Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
LoC image, part of a series taken by Timothy O'Sullivan in July 1863 has more to offer than it's title " Yellow Hospital ". Officers and troopers of the 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry were stationed in ' Bloom's Grove ', also aka ' The Duncan House ' at the time. That some families were also present was a little weird. Confederate forces overran the position not many weeks later.
This photo is probably more well known. Read somewhere the little girl standing with her parents is pointing at a camera's tripod laying in the grass.
A series of images by Timothy O'Sullivan has always fascinated me. LoC's title is ' Yellow Hospital, Manassas ', taken July, 1862. We've spotted women at hospitals before, nurses, Sanitary Commission ' agents ', sometimes an officer's wife. Still, seemed odd to see so many women and so many officers- and children. Weirder, in this hospital image women are sporting crinoline. Hoops were discouraged in hospital work, Dix flatly forbade them with reason. Navigating crowded wards, squatting on floors, feeding wounded men in hoops?
It transpires yes, like nearly every building, barn and shed in proximity to battles was a hospital. ' Yellow Hospital ' was one but was also the HQ of the 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry during 1862's bloody arguments in and around Manassas, Virginia. " Bloom's Grove " or " The Duncan House " was referred to as yellow because ( whether paint or plaster ) it was that dull, deep mustard color we sometimes see on old homes. Mustard Hospital sounds awkward.
Cool images. The 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry , " Curtain's Hussars " mustered companies in Philadelphia but included companies from all the way up here in Dauphin. By the time of these photos their battle at Antietam was 2 months in the future and in just a few weeks, August 1862 saw the 12th abandon the Duncan House as Confederate forces swarmed. One story accused the regiment of ' skedaddling ' in the face of the enemy, a serious charge, the genuine story was indignantly circulated. For brevity I won't get into it, here's the story as told by someone who was there.
From the same image where we see the little girl, officer receives what looks like a dispatch. IF this is the regiment's commanding officer, Major Titus, he's captured a few weeks later in the engagement above. The 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry had guarding the RR, always a point of conflict. News reports differ from 2019 lists, lost from 1861 through 1865 were 2 officers and 142 enlisted. I can't find POW's or whether Major Titus was exchanged or made it through the war as a POW.
A few questions like why so many wives and children were permitted so close to enemy lines and when did they leave seem important. Some of these scenes are downright peaceful if not idyllic. It makes me wonder if future orders we've seen where ladies in camp were either forbidden or ordered to leave stemmed from these instances where proximity to the enemy plus timing put them in danger.
One officer seems posed with a wife and two daughters in full ' dress ', i.e. crinolines and light dresses, woman leaning on barrel seems awfully fashionable. It's all so peaceful. Bloom's Grove had already been overrun, when Union forces took it. It may have been one of Johnston's HQ previously.
I'm sorry, loved this detail- that's a very, very long cigar.
Spent some time trying to track down other officers who were there, trying identify this man and a few others. And it was a hospital, blurred activity by the front door may be connected. There seems to be someone bending over a man or part of an effort carrying him.
NO idea whether this is O'Sullivan's wagon, " Photographer at Manassas " is the only ID. Fascinating to think about and boy are we fortunate they he was there.