UDC Bethel Heroes Chapter 636 held its October meeting at the Braswell Memorial Library. The speaker for this event was UDC member Margie Parker Brantley. Mrs. Brantley spoke on her recent visit to the Civil War Museum at the old Exchange Hotel in Gordonsville, Virginia.
Her speech included the history of the Museum as well as photographs of it as it appears today.
The Civil War Museum, at the Exchange Hotel, in Gordonsville, Virginia, is a must see for those interested in history.
The hotel started out as a tavern in 1840. After the tavern burned in 1859, the Exchange Hotel was built. By 1862, the hotel was converted to a hospital. During the War Between the States the hospital was know as Gordonsville Receiving Hospital, where care was given to the sick and wounded, Confederate and Union.
As many as 1,000 patients were cared for at the time.The hotel and 125 acres of farmland was leased by the Confederate Government.
There were as many as 111 different structures: ward buildings, a blacksmith shop, combination carpenter/cooper’s shop, building for laundry, a separate surgical building, and the death house, for the dead.
Over 70,000 men were treated at the hospital. Today, the museum has three floors, and an outside kitchen building. Each room tells a story.
There is a room with trunks and cases, as well as other items used at a train station, in the late 1800s.
There is a room for the doctor, a treatment room for the soldiers, a room for the Sisters of Charity who were nurses, and even a room for a school. There is also a room that was used for dining.
Another room is where a traveler might have spent the night for the grand total of $1.25 per night.
The hospital kept comprehensive records. This made reconstructing the history of the hotel/hospital possible. These accurate records resulted in a notebook, organized by state, listing all the soldiers cared for at the hospital. It includes the name of the soldier, as well as the company he served in, and what condition brought him to the hospital.
Some of the conditions included: pneumonia, typhoid fever, measles, gun shot wounds, and some came dead on arrival.
Out of 53 Receiving Hospitals in Virginia, Gordonsville Receiving Hospital is the only one known to have survived.
In 1865, the Freedman’s Bureau was established, and free medical care and education was provided for the newly freed slaves, at the hospital.
It was concerned citizens who saved the Exchange Hotel from ruin. Historic Gordonsville Incorporated restored the historic site. It was opened to the public in 1989, as the Exchange Hotel Civil War Museum.
Although history of the town before and after the War Between the States is the main focus, paranormal activity has been well documented.
Staff and tourists alike have heard strange sounds, doors closing, things sliding across the floor, felt cold spots, and even seen images in the windows when no one was in the museum.
Night tours are provided for those who can tolerate the event.
According to Joanne DiMaggio, A&E and the History Channel listed the Exchange Hotel as 15th of 100 most haunted places, in America, in 1997. For more stories and information go to: http://www.c.ville.com/strongThe-Exchange-Hotel-A-Haunting-in-Gordonsvil... and www.HGIEXCHANGE.ORG