Civil War Image Shop

Hospital Steward William Prime of Massachusetts

Died of disease

Read More →


Out of stock

Item No. CV7901SV Category


Exceptional carte view, previously published in Military Images Magazine, William Henry Harrison Prime of the 23rd Massachusetts. If ever a soldier deserved the rank of Hospital Steward  he was William Henry Harrison Prime. Before joining Company F, 23rd Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry as a private, Prime was a clerk for the druggists Brown & Price of Salem, Massachusetts. He was also a member of the Salem Cadets, a state militia organization. Prime enrolled in the 23rd Massachusetts on October 9, 1861 and nine days later marched in the rain with the rest of Company F to Peabody, Massachusetts and then proceeded by rail to Lynnfield, Massachusetts. He was a member of the regiment’s outstanding regimental glee club which likely sang out “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and other martial airs while they marched and rode the rails south. On November 11, 1861 the regiment left the state for the seat of war, arriving at Annapolis, Maryland three days later, where the regiment remained until January,1862, when it was attached to General Ambrose Burnside’s Expedition and embarked for the coast of North Carolina. The regiment was engaged at Roanoke Island in February and New Berne, North Carolina in March suffering its first losses of the war including its lieutenant colonel, Henry Merritt, a fellow resident of Salem. In April, 1862 Prime was appointed Acting Hospital Steward while on outpost duty near Batchelder Creek, about 10 miles outside New Berne. Soon after, he began serving as an Apothecary and Hospital Steward at Academy General Hospital and later at Foster General Hospital, both in New Berne. His skills as a Hospital Steward must have been quickly recognized because on December 6, 1862, he was discharged from the 23rd Massachusetts and was promoted and warranted Hospital Steward, U.S.A. Prime was appointed Chief Steward of the 1 ,000 bed Stanley Hospital. In the late Summer of 1864, a Yellow Fever epidemic carved its way through coastal North Carolina. In New Berne alone there were 763 reported cases of Yellow Fever. Prime was cited again and again for his outstanding work and unwavering kindness to the men he cared for during the epidemic with little regard for his own health. Dr. Clayton A. Cowgill, Surgeon, United States Volunteers writes of Prime, “…his great activity of character and entire reliability in every respect rendered him invaluable to this Hospital and I had learned to respect him as a man of self-sacrificing integrity and love him as a friend.” On September 27, 1864, Prime became a statistic, he was one of the 303 men who died from Yellow Fever in New Berne. Soon after he died, Prime’s fellow hospital workers and his patients collected money to have a stone placed on his grave at the Harmony Grove Cemetery in Salem. This is a superb view of Prime and one of the better Hospital Steward images I have had the pleasure to view. Prime’s strong character is clearly evident in this view. Dressed in his frock, he stands resting his arm on his hip with his dark green stewards chevrons visible on the upper sleeve. Truly a magnificent image. Back marked out of his hometown of Salem. The image has been previously published in the July/August, 2007 issue of Military Images Magazine. The image of Prime is also located in the regimental history of the 23rd Massachusetts on page 108 of “Record of the Twenty-Third Regiment Mass. Vol. Infantry in the War of the Rebellion 1861-1865”.


Buying Guide

If you’re interested in learning more about this item, or placing it on hold for purchase, get in touch via our contact page or give us a call or email! For more information regarding payment, shipping, returns, guarantee and more, please visit our Terms, Policies & Conditions page.
Shopping Basket