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‘A Place of Comfort’

Mount Olivet United Methodist Church, along with the Arlington Sesquicentennial Committee and Arlington Historical Society, will host a Civil War Living History and medical display to honor the church’s use as a field hospital following the First Battle of Bull Run, or First Manassas. As Union troops fled back to Washington, D.C., in disarray after their rout on the battlefield, Mount Olivet was commandeered to treat the wounded.

Re-enactors from the 49th Virginia Regiment will set up an encampment on the Mount Olivet Green at the corner of Glebe Road and 16th Street. The theme of the event is Mount Olivet: A Place of Comfort at a Time of Suffering.

Visitors will meet with soldiers and converse about life in the camp, hardships they face, burdens, daily activities, drills, combat and boredom. Guitar and banjo music will help to carry the visitor back to an earlier day.

Inside the church, visitors can explore the state of Civil War-era medicine at a detailed display of medical tools and practices assembled from a member of the 49th Virginia’s extensive collection. Guests will gain an understanding of the primitive treatments and appalling conditions the sick and wounded experienced at the time.

In July of 1861, pews were broken apart and used as operating tables. Ultimately during the fall, the church was consumed by the surrounding Union encampments’ need for firewood and flooring in tents.