Digital Collections -> Pathfinders -> Many Roads to Freedom -> Local Civilian Relief Efforts
Civilian Hospital

City Hospital


In mid-19th century Rochester, the city's charitable institutions were still in their infancy. Volunteer groups such as the Female Charitable Society had been formed to help the needy, and both Protestant and Catholic groups organized to create orphan asylums. The only institutions supported in part by the city government in the 1850s were St. Mary's Hospital (beginning in 1857) and the orphan asylums. Those in need of help were mainly supported by the various benevolent institutions which had sprung up, which in turn received funding by holding annual fund drives.

When the Civil War began, efforts were made to increase both volunteer and city-funded relief efforts for the soldiers and their families. A good overview on this period can be found in this article excerpt on financing volunteers and their dependents:
Rochester History, Vol. IX. April, 1947 Nos. 2 & 3 "Historic Origins of Rochester's Social Welfare Agencies" by Blake McKelvey.

For "human interest" stories on solders' needs, read the following articles or article excerpts:
Sending the troops off in style (from Rochester Daily Union & Advertiser, September 19, 1862)
Requests from the field (from Rochester Daily Union & Advertiser, October 15, 1862)
Letter concerning a shipment received at Virginia (from Rochester Daily Union & Advertiser, March 31, 1863)
Acknowledgement from Colonel O'Rorke (from Rochester Daily Union & Advertiser, April 13, 1863)

The Ladies' Hospital Relief Association held a Christmas Bazaar to support the troops. You may read the report of this event:
Report of the Christmas bazaar: held under the auspices of the Ladies' Hospital Relief Association, from December 14 to December 22, inclusive at Corinthian Hall, Rochester, N.Y.
[pdf, 6 MB] 
For pdf help, click here

Presentation of colors to the 140th regiment N. Y. S. V.
by the Young ladies of Rochester, Sept., 1862.

Also, the following journals covered the work going on in the city's hospitals:

Rochester City Hospital's Hospital Review
Vol. I [pdf, 12.1 MB] (1864-65)
   Vol. II
[pdf, 15.7 MB] (1865-66)
   Vol. III
[pdf, 14.8 MB] (1866-67)

The Ladies' Hospital Relief Association's Soldiers' Aid
Vol. 1 (complete) [pdf, 137.0 MB] (1863-64)
Vol. 1 by issue (faster viewing)
Vol. 2 (complete) [pdf, 143.0 MB] (1864-65)
Vol. 2 by issue (faster viewing)

For pdf help, click here