The title of U.S. Army General Hospital was designated because admissions were not confined to any particular military unit or post unlike Division or Corps Hospitals. By the end of the war, General hospitals were established in scores of eastern cities. Washington was the center of military medicine due to its close relation to the war department and its close proximity to the majority of combat in the later years of the war. Its 16 General Hospitals provided close to 30,000 beds and only Philadelphia would rival Washington’s importance. In March 1865, Philadelphia maintained 27 hospitals and 25,000 beds. Here in Rochester, only St. Mary’s Hospital was designated as an Army General Hospital, although both St. Mary’s Hospital and the Rochester City Hospital admitted and treated wounded soldiers.
During the four years from 1861-1865, General Hospitals treated 1,057,523 soldiers with a mortality rate of only eight percent, the lowest ever recorded for military hospitals and lower than many civilian counterparts.