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“W” is for Wayside Hospitals

South Carolina from A to Z logo

“W” is for Wayside Hospitals. Wayside Hospitals were formed across South Carolina during the Civil War as a means to care for sick and wounded Confederate soldiers travelling throughout the state. Usually situated at depots or other railroad stopping points, most wayside facilities offered meals and basic nursing, while larger ones contained overnight accommodations and were staffed with physicians and surgeons. All of the wayside hospitals originated through private means—usually through the efforts of local women and relief organizations. The hospitals depended on private donations of food, clothing, bandages, medicine, and labor. Columbia’s Wayside Hospital was the largest in the state; others were located in Charleston, Florence, Greenville, Orangeburg, and Sumter. By the end of the War, wayside hospitals had become one of the most visible, and important, contributions of South Carolina women to the war effort.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.