout June, July and August when the Cemetery hosts free, walking tours (10:00 am each Saturday) of the cemetery time is always spent in the Confederate Section. The Candlelight Tours, held during October, usually tell the story of a Confederate soldier buried here. Or, if you would like to do research on your own burial records are available in the Cemetery Center.
During the past two summers local professors and students interested in archaeology have been conducting “below ground archaeology” surveys in the Confederate Section. By removing and scraping the soil only six inches deep usually reveals very clear answers to grave locations and orientation. The soil in a grave shaft is looser and a different color from the undisturbed “walls” of the grave shaft. Although graves are traditionally six feet deep, graves found here are often only four feet deep or sometimes as shallow as one foot deep.
Almost every guest who has stayed with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast has visited the Old City Cemetery. Some take advantage of the tours or events, others wander and enjoy the peacefulness of the cemetery grounds where they might take pictures or contemplate those who have passed on.
Lynchburg unexpectedly became a major “hospital city” during the Civil War due to it’s railroads, availability of “rooms” and it’s remoteness. In fact, in terms of numbers of Confederate Hospitals no other city had more hospitals except for Richmond, Virginia.
Three rail lines terminated in Lynchburg, the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad (from the southwest), the Orange & Alexandria Railroad (from the north) and the Southside Railroad (from Richmond).
Before the war Lynchburg had 39 tobacco manufacturers and another 41 businesses that were manipulators and shippers of the plant. These warehouses were converted to hospitals, along with hotels, a college (Lynchburg College), meeting halls, stables and individual people’s homes. College Hospital admitted more than 20,000 Confederate casualties during the four years of the Civil War.
Lynchburg was considered remote since it was far removed from the eastern part of the state where much of the fighting took place. Warfare took place mostly on flat land, which Lynchburg is certainly not. The James River borders the city on one side, much like a moat.
The five hotels in Lynchburg were all used as hospitals at some point during the war. The Warwick House, located at 1003 Main Street, was the first permanent hospital. The Union “City Hotel” became known as the Ladies’ Relief Hospital. Five hundred women formed the Ladies’ Relief Society, similar to our American Red Cross today. These untrained women were married to wealthy entrepreneurs but they willingly learned medical techniques of putting on tourniquets, cleaning lacerations and ministering to the terminally ill. The Ladies’ relief Hospital death rate in the four years of the war dropped from 93 deaths during the first two years of the war to 36 deaths during the last two years of the war, with roughly the same number of admissions.
The “Tobacco” Hospitals served a great need as the smaller hospitals were occupied to beyond capacity. The hospital names reflected the names of the tobacconist owners who sacrificed their commercial buildings for the sake of the war effort. These building were the antithesis of what we consider a modern day hospital-dingy, poorly lit, cramped and filled with strange odors. Two permanent tobacco hospitals were located on Dunbar Street near Twelfth Street. Both buildings were four to five story rectangular red brick structures, timber framed with stone underpinning, stepped parapet walls and gable roofs.
Prior to the Civil War the wounded in battle were treated on the battlefield or in tent hospitals. The hospitals cared for thousands, but often the patients died not from their wounds but from the treatment or rampant epidemic diseases that spread throughout the close quarters of the hospital buildings. Smallpox, measles, malaria, typhoid fever, dysentery and acute diarrhea killed many. Cleanliness and good hygiene would have prevented many of these diseases from spreading or spreading so rapidly. It is estimated that over 245,513 soldiers, from both armies, died from infection.
The City of Lynchburg in the four years of the Civil War became a living hospital laboratory, testing the efficiency of an overwhelmed, untrained medical system to see if the hospital concept could progress from its reputation as a place where people went to die to a place where people went to recover and return home. Thankfully we have the hospital system today that works efficiently and to the patients benefit.
Interested in the Civil War? When visiting our Lynchburg Bed and Breakfast, The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast we can point you to many Civil War sites. For reservations call us at 434-846-1388 or book on-line.
The Old City cemetery, in Lynchburg, VA, was established in 1806. It has been in continuous operation since it’s founding, making it one of the oldest public cemeteries in the US. Nearly 20,000 people are buried here. They include political, religious and cultural leaders, veterans of every major American war from the Revolution to Vietnam and over 2,200 Confederate soldiers. Three-quarters of those buried are African American (both free and enslaved) and more than one-third are infants and children under the age of four.
In addition to the graves honoring the dead are several buildings/museums, exhibits/monuments, gardens and special horticultural areas. In 2016 The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast’s blog is going to feature a special section of the Old City Cemetery throughout the year.
January we are highlighting the Pest House Museum Medical Center.
Located directly across the street from the Cemetery Center the 1840’s white frame building was the medical office of Dr. John Jay Terrell. It was moved here from his farm, Rock Castle Farm in Campbell County, in 1987. He used this office to treat patients for 40 years. Once restored it now combines his medical office with an example of a Pest House, to explain the medical science of the 1800’s.
Dr. Terrell’s Office contains his operating table, “poison chest,” “asthma chair,” and some of his instruments. A 1860’s hypodermic needle, clinical thermometer and chloroform mask along with his surgical kit are on display. Medical treatments often killed patients in the 1800’s, before their ailments would have. Dr. Terrell implemented washing hands and instruments between patients and the use of sand or sawdust on the floors to cut down on the spread of germs and bacteria. Simple things we do today and expect to be done today. These reforms enacted by Dr. Terrell reduced the Pest House mortality rate from 50 percent to 5 percent.
The Lynchburg Pest House was originally located near Fourth and Wise Streets, beside the early cemetery boundary where most of the patients would be buried. Used to quarantine Lynchburg residents in the 1800’s who contracted contagious diseases such as smallpox or measles the standards of cleanliness and medical care were virtually non-existent. Dr. Terrell deplored the conditions and volunteered to assume the responsibility of improving conditions for both the residents of Lynchburg and the Confederate soldiers who spent time there in quarantine. In the Pest House you will see examples of the straw pallets placed on the floor, that has been covered with sand. The use of sand made it easier to clean away debris and hazardous waste. The interior walls have been painted black to save the patients eyes, as smallpox affects the eyes and light. The garden just outside the Pest House contains various herbs and plants that Dr. Terrell would use when making salves, tinctures and remedies for his patients.
You can tour the Old City Cemetery daily between dawn until dusk. The various buildings and museums are not generally open to the public. You have access to them through placards, large windows and doors and recorded descriptions of the buildings and what they contain. The Cemetery Center is open daily between 11 until 3, or by appointment. For more information about the cemetery, tours, events, burial records or visiting the cemetery contact them at 434.847.1465 or www.gravegarden.org
The Sesquicentennial (150) celebration begins tomorrow! Both the National Park Service and the town of Appomattox are ready for the onslaught of guests from around the world, intent on experiencing this once in a lifetime event. Have you planned out your next 5 days?
As a follow-up to last week’s blog post below you will find some additional highlights of the events, lectures, programs, real-time re-enactments and educational activities taking place between Wednesday, April 8 until Sunday, April 12, 2015. Remember, a complimentary shuttle bus service will be running between Lynchburg and Appomattox Court House National Historic Park. Once at the park a separate shuttle will take you to the individual venues. For those guests staying at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast a shuttle bus pick-up location is within an easy walk.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday: an author’s tent with writers of historical books who will answer your questions, have books to purchase and will help you get a feel for the significance of April 9, 1865.
- Each day there will be Parole Pass Printing demonstrations
- Each day you’ll find Wet-plate Photography exhibits in the park
- Friday, April 10, 2 different guest speakers at Appomattox County High School
- Friday, April 10, through Sunday, April 12, real-time Stacking of Arms Ceremonies
- Extended hours at The Museum of the Confederacy each day
- Special lectures and exhibits at The Museum of the Confederacy each day
- Cavalry and Horse Artillery Encampment at the Appomattox Center for Business and Commerce each day
- United States Colored Troops Encampment at Carver Price Legacy Museum each day
The dates, times and locations of these events, programs and special activities plus many more can be found on the found on the following websites:
Need lodging? Give us a call at 434.846.1388 or check on-line to see if we have had any cancellations.
Commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, between April 8 to 12, 2015, at Appomattox Court House National Historic Park and throughout Appomattox, Virginia.
Beginning at 9:00am on Wednesday, April 8 and ending at 4:00pm on Sunday, April 12, 2015 a variety of special programs, lectures, activities and events will be held at the National Park and at various locations within the town and county of Appomattox, Virginia.
A real-time program featured on Wednesday the 8th, starting at 3:30 until7:30, will include a lecture and presentation on the Battle.
The Opening Ceremony will take place at the National Park between 11:00-12:30 on Thursday, the 9th. Between 2:00-3:00 Lee will surrender to Grant at the McLean House within the National Park grounds. Lee will leave the McLean House between 3:00-3:30, another real-time event.
On Friday, the 10th, Lee and Grant will meet, the Commissioner’s Meeting will be re-enacted, the Confederate Cavalry will surrender and the first Stacking of Arms will take place. Friday evening, starting at 6:30, a special program the “Footsteps to Freedom” Memorial Ceremony (accompanied by spiritual music) will take place within the National Park. 4500 luminaries will be arranged along a country road to symbolize the slaves living in or near Appomattox when the war ended.
Saturday, the 11th and Sunday the 12th have various lectures, events and programs, held at numerous sites within the National Park, the City of Appomattox or the Museum of the Confederacy. The last Stacking of Arms Ceremony will take place on Sunday at 1:00.
Directions, times, locations and more information can be found at the following websites.
Complimentary shuttle buses will run throughout the day between Lynchburg and Appomattox. Parking will be extremely limited. Separate shuttle buses will take you to the Sesquicentennial venues in the National Park and Appomattox. Guests staying at The Carriage House Inn will be able to walk to one of the shuttle bus stops to Appomattox Court House.
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