Baltimore Civilians Tending Confederate Wounded at Gettysburg

Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Jan 16, 2015
A number of Baltimore women with southern sympathies arrived in Gettysburg after the battle for the express purpose of attending to the Confederate wounded. Their work generated some resentment among the loyal women of the North who were there on a similar mission to assist the wounded generally (even if they more solicitous toward Federal soldiers). Moreover, since many citizens of Baltimore had exhibited secessionist tendencies dating back to the early days of the war, Federal authorities remained suspicious of their motives, and tried to maintain a close watch on their activities – not without good reason as it turned out.

The following references highlight some of the ladies (and gentlemen) from Baltimore.

Margaret “Maggie” Branson. She arrived in Gettysburg just after the battle and stayed until September. One of the wounded soldiers she met at the Pennsylvania College hospital was Private Lewis T. Powell (who later took an alias – Lewis Paine) of Company I, 2nd Florida. They renewed their acquaintance after he was taken to Baltimore, during her visits to the West’s Buildings Hospital. After escaping from the hospital, aided by a “young woman” (not further identified, but we may speculate), Powell coincidentally (?) stayed at the Branson’s boarding house before heading south. In April 1865, he attempted to murder Secretary of State William Seward as an active participant in the Lincoln assassination plot, and was hanged three months later. (

Sarah Hutchins. Sarah arrived at an unspecified field hospital near Gettysburg, where she cared for Corporal Leonard W. Ives of Company A, 1st Maryland Battalion. Ives had been wounded on Culp’s Hill, almost certainly during the charge made by Steuart’s brigade at 10:30 a.m. on July 3, since he was “left on the field” and never heard from again, according to his comrades. However, soldiers of the Twelfth Corps must have taken him to a field hospital. Sarah got word to his brother, William Ives, a resident of New York City, who arrived prior to Leonard’s death on July 14. In December 1863, William Ives and his wife visited Sarah and her husband, Thomas Talbott Hutchins, a prominent lawyer in Baltimore, who had once served as a Democrat in the Maryland legislature. At that meeting Sarah mentioned her desire to present a sword to an unidentified “young friend.” William duly researched the market upon his return to New York and sent a detailed response, but Sarah failed to answer. Then, in August 1864, she renewed her correspondence, arranging for William to purchase the sword and send it to the home of a Baltimore clothing merchant who would take it to the British Consul for safekeeping. What she never revealed was the intended recipient – Major Harry Gilmor, with whom she was related. Supposedly she even kept the secret from her husband. However, the courier she selected to deliver the sword turned out to be a Federal agent. Sarah was arrested on November 7 and brought before a military tribunal. Incidentally, Major Gilmor was at Gettysburg with the 1st Maryland Cavalry Battalion, and research suggests that he personally captured the colors of the 154th New York on July 1. (Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg, by John W. Busey and Travis W. Busey, 2:613. For the rest of Sarah’s story, see: All for a Sword, by Jonathan W. White, National Archives, Spring 2012, vol. 44, no. 1,

Euphemia “Effie” Goldsborough. She served as a nurse at Pennsylvania College, which was turned into a large Confederate field hospital, smuggling in boots that she had tied to her hoop skirt. Among the soldiers she cared for were Colonel Walter Tazewell Patton of the 7th Virginia, and Lieutenants John D. Perkins of Company M, 2nd Florida and Anderson J. Peeler of Company I, 5th Florida, the latter assigned to the staff of the brigade commander, Col. David Lang. Effie continued her work at Camp Letterman after it was established; one of her patients there was Private Samuel H. Watson of Company E, 5th Texas. A few months after returning home, she was arrested for helping assist the escape of a Confederate prisoner on November 23, 1863. Banished to the South for the rest of the war, she went to work in Richmond for the Treasury Department in the mornings, and spent her time at military hospitals during the afternoons. (;

A Miss McRice? and Mrs. Grogan? of Baltimore were also recorded as having served as nurses at the College hospital, one of their patients being the same Col. Patton of the 7th Virginia, who died on July 21. This information was noted by one Isaac W. Smith of Baltimore, who was given two rings and a pipe belonging to Patton, along with a lock of hair destined for Patton’s mother. (July 24 letter of Isaac W. Smith to Mr. John M. Patton, Swem Library Digital Projects, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia)

A Mrs. Banks, Mrs. Warrington and two other unnamed ladies from Baltimore stayed a few days at the Hollinger residence in town, until Mr. Hollinger learned the true nature of their activities and insisted his wife send them away. Mrs. Banks, at least, is recorded as having visited Maj. Gen. Isaac Trimble at the field hospital established in the Lutheran Seminary. (Some Personal Recollections of the Battle of Gettysburg, by Mrs. Jacob A. Clutz (Liberty Hollinger), 1925, Library of Congress)

Mrs. Parr and a Miss Grace, besides Mrs. Banks, likewise visited Trimble at the Seminary hospital. They were all ordered to leave on August 6. However, Mrs. Parr returned on August 15. She just happened to have a son in the Confederate Signal Corps [this seems suspicious in itself, since their duties included intelligence gathering]. Trimble was sent to Baltimore on August 20 as a prisoner. (Diary of General Trimble, Maryland Historical Magazine, vol. 17 (1922), p. 13)

Unidentified ladies from Baltimore also administered to the needs of Confederate wounded at a field hospital assigned to McLaws’ division west of town [for this information I am indebted to @lelliott19 for a recent post, cited below]. Corporal Samuel J. Bowman of the 2nd South Carolina recalled: “They brought with them everything that was nice and savory, for the poor fellows.” Bowman and a comrade ran into the ladies again circa July 15 while going into town to see the Federal provost marshal: “They inquired where we were going. We told them. They gave us some of the delicacies which they had with them, and informed us, if we were detained as prisoners any length of time, to inform them by letter, and if we needed anything, to just let them know, and our wants should be supplied. We thanked them for their kind consideration of us, bade them farewell, and went on our way.” Bowman remembered their offer after arriving at the Point Lookout prison camp: “I had written to one of those ladies I met with at Gettysburg, and elderly lady she was, stating that I was very much in need of clothes, and some tobacco, which was a scarce article in prison. The dear old woman, promptly, sent me what I desired, and several dollars in Federal money. She was my friend, peace to her sacred dust.” (“Old Rock,” [Color Corporal Samuel John Bowman, Company D, 2nd South Carolina], Supplement to the Manning Times, July 13, 1904, p. 5;

Dr. R. Wilson Carr. Carr lived in Baltimore during the war. He was educated at Dickinson College and received his M.D. from the University of Maryland in 1852. He was specifically designated as a surgeon in charge of Confederate wounded, numbering some 2,500 men, for which he received very complimentary notices from U.S. authorities for services rendered.

Dr. Christopher Johnston, from the School of Medicine in Baltimore, attended the Confederate wounded at Gettysburg. He later sent wire splints designed for lower limb fractures to Surgeon William R. Whitehead of the 44th Virginia, who was placed in charge of the field hospital set up at the W. H. Montfort place. Born in Baltimore on September 27, 1822, Johnston attended St. Mary’s College before obtaining his M.D. from the University of Maryland in 1844. In 1857, he became Professor of Anatomy at the Baltimore Dental College. (University of Maryland, Its History, Influence, Characteristics and Equipment, p.263)

Dr. John William C. O’Neal. Although his office was located at the corner of Baltimore and High Streets in Gettysburg, it’s worth noting that he arrived in early 1863 from Baltimore. After the battle he documented many of the Confederate wounded at area hospitals. Like Dr. Johnston, Dr. O’Neal obtained his M.D. from the University of Maryland in 1844, which would suggest an association. (The Physicians and Surgeons of the United States, p. 238; History of Cumberland and Adams Counties, Pennsylvania, pp. 367-368)

See also:

John Hartwell

Forum Host
Aug 27, 2011
Central Massachusetts
Following the assassination, Maggie Branson, together with her sister Mary (with whom Powell/Paine seems to have had a romantic interest), were arrested and housed in Capitol Prison. Maggie testified in the conspirators' trial on June 2nd, "but in no wise criminated herself" (Evening Star, 8 June). The judge ordered the sisters' release.

A transcript of her testimony can be found starting on page 72 of:

Bruce Vail

1st Lieutenant
Jul 8, 2015
Was Effie Goldsborough related to William Worthington Goldsborough? William became quite a Confederate hero of the war and wrote a well-regarded memoir.

Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Jan 16, 2015
Just happened across another reference:

Private W. C. Ward, 4th Alabama was one of the wounded at the John Edward Plank farm. He wrote: "When all had been removed but the helpless, three grand, Christian women from Baltimore came out to the field hospital where the badly wounded of Hood's division had been gathered." (Greg Coco, A Vast Sea of Misery). Perhaps they were the same women encountered by Corporal Samuel J. Bowman of the 2nd South Carolina.

This reference in turn helped identify another nurse from Baltimore:

Miss Melissa Baker, who worked at the Plank farm and took a special interest in 2nd Lieutenant Sanford W. Branch of Company B, 8th Georgia. (Charlotte's Boys: Civil War Letters of the Branch Family of Savannah)