Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Pelham Students Help Civil War Soldiers on Davids' Island in 1864

The United States Government leased Davids' Island off the coasts of Pelham and New Rochelle in April, 1862 for use as a hospital complex during the Civil War.  The Government erected structures that eventually housed thousands of wounded soldiers. 

I previously have written about Pelham's ties to the hospitals located on Davids' Island.  See:

Friday, June 3, 2005:  Davids' Island Off the Coast of Pelham Manor During the Civil War.

Even Pelham schoolchildren were involved in efforts to assist the wounded at Davids' Island during the Civil War.  Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog transcribes an article published in The New York Times in 1864.  The article reveals a mystery to be solved.  It references the assistance of "the pupils of Mr. CHUBERLEY'S school at Pelham."  It is not clear what school is being referenced, so additional research is now required.  Below is the text of the article, followed by a citation to its source.

"The Soldiers Dinner at David's Island.

To the Editor of the New-York Times:

Will you do the ladies who gave the dinner on Thanksgiving Day, at David's Island, the justice to insert the accompanying letter from the Surgeon in charge:

DE CAMP GENERAL HOSPITAL,                 )
NOV. 25, 1864.                                                )

MADAM:  I cannot forbear expressing my sense of the obligation which this hospital is under to you, and those with whom you are associated, for the very boutious Thanksgiving Dinner provided for the patients on this island.

My steward reports there were, through the efforts of the ladies, contributed to the hospital, 518 turkeys, 20,000 oysters, 100 chickens, 8 barrels celery, 2 barrels cranberries, 1 barrel oranges, 2 tubs of butter, 3 barrels of crackers, 10 boxes of grapes, 10 boxes of raisins, 30 pounds of confectionery, 17 barrels of apples, 10 barrels of turnips, 5 barrels of onions, 1,000 pies, 40 hams, 3 barrels cider, 18 boxes cigars, 25 boxes chewing tobacco, 1 barrel smoking tobacco.

All this has been done without solicitation or inspiration from me, and therefore by the voluntary generosity of those interested in making the soldiers here happy on the day set apart for a national feast.

While I have never since my connection with this hospital failed to accept, for judicious application, all donations, I have not encouraged either individuals or associations in making distribution among the patients of articles of food.  My action in this respect may have been unwelcome in some instances, but it was the result of a conviction based on experience, more or less extended, that general dispensing of delicacies, in the form of food, among the sick and wounded, by kind friends, impatient of restraint by medical officers, seriously interferes with the great and primary object of a military hospital, in a period like the present, which is to refit men for duty in the shortest space of time.

The perfect harmony of opinion and action in this relation between the ladies and the medical officers cooperating on Thursday to make the soldiers glad, has made the effort a complete success.

Among the generous friends of the hospital who especially promoted the festivities of the day, and who deserve the thanks of those yearning once more to be able to follow the old flag, in battle, if need be, particular thanks are due to Mrs. R. H. Manning, Mrs. Geo. T. M. Davis, Mrs. C. T. Fenn, Mrs. H. Brewster, Miss H. M. Whately, Miss Emily Morris, Miss D. Robinson, Miss C. Vanderhensel, and also to the pupils of Mr. CHUBERLEY's school at Pelham.

With great respect,
Asst. Surgeon U.S.A., in charge of Hospital.
Mrs. D. W. CHAPMAN, New-York."

The Soldiers Dinner at David's Island, N.Y. Times, Dec. 1, 1864, p. 1

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