Union Volunteer Refreshment Saloon, of Philadelphia


This print is a lively scene from November 1863 containing a view of the two hospitals, refreshment stand, and other buildings of the Union Volunteer Refreshment Saloon located near the Navy Yard at Swanson and Washington Avenues in Philadelphia during the American Civil War. Situated at the transportation hub between the North and the South on land leased for free from the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad, the saloon was a volunteer relief agency that provided meals, hospital care, washing, sleeping, and writing facilities to military personnel, refugees, and freedmen. It assisted more than 800,000 men and served 1,025,000 meals before closing on December 1, 1865. The print shows a large crowd gathered to watch the arrival and departure of Union troops. Arriving soldiers march past the cannon, which was fired to forewarn saloon volunteers of the arrival of the troops. Departing soldiers board a Philadelphia, Wilmington, & Baltimore railroad car for the battlefields in the South. American flags dot the landscape. The varied crowd includes a military band and an African American man. The names of committee members and volunteers are listed below the image. The print is by James Fuller Queen, a Philadelphia lithographer and pioneer chromolithographer who served in the Civil War militia in 1862–63.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

T. Sinclair's Lithography, Philadelphia


Title in Original Language

Union Volunteer Refreshment Saloon, of Philadelphia. Being the First Institution of the Kind in the United States. Organized, May 27th. 1861

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 print : chromolithograph, hand-colored ; 66 x 81 centimeters


  • Digital catalog number: POS 771

Last updated: December 18, 2013