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Civil War Museum at the Exchange Hotel

400 South Main Street

In 1860 Gordonsville's Exchange Hotel offered a welcome stopping place for weary passengers on the Virginia Central Railway. Waist-coated gentlemen and hoop-skirted ladies were treated to the sight of the hotel's handsome architecture of wide verandas and stately columns. Inside, guests received a warm greeting and gracious hospitality that was the hallmark of the South, but the leisurely pace of life belied a worsening political situation that would soon become the War Between the States.

The verdant farmlands of central Virginia became a vast battleground. In March of 1862, the Army of the Confederacy transformed the Exchange Hotel into the Gordonsville Receiving Hospital. The wounded and dying from nearby battlefields such as Cedar Mountain, Chancellorsville, Trevilian Station, Mine Run, Brandy Station, and Wilderness were brought by the train loads.

Although this was primarily a Confederate facility, the hospital treated the wounded from both sides. 26 Union soldiers died here. The year of 1864 proved to be very busy with 23,000 treated and in June alone 6,000 treated. By war's end over 70,000 men had been treated at the Gordonsville Receiving Hospital and just over 700 would be buried on its surrounding grounds.

By 1865, the Exchange Hotel had been reduced to a shadow of its former self, but the hotel flourished once again as Virginia and the United States healed, until the railroads by-passed Gordonsville, returning it to the quiet rural community of today.

In 1971, concerned citizens formed Historic Gordonsville, Inc., and rescued the Exchange Hotel from near ruin, restoring it to the historic grandeur befitting its unique past.

Today, the Exchange Hotel stands silent watch over a rich past that intertwines Civil War medicine, military actions of the Army of Northern Virginia, and the mighty railroads of Virginia. Visit this unique building and experience Gordonsville's personal history through medical, military, town, and hotel exhibits.


John McFarland

Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018
I give this museum because I enjoyed small museum depicting the Civil War period. Three stories with no elevator. Small gift shop. Restroom available. The museum is a depicts the hotel as a civil war field hospital and a hotel for railroad passengers. One room shoes a courtroom for the Freeman bureau. Excellent museum. A word in progress. Highly recommended.

Marsha Burkes

Friday, July 27, 2018
I enjoyed this a lot. Liked the fact it was a self guided tour, I could take as long as I wanted in each room looking and reading. Very reasonable price. Highly recommend .

Danny Gonia

Friday, June 29, 2018
The kind of place any Christian should avoid. OperAted bt "Sisters of Salem". You can figure the rest. Attendant told us about"charmed rocks or something she carries to protect her???? Weird

Uwe Britfeld

Friday, Feb. 16, 2018
Excellent museum. It was extremely informative and gave an interesting perspective. 4 floors packed with information, pictures, and stories. i would recommend to anyone. There is one important drawback... This is not wheelchair accessible. If you have any difficulty in climbing stairs, this is not the place for you. I know it's a bummer but, based on the fact that this is an old building, I can see that it's just not feasible to provide that kind of accommodation. Otherwise, it's wonderful.

Sandra Elam

Thursday, May 24, 2018
Each room shows a different aspect of the building's history from train depot to hotel to hospital during the Civil War. I brought my teenage son because I knew that his knowledge of the Civil War was very sketchy. By the time he walked out, he not only knew when the Civil War took place, but that wounded soldiers were brought to this hotel (converted to a hospital) by train from Manassas. I thought the exhibits were well done, especially for a local museum. The most interesting exhibit was the room showing the surgeon's saws and tools used for amputations during the Civil War - stomach-turning but educational. The museum is NOT wheelchair- or handicapped-accessible. You have to climb steep stairs to get to the second and third floors (no elevator in this historic building). If you're unsteady on your feet, this won't work but otherwise, if you're coming to Gordonsville, it's worth a visit. Afterward, you can walk across the railroad tracks to the popular local BBQ place, the Barbeque Exchange.

Civil War Museum at the Exchange Hotel is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media