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hospital ward at Camp Convalescent

(CIVIL WAR HOSPITAL.) Photographer unidentified. Hospital ward in a convalescent camp at Alexandria, Virginia

Alexandria, Virginia, c. 1863

Albumen print (5 ⅛ x 7 ½ in., oval vignette), mounted. Light tones. Very good condition.

This unusual Civil War interior photograph shows a hospital ward at a famous convalescent camp near Alexandria Virginia. The first Camp Convalescent was known as “Camp Misery” to Union soldiers. Clara Barton referred to it scathingly in October 1862 as “a sort of pen into which all who could limp, all deserters and stragglers, were driven promiscuously.”

The original camp was replaced in February 1863, and the new camp situated between Fairfax Seminary and Long Bridge included fifty barracks accommodating five thousand men.