Civil War Camp and Hospital
During the Civil War Patterson Park served as a U.S. Army camp, one of several established as part of the Federal occupation of Baltimore. In 1861 the 10th Maine Infantry Regiment occupied Camp Washburn (named for Maine Gov. Israel Washburn) in the southern part of the park. Soon the camp was expanded and renamed Camp Patterson. In 1862, U.S. Army General Hospital Patterson Park was established here as Baltimore became a hospital town, with similar facilities filling other city parks and open spaces. After the war, when the camp and hospital were demolished, Patterson Park was redesigned and reconstructed over several years.
Hampstead Hill, where the park is located, held a fortification called Rodgers' Bastion during the War of 1812 when British forces threatened Baltimore. Afterward, the area became a favorite of city residents for picnics and excursions. In 1827, landowner William Patterson offered six acres to the city for a park; the government purchased another 29 acres from Patterson's heirs in 1850. On July 23, 1853, 20,000 people turned out for the park's grand opening.
After the Civil War, several designers including George A. Frederick, Charles H. Latrobe, and the Olmsted firm had a hand in crafting a new version of the park. Today, Patterson Park preserves much of its picturesque Late Victorian landscape but also includes recreational elements to encourage residential visitation and use.
Patterson Park, as well as almost every other public park and plot of open space in Baltimore, became a hospital during the Civil War. Especially after the Battles of Antietam (September 17, 1862) and Gettyburg (July 1863), thousands of Union and Confederate wounded flooded into the city. Fort McHenry's post hospital treated many of the Confederate officers wounded during "Pickett's Charge" on July 3, 1863. Several Maryland relief organizations were founded in Baltimore to help treat the wounded closer to the battlefields.