A Stately Mansion Turned Hospital During the Civil War
Brompton, the former Mayre Mansion is a stately mansion turned hospital during the Civil War. It stands atop the western heights that overlook the old city of Fredericksburg. Along these heights, extending into a five-mile front, Confederate force dominated the scene, despite going against a Union force nearly twice its size on December 13, 1862. Roughly 17,000 casualties would come out of this battle. In the aftermath, facilities to treat the wounded of both sides was badly needed. Brompton became a hospital for the Confederates who would continue to hold this ground. In May 1863, Confederates once again held the heights temporarily, during the Chancellorsville Campaign. One year later, Union forces would occupy and utilize Fredericksburg as a vast hospital center during the first weeks of the Overland Campaign. The wounded were transported some fifteen miles from the Wilderness battlefield, west of town, and ten miles from Spotsylvania’s fighting ground to the southwest. The following images illustrate Brompton’s use as a Union hospital in May 1864.
The Mayre mansion survives today as a stately mansion turned hospital during the Civil War. Although bearing visible scars of battle on its walls, it serves as the private residence of the president of the University of Mary Washington, which shares the heights as its campus. Not open to the general public, the house and grounds are occasionally made available for tours and academic study. The University of Mary Washington has one of the finest Historic Preservation departments in the United States, and many of its graduates have gone on to exceptional careers with the National Park Service, and other fine institutions.