"Bath Master" at Camp Winder Hospital - Richmond

lelliott19

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Winder_wards.gif

http://www.civilwarrichmond.com/images-of-winder-hospital *
William A Curtis, 2nd NC Cavalry, describing facilities at Camp Winder Hospital said: .....there was a little branch, and near it a Bath House for the use of the soldiers.
https://www.civilwarrichmond.com/ho...nder-hospital-excellent-physical-descriptions

Chief Surgeon Alexander Lane, who served as the commander of the Winder Hospital throughout the war, described it as follows:
"It consisted of six divisions . . . with its appropriate dispensary, laundry, kitchens and corps of matrons, nurses and attendants, the whole surrounded by a guard of 125 men under a commissioned captain. Attached to the hospital were steamplunge and shower baths....
https://www.washingtonpost.com/arch...d2b-939b-e32e6848be75/?utm_term=.6d0309a4bb9f

Of Winder Hospital, William A. Carrington, the Confederate States Medical Director and Inspector of Hospitals said that it covered 125 acres, had a capacity of almost 5,000 patients, and consisted of six divisions. Its facilities included "the most approved Russian, steam, plunge, and shower baths," water closets, a bakery, an ice house, a sixteen-acre hospital garden worked by convalescents, and sixty-nine cows. http://lib.usm.edu/spcol/collections/manuscripts/finding_aids/m217

Winder Hospital was joined to Jackson Hospital by present day Allen Avenue (then a military road.) The bathing facilities were shared between the two hospitals.
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Apparently the hospitals - with 10,000 patients and all these bathing facilities - required a "Bath Master" And it must have been considered very important work as it required a Special Order dated March 24, 1865......even though it seems that Pvt. T. K. O'Kelley (Co F, 16th Georgia Infantry) had been serving as the "Bath Master" since at least July 1, 1864. In case you can't read the second card, it says:
Attached to Hospital July 1, 1864. How employed: Bath Master.
Remarks: "Detailed by Gen. Lee Returned to duty Oct 7. 1 month and 7 days extra pay due."

So there you have it. Obviously bathing was important enough to have a special "engineer" detailed to the duty. And I feel certain T K O'Kelley was happy to oblige since he was unlikely to be shot at by the enemy while serving in that capacity. :D


*Post-war photograph of one of the Winder Hospital wards, then used as a residence. Note: this ward building (as well as several others) are believed to still be used as residences today. This particular photograph is believed to be 1912 Powhatan street.

 
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lelliott19

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What is a Bath Master exactly. How big is the size of the Bath House. What is a plunge bath. I am impressed by the fact they had water closets, or whatever passed for one then. I have no idea.
The "water closets" are described as follows:
"In the middle of the streets were erected a number of water closets with barrels underneath. These barrels were carted off to the city daily and the contents used in the manufacture of saltpeter, which was used in the manufacture of gunpowder." https://www.google.com/search?biw=1.......0...1.1.64.psy-ab..0.0.0....0.jPsASzUH_t8

What is a Bath Master? I'm really not sure. Assuming the "Bath Master" would have carried out the surgeon's orders for a hot or cold bath, taken care of draining and refilling the tubs, adding whatever herbs/medication was prescribed, sending linens to the laundry, etc?

How big is the size of the Bath House? I haven't found anything with dimensions, but I did find this reference to capacity: ".....Also, a bath-house, containing the most approved Russian steam, shower and plunge baths, with capacity to bathe 500 daily." http://www.civilwarrichmond.com/hos...ital-favorably-mentions-several-matrons-there

What is a plunge bath? I think a "plunge bath" is just an immersion bath as opposed to a "sponge bath" or shower. A plunge bath would have been in a tub (like the one linked below) or large communal "pool." Sometimes, very cold water was used, in the belief that cold water would break a fever.
https://i.pinimg.com/564x/7f/f0/2d/...2--wooden-rocking-chairs-george-armstrong.jpg
 
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lelliott19

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Apparently, prior to Pvt T K O'Kelley's appointment as "Bath Master," the Chief Matron of the Linen Department was responsible for the bath house.

"Jackson Hospital in Richmond had a Chief Matron of the Culinary Department and a Chief Matron of the Linen Department. The Chief Matron of the Linen Dept. was also in charge of the bath house at the hospital. She made sure that the surgeon’s orders for either a hot or cold bath were carried out. She also had to make sure that the bath facility was kept clean." http://www.citizenscompanion.com/matrons-in-confederate-civil-war-hospitals/

Maybe the Matron was eventually unable to handle all the duty? Maybe General Lee or the Medical Director or the surgeons decided that women should not be in the bath house? Or maybe it was the patients who preferred that a woman not be in there? Regardless of the reason, Pvt. T K O'Kelley assumed the duty in July 1864 and was officially appointed to it in March 1865.
 
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John Hartwell

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The kid? He was Bath Master son!
bored-smiley.gif


But, seriously, folks. Serving hospitals with a combined 10,000 beds must have required a huge amount of hot water. As "Engineer" he was probably responsible for maintaining the boilers and hot water and steam distribution systems for the bath house -- and any other mechanical systems they might have had..
 
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lelliott19

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Serving hospitals with a combined 10,000 beds must have required a huge amount of hot water. As "Engineer" he was probably responsible for maintaining the boilers and hot water and steam distribution systems for the bath house -- and any other mechanical systems they might have had..

Ahhhhh. Good point John. Hot water for 500 baths a day surely would have required some kind of steam system for heating the water. Couldn't just heat that much water on a wood stove. :nah disagree:

".....Also, a bath-house, containing the most approved Russian steam, shower and plunge baths, with capacity to bathe 500 daily." http://www.civilwarrichmond.com/hos...ital-favorably-mentions-several-matrons-there
Speaking of the capacity... 500 baths a day among the combined 10,000 patients would equate to each individual patient getting a bath every 20 days. Of course, I'm sure many of the patients were either too badly wounded and/or not well enough to have a bath. Even if only 1/2 of the patients were able to bathe, that would be a bath every 10 days! :sick: Wow. Quite different from today where most people typically bathe every day and sometimes twice a day.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Gosh, lelliot, how do you find this stuff, and thanks so much!!

Bath every 20 days! OH goodness! Hate to be a buttinski, but if it's helpful, have snips from a bath in the Union Volunteer Hospital, Philadelphia? Whomever their engineers, an awful lot of pipes and water heating in these places?

hosp7 bath.jpg


hosp5 laundry.jpg

Guessing somewhere, there was the same, that giant tank, top right, heater below and steaming tub had to be similar for bath operations?

hosp3 kitchen.jpg

An engineer would have to point out how it worked in the kitchens. Wish we had images like this for Winder.
 

lelliott19

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Great pictures @JPK Huson 1863 ! Thanks for sharing them! That big wooden tank with the radiator looking thing under it seems to have been the boiler for heating the water? No doubt amazing technology for 1860s.
 
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lelliott19

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Well it's hard to believe it's been almost 4 years since I shared this post. Even harder to believe that I still remembered it. :D Since then, @ucvrelics has taught me the value of the Confederate citizens Files! I promise I wasn't searching for bath tubs or steam showers but while looking for something else, I ran across this invoice from W A Hoppe for the installation of the

"Russian Steam and Shower Bath compleate [sic] House Steam Bowler [sic, boiler] fixtures &c &c by contract"
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In case the snip is too small to read the details - the cost was $2500 (!) which was a LOT of money in 1863. And the tiny signature, written in lighter ink is "Jno J Gravatt, Surg in Charge Genl Hosp No 9"

General Hospital No. 9 was also called Seabrook's Hospital, Receiving Hospital, Receiving and Wayside Hospital --- and indeed, John James Gravatt was the surgeon-in-charge. The building was formerly the city-owned public warehouse known as Seabrook, which had been built by John Seabrook in 1810 for a tobacco warehouse. With a capacity of 900 patients and a location convenient to the Rail depot, General Hospital No. 9 must have been a busy place.

So there you have it. When I posted the OP back in 2017, I had assumed that the patients at the Winder Hospital were the only Richmond patients lucky enough to enjoyed the benefits of a Russian Steam bath and shower house. Apparently, I was wrong.
 

Lubliner

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Well it's hard to believe it's been almost 4 years since I shared this post. Even harder to believe that I still remembered it. :D Since then, @ucvrelics has taught me the value of the Confederate citizens Files! I promise I wasn't searching for bath tubs or steam showers but while looking for something else, I ran across this invoice from W A Hoppe for the installation of the

"Russian Steam and Shower Bath compleate [sic] House Steam Bowler [sic, boiler] fixtures &c &c by contract"
View attachment 400949
View attachment 400952
In case the snip is too small to read the details - the cost was $2500 (!) which was a LOT of money in 1863. And the tiny signature, written in lighter ink is "Jno J Gravatt, Surg in Charge Genl Hosp No 9"

General Hospital No. 9 was also called Seabrook's Hospital, Receiving Hospital, Receiving and Wayside Hospital --- and indeed, John James Gravatt was the surgeon-in-charge. The building was formerly the city-owned public warehouse known as Seabrook, which had been built by John Seabrook in 1810 for a tobacco warehouse. With a capacity of 900 patients and a location convenient to the Rail depot, General Hospital No. 9 must have been a busy place.

So there you have it. When I posted the OP back in 2017, I had assumed that the patients at the Winder Hospital were the only Richmond patients lucky enough to enjoyed the benefits of a Russian Steam bath and shower house. Apparently, I was wrong.
Curiosity can be golden sometimes. Where it leads us can be providential. But all this bathhouse activity makes me think of lice.
We all here have read the horrid tales of dealing with the pesky critters in camp. Of course I may be assuming too much, but prior to the admittance of these convalescents, they would have already been run through a few other rescue stations. It also could be the 'Hot Springs' approach for rejuvenation, as the great grandparent is to the jacuzzi. This latter belief is the one I think best describes the hospice atmosphere. For a bath master to receive extra pay while working there, it should not be considered a plush position.
Lubliner.
 
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