Online Exhibit

Lincoln's Town

During Lincoln’s administration, the town of Washington was much smaller. The developed city only reached a few blocks north of the White House, and most of the surrounding area was rural farmland. The shaded part of the map on the right shows the extent of the City's development in 1863.


The start of the Civil War and the arrival of soldiers, war contractors, and government workers caused the population of DC to explode. The area surrounding DC was filled with army encampments, while the city itself became the epicenter for arriving Union casualties.



The historian, Richard M. Lee writes: “When the sick and wounded of General McClellan’s Peninsular battles arrived by the boatload on the Sixth Street wharves in spring, 1862, the army had no choice but to commandeer hotels, churches, fraternal halls, schools and colleges, public buildings, private homes and even the insane asylum. In the wake of the Second Battle of Bull Run in late August, thousands more wounded and exhausted men were cast up on the city’s doorstep.”



















Size of Washington, DC, during the Civil War is indicated by the shaded area, ca. 1863-1867


View of Washington D.C. civil war camps, 1861


Campbell Army Hospital, ca. 1861-1865