Spotsylvania Court House in the Civil War


Battle of Spotsylvania Court House

On May 7, 1864, after two days of brutal fighting failed to produce a victory at The Wilderness, previous Union commanders would have chosen to withdraw behind the Rappahannock River. But General Ulysses S. Grant ordered General George Meade to move around Lee's right flank and seize the important crossroads at Spotsylvania Court House to [Read More ...]

Bella Chapin Barrows


First Woman Eye Surgeon and Prison Reform Activist

Image: Dr. Bella Chapin Barrows
Credit: Hartland Historical Society
Artist unknown

Dr. Bella Chapin Barrows accomplished many firsts in her 68 years of life. She was the first woman employed by the U.S. State Department, first woman to have a private medical practice in Washington DC, first woman ophthalmologist (a [Read More ...]

Susan McKinney Steward


First African American Woman Doctor in New York

Only five years after the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constition abolished slavery in the United States, Susan McKinney Steward graduated from medical school and became the first African American woman physician in New York and only the third black female doctor in the country. She practiced medicine in Brooklyn and Manhattan most [Read More ...]

Almira Fales


Civil War Nurse from Washington DC

Carte de Visite of Almira Fales
From the Civil War era

Almira Newcomb was born in Pittstown, New York, October 24, 1809. In 1829, she married merchant Alexander McNaughton. Together they had two children; Sarah (born 1830) and Alexander (born 1832). Not long after her son's birth, both her husband and young daughter [Read More ...]

Civil War Washington DC


Our Nation's Capital During the Civil War

Image: Balloon View of Washington DC
Note the unfinished dome on the Capitol Building

Washington Defenses
When the first inklings emerged early in 1861 that there might actually be a war between the North and South, the residents of Washington DC whose sympathies were with the Union began to feel a [Read More ...]