01363 - Mess hall at Harewood Hospital; Washington, DC [LC-DIG-cwpb-01364]
When compared to modern medicine it is easy to think of Civil War medical care as primitive. Here, on the other hand, we see the dining hall for Harewood Hospital. It was clean, comfortable, well lit with plenty of room. Several stoves provide heat and lamps hang from the whitewashed ceiling to provide light at night. While it still may be considered basic, it is clear that effort was taken to give them quality care.
Harewood was located in Washington D.C. near the “Soldiers Home”. This was a summer retreat for Lincoln and he would often visit the hospitals, including Harewood. Both the President and Mrs. Lincoln would offer comfort and support for the men in the hospital as well as writing letters home for those unable. It is not known if the Lincolns visited this dining hall, but with its proximity to their summer residence it is likely that they were aware of it.