Three maps of National Sites, Washington DC & Northern Virginia, and Massachusetts locate people, institutions, and battles related to disabled Civil War veterans. Learn more about each site through the Civil War - Biographies and Civil War Veterans Institutions pages. Download a PDF of the maps.
1. Sanitary Fair - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - June 7-28, 1864
The largest of many charity fundraisers to raise awareness and money to support wounded soldiers, held in Logan Square. It ran for three weeks, sold signed copies of the Emancipation Proclamation, and raised $1,000,000. Stories: U.S. Sanitary Commission
2. Central Branch of the National Home - Dayton, Ohio - Founded in 1865
Site of the largest branch of the Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers which mirrored the command structure of the army. Stories: Central Branch of the National Asylum for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers
3. Second Battle of Fort Wagner - Charleston, South Carolina - July 18, 1863
Outside Charleston, the fort is famous for an assault by the 54th Massachusetts. The African American regiment suffered heavy losses. Lewis Douglass and William Carney survived the battle but sustained injuries. Stories: Lewis Douglass, William Carney
4. Eastern Branch of the National Home - Togus, Maine - Opened as soldiers home in 1866
The U.S. Government purchased a hotel and reopened it as a Soldiers home. Many Massachusetts veterans spent time at Togus, including Henry Meachem. Stories: Henry Meacham
Northern Virginia / Washington D.C. Sites
5. Government Hospital for Insane Soldiers - Washington, DC - Originally opened in 1855
Housed soldiers with serious injuries or psychological trauma during and after the Civil War. Later renamed St. Elizabeths Hospital. Stories: Government Hospital for Insane Soldiers
6. Camp Brightwood - Washington, D.C. - 1861-1865
Main camp for soldiers stationed to defend northern Washington, DC. John Donovan and the 10th Massachusetts were based at Camp Brightwood. The Invalid Corps was also based there. Stories: John Donovan, Invalid Corps
7. Battle of Ball's Bluff - Leesburg, Virginia - October 21, 1861
Early Union defeat. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. gravely wounded. Stories: Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
8. Battle of Antietam - Sharpsburg, Maryland - September 17, 1862
Bloodiest single day of fighting in American history, with 23,000 casualties. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. wounded. Stories: Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
9. Battle of Fredericksburg - Fredericksburg, Virginia - December 11-15, 1862
Bitter Union defeat with heavy casualties. Many wounded were taken to Washington where nurses like Louisa May Alcott cared for them. Stories: Louisa May Alcott
10. Battle of the Wilderness - Virginia - May 5-7, 1864
Fought to a draw in woods near Fredericksburg. Patrick Guiney was shot in the face and feared dead. Stories: Patrick Guiney
11. Siege of Petersburg - Petersburg, Virginia - June 9, 1864 - March 25, 1865
Several batters were fought over extensive trenches, including the disastrous Battle of the Crater. Henry Meacham lost his arm to Confederate shelling. Stories: Henry Meacham
12. U.S. Pension Bureau - Washington, D.C. - Founded 1832
The massive Pension Bureau headquarters, opened in 1887, is the size of a city block. It was both an office that housed pension records and a monument to Union soldiers. Stories: U.S. Pension Bureau
Home of the Guiney family, Holmes family, and origin of the 9th "Fighting Irish" Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment. The Massachusetts 54th Regiment U.S. Colored Troops is honored with a monument across from the Massachusetts State House. Stories: Patrick Guiney, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Lewis Henry Douglass, William Carney
Many soldiers from Western Massachusetts enlisted in the Union Army in Springfield. Also see the online exhibit on the Springfield Armory. Stories: Henry Meacham, John Donovan
Home of Henry Meacham, where he ran a successful carriage making business before the war. Stories: Henry Meacham
16. New Bedford
Frederick Douglass and his family lived in coastal New Bedford, Massachusetts before the Civil War. Stories: Lewis Douglass, William Carney
Home of Louisa May Alcott and other prominent activists and writers. Stories: Louisa May Alcott, Hannah Stevenson
Home of John Donovan and his family during the Civil War.
19. Harvard University - Cambridge
The 20th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry was known as the "Harvard Regiment." Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. withdrew from Harvard to enlist. Stories: Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
20. Tewksbury Almshouse - Tewksbury
Opened in 1854 to take in the state's poor and "pauper insane," the Almshouse quickly became overcrowded beyond capacity. An 1883 investigation found scandalously poor conditions and abuse. Stories: Tewksbury Almshouse
21. Chelsea Soldiers' Home - Chelsea
Established in 1882 as a state-run home for Massachusetts veterans. Stories: Chelsea Soldiers' Home
Music and More
Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye - traditional song
Where are your legs that used to run,
Where are your legs that used to run,
Where are your legs that used to run
when first you went for to carry a gun?
Alas, your dancing days are done, och,
Johnny, I hardly knew ye.
Many versions of this song across the centuries share a lament by a disabled soldier. A patriotic and celebratory song based upon it, under the title, "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," was popular during and after the Civil War.
- YouTube recording of Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye by the Irish Rovers.
- “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” Marches Across Time - 2018 Teaching with Primary Sources blog post by Cheryl Lederle - Library of Congress.
- When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again - article from Song-Collection - Library of Congress.
- Johney I hardly knew ye. [Brereton, Printer Lr. Exchange Street Dublin.] (n.d.). Song sheet. Library of Congress.
Civil War Facts: 1861-1865
"Massachusetts and the Experience of Civil War Disability"
Historian, Graham Warder, Keene State College.