Surgeon (CSA), William Fontaine Carrington

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Surgeon (CSA), William Fontaine Carrington

Birthplace: Charlotte County, Virginia, United States
Death: September 14, 1883 (61)
Hot Springs, AR, United States
Place of Burial: Richmond, Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of William Allen Carrington and Sarah Embra Scott
Husband of Georgianna Baker Adams and Elizabeth Goodridge Carrington
Father of Anne Fontaine Montague; Mildred Lightfoot Hutchenson; William Allen Carrington, II; Maria Nash Weems; Austin Downs Carrington and 6 others
Brother of Charles Scott Carrington; Mildred Lightfoot Carrington and Catherine Scott Thompson

Occupation: Physician US Navy surgeon
Managed by: Michael Joseph Gerst
Last Updated:

About Surgeon (CSA), William Fontaine Carrington

Dr. Carrington was the second son of William Allen & Sarah Scott Carrington. The death of his father in 1829 while he and his siblings were young and the decision by his mother to continue managing the plantation brought maturity to all of the children at an early age. William decided to pursue a medical career in the U.S. Navy after he graduated from Hampden-Sydney College and the University of Pennsylvania for medicine. He and his cousin, Elizabeth Venable, their mothers were sisters, were married in Prince Edward County, VA on 5/28/1845.

As an assistant surgeon, naval duty took him abroad on federal warships in the English Channel, Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean, & 3 years (1857-1859) aboard the newly razeed U.S.S. Cumberland, flagship of the African Squadron which included the Dale, Vincennes & Marion. As one of the surgeons he had to deal with a number of medical maladies to include a smallpox outbreak. Meanwhile his growing family stayed at his wife's family's home, "Longwood", in Prince Edward County. By 1860 the Carringtons were stationed at Pensacola.

After Virginia seceded in April 1861 he resigned his post on 5/5/1861 and followed his native state into the Confederacy. He was commissioned at Montgomery, AL in the CSA navy on 5/26/1861. His new duties took him to Mobile as assistant surgeon aboard the CSS Baltic, hospital inspector at Wilmington, NC and finally to the James River Squadron as surgeon aboard the ironclads Richmond & Virginia II. His ability as a surgeon was recognized by Gen. Lee in 1862 when he was asked to serve temporarily on the general's staff during the Battle of Malvern Hill.

By the spring of 1865 the Army of Northern Virginia's defensive line was stretched to its limits. On April 1 the southern portion of the Petersburg line under the command of Gen. Pickett was broken during the Battle of Five Forks. This breach precipitated Lee's retreat from Richmond. Dr. Carrington's ship, the fleet flagship, Virginia II, was scuttled 4/3/1865 in order to prevent its capture. According to the account written by his daughter Mrs. Maria Weems the doctor then marched with the sailors towards Appomattox; but a day before Lee's surrender, the doctor was sent by Gen. Lee with an order to Gen. Joe Johnson in N.C. He got only as far as Halifax County when word reached him of the surrender at Appomattox; and according to his daughter Maria's account, he surrendered to Gen. Sherman.

As the end of the Confederacy terminated his military medical career, he gathered up his family from "Longwood" and took them to "Mildendo" where he worked to scrape out a living as a farmer and country doctor. By 1880 "Mildendo" was heavily in debt, his beloved first wife dead, and his children were seeking new lives in the West. With renewed hope he remarried on 2/25/1880 in Middleburg, Loudoun County, VA and in 1882 left VA with his wife for Hot Springs, AK. This move proved shortlived. Just hours prior to his death he was discovered by his son Allen in a state of delirium. He passed away from pneumonia. His young wife, Georgianna B. Adams, 27 years his junior, and five month old daughter, Anne Fontaine, were visiting relatives in VA and arrived in AK two days after his death. (bio by Jim Hutcheson)

Carrington, W. F. BATTLE UNIT NAME: General and Staff Officers, Non-Regimental Enlisted Men, CSA SIDE: Confederacy COMPANY: SOLDIER'S RANK IN: Surgeon SOLDIER'S RANK OUT: ALTERNATE NAME: FILM NUMBER: M818 ROLL 5 PLAQUE NUMBER: NOTES: none

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Surgeon (CSA), William Fontaine Carrington's Timeline

January 26, 1822
Charlotte County, Virginia, United States
October 12, 1846
Farmville, Prince Edward County, Virginia, United States
April 30, 1849
Prince Edward, VA, United States
February 14, 1852
Longwood, Prince Edward County, Virginia, United States
April 11, 1856
November 1860
March 28, 1883
Hot Springs, Garland County, Arkansas, United States
September 14, 1883
Age 61
Hot Springs, AR, United States