Chesapeake Bay - 20th Century - The Mariners' Museum
The Mariners' MuseumChesapeake Bay - Our History and Our Future
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Introduction
Shipbuilding on the Chesapeake
Curtiss Flying School
Eugene Ely
Langley Field
German Ships in Hampton Roads
Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation
Fort Monroe and Coastal Defense
Fort McHenry
Camp Eustis
Naval Operating Base, Hampton Roads
Suggested Reading

Chesapeake Bay -
Our History and Our Future
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Fort McHenry

Made famous during the War of 1812 by Francis Scott Key's The Star-Spangled Banner, Fort McHenry had protected the entrance of Baltimore Harbor since the early days of the United States. It never again came under attack, but had been military post off and on until World War I. U.S. Army General Hospital 2 was established at Fort McHenry in 1917, and served over 20,000 wounded soldiers between 1917 and 1923, when the last patients left.

The hospital buildings were constructed on the grounds surrounding the original fort to preserve the historical integrity of the landmark. The capacity of the hospital grew to 3,000 patients treated by a medical staff of 200 doctors, 300 nurses, 100 civilian hospital aides, and 300 medical corpsmen. U.S. Army General Hospital 2 was the source of breakthroughs in neurosurgery and plastic surgery and was the first in the nation to offer occupational therapy.

Lieutenant Walter Vanaman founded the nation's first school for disabled soldiers by using Signal Corps equipment to teach telegraphy. Soon other skills were being taught to wounded soldiers returning from the war in Europe. These included metal work, shorthand and typing, commercial art, carpentry, upholstery, bookkeeping, and auto repair. The hospital even had its own periodical, The Trouble Buster, printed by wounded patients on the hospital's printing press.

The hospital continued to serve wounded soldiers even after the war. In May 1920, the hospital was transformed into a veterans' hospital. On October 31, 1923, the last patients at the Veterans' Hospital were transferred, and the medical facility at Fort McHenry was closed.

For more information on Fort McHenry, click here.


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