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Hospital tents at Camp Carver, with Columbian College building, Washington DC, 1864

Military hospitals in Washington:
Located within several days' reach from the major theaters of war in Virginia and Maryland, Washington became a major hospital center for wounded soldiers. One knowledgeable source thought that "a stranger, wandering about the city, might find his way by using the low, pale masses of the hospitals as landmarks." Facilities varied from tented camps like Camp Carver on Meridian Hill to wooden buildings like the Mess Hall at Harewood Hospital near the Soldiers' Home. In addition, churches, private residences, college buildings, and government officers were used as hospitals as well. Poet and nurse Walt Whitman estimated that he made "over 600 visits or tours, and went... among from some 80,000 to 100,000 of the wounded and sick, as sustainer of spirit and body in some degree, in time of need."
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