Civil War Medical Museum

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400 Main Street, Gordonsville, VA, USA

Civil War Medical Museum Gordonsville Reviews

Zagnut66 Zagnut66
112 reviews
Civil War Medical Museum at the Exchange Hotel Nov 20, 2015
A century-and-a-half ago there was a railroad line that began in Alexandria just south of Washington, D.C., and meandered down to Gordonsville in Orange County where it connected to the Virginia Central Railroad. At the junction of the two lines stood the Exchange Hotel that served passengers changing trains. When the American Civil War broke out in 1861, the Orange & Alexandria Railroad became a focal point for hostilities since whoever controlled it could more easily transport troops and supplies between theaters of war.

Though no fighting took place in Gordonsville, the Confederates turned the hotel into a receiving hospital where men wounded in nearby battles were sent to either recuperate or die. Over the course of the war some 70,000 men spent time in the hospital and surrounding temporary structures with over 700 bodies buried on the grounds (they have since been re-interred in different cemeteries). It was an efficient operation, the first triage hospital in the United States with a staff of 125 personnel at its peak. The mortality rate was only 1%, rather incredible considering the primitive conditions under which they worked.

After the war the building functioned as a school for former slaves and then as a hotel again until the railroad station shut down. Today it is a museum open for self-guided tours. The first floor has exhibits on the railroad and the old tavern. The second floor has Victorian-era furniture and knick-knacks that recreate what guests experienced in yesteryear. The third floor has exhibits on its use as a hospital with some rather gruesome medical devices from the war.

It’s an interesting place to poke around to get a glimpse of life in the 19th century and the horrors of the Civil War. Gordonsville sits on route 15 roughly halfway between Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville and James Madison’s Montpelier. The museum is open every day except Friday. The Exchange Hotel is best known today as one of the most haunted places in Virginia, with several videos on Youtube showing ghost hunting teams trying to contact the spirits of the dead. I didn’t see any on my visit, but I did meet a couple from North Carolina who stopped by hoping to find something paranormal. It costs $10 to get in, but ghostly apparitions are not guaranteed.
Civil War Medical Museum at the Ex…
Civil War Medical Museum at the Ex…
Another museum to explore
Train order stick over the mantle …
9 / 9 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
cotton_foam says:
Congrats on this featured review, Bill!!
Posted on: Dec 12, 2015
HelenP says:
Well done for making the front page Bill.
Posted on: Dec 03, 2015
Vikram says:
Congrats. They need to include ghosts for that $10!!
Posted on: Dec 03, 2015
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photo by: Zagnut66