Hunter McGuire

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Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire (1835-1900) of Virginia, noted physician and educator

Hunter Holmes McGuire, M.D. (October 11, 1835 – September 19, 1900) was a physician, teacher, and orator. He started several schools and hospitals which later became part of the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) in Richmond, Virginia. His statue sits prominently on the grounds of the Virginia State Capitol. Nearby, the McGuire Veterans Administration Medical Center is named in his honor.


Youth and education[edit]

Hunter Holmes McGuire was born in Winchester, Virginia to a prominent eye surgeon, Dr. Hugh Holmes McGuire and his wife Ann Eliza Moss. Young Hunter was one of 7 children. He often accompanied his father, and studied medicine at the Winchester Medical College where he graduated in 1855. His continuing medical education in Philadelphia at Jefferson Medical College was interrupted by the onset of the hostilities which led to the American Civil War. He taught briefly at Tulane University in New Orleans before joining the Confederate Army in 1861.

Civil War[edit]

Dr. McGuire joined "The Winchester Rifles," company F of the 2nd Virginia Infantry, Confederate Army, as a private. However, his services were much more valuable as a doctor rather than a front line soldier. McGuire was made a brigade surgeon and was ordered to report to General Thomas J. Jackson at Harpers Ferry. Jackson initially scoffed at McGuire's youth, but the two became very close as the war progressed. Dr. McGuire treated General Jackson after the First Battle of Manassas, where the General picked up the nickname "Stonewall Jackson" following an exclamation by General Barnard E. Bee Jr. (who himself was killed during the battle).

In 1862, McGuire was promoted to the chief surgeon of Jackson's Corps, serving in the Army of Northern Virginia under its Medical Director, Dr. Lafayette Guild. In May 1863, Jackson was gravely wounded by friendly fire near Chancellorsville and Dr. McGuire amputated his left arm in a vain attempt to save his life. Jackson died of pneumonia a few days later. His last words were recorded by Dr. McGuire as: "Let us cross over the river and rest beneath the shade of the trees". The death of Jackson affected McGuire greatly. He would always remember Jackson with the deepest reverence and served as a pallbearer in Stonewall's funeral.

At the Battle of Gettysburg two months later, Dr. McGuire amputated the leg of General Isaac R. Trimble after Pickett's Charge. He later served under General Richard S. Ewell and General Jubal Early.

After the War, McGuire contributed to the original (first) of the Geneva Conventions, which is why the Boston Medical Journal said in his obituary that he had "humanized war."

Post Civil War[edit]

McGuire married Mary Stuart of Staunton. Her father, Alexander Hugh Holmes Stuart, was a U.S. Congressman and Secretary of the Interior before the Civil War. Mary was a cousin of General Jeb Stuart. She and Hunter had nine children.

McGuire wrote the introduction of The Old Plantation: How We Lived in Great House and Cabin before the War, a 1901 authored by James Battle Avirett.[1]

He lived at 5th and Grace St. in downtown Richmond, had a summer residence in Bon Air, Virginia, and a house in Henrico County.[2]

McGuire served as President of the American Medical Association.


  • McGuire, Hunter; Christian, George L. (1907). The Confederate Cause and Conduct in the War Between the States; As set forth in the Reports of the History Committee of the Grand Camp, C.V., of Virginia, and other Confederate Papers. L.H. Jenkins Publisher.


  1. ^ The Old Plantation: How We Lived in Great House and Cabin before the War. New York: F. Tennyson Neely. 1901. p. X. Retrieved December 26, 2015.
  2. ^ Notable Bon Air Residents - Bon Air Historical Society Retrieved 2018-05-02.


Further reading[edit]

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