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Title: Woman's Work in the Civil War - A Record of Heroism, Patriotism, and Patience
Author: Vaughan, Mary C., Brockett, Linus Pierpont
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: MISS CLARA H. BARTON.
  Eng. by John Sartain.]


        Barbara Frietchie.

H. L. Stephens, Del. Samuel Sartain, Sc.]









President U. S. Sanitary Commission.





Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1867, by


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
Eastern District of New York.

607 Sansom Street, Philadelphia.

WESTCOTT & THOMSON, Stereotypers.









The preparation of this work, or rather the collection of material for
it, was commenced in the autumn of 1863. While engaged in the
compilation of a little book on "The Philanthropic Results of the War"
for circulation abroad, in the summer of that year, the writer became so
deeply impressed with the extraordinary sacrifices and devotion of loyal
women, in the national cause, that he determined to make a record of
them for the honor of his country. A voluminous correspondence then
commenced and continued to the present time, soon demonstrated how
general were the acts of patriotic devotion, and an extensive tour,
undertaken the following summer, to obtain by personal observation and
intercourse with these heroic women, a more clear and comprehensive idea
of what they had done and were doing, only served to increase his
admiration for their zeal, patience, and self-denying effort.

Meantime the war still continued, and the collisions between Grant and
Lee, in the East, and Sherman and Johnston, in the South, the fierce
campaign between Thomas and Hood in Tennessee, Sheridan's annihilating
defeats of Early in the valley of the Shenandoah, and Wilson's
magnificent expedition in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, as well as
the mixed naval and military victories at Mobile and Wilmington, were
fruitful in wounds, sickness, and death. Never had the gentle and
patient ministrations of woman been so needful as in the last year of
the war; and never had they been so abundantly bestowed, and with such
zeal and self-forgetfulness.

From Andersonville, and Millen, from Charleston, and Florence, from
Salisbury, and Wilmington, from Belle Isle, and Libby Prison, came also,
in these later months of the war, thousands of our bravest and noblest
heroes, captured by the rebels, the feeble remnant of the tens of
thousands imprisoned there, a majority of whom had perished of cold,
nakedness, starvation, and disease, in those charnel houses, victims of
the fiendish malignity of the rebel leaders. These poor fellows, starved
to the last degree of emaciation, crippled and dying from frost and
gangrene, many of them idiotic from their sufferings, or with the
fierce fever of typhus, more deadly than sword or minié bullet, raging
in their veins, were brought to Annapolis and to Wilmington, and
unmindful of the deadly infection, gentle and tender women ministered to
them as faithfully and lovingly, as if they were their own brothers.
Ever and anon, in these works of mercy, one of these fair ministrants
died a martyr to her faithfulness, asking, often only, to be buried
beside her "boys," but the work never ceased while there was a soldier
to be nursed. Nor were these the only fields in which noble service was
rendered to humanity by the women of our time. In the larger
associations of our cities, day after day, and year after year, women
served in summer's heat and winter's cold, at their desks, corresponding
with auxiliary aid societies, taking account of goods received for
sanitary supplies, re-packing and shipping them to the points where they
were needed, inditing and sending out circulars appealing for aid, in
work more prosaic but equally needful and patriotic with that performed
in the hospitals; and throughout every village and hamlet in the
country, women were toiling, contriving, submitting to privation,
performing unusual and severe labors, all for the soldiers. In the
general hospitals of the cities and larger towns, the labors of the
special diet kitchen, and of the hospital nurse were performed steadily,
faithfully, and uncomplainingly, though there also, ever and anon, some
fair toiler laid down her life in the service. There were many too in
still other fields of labor, who showed their love for their country;
the faithful women who, in the Philadelphia Refreshment Saloons, fed the
hungry soldier on his way to or from the battle-field, till in the
aggregate, they had dispensed nearly eight hundred thousand meals, and
had cared for thousands of sick and wounded; the matrons of the
Soldiers' Homes, Lodges, and Rests; the heroic souls who devoted
themselves to the noble work of raising a nation of bondmen to
intelligence and freedom; those who attempted the still more hopeless
task of rousing the blunted intellect and cultivating the moral nature
of the degraded and abject poor whites; and those who in circumstances
of the greatest peril, manifested their fearless and undying attachment
to their country and its flag; all these were entitled to a place in
such a record. What wonder, then, that, pursuing his self-appointed task
assiduously, the writer found it growing upon him; till the question
came, not, who should be inscribed in this roll, but who could be
omitted, since it was evident no single volume could do justice to all.

In the autumn of 1865, Mrs. Mary C. Vaughan, a skilful and practiced
writer, whose tastes and sympathies led her to take an interest in the
work, became associated with the writer in its preparation, and to her
zeal in collecting, and skill in arranging the materials obtained, many
of the interesting sketches of the volume are due. We have in the
prosecution of our work been constantly embarrassed, by the reluctance
of some who deserved a prominent place, to suffer anything to be
communicated concerning their labors; by the promises, often repeated
but never fulfilled, of others to furnish facts and incidents which they
alone could supply, and by the forwardness of a few, whose services were
of the least moment, in presenting their claims.

We have endeavored to exercise a wise and careful discrimination both in
avoiding the introduction of any name unworthy of a place in such a
record, and in giving the due meed of honor to those who have wrought
most earnestly and acceptably. We cannot hope that we have been
completely successful; the letters even now, daily received, render it
probable that there are some, as faithful and self-sacrificing as any of
those whose services we have recorded, of whom we have failed to obtain
information; and that some of those who entered upon their work of mercy
in the closing campaigns of the war, by their zeal and earnestness, have
won the right to a place. We have not, knowingly, however, omitted the
name of any faithful worker, of whom we could obtain information, and we
feel assured that our record is far more full and complete, than any
other which has been, or is likely to be prepared, and that the number
of prominent and active laborers in the national cause who have escaped
our notice is comparatively small.

We take pleasure in acknowledging our obligations to Rev. Dr. Bellows,
President of the United States Sanitary Commission, for many services
and much valuable information; to Honorable James E. Yeatman, the
President of the Western Sanitary Commission, to Rev. J. G. Forman, late
Secretary of that Commission, and now Secretary of the Unitarian
Association, and his accomplished wife, both of whom were indefatigable
in their efforts to obtain facts relative to western ladies; to Rev. N.
M. Mann, now of Kenosha, Wisconsin, but formerly Chaplain and Agent of
the Western Sanitary Commission, at Vicksburg; to Professor J. S.
Newberry, now of Columbia College, but through the war the able
Secretary of the Western Department of the United States Sanitary
Commission; to Mrs. M. A. Livermore, of Chicago, one of the managers of
the Northwestern Sanitary Commission; to Rev. G. S. F. Savage, Secretary
of the Western Department of the American Tract Society, Boston; Rev.
William De Loss Love, of Milwaukee, author of a work on "Wisconsin in
the War," Samuel B. Fales, Esq., of Philadelphia, so long and nobly
identified with the Volunteer Refreshment Saloon, Dr. A. N. Read, of
Norwalk, Ohio, late one of the Medical Inspectors of the Sanitary
Commission, Dr. Joseph Parrish, of Philadelphia, also a Medical
Inspector of the Commission, Mrs. M. M. Husband, of Philadelphia, one of
the most faithful workers in field hospitals during the war, Miss
Katherine P. Wormeley, of Newport, Rhode Island, the accomplished
historian of the Sanitary Commission, Mrs. W. H. Holstein, of
Bridgeport, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Miss Maria M. C. Hall, of
Washington, District of Columbia, and Miss Louise Titcomb, of Portland,
Maine. From many of these we have received information indispensable to
the completeness and success of our work; information too, often
afforded at great inconvenience and labor. We commit our book, then, to
the loyal women of our country, as an earnest and conscientious effort
to portray some phases of a heroism which will make American women
famous in all the future ages of history; and with the full conviction
that thousands more only lacked the opportunity, not the will or
endurance, to do, in the same spirit of self-sacrifice, what these have

L. P. B.

BROOKLYN, N. Y., _February, 1867_.



DEDICATION.                                                           19

PREFACE.                                                              21

TABLE OF CONTENTS.                                                 25-51

INTRODUCTION BY HENRY W. BELLOWS, D. D.                               55


Patriotism in some form, an attribute of woman in all nations and
climes--Its modes of manifestation--Pæans for victory--Lamentations
for the death of a heroic leader--Personal leadership by women--The
assassination of tyrants--The care of the sick and wounded of national
armies--The hospitals established by the Empress Helena--The Beguines
and their successors--The cantiniéres, vivandiéres, etc.--Other modes in
which women manifested their patriotism--Florence Nightingale and her
labors--The results--The awakening of patriotic zeal among American
women at the opening of the war--The organization of philanthropic
effort--Hospital nurses--Miss Dix's rejection of great numbers of
applicants on account of youth--Hired nurses--Their services generally
prompted by patriotism rather than pay--The State relief agents
(ladies) at Washington--The hospital transport system of the Sanitary
Commission--Mrs. Harris's, Miss Barton's, Mrs. Fales', Miss Gilson's,
and other ladles' services at the front during the battles of 1862--
Services of other ladies at Chancellorsville, at Gettysburg--The
Field Relief of the Sanitary Commission, and services of ladies in the
later battles--Voluntary services of women in the armies in the field at
the West--Services in the hospitals of garrisons and fortified towns--
Soldiers' homes and lodges, and their matrons--Homes for Refugees--
Instruction of the Freedmen--Refreshment Saloons at Philadelphia--
Regular visiting of hospitals in the large cities--The Soldiers' Aid
Societies, and their mode of operation--The extraordinary labors of the
managers of the Branch Societies--Government clothing contracts--Mrs.
Springer, Miss Wormeley and Miss Gilson--The managers of the local
Soldiers' Aid Societies--The sacrifices made by the poor to contribute
supplies--Examples--The labors of the young and the old--Inscriptions
on articles--The poor seamstress--Five hundred bushels of wheat--The
five dollar gold piece--The army of martyrs--The effect of this
female patriotism in stimulating the courage of the soldiers--Lack of
persistence in this work among the Women of the South--Present and
future--Effect of patriotism and self-sacrifice in elevating and
ennobling the female character.                                    65-94



Early history--Becomes interested in the condition of prison convicts--
Visit to Europe--Returns in 1837, and devotes herself to improving the
condition of paupers, lunatics and prisoners--Her efforts for the
establishment of Insane Asylums--Second visit to Europe--Her first
work in the war the nursing of Massachusetts soldiers in Baltimore--
Appointment as superintendent of nurses--Her selections--Difficulties in
her position--Her other duties--Mrs. Livermore's account of her labors--
The adjutant-general's order--Dr. Bellows' estimate of her work--Her
kindness to her nurses--Her publications--Her manners and address--
Labors for the insane poor since the war.                         97-108



Early life--Teaching--The Bordentown school--Obtains a situation in the
Patent Office--Her readiness to help others--Her native genius for
nursing--Removed from office in 1857--Return to Washington in 1861--
Nursing and providing for Massachusetts soldiers at the Capitol in
April, 1861--Hospital and sanitary work in 1861--Death of her father--
Washington hospitals again--Going to the front--Cedar Mountain--The
second Bull Run battle--Chantilly--Heroic labors at Antietam--Soft
bread--Three barrels of flour and a bag of salt--Thirty lanterns for
that night of gloom--The race for Fredericksburg--Miss Barton as a
general purveyor for the sick and wounded--The battle of Fredericksburg--
Under fire--The rebel officer's appeal--The "confiscated" carpet--After
the battle--In the department of the South--The sands of Morris Island--
The horrors of the siege of Forts Wagner and Sumter--The reason why she
went thither--Return to the North--Preparations for the great campaign--
Her labors at Belle Plain, Fredericksburg, White House, and City Point--
Return to Washington--Appointed "General correspondent for the friends
of paroled prisoners"--Her residence at Annapolis--Obstacles--The
Annapolis plan abandoned--She establishes at Washington a "Bureau of
records of missing men in the armies of the United States"--The plan of
operations of this Bureau--Her visit to Andersonville--The case of
Dorrance Atwater--The Bureau of missing men an institution indispensable
to the Government and to friends of the soldiers--Her sacrifices in
maintaining it--The grant from Congress--Personal appearance of Miss
Barton.                                                          111-132


Early history--Her first work for the soldiers--Collecting supplies--
The clothing contract--Providing for soldiers' wives and daughters--
Application to Miss Dix for an appointment as nurse--She is rejected as
too young--Associated with Hon. Frank B. Fay in the Auxiliary Relief
Service--Her labors on the Hospital Transports--Her manner of working--
Her extraordinary personal influence--Her work at Gettysburg--Influence
over the men--Carrying a sick comrade to the hospital--Her system and
self-possession--Pleading the cause of the soldier with the people--
Her services in Grant's protracted campaign--The hospitals at
Fredericksburg--Singing to the soldiers--Her visit to the barge of
"contrabands"--Her address to the negroes--Singing to them--The hospital
for colored soldiers--Miss Gilson re-organizes and re-models it, making
it the best hospital at City Point--Her labors for the spiritual good
of the men in her hospital--Her care for the negro washerwomen and
their families--Completion of her work--Personal appearance of Miss
Gilson.                                                          133-148


Previous history--Secretary Ladies' Aid Society--Her decision to go to
the "front"--Early experiences--On the Hospital Transports--Harrison's
Landing--Her garments soaked in human gore--Antietam--French's Division
Hospital--Smoketown General Hospital--Return to the "front"--
Fredericksburg--Falmouth--She almost despairs of the success of our
arms--Chancellorsville--Gettysburg--Following the troops--Warrenton--
Insolence of the rebels--Illness--Goes to the West--Chattanooga--Serious
illness--Return to Nashville--Labors for the refugees--Called home to
watch over a dying mother--The returned prisoners from Andersonville and
Salisbury.                                                       149-160


Mrs. Porter's social position--Her patriotism--Labors in the hospitals
at Cairo--She takes charge of the Northwestern Sanitary Commission Rooms
at Chicago--Her determination to go, with a corps of nurses, to the
front--Cairo and Paducah--Visit to Pittsburg Landing after the battle--
She brings nurses and supplies for the hospitals from Chicago--At
Corinth--At Memphis--Work among the freedmen at Memphis and elsewhere--
Efforts for the establishment of hospitals for the sick and wounded
in the Northwest--Co-operation with Mrs. Harvey and Mrs. Howe--The
Harvey Hospital--At Natchez and Vicksburg--Other appeals for Northern
hospitals--At Huntsville with Mrs. Bickerdyke--At Chattanooga--
Experiences in a field hospital in the woods--Following Sherman's army
from Chattanooga to Atlanta--"This seems like having mother about"--
Constant labors--The distribution of supplies to the soldiers of
Sherman's army near Washington--A patriotic family.              161-171


Previous history of Mrs. Bickerdyke--Her regard for the private
soldiers--"Mother Bickerdyke and her boys"--Her work at Savannah after
the battle of Shiloh--What she accomplished at Perryville--The Gayoso
Hospital at Memphis--Colored nurses and attendants--A model hospital--
The delinquent assistant-surgeon--Mrs. Bickerdyke's philippic--She
procures his dismissal--His interview with General Sherman--"She ranks
me"--The commanding generals appreciate her--Convalescent soldiers
_vs._ colored nurses--The Medical Director's order--Mrs. Bickerdyke's
triumph--A dairy and hennery for the hospitals--Two hundred cows and a
thousand hens--Her first visit to the Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce--"Go
over to Canada--This country has no place for such creatures"--At
Vicksburg--In field hospitals--The dresses riddled with sparks--The box
of clothing for herself--Trading for butter and eggs for the soldiers--
The two lace-trimmed night-dresses--A new style of hospital clothing
for wounded soldiers--A second visit to Milwaukee--Mrs. Bickerdyke's
speech--"Set your standard higher yet"--In the Huntsville Hospital--At
Chattanooga at the close of the battle--The only woman on the ground for
four weeks--Cooking under difficulties--Her interview with General
Grant--Complaints of the neglect of the men by some of the surgeons--
"Go around to the hospitals and see for yourself"--Visits Huntsville,
Pulaski, etc.--With Sherman from Chattanooga to Atlanta--Making dishes
for the sick out of hard tack and the ordinary rations--At Nashville and
Franklin--Through the Carolinas with Sherman--Distribution of supplies
near Washington--"The Freedmen's Home and Refuge" at Chicago.    172-186


Sketch of her personal appearance--Her gentle, tender, winning ways--
The American Florence Nightingale--What if I do die?--The Breckinridge
family--Margaret's childhood and youth--Her emancipation of her slaves--
Working for the soldiers early in the war--Not one of the Home Guards--
Her earnest desire to labor in the hospitals--Hospital service at
Baltimore--At Lexington, Kentucky--Morgan's first raid--Her visit to the
wounded soldiers--"Every one of you bring a regiment with you"--Visiting
the St. Louis hospitals--On the hospital boats on the Mississippi--
Perils of the voyage--Severe and incessant labor--The contrabands at
Helena--Touching incidents of the wounded on the hospital boats--"The
service pays"--In the hospitals at St. Louis--Impaired health--She goes
eastward for rest and recovery--A year of weakness and weariness--In
the hospital at Philadelphia--A ministering angel--Colonel Porter
her brother-in-law killed at Cold Harbor--She goes to Baltimore to
meet the body--Is seized with typhoid fever and dies after five weeks
illness.                                                         187-199


Family of Mrs. Barker--Her husband Chaplain of First Massachusetts Heavy
Artillery--She accompanies him to Washington--Devotes herself to the
work of visiting the hospitals--Thanksgiving dinner in the hospital--She
removes to Fort Albany and takes charge as Matron of the Regimental
Hospital--Pleasant experiences--Reading to the soldiers--Two years of
labor--Return to Washington in January, 1864--She becomes one of the
hospital visitors of the Sanitary Commission--Ten hospitals a week--
Remitting the soldiers' money and valuables to their families--The
service of Mr. and Mrs. Barker as lecturers and missionaries of the
Sanitary Commission to the Aid Societies in the smaller cities and
villages--The distribution of supplies to the disbanding armies--Her
report.                                                          200-211


Childhood of Miss Bradley--Her experiences as a teacher--Residence in
Charleston, South Carolina--Two years of illness--Goes to Costa Rica--
Three years of teaching in Central America--Return to the United
States--Becomes corresponding clerk and translator in a large glass
manufactory--Beginning of the war--She determines to go as a nurse--
Writes to Dr. Palmer--His quaint reply--Her first experience as nurse
in a regimental hospital--Skill and tact in managing it--Promoted by
General Slocum to the charge of the Brigade Hospital--Hospital Transport
Service--Over-exertion and need of rest--The organization of the
Soldiers' Home at Washington--Visiting hospitals at her leisure--Camp
Misery--Wretched condition of the men--The rendezvous of distribution--
Miss Bradley goes thither as Sanitary Commission Agent--Her zealous and
multifarious labors--Bringing in the discharged men for their papers--
Procuring the correction of their papers, and the reinstatement of
the men--"The Soldiers' Journal"--Miss Bradley's object in its
establishment--Its success--Presents to Miss Bradley--Personal
appearance.                                                      212-224


Birth and education of Mrs. Griffith--Her marriage at the beginning
of the war--She accompanies her husband to the camp, and wherever
it is possible ministers to the wounded or sick soldiers--Joins the
Sanitary Commission in July, 1862, and labors among the sick and wounded
at Harrison's Landing till late in August--Colonel Barlow severely
wounded at Antietam--Mrs. Barlow nurses him with great tenderness, and
at the same time ministers to the wounded of Sedgwick Hospital--At
Chancellorsville and Gettysburg--General Barlow again wounded, and in
the enemy's lines--She removes him and succors the wounded in the
intervals of her care of him--In May, 1864, she was actively engaged at
Belle Plain, Fredericksburg, Port Royal, White House, and City Point--
Her incessant labor brought on fever and caused her death July 27,
1864--Tribute of the Sanitary Commission Bulletin, Dr. Lieber and
others, to her memory.                                           225-233


Parentage and early history--Removal to New Orleans--Her son urged to
enlist in the rebel army--He is sent North--The rebels persecute Mrs.
Taylor--Her dismissal from her position as principal of one of the city
schools--Her house mobbed--"I am for the Union, tear my house down if
you choose!"--Her house searched seven times for the flag--The Judge's
son--"A piece of Southern chivalry"--Her son enlists in the rebel army
to save her from molestation--New Orleans occupied by the Union forces--
Mrs. Taylor reinstated as teacher--She nurses the soldiers in the
hospitals, during her vacations and in all the leisure hours from her
school duties, her daughter filling up the intermediate time with her
services--She expends her entire salary upon the sick and wounded--
Writes eleven hundred and seventy-four letters for them in one year--
Distributes the supplies received from the Cincinnati Branch of Sanitary
Commission in 1864, and during the summer takes the management of the
special diet of the University Hospital--Testimony of the soldiers to
her labors--Patriotism and zeal of her children--Terms on which Miss
Alice Taylor would present a confederate flag to a company.      234-240


Residence in Boston--Removal to Baltimore--Becomes Superintendent of
a Protestant Sisterhood in that city--Duties of the Sisterhood--The
"Church Home"--Other duties of "Sister" Tyler--The opening of the
war--The Baltimore mob--Wounding and killing members of the Sixth
Massachusetts regiment--Mrs. Tyler hears that Massachusetts men are
wounded and seeks admission to them--Is refused--She persists, and
threatening an appeal to Governor Andrew is finally admitted--She takes
those most severely wounded to the "Church Home," procures surgical
attendance for them, and nurses them till their recovery--Other Union
wounded nursed by her--Receives the thanks of the Massachusetts
Legislature and Governor--Is appointed Superintendent of the Camden
Street Hospital, Baltimore--Resigns at the end of a year, and visits New
York--The surgeon-general urges her to take charge of the large hospital
at Chester, Pennsylvania--She remains at Chester till the hospital
is broken up, when she is transferred to the First Division General
Hospital, Naval Academy, Annapolis--The returned prisoners--Their
terrible condition--Mrs. Tyler procures photographs of them--Impaired
health--Resignation--She visits Europe, and spends eighteen months
there, advocating as she has opportunity the National cause--The
fiendish rebel spirit--Incident relative to President Lincoln's
assassination.                                                   241-250


Social position of Mr. and Mrs. Holstein--Early labors for the soldiers
at home--The battle of Antietam--She goes with her husband to care for
the wounded--Her first emotions at the sight of the wounded--Three
years' devotion to the service--Mr. and Mrs. Holstein devote themselves
mainly to field hospitals--Labors at Fredericksburg, in the Second Corps
Hospital--Services after the battle of Chancellorsville--The march
toward Pennsylvania in June, 1863--The Field Hospital of the Second
Corps after Gettysburg--Incidents--"Wouldn't be buried by the side of
that raw recruit"--Mrs. Holstein Matron of the Second Corps Hospital--
Tour among the Aid Societies--The campaign of 1864-5--Constant labors in
the field hospitals at Fredericksburg, City Point, and elsewhere, till
November--Another tour among the Aid Societies--Labors among the
returned prisoners at Annapolis.                                 251-259

MRS. CORDELIA A. P. HARVEY. _By Rev. N. M. Mann._

The death of her husband, Governor Louis P. Harvey--Her intense grief--
She resolves to devote herself to the care of the sick and wounded
soldiers--She visits St. Louis as Agent for the State of Wisconsin--Work
in the St. Louis hospitals in the autumn of 1862--Heroic labors at Cape
Girardeau--Visiting hospitals along the Mississippi--The soldiers' ideas
of her influence and power--Young's Point in 1863--Illness of Mrs.
Harvey--She determines to secure the establishment of a General Hospital
at Madison, Wisconsin, where from the fine climate the chances of
recovery of the sick and wounded will be increased--Her resolution and
energy--The Harvey Hospital--The removal of the patients at Fort
Pickering to it--Repeated journeys down the Mississippi--Presented with
an elegant watch by the Second Wisconsin Cavalry--Her influence over the
soldiers--The Soldiers' Orphan Asylum at Madison.                260-268


Loyal Southern women--Mrs. Johnston's birth and social position--Her
interest in the Union prisoners--"A Yankee sympathizer"--The young
soldier--Her tender care of him, living and dead--Work for the
prisoners--Her persecution by the rebels--"Why don't you pin me to the
earth as you threatened"--"Sergeant, you can't make anything on that
woman"--Copying the inscriptions on Union graves, and statistics of
Union prisoners--Her visit to the North.                         269-272

EMILY E. PARSONS. _By Rev. J. G. Forman._

Her birth and education--Her preparation for service in the hospitals--
Receives instruction in the care of the sick, dressing wounds,
preparation of diet, etc.--Service at Fort Schuyler Hospital--Mrs.
General Fremont secures her services for St. Louis--Condition of St.
Louis and the other river cities at this time--First assigned to the
Lawson Hospital--Next to Hospital steamer "City of Alton"--The voyage
from Vicksburg to Memphis--Return to St. Louis--Illness--Appointed
Superintendent of Nurses to the large Benton Barracks Hospital--Her
duties--The admirable management of the hospital--Visit to the East--
Return to her work--Illness and return to the East--Collects and
forwards supplies to Western Sanitary Commission and Northwestern
Sanitary Commission--The Chicago Fair--The Charity Hospital at
Cambridge established by her--Her cheerfulness and skill in her
hospital work.                                                   273-278


The first woman to work for the soldiers--She commenced in December,
1860--Her continuous service--Amount of stores distributed by her--
Variety and severity of her work--Hospital Transport Service--
Harrison's Landing--Her work in Pope's campaign--Death of her son--Her
sorrowful toil at Fredericksburg and Falmouth--Her peculiarities and
humor.                                                           279-283


Early labors for the soldiers--Mr. Vassar's testimony--Gettysburg--The
campaign of 1864--Fredericksburg and City Point.                 284-286


Her ancestry--Patriotic instincts of the family--Service in Philadelphia
hospitals--Harrison's Landing--Nursing a sick son--Ministers to others
there--Dr. Markland's testimony--At Camden Street Hospital, Baltimore--
Antietam--Smoketown Hospital--Associated with Miss M. M. C. Hall--Her
admirable services as nurse there--Her personal appearance--The
wonderful apron with its pockets--The battle-flag--Her heroism in
contagious disease--Attachment of the soldiers for her--Her energy and
activity--Her adventures after the battle of Chancellorsville--The Field
Hospital near United States Ford--The forgetful surgeon--Matron of Third
Division, Third Corps Hospital, Gettysburg--Camp Letterman--Illness of
Mrs. Husband--Stationed at Camp Parole, Annapolis--Hospital at Brandy
Station--The battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania--Overwhelming
labor at Fredericksburg, Port Royal, White House, and City Point--Second
Corps Hospital at City Point--Marching through Richmond--"Hurrah for
mother Husband"--The visit to her "boys" at Bailey's Cross Roads--
Distribution of supplies--Mrs. Husband's labors for the pardon or
commutation of the sentence of soldiers condemned by court-martial--Her
museum and its treasures.                                        287-298


The organization of this service by the United States Sanitary
Commission--Difficulties encountered--Steamers and sailing vessels
employed--The corps of ladies employed in the service--The headquarters'
staff--Ladies plying on the Transports to Washington, Baltimore,
Philadelphia, New York, and elsewhere--Work on the Daniel Webster--The
Ocean Queen--Difficulties in providing as rapidly as was desired for
the numerous patients--Duties of the ladies who belonged to the
headquarters' staff--Description of scenes in the work by Miss Wormeley
and Miss G. Woolsey--Taking on patients--"Butter on _soft_ bread"--
"Guess I can stand h'isting better'n _him_"--"Spare the darning
needles"--"Slippers only fit for pontoon bridges"--Visiting Government
Transports--Scrambling eggs in a wash-basin--Subduing the captain of a
tug--The battle of Fair Oaks--Bad management on Government Transports--
Sufferings of the wounded--Sanitary Commission relief tent at the
wharf--Relief tents at White House depot at Savage's Station--The
departure from White House--Arrival at Harrison's Landing--Running past
the rebel batteries at City Point--"I'll take those mattresses you spoke
of"--The wounded of the seven days' battles--"You are so kind, I--am so
weak"--Exchanging prisoners under flag of truce.                 299-315


Miss Bradley, Miss Gilson, Mrs. Husband, Miss Charlotte Bradford, Mrs.
W. P. Griffin, Miss H. D. Whetten.                              316, 317


Birth and parentage--Commencement of her labors for the soldiers--The
Woman's Union Aid Society of Newport--She takes a contract for army
clothing to furnish employment for soldiers' families--Forwarding
sanitary goods--The hundred and fifty bed sacks--Miss Wormeley's
connection with the Hospital Transport Service--Her extraordinary
labors--Illness--Is appointed Lady Superintendent of the Lovell General
Hospital at Portsmouth Grove, Rhode Island--Her duties--Resigns in
October, 1863--Her volume--"The United States Sanitary Commission"--
Other labors for the soldiers.                                   318-323


Social position of the Woolsey sisters--Mrs. Joseph Howland and her
labors on the Hospital Transport--Her tender and skilful nursing of the
sick and wounded of her husband's regiment--Poem addressed to her by a
soldier--Her encouragement and assistance to the women nurses appointed
by Miss Dix--Mrs. Robert S. Howland--Her labors in the hospitals and at
the Metropolitan Sanitary Fair--Her early death from over-exertion in
connection with the fair--Her poetical contributions to the National
cause--"In the hospital"--Miss Georgiana M. Woolsey--Labors on Hospital
Transports--At Portsmouth Grove Hospital--After Chancellorsville--Her
work at Gettysburg with her mother--"Three weeks at Gettysburg"--The
approach to the battle-field--The Sanitary Commission's Lodge near the
railroad depot--The supply tent--Crutches--Supplying rebels and Union
men alike--Dressing wounds--"On dress parade"--"Bread with _butter_ on
it and _jelly_ on the butter"--"Worth a penny a sniff"--The Gettysburg
women--The Gettysburg farmers--"Had never seen a rebel"--"A feller
might'er got hit"--"I couldn't leave my bread"--The dying soldiers--
"Tell her I love her"--The young rebel lieutenant--The colored
freedmen--Praying for "Massa Lincoln"--The purple and blue and yellow
handkerchiefs--"Only a blue one"--"The man who screamed so"--The German
mother--The Oregon lieutenant--"Soup"--"Put some meat in a little water
and stirred it round"--Miss Woolsey's rare capacities for her work--
Estimate of a lady friend--Miss Jane Stuart Woolsey--Labors in
hospitals--Her charge of the Freedmen at Richmond--Miss Sarah C.
Woolsey, at Portsmouth Grove Hospital.                           324-342


Her parentage and family--Early devotion to works of charity
and benevolence--Praying for success in soliciting aid for the
unfortunate--The "black small-pox"--The conductor's wife--The Cooper
Shop Hospital--Her incessant labors and tender care of her patients--
Her thoughtfulness for them when discharged--Her unselfish devotion to
the good of others--Sending a soldier to his friends--"He must go or
die"--The attachment of the soldiers to her--The home for discharged
soldiers--Her efforts to provide the funds for it--Her success--The
walk to South Street--Her sudden attack of paralysis and death--The
monument and its inscription.                                    343-351


Mrs. Davis a native of Pittsfield, Massachusetts--A patriotic
family--General Bartlett--She becomes Secretary of the Park Barracks
Ladies' Association--The Bedloe's Island Hospital--The controversy--
Discharge of the surgeon--Withdrawal from the Association--The hospital
at David's Island--Mrs. Davis's labors there--The Soldiers' Rest on
Howard Street--She becomes the Secretary of the Ladies' Association
connected with it--Visits to other hospitals--Gratitude of the men to
whom she has ministered--Appeals to the women of Berkshire--Her
encomiums on their abundant labors.                              352-356


Miss Safford a native of Vermont, but a resident of Cairo--Her thorough
and extensive mental culture--She organizes temporary hospitals among
the regiments stationed at Cairo--Visiting the wounded on the field
after the battle of Belmont--Her extemporized flag of truce--Her
remarkable and excessive labors after the battle of Shiloh--On the
Hospital steamers--Among the hospitals at Cairo--"A merry Christmas" for
the soldiers stationed at Cairo--Illness induced by her over-exertion--
Her tour in Europe--Her labors there, while in feeble health--Mrs.
Livermore's sketch of Miss Safford--Her personal appearance and _petite_
figure--"An angel at Cairo"--"That little gal that used to come in every
day to see us--I tell you what she's an angel if there is any".  357-361


Previous history--Early consecration to the work of beneficence in the
army--Visiting Georgetown Seminary Hospital--Seeks aid from the Sanitary
Commission--Visits to camps around Washington--Return to Philadelphia to
enlist the sympathies of her friends in the work of the Commission--
Return to Seminary Hospital--The surly soldier--He melts at last--Visits
in other hospitals--Broad and Cherry Street Hospital, Philadelphia--
Assists in organizing a Ladies' Aid Society at Chester, and in forming
a corps of volunteer nurses--At Falmouth, Virginia, in January, 1863,
with Mrs. Harris--On a tour of inspection in Virginia and North Carolina
with her husband--The exchange of prisoners--Touching scenes--The
Continental Fair--Mrs. Parrish's labors in connection with it--The
tour of inspection at the Annapolis hospitals--Letters to the Sanitary
Commission--Condition of the returned prisoners--Their hunger--The St.
John's College Hospital--Admirable arrangement--Camp Parole Hospital--
The Naval Academy Hospital--The landing of the prisoners--Their
frightful sufferings--She compiles "The Soldiers' Friend" of which more
than a hundred thousand copies were circulated--Her efforts for the
freedmen.                                                        362-372


Early efforts for the soldiers--She urges the organization of Aid
Societies, and these become auxiliary at first to the Keokuk Aid
Society, which she was active in establishing--The Iowa State Sanitary
Commission--Mrs. Wittenmeyer becomes its agent--Her active efforts for
the soldiers--She disburses one hundred and thirty-six thousand dollars
worth of goods and supplies in about two years and a-half--She aids in
the establishment of the Iowa Soldiers' Orphans' Home--Her plan of
special diet kitchens--The Christian Commission appoint her their
agent for carrying out this plan--Her labors in their establishment in
connection with large hospitals--Special order of the War Department--
The estimate of her services by the Christian Commission.        373-378

MELCENIA ELLIOTT. _By Rev. J. G. Forman._

Previous pursuits--In the hospitals in Tennessee in the summer and
autumn of 1862--A remarkably skilful nurse--Services at Memphis--The
Iowa soldier--She scales the fence to watch over him and minister to his
needs, and at his death conveys his body to his friends, overcoming all
difficulties to do so--In the Benton Barracks Hospital--Volunteers to
nurse the patients in the erysipelas ward--Matron of the Refugee Home at
St. Louis--"The poor white trash"--Matron of Soldiers' Orphans' Home at
Farmington, Iowa.                                                379-383

MARY DWIGHT PETTES. _By Rev. J. G. Forman._

A native of Boston--Came to St. Louis in 1861, and entered upon hospital
work in January, 1862--Her faithful earnest work--Labors for the
spiritual as well as physical welfare of the soldiers, reading the
Scriptures to them, singing to them, etc.--Attachment of the soldiers
to her--She is seized with typhoid fever contracted in her care for her
patients, and dies after five weeks' illness--Dr. Eliot's impressions
of her character.                                                384-388

LOUISA MAERTZ. _By Rev. J. G. Forman._

Her birth and parentage--Her residence in Germany and Switzerland--Her
fondness for study--Her extraordinary sympathy and benevolence--She
commences visiting the hospitals in her native city, Quincy, Illinois,
in the autumn of 1861--She takes some of the wounded home to her
father's house and ministers to them there--She goes to St. Louis--Is
commissioned as a nurse--Sent to Helena, then full of wounded from
the battles in Arkansas--Her severe labors here--Almost the only woman
nurse in the hospitals there--"God bless you, dear lady"--The Arkansas
Union soldier--The half-blind widow--Miss Maertz at Vicksburg--At
New Orleans.                                                     390-394


Early life--A widow and fatherless--Her first labors in the hospitals in
St. Louis--Her sympathies never blunted--The sudden death of a soldier--
Her religious labors among the patients--Dr. Paddock's testimony--The
wounded from Fort Donelson--On the hospital boat--In the battle at
Island No. Ten--Bringing back the wounded--Mrs. Colfax's care of them--
Trips to Pittsburg Landing, before and after the battle of Shiloh--Heavy
and protracted labor for the nurses--Return to St. Louis--At the Fifth
Street Hospital--At Jefferson Barracks--Her associates--Obliged to
retire from the service on account of her health in 1864.        395-399


Miss Davis not a native of this country--Her services at the Broad and
Cherry Street Hospital, Philadelphia--One of the Hospital Transport
corps--The steamer "John Brooks"--Mile Creek Hospital--Mrs. Husband's
account of her--At Frederick City, Harper's Ferry, and Antietam--Agent
of the Sanitary Commission at Camp Parole, Annapolis, Maryland--Is
seized with typhoid fever here--When partially recovered, she resumes
her labors, but is again attacked and compelled to withdraw from her
work--Her other labors for the soldiers, both sick and well--Obtaining
furloughs--Sending home the bodies of dead soldiers--Providing
head-boards for the soldiers' graves.                            400-403


Her home in Oswego, New York--Teaching--An anti-war Democrat is
convinced of his duty to become a soldier, though too old for the
draft--Husband and wife go together--At the Soldiers' Rest in
Washington--Her first work--Matron of the hospital--At Wind-Mill
Point--Matron in the First Corps Hospital--Foraging for the sick and
wounded--The march toward Gettysburg--A heavily laden horse--Giving up
her last blanket--Chivalric instincts of American soldiers--Labors
during the battle of Gettysburg--Under fire--Field Hospital of the
Eleventh Corps--The hospital at White Church--Incessant labors--Saving
a soldier's life--"Can you go without food for a week?"--The basin
of broth--Mrs. Spencer appointed agent of the State of New York for
the care of the sick and wounded soldiers in the field--At Brandy
Station--At Rappahannock Station and Belle Plain after the battle
of the Wilderness--Virginia mud--Working alone--Heavy rain and no
shelter--Working on at Belle Plain--"Nothing to wear"--Port Royal--White
House--Feeding the wounded--Arrives at City Point--The hospitals and
the Government kitchen--At the front--Carrying supplies to the men in
the rifle pits--Fired at by a sharpshooter--Shelled by the enemy--The
great explosion at City Point--Her narrow escape--Remains at City Point
till the hospitals are broken up--The gifts received from grateful
soldiers.                                                        404-415


Mrs. Hawley accompanies her husband, Colonel Hawley, to South
Carolina--Teaching the freedmen--Visiting the hospitals at Beaufort,
Fernandina and St. Augustine--After Olustee--At the Armory Square
Hospital, Washington--The surgical operations performed in the
ward--"Reaching the hospital only in time to die"--At Wilmington--
Frightful condition of Union prisoners--Typhus fever raging--The
dangers greater than those of the battle-field--Four thousand sick--
Mrs. Hawley's heroism, and incessant labors--At Richmond--Injured by
the upsetting of an ambulance--Labors among the freedmen--Colonel
Higginson's speech.                                              416-419


Her family--Motives in entering on the work of ministering to the
soldiers--Receives instructions at Bellevue Hospital--Receives a
nurse's pay and gives it to the suffering soldiers--At Elmore Hospital,
Georgetown--Gratitude of the soldiers--Trials--St. Elizabeth's Hospital,
Washington--A dying nurse--Her own serious illness--Care and attention
of Miss Jessie Home--Death of her mother--At Point Lookout--Discomforts
and suffering--Ware House Hospital, Georgetown--Transfer of patients and
nurse to Union Hotel Hospital--Her duties arduous but pleasant--Transfer
to Knight General Hospital, New Haven--Resigns and accepts a situation
in the Treasury Department, but longing for her old work returns to it--
At Fredericksburg after battle of the Wilderness--At Judiciary Square
Hospital, Washington--Abundant labor, but equally abundant happiness--
Her feelings in the review of her work.                          420-426


A Scotch maiden, but devotedly attached to the Union--Abandons a
pleasant and lucrative pursuit to become a hospital nurse--Her
earnestness and zeal--Her incessant labors--Sickness and death--Cared
for by Miss Bergen of Brooklyn, New York.                       427, 428


Miss Vance a missionary teacher before the war--Appointed by Miss Dix to
a Baltimore hospital--At Washington, at Alexandria, and at Gettysburg--
At Fredericksburg after the battle of the Wilderness--At City Point in
the Second Corps Hospital--Served through the whole war with but three
weeks' furlough--Miss Blackmar from Michigan--A skilful and efficient
nurse--The almost fatal hemorrhage--The boy saved by her skill--Carrying
a hot brick to bed.                                             429, 430


Missionary teachers before the war--Attending lectures to prepare for
nursing--After the first battle of Bull Run--At Alexandria--The wounded
from the battle-field--Incessant work--Ordered to Winchester, Virginia--
The Court-House Hospital--At Strasburg--General Banks' retreat--
Remaining among the enemy to care for the wounded--At Armory Square
Hospital--The second Bull Run--Rapid but skilful care of the wounded--
Painful cases--Harper's Ferry--Twelfth Army Corps Hospital--The mother
in search of her son--After Chancellorsville--The battle of Gettysburg--
Labors in the First and Twelfth Corps Hospitals--Sent to Murfreesboro',
Tennessee--Rudeness of the Medical Director--Discomfort of their
situation--Discourtesy of the Medical Director and some of the surgeons--
"We have no ladies here--There are some women here, who are cooks!"--
Removal to Chattanooga--Are courteously and kindly received--Wounded of
Sherman's campaign--"You are the _God-blessedest_ woman I ever saw"--
Service to the close of the war and beyond--Lookout Mountain.    431-439


Early life--Literary pursuits--In Columbia College Hospital--At Camp
California--Quaker guns--Winchester, Virginia--Prevalence of gangrene--
Union Hotel Hospital--On the Peninsula--In hospital of Sumner's Corps--
Her son wounded--Transferred to Yorktown--Sufferings of the men--At
White House and the front--Beef soup and coffee for starving wounded
men--Is permitted to go to Harrison's Landing--Abundant labor and care--
Chaplain Fuller--At Hygeia Hospital--At Alexandria--Pope's campaign--
Attempts to go to Antietam, but is detained by sickness--Goes to
Warrenton, and accompanies the army thence to Acquia Creek--Return to
Washington--Forms a society to establish a home and training school
for nurses, and becomes its Secretary--Visits hospitals--State Relief
Societies approve the plan--Sanitary Commission do not approve of it
as a whole--Surgeon-General opposes--Visits New York city--The masons
become interested--"Army Nurses' Association" formed in New York--Nurses
in great numbers sent on after the battles of Wilderness, Spottsylvania,
etc.--The experiment a success--Its eventual failure through the
mismanagement in New York--Mrs. Edson continues her labors in the army
to the close of the war--Enthusiastic reception by the soldiers. 440-447


A native of Washington city--Desire to serve the sick and wounded--
Receives a sick soldier into her father's house--Too young to answer
the conditions required by Miss Dix--Application to Mrs. Fales--
Attempts to dissuade her--"Well girls here they are, with everything
to be done for them"--The Indiana Hospital--Difficulties and
discouragements--A year of hard and unsatisfactory work--Hospital
Transport Service--The Daniel Webster--At Harrison's Landing with
Mrs. Fales--Condition of the poor fellows--Mrs. Harris calls her to
Antietam--French's Division and Smoketown Hospitals--Abundant work but
performed with great satisfaction--The French soldier's letter--The
evening or family prayers--Successful efforts for the religious
improvement of the men--Dr. Vanderkieft--The Naval Academy Hospital at
Annapolis--In charge of Section five--Succeeds Mrs. Tyler as Lady
Superintendent of the hospital--The humble condition of the returned
prisoners from Andersonville and elsewhere--Prevalence of typhus fever--
Death of her assistants--Four thousand patients--Writes for "The
Crutch"--Her joy in the success of her work.                     448-454


The cruelties which had been practiced on the Union men in rebel
prisons--Duties of the nurses under Miss Hall--Names and homes of these
ladies--Death of Miss Adeline Walker--Miss Hall's tribute to her
memory--Miss Titcomb's eulogy on her--Death of Miss M. A. B. Young--
Sketch of her history--"Let me be buried here among my boys"--Miss Rose
M. Billing--Her faithfulness as a nurse in the Indiana Hospital, (Patent
Office,) at Falls Church, and at Annapolis--She like the others falls a
victim to the typhus generated in Southern prisons--Tribute to her
memory.                                                          455-460


The _Maine stay_ of the Annapolis Hospital--Miss Titcomb--Miss Newhall--
Miss Usher--Other ladies from Maine--The Maine camp and Hospital
Association--Mrs. Eaton--Mrs. Fogg--Mrs. Mayhew--Miss Mary A. Dupee and
her labors--Miss Abbie J. Howe--Her labors for the spiritual as well as
physical good of the men--Her great influence over them--Her joy in her
work.                                                            461-466


Mrs. Gibbons a daughter of Isaac T. Hopper--Her zeal in the cause of
reform--Work of herself and daughter in the Patent Office Hospital in
1861--Visit to Falls Church and its hospital--Sad condition of the
patients--"If you do not come and take care of me I shall die"--Return
to this hospital--Its condition greatly improved--Winchester and the
Seminary Hospital--Severe labors here--Banks' retreat--The nurses held
as prisoners--Losses of Mrs. and Miss Gibbons at this time--At Point
Lookout--Exchanged prisoners from Belle Isle--A scarcity of garments--
Trowsers a luxury--Fifteen months of hospital service--Conflicts with
the authorities in regard to the freedmen--The July riots in New York
in 1863--Mrs. Gibbons' house sacked by the rioters--Destruction of
everything valuable--Return to Point Lookout--The campaign of 1864-5--
Mrs. and Miss Gibbons at Fredericksburg--An improvised hospital--Mrs.
Gibbons takes charge--The gift of roses--The roses withered and dyed in
the soldiers' blood--Riding with the wounded in box cars--At White
House--Labors at Beverly Hospital, New Jersey--Mrs. Gibbons' return
home--Her daughter remains till the close of the war.            467-475


Government nurses--Their trials and hardships--Mrs. Russell a teacher
before the war--Her patriotism--First connected with the Regimental
Hospital of Twentieth New York Militia (National Guards)--Assigned
to Columbia College Hospital, Washington--After three years' service
resigns from impaired health, but recovering enters the service
again in Baltimore--Nursing rebels--Her attention to the religious
condition of the men--Four years of service--Returns to teaching after
the war.                                                         477-479


Mrs. Lee of foreign birth, but American in feeling--Services in the
Volunteer Refreshment Saloon--A noble institution--At Harrison's
Landing, with Mrs. Harris--Wretched condition of the men--Improvement
under the efforts of the ladies--The Hospital of the Epiphany at
Washington--At Antietam during the battle--The two water tubs--The
enterprising sutler--"Take this bread and give it to that woman"--The
Sedgwick Hospital--Ordering a guard--Hoffman's Farm Hospital--Smoketown
Hospital--Potomac Creek--Chancellorsville--Under fire from the batteries
on Fredericksburg Heights--Marching with the army--Gettysburg--The
Second Corps Hospital--Camp Letterman--The Refreshment Saloon again--
Brandy Station--A stove half a yard square--The battles of the
Wilderness--At Fredericksburg--A diet kitchen without furniture--Over
the river after a stove--Baking, boiling, stewing, and frying
simultaneously--Keeping the old stove hot--At City Point--In charge
of a hospital--The last days of the Refreshment Saloon.          480-488

CORNELIA M. TOMPKINS. _By Rev. J. G. Forman._

A scion of an eminent family--At Benton Barracks Hospital--At Memphis--
Return to St. Louis--At Jefferson Barracks.                     489, 490

MRS. ANNA C. McMEENS. _By Mrs. E. S. Mendenhall._

A native of Maryland--The wife of a surgeon in the army--At Camp
Dennison--One of the first women in Ohio to minister to the soldiers
in a military hospital--At Nashville in hospital--The battle of
Perryville--Death of Dr. McMeens--At home--Laboring for the Sanitary
Commission--In the hospitals at Washington--Missionary work among the
sailors on Lake Erie.                                           491, 492

MRS. JERUSHA R. SMALL. _By Mrs. E. S. Mendenhall._

A native of Iowa--Accompanies her husband to the war--Ministers to the
wounded from Belmont, Donelson, and Shiloh--Her husband wounded at
Shiloh--Under fire in ministering to the wounded--Uses all her spare
clothing for them--As her husband recovers her own health fails--The
galloping consumption--The female secessionist--Going home to die--
Buried with the flag wrapped around her.                        493, 494

MRS. S. A. MARTHA CANFIELD. _By Mrs. E. S. Mendenhall._

Wife of Colonel H. Canfield--Her husband killed at Shiloh--Burying her
sorrows in her heart--She returns to labor for the wounded in the
Sixteenth Army Corps, in the hospitals at Memphis--Labors among the
freedmen--Establishes the Colored Orphan Asylum at Memphis.          495


Faithful laborers in the hospitals at Cincinnati till the close of the
war.                                                                 496

MRS. SHEPARD WELLS. _By Rev. J. G. Forman._

Driven from East Tennessee by the rebels--Becomes a member of the
Ladies' Union Aid Society at St. Louis, and one of its Secretaries--
Superintends the special diet kitchen at Benton Barracks--An
enthusiastic and earnest worker--Labor for the refugees.         497, 498

MRS. E. C. WITHERELL. _By Rev. J. G. Forman._

A lady from Louisville--Her service in the Fourth Street Hospital, St.
Louis--"Shining Shore"--The soldier boy--On the "Empress" hospital
steamer nursing the wounded--A faithful and untiring nurse--Is attacked
with fever, and dies July, 1862--Resolutions of Western Sanitary
Commission.                                                      499-501

PHEBE ALLEN. _By Rev. J. G. Forman._

A teacher in Iowa--Volunteered as a nurse in Benton Barracks hospital--
Very efficient--Died of malarious fever in 1864, at the hospital.    502


Of Quaker stock--Intensely patriotic--Her eldest son, Lieutenant John
Greble, killed at Great Bethel in 1861--A second son served through the
war--A son-in-law a prisoner in the rebel prisons--Mrs. Greble a most
assiduous worker in the hospitals of Philadelphia, and a constant and
liberal giver.                                                  503, 504


A resident of Calais, Maine--Her only son volunteers, and she devotes
herself to the service of ministering to the wounded and sick--Goes to
Annapolis with one of the Maine regiments--The spotted fever in the
Annapolis Hospital--Mrs. Fogg and Mrs. Mayhew volunteer as nurses--The
Hospital Transport Service--At the front after Fair Oaks--Savage's
Station--Over land to Harrison's Landing with the army--Under fire--On
the hospital ship--Home--In the hospitals around Washington, after
Antietam--The Maine Camp Hospital Association--Mrs. J. S. Eaton--After
Chancellorsville--In the field hospitals for nearly a week, working day
and night, and under fire--At Gettysburg the day after the battle--On
the Rapidan--At Mine Run--At Belle Plain and Fredericksburg after the
battle of the Wilderness--At City Point--Home again--A wounded son--
Severe illness of Mrs. Fogg--Recovery--Sent by Christian Commission to
Louisville to take charge of a special diet kitchen--Injured by a fall--
An invalid for life--Happy in the work accomplished.             505-510


Services of aged women in the war--Military agency of Indiana--Mrs.
George's appointment--Her services at Memphis--At Pulaski--At
Chattanooga--Following Sherman to Atlanta--Matron of Fifteenth Army
Corps Hospital--At Nashville--Starts for Savannah, but is persuaded
by Miss Dix to go to Wilmington--Excessive labors there--Dies of
typhus.                                                          511-513


A native of Massachusetts--Enters the service as nurse at Frederick
city--Rebel occupation of the city--Chancellorsville--The assault on
Marye's Heights--Death of her brother--Gettysburg--Services in Third
Division Third Corps Hospital--At Warrenton--Mine Run--Brandy Station--
Grant's campaign--From Belle Plain to City Point--The Cavalry Corps
Hospital--Testimonials presented to her.                         514-516


Of English parentage--Wife of Major-General Ricketts--Resides on the
frontier for three years--Her husband wounded at Bull Run--Her heroism
in going through the rebel lines to be with him--Dangers and privations
at Richmond--Ministrations to Union soldiers--He is selected as a
hostage for the privateersmen, but released at her urgent solicitation--
Wounded again at Antietam, and again tenderly nursed--Wounded at
Middletown, Virginia, October, 1864, and for four months in great
danger--The end of the war.                                      517-519


Early history--Residence in the Southwest--Rescues General Lyon's
body--Her heroism and benevolence at Pea Ridge and elsewhere.    520, 521


Maryland women in the war--Barbara Frietchie--Effie Titlow--Mrs.
Munsell's labors in the hospitals after Antietam and Gettysburg--Her
death from over-exertion.                                       522, 523



Organization and officers of the Association--It becomes a branch of the
United States Sanitary Commission--Its Registration Committee and their
duties--The Selection and Preparation of Nurses for the Army--The
Finance and Executive Committee--The unwillingness of the Government
to admit any deficiency--The arrival of the first boxes for the
Association--The sacrifices made by the women in the country towns and
hamlets--The Committee of Correspondence--Twenty-five thousand letters--
The receiving book, the day-book and the ledger--The alphabet repeated
seven hundred and twenty-seven times on the boxes--Mrs. Fellows and Mrs.
Colby solicitors of donations--The call for nurses on board the Hospital
Transports--Mrs. W. P. Griffin and Mrs. David Lane volunteer, and
subsequently other members of the Association--Mrs. D'Orémieulx's
departure for Europe--Mr. S. W. Bridgham's faithful labors--Creeping
into the Association rooms of a Sunday, to gather up and forward supplies
needed for sudden emergencies--The First Council of Representatives from
the principal Aid Societies at Washington--Monthly boxes--The _Federal
principle_--Antietam and Fredericksburg exhaust the supplies--Miss
Louisa Lee Schuyler's able letter of inquiry to the Secretaries of
Auxiliaries--The plan of "Associate Managers"--Miss Schuyler's incessant
labors in connection with this--The set of boxes devised by Miss
Schuyler to aid the work of the Committee on Correspondence--The
employment of Lecturers--The Association publish Mr. George T. Strong's
pamphlet, "How can we best help our Camps and Hospitals"--The Hospital
Directory opened--The lack of supplies of clothing and edibles,
resulting from the changed condition of the country--Activity and zeal
of the members of the Woman's Central Association--Miss Ellen Collins'
incessant labors--Her elaborate tables of supplies and their
disbursement--The Association offers to purchase for the Auxiliaries
at wholesale prices--Miss Schuyler's admirable Plan of Organization for
Country Societies--Alert Clubs founded--Large contributions to the
stations at Beaufort and Morris Island--Miss Collins and Mrs. W. P.
Griffin in charge of the office through the New York Riots in July,
1863--Mrs. Griffin, is chairman of Special Relief Committee, and makes
personal visits to the sick--The Second Council at Washington--Miss
Schuyler and Miss Collins delegates--Miss Schuyler's efforts--The
whirlwind of Fairs--Aiding the feeble auxiliaries by donating an
additional sum in goods equal to what they raised, to be manufactured by
them--Five thousand dollars a month thus expended--A Soldiers' Aid
Society Council--Help to Military Hospitals near the city, and the Navy,
by the Association--Death of its President, Dr. Mott--The news of
peace--Miss Collins' Congratulatory Letter--The Association continues
its work to July 7--Two hundred and ninety-one thousand four hundred and
seventy-five shirts distributed--Purchases made for Auxiliaries,
seventy-nine thousand three hundred and ninety dollars and fifty-seven
cents--Other expenditures of money for the purposes of the Association,
sixty-one thousand three hundred and eighty-six dollars and fifty-seven
cents--The zeal of the Associated Managers--The Brooklyn Relief
Association--Miss Schuyler's labors as a writer--Her reports--Articles
in the Sanitary Bulletin, "The Soldiers' Friend," "Nelly's Hospital,"
&c. &c.--The patient and continuous labors of the Committees on
Correspondence and on Supplies--Territory occupied by the Woman's
Central Association--Resolutions at the Final Meeting.           527-539


Its organization--At first a Local Society--No Written Constitution or
By-laws--Becomes a branch of the United States Sanitary Commission in
October, 1861--Its territory small and not remarkable for wealth--Five
hundred and twenty auxiliaries--Its disbursement of one million one
hundred and thirty-three thousand dollars in money and supplies--The
Northern Ohio Sanitary Fair--The supplies mostly forwarded to the
Western Depôt of the United States Sanitary Commission at Louisville--
"The Soldiers' Home" built under the direction of the Ladies who managed
the affairs of the Society, and supplied and conducted under their
Supervision--The Hospital Directory, Employment Agency, War Claim
Agency--The entire time of the Officers of the Society for five and a
half years voluntarily and freely given to its work from eight in the
morning till six or later in the evening--The President, Mrs. B. Rouse,
and her labors in organizing Aid Societies and attending to the home
work--The labors of the Secretary and Treasurer--Editorial work--The
Society's printing press--Setting up and printing Bulletins--The
Sanitary Fair originated and carried on by the Aid Society--The Ohio
State Soldiers' Home aided by them--Sketch of Mrs. Rouse--Sketch of
Miss Mary Clark Brayton, Secretary of the Society--Sketch of Miss Ellen
F. Terry, Treasurer of the Society--Miss Brayton's "On a Hospital
Train," "Riding on a Rail"--Visit to the Army--The first sight of a
hospital train--The wounded soldiers on board--"Trickling a little
sympathy on the Wounded"--"The Hospital Train a jolly thing"--The dying
soldier--Arrangement of the Hospital Train--The arduous duties of the
Surgeon.                                                         540-552


Its organization and territory--One million five hundred and fifteen
thousand dollars collected in money and supplies by this Association--
Its Sanitary Fair and its results--The chairman of the Executive
Committee Miss Abby W. May--Her retiring and modest disposition--Her
rare executive powers--Sketch of Miss May--Her early zeal in the
Anti-slavery movement--Her remarkable practical talent, and admirable
management of affairs--Her eloquent appeals to the auxiliaries--Her
entire self-abnegation--Extract from one of her letters--Extract from
her Final Report--The Boston Sewing Circle and its officers--The Ladies'
Industrial Aid Association of Boston--Nearly three hundred and
forty-seven thousand garments for the soldiers made by the employés of
the Association, most of whom were from soldiers' families--Additional
wages beyond the contract prices paid to the workwomen, to the amount of
over twenty thousand dollars--The lessons learned by the ladies engaged
in this work.                                                    553-559


The origin of the Commission--Its early labors--Mrs. Porter's connection
with it--Her determination to go to the army--The appointment of Mrs.
Hoge and Mrs. Livermore as Managers--The extent and variety of their
labors--The two Sanitary Fairs--Estimate of the amount raised by the
Commission.                                                      560-561


Her birth and early education--Her marriage--Her family--She identifies
herself from the beginning with the National cause--Her first visit
to the hospitals of Cairo, Mound City and St. Louis--The Mound City
Hospital--The wounded boy--Turned over for the first time--"They had to
take the Fort"--Rebel cruelties at Donelson--The poor French boy--The
mother who had lost seven sons in the Army--"He had turned his face to
the wall to die"--Mrs. Hoge at the Woman's Council at Washington in
1862--Labors of Mrs. Hoge and Mrs. Livermore--Correspondence--
Circulars--Addresses--Mrs. Hoge's eloquence and pathos--The ample
contributions elicited by her appeals--Visit to the Camp of General
Grant at Young's Point, in the winter of 1862-3--Return with a cargo of
wounded--Second visit to the vicinity of Vicksburg--Prevalence of
scurvy--The onion and potato circulars--Third visit to Vicksburg in
June, 1863--Incidents of this visit--The rifle-pits--Singing Hymns under
fire--"Did you drop from heaven into these rifle-pits?"--Mrs. Hoge's
talk to the men--"Promise me you'll visit my regiment to-morrow"--The
flag of the Board of Trade Regiment--"How about the blood?"--"Sing,
Rally round the Flag Boys"--The death of R--"Take her picture from under
my pillow"--Mrs. Hoge at Washington again--Her views of the value of the
Press in benevolent operations--In the Sanitary Fairs at Chicago--Her
address at Brooklyn, in March, 1865--Gifts presented her as a testimony
to the value of her labors.                                      562-576


Mrs. Livermore's childhood and education--She becomes a teacher--Her
marriage--She is associated with her husband as Editor of _The New
Covenant_--Her scholarship and ability as a writer and speaker--The
vigor and eloquence of her appeals--"Women and the War"--The beginnings
of the Northwestern Sanitary Commission--The appointment of Mrs.
Livermore and Mrs. Hoge as its managers--The contributions of Mrs.
Livermore to the press, on subjects connected with her work--"The
backward movement of General McClellan"--The Hutchinsons prohibited from
singing Whittier's Song in the Army of the Potomac--Mrs. Livermore's
visit to Washington--Her description of "Camp Misery"--She makes a tour
to the Military Posts on the Mississippi--The female nurses--The scurvy
in the Camp--The Northwestern Sanitary Fair--Mrs. Livermore's address to
the Women of the Northwest--Her tact in selecting the right persons to
carry out her plans at the Fair--Her extensive journeyings--Her visit to
Washington in the Spring of 1865--Her invitation to the President to be
present at the opening of the Fair--Her description of Mr. Lincoln--His
death and the funeral solemnities with which his remains were received
at Chicago--The final fair--Mrs. Livermore's testimonials of regard and
appreciation from friends and, especially from the soldiers.     577-589


Organization of the Society--Its first President, Mrs. Follett--Its
second President, Mrs. Horatio Seymour--Her efficient Aids, Miss Babcock
and Miss Bird--The friendly rivalry with the Cleveland Society--Mrs.
Seymour's rare ability and system--Her encomiums on the labors of the
patriot workers in country homes--The workers in the cities equally
faithful and praiseworthy.                                       590-592


The Patriotic women of Michigan--Annie Etheridge, Mrs. Russell and
others--"The Soldiers' Relief Committee" and "The Soldiers' Aid Society"
of Detroit--Their Consolidation--The officers of the New Society--Miss
Valeria Campbell the soul of the organization--Her multifarious labors--
The Military Hospitals in Detroit--The "Soldiers' Home" in Detroit--
Michigan in the two Chicago Fairs--Amount of money and supplies raised
by the Michigan Branch.                                          593-595


The loyal women of Philadelphia--Their numerous organizations for the
relief of the Soldier--The organization of the Women's Pennsylvania
Branch--Its officers--Sketch of Mrs. Grier--Her parentage--Her residence
in Wilmington, N. C.--Persecution for loyalty--Escape--She enters
immediately upon Hospital Work--Her appointment to the Presidency of
the Women's Branch--Her remarkable tact and skill--Her extraordinary
executive talent--Mrs. Clara J. Moore--Sketch of her labors--Other
ladies of the Association--Testimonials to Mrs. Grier's ability and
admirable management from officers of the Sanitary Commission and
others--The final report of this Branch--The condition of the state
and country at its inception--The Associate Managers--The work
accomplished--Peace at last--The details of Expenses of the Supply
Department--The work of the Relief Committee--Eight hundred and thirty
women employed--Widows of Soldiers aided--Total expenditures of Relief
Committee.                                                       596-606


The Milwaukie Ladies Soldiers' Aid Society--Labors of Mrs. Jackson, Mrs.
Delafield and others--Enlargement and re-organization as the Wisconsin
Soldiers' Aid Society--Mrs. Henrietta L. Colt, chosen Corresponding
Secretary--Her visits to the front, and her subsequent labors among the
Aid Societies of the State--Efficiency of the Society--The Wisconsin
Soldiers' Home--Its extent and what it accomplished--It forms the
Nucleus of one of the National Soldiers' Homes--Sketch of Mrs. Colt--
Death of her husband--Her deep and overwhelming grief--She enters upon
the Sanitary Work, to relieve herself from the crushing weight of her
great sorrow--Her labors on a Hospital Steamer--Her frequent subsequent
visits to the front--Her own account of these visits--"The beardless
boys, all heroes"--Sketch of Mrs. Governor Salomon--Her labors in behalf
of the German and other soldiers of Wisconsin.                   607-614


The Pittsburg Sanitary Committee and Pittsburg Subsistence Committee--
Organization of the Branch--Its Corresponding Secretary, Miss Rachael W.
McFadden--Her executive ability zeal and patriotism--Her colleagues in
her labors--The Pittsburg Sanitary Fair--Its remarkable success--Miss
Murdock's labors at Nashville.                                  615, 616


Mrs. Mendenhall's childhood and youth passed in Richmond, Va.--Her
relatives Members of the Society of Friends--Her early Hospital labors--
President of the Women's Soldiers' Aid Society of Cincinnati--Her appeal
to the citizens of Cincinnati to organize a Sanitary Fair--Her efforts
to make the Fair a success--The magnificent result--Subsequent labors in
the Sanitary Cause--Fair for Soldiers' Families in December, 1864--
Labors for the Freedmen and Refugees--In behalf of fallen women. 617-620


Dr. M. M. Marsh appointed Medical Inspector of Department of the South--
Early in 1863 he proceeded thither with his wife--Mrs. Marsh finds
abundant work in the receipt and distribution of Sanitary Stores, in the
visiting of Hospitals--Spirit of the wounded men--The exchange of
prisoners--Sufferings of our men in Rebel prisons--Their self-sacrificing
spirit--Supplies sent to the prisoners, and letters received from
them--The sudden suspension of this benevolent work by order from
General Halleck--The sick from Sherman's Army--Dr. Marsh ordered to
Newbern, N. C., but detained by sickness--Return to New York--The
"Lincoln Home"--Dr. and Mrs. Marsh's labors there--Close of the Lincoln
Home.                                                            621-629


Organization of the Society--Its officers--Was the principal Auxiliary
of Western Sanitary Commission--Visits of its members to the fourteen
hospitals in the vicinity of St. Louis--The hospital basket and its
contents--The Society's delegates on the battle-fields--Employs the
wives and daughters of soldiers in bandage rolling, and subsequently on
contracts for hospital and other clothing for soldiers--Its committees
cutting, fitting and examining the work--Undertakes the special diet
kitchen of the Benton Barracks Hospital--Establishes a branch at
Nashville--Special Diet Kitchen there--Its work for the Freedmen and
Refugees--Sketches of its leading officers and managers--Mrs. Anna L.
Clapp, a native of Washington County, N. Y.--Resides in Brooklyn, N. Y.,
and subsequently in St. Louis--Elected President of Ladies' Union Aid
Society at the beginning of the war, and retains her position till its
close--Her arduous labors and great tact and skill--She organizes a
Refugee Home and House of Industry--Aids the Freedmen, and assists in
the proper regulation of the Soldiers' Home--Miss H. A. Adams, (now Mrs.
Morris Collins)--Born and educated in New Hampshire--At the outbreak of
the war, a teacher in St. Louis--Devoted herself to the Sanitary work
throughout the war--Was secretary of the society till the close of 1864,
and a part of the time at Nashville, where she established a special
diet kitchen--Death of her brother in the army--Her influence in
procuring the admission of female nurses in the Nashville hospitals--
Mrs. C. R. Springer, a native of Maine, one of the directors of the
Society, and the superintendent of its employment department, for
furnishing work to soldiers' families--Her unremitting and faithful
labors--Mrs. Mary E. Palmer--A native of New Jersey--An earnest worker,
visiting and aiding soldiers' families and dispensing the charities of
the Society among them and the destitute families of refugees--Her
labors were greater than her strength--Her death occasioned by a
decline, the result of over exertion in her philanthropic work.  630-642


Organization of the Society--Its officers--Mrs. Joel Jones, Mrs. John
Harris, Mrs. Stephen Caldwell--Mrs. Harris mostly engaged at the front--
The Society organized with a view to the spiritual as well as physical
benefit of the soldiers--Its great efficiency with moderate means--The
ladies who distributed its supplies at the front--Extract from one of
its reports--Its labors among the Refugees--The self-sacrifice of one
of its members--Its expenditures. THE PENN RELIEF ASSOCIATION--An
organization originating with the Friends, but afterward embracing
all denominations--Its officers--Its efficiency--Amount of supplies
distributed by it through well-known ladies. THE SOLDIERS' AID
SOCIETY--Another of the efficient Pennsylvania Organizations for the
relief of the soldiers--Its President, Mrs. Mary A. Brady--Her labors
in the Satterlee Hospital--At "Camp Misery"--At the front--After
Gettysburg, and at Mine Run--Her health injured by her exposure and
excessive labors--She dies of heart-disease in May, 1864.        643-649


Brooklyn early in the war--Numerous channels for distribution of the
Supplies contributed--Importance of a Single Comprehensive
Organization--The Relief Association formed--Mrs. Stranahan chosen
President--Sketch of Mrs. Stranahan--Her social position--First
directress of the Graham Institute--Her rare tact and efficiency as a
presiding officer and in the dispatch of business--The Long Island
Sanitary Fair--Her excessive labors there, and the perfect harmony and
good feeling which prevailed--Rev. Dr. Spear's statement of her worth--
The resolutions of the Relief Association--Rev. Dr. Bellows' Testimony--
Her death--Rev. Dr. Farley's letter concerning her--Rev. Dr. Budington's
tribute to her memory.                                           650-658


Loyal Southern Women--Mrs. Streeter's activity in promoting associations
of loyal women for the relief of the soldiers--Her New England parentage
and education--The Ladies' Union Relief Association of Baltimore--Mrs.
Streeter at Antietam--As a Hospital Visitor--The Eutaw Street Hospital--
The Union Refugees in Baltimore--Mrs. Streeter organizes the Ladies'
Union Aid Society for the Relief of Soldiers' families--Testimony of the
Maryland Committee of the Christian Commission to the value of her
labors--Death of her husband--Her return to Massachusetts.       659-664


The loyal record of the men and women of Berkshire County--Mrs. Fenn's
history and position before the war--Her skill and tenderness in the
care of the sick--Her readiness to enter upon the work of relief--She
becomes the embodiment of a Relief Association--Liberal contributions
made and much work performed by others but no organization--Mrs. Fenn's
incessant and extraordinary labors for the soldiers--Her packing and
shipping of the supplies to the hospitals in and about New York and to
more distant cities--Refreshments for Soldiers who passed through
Pittsfield--Her personal distribution of supplies at the soldiers'
Thanksgiving dinner at Bedloe's Island in 1862, and at David's Island
in 1864--"The gentleman from Africa and his vote"--Her efforts for the
disabled soldiers and their families--The soldiers' monument.    665-675


Women in high stations devoting themselves to the relief of the
Soldiers--Instances--Mrs. Harlan's early interest in the soldier--At
Shiloh--Cutting red-tape--Wounded soldiers removed northward after the
battle--Death of her daughter--Her labors for the religious benefit of
the soldier--Her health impaired by her labors.                  676-678


History of the organization--Its Matron, Mrs. E. A. Russell--The Women's
Auxiliary Committee--The Night Watchers' Association--The Hospital
Choir--The SOLDIERS' DEPOT in Howard Street, N. Y.--The Ladies'
Association connected with it.                                   679, 680



Childhood and youth of Mrs. Gage--Anti-slavery views inculcated by
her parents and grand-parents--Her marriage--Her husband an earnest
reformer--Her connection with the press--Ostracism on account of her
opposition to slavery--Propositions made to her husband to swerve from
principle and thereby attain office--"Dare to stand alone"--Removal to
St. Louis--A contributor to the Missouri Republican--The noble stand of
Colonel Chambers--His death--She contributes to the Missouri Democrat,
but is finally excluded from its columns--Personal peril--Her advocacy
of the cause of Kansas--Editor of an Agricultural paper in Columbus,
Ohio--Her labors among the freedmen in the department of the South for
thirteen months, (1862-3)--Helps the soldiers also--Her four sons in
the army--Return Northward in the Autumn of 1863--Becomes a lecturer--
Advocating the Emancipation Act and the Constitutional Amendment,
prohibiting slavery--Labors for the Freedmen and Refugees in 1864--
Is injured by the overturning of a carriage at Galesburg, Ill., in
September, 1864--Lecturing again on her partial recovery--Summary of her
character.                                                       683-690


Birth and early education--Half-sister of the poets Lewis and Willis
Gaylord Clark--Educates herself for a Missionary--A Sunday-school
teacher--Sorrow--Is married to S. C. Pomeroy (afterward United States
Senator from Kansas)--Residence in Southampton, Mass.--Ill health--
Removal to Kansas--The Kansas Struggle and Border Ruffian War--Mrs.
Pomeroy a firm friend to the escaping slaves--The famine year of 1860--
Her house an office of distribution for supplies to the starving--
Accompanies her husband to Washington in 1861--Her labors and
contributions for the soldiers--In Washington and at Atchison, Kansas--
Return to Washington--Founding an asylum for colored orphans and
destitute aged colored women--The building obtained and furnished--Her
failing health--She comes north, but dies on the passage.        691-696


Miss Mann a near relative of the late Hon. Horace Mann--Her career as
a teacher--Her loyalty--Comes to St. Louis--Becomes a nurse in the
Fifth St. Hospital--Condition of the Freedmen at St. Helena, Ark.--The
Western Sanitary Commission becomes interested in endeavoring to help
them--They propose to Miss Mann to go thither and establish a hospital,
distribute clothing and supplies to them, and instruct them as far as
possible--She consents--Perilous voyage--Her great and beneficent labors
at Helena--Extraordinary improvement in the condition of the freedmen--
She remains till August, 1863--Her heroism--Gratitude of the freedmen--
"You's light as a fedder, anyhow"--Return to St. Louis--Becomes the
teacher and manager of a colored asylum at Washington, D. C.--Her school
for colored children at Georgetown--Its superior character--It is, in
intention, a normal school--Miss Mann's sacrifices in continuing in that
position.                                                        697-703


A native of Illinois--Serves in the St. Louis Hospitals till August,
1863--Is sent to Vicksburg in the autumn of 1863, by the Western
Sanitary Commission, as teacher for the Freedmen's children--Her great
and successful labors--Is attacked in April, 1864, with malarial fever,
and dies May 3--Tribute to her character and work, from Mr. Marsh,
superintendent of Freedmen at Vicksburg.                         704-706


Her noble efforts--Her position at the commencement of the war--Her
interest in the condition of the Freedmen--Her attempts to overcome
their faults--Her success--Organization of schools--Finding employment
for them--Influx of Freedmen into the District of Columbia--Their
helpless condition--Mrs. Griffin attempts to find situations for them at
the North--Extensive correspondence--Her expeditions with companies of
them to the Northern cities--Necessities of the freedmen remaining in
the District in the Autumn of 1866--Mrs. Griffin's circular--The denial
of its truth by the Freedmen's Bureau--Their subsequent retraction--The
Congressional appropriation--Should have been put in Mrs. Griffin's
hands--She continues her labors.                                 707-709


Condition of the loyal whites of the mountainous district of the South.
Their sufferings and persecutions--Cruelty of the Rebels--Contributions
for their aid in the north--Boston, New York, Philadelphia--Mrs.
Hallowell's efforts--She and her associates visit Nashville, Knoxville,
Huntsville and Chattanooga and distribute supplies to the families of
refugees--Peril of their journey--Repeated visits of Mrs. Hallowell--The
Home for Refugees, near Nashville--Gratitude of the Refugees for this
aid--Colonel Taylor's letter.                                    710-712


Mrs. Harris' labors--Miss Tyson and Mrs. Beck--Miss Jane Stuart
Woolsey--Mrs. Governor Hawley--Miss Gilson--Mrs. Lucy S. Starr--Mrs.
Clinton B. Fisk--Mrs. H. F. Hoes and Miss Alice F. Royce--Mrs. John S.
Phelps--Mrs. Mary A. Whitaker--Fort Leavenworth--Mrs. Nettie C.
Constant--Miss G. D. Chapman--Miss Sarah E. M. Lovejoy, daughter of Hon.
Owen Lovejoy--Miss Mary E. Sheffield--Her labors at Vicksburg--Her
death--Helena--Mrs. Sarah Coombs--Nashville--Mrs. Mary R. Fogg--St.
Louis Refugee and Freedmen's Home--Mrs. H. M. Weed--The supervision of
this Home by Mrs. Alfred Clapp, Mrs. Joseph Crawshaw, Mrs. Lucien Eaton
and Mrs. N. Stevens.                                             733-716



Mrs. Hosmer's residence at Chicago--Her two sons enter the army--She
determines to go to the hospitals--Her first experiences in the
hospitals at Tipton and Smithtown--The lack of supplies--Mrs. Hosmer
procures them from the Sanitary Commission at St. Louis--Return to
Chicago--Organization of the "Ladies' War Committee"--Mrs. Hosmer its
Secretary--Efficiency of the organization--The Board of Trade
Regiments--Mrs. Hosmer and Mrs. Smith Tinkham go to Murfreesboro'
with supplies after the battle of Stone River--Their report on their
return--Touching incident--The wounded soldier--Return to Chicago--
Establishment of the Soldiers' Home at Chicago--Mrs. Hosmer its first
Vice President--Her zeal for its interests and devotion to the Soldiers
there--To the battle-field after Chickamauga--Taken prisoner but
recaptured--Supplies lost--Return home--Her labors at the Soldiers'
Home and Soldiers' Rest for the next fifteen months--The Northwestern
Sanitary and Soldiers' Home Fair--Mrs. Hosmer Corresponding Secretary
of the Executive Committee--She visits the hospitals from Cairo to
New Orleans--Success of her Mission--The emaciated prisoners from
Andersonville and Catawba at Vicksburg--Mrs. Hosmer ministers to them--
The loss of the Sultana--Return and further labors at the Soldiers'
Rest--Removal to New York.                                       719-724


Enters the service as Hospital Nurse in 1863--At Benton Barracks
Hospital--A Model nurse--Her cheerfulness--Removal to Nashville,
Tennessee--She is sent thence to Vicksburg, first as an assistant and
afterwards as principal matron at the Soldiers' Home--One hundred and
fifteen thousand soldiers accommodated there during her stay--The number
of soldiers daily received ranging from two hundred to six hundred--Her
admirable management--Scrupulous neatness of the Home--Her labors among
the Freedmen and Refugees at Vicksburg--Her care of the wounded from
the Red River Expedition--Her tenderness and cheerful spirit--She
accompanies a hospital steamer loaded with wounded men, to Cairo, and
cheers and comforts the soldiers on their voyage--Takes charge of a
wounded officer and conducts him to his home--Return to her duties--The
Soldiers' Home discontinued in June, 1865.                       726-727


A Clergyman's widow--Her service in the Fifth Street Hospital, St.
Louis--Her admirable adaptation to her duties--Appointed by the Western
Sanitary Commission, Matron of the Soldiers' Home at Memphis--Nearly one
hundred and twenty thousand soldiers received there during two and a
half years--Mrs. Starr manages the Home with great fidelity and
success--Mr. O. R. Waters' acknowledgment of her services--Closing of
the Home--Mrs. Starr takes charge of an institution for suffering
freedmen and refugees, in Memphis--Her faithfulness.             728-730


Her reticence in regard to her labors--The public and official life of
ladies occupying positions in charitable institutions properly a matter
of public comment and notice--Miss Bradford's labors in the Hospital
Transport Service--The Elm City--The Knickerbocker--Her associates in
this work--Other Relief Work--She succeeds Miss Bradley as matron of the
Soldiers' Home at Washington--Her remarkable executive ability, dignity
and tenderness for the sick and wounded soldier.                 731, 732


The labors of Mrs. Lee and Miss Ross in institutions of this class--The
beginning of the Union Volunteer Refreshment Saloon--Rival but not
hostile organization--Samuel B. Fales, Esq., and his patriotic labors--
The two institutions well supplied with funds--Nearly nine hundred
thousand soldiers fed at the Union Volunteer Refreshment Saloon, and
four hundred thousand at the Cooper Shop--The labors of the patriotic
women connected with the organizations--Mrs. Eliza G. Plummer--Her
faithful and abundant labors--Her death from over exertion--Mrs. Mary B.
Wade--Her great age, and extraordinary services--Mrs. Ellen J. Lowry--
Mrs. Margaret Boyer--Other ladies and their constant and valuable
labors--The worthy ladies of the Cooper Shop Saloon.             733-737


"Aunty Bigelow"--Mrs. Bigelow a native of Washington--Her services in
the Indiana Hospital in the Patent Office Building--"Hot cakes and
mush and milk"--Mrs. Billing an associate in Mrs. Bigelow's Labors--
Mrs. Bigelow the almoner of many of the Aid Societies at the North--Her
skill and judgment in the distribution of supplies--She maintains a
regular correspondence with the soldier boys who have been under her
care--Her house a "Home" for the sick soldier or officer who asked that
he might be sheltered and nursed there--She welcomes with open doors
the hospital workers from abroad--Her personal sorrows in the midst of
these labors.                                                    738-740


The Government Hospital Transports early in the war--Great improvements
made in them at a later period--The Government Transport Connecticut--
Miss Sharpless serves as matron on this for seventeen months--His
previous labors in army hospitals at Fredericksburg, Falls Church,
Antietam and elsewhere--Her admirable adaptation to her work--A true
Christian heroine--Thirty-three thousand sick and wounded men under
charge on the Transport--Her religious influence on the men--Miss Hattie
S. Reifsnyder of Catawissa, Penn. and Mrs. Cynthia Case of Newark, Ohio,
her assistants are actuated by a similar spirit--Miss W. F. Harris
of Providence, R. I., also on the Transport, for some months, and
previously in the Indiana Hospital, in Ascension Church and Carver
Hospital, and after leaving the Transport at Harper's Ferry and
Winchester--Her health much broken by her excessive labors--Devotes
herself to the instruction and training of the Freedmen after the close
of the war.                                                      741-743



Mrs. Etheridge's goodness and purity of character--Her childhood and
girlhood passed in Wisconsin--She marries there--Return of her father to
Michigan--She visits him and while there joins the Second Michigan
Regiment, to attend to its sick and wounded--Transferred subsequently to
the Third Regiment, and at the expiration of its term of service joins
the Fifth Michigan Regiment--She is in the skirmish of Blackburn's Ford
and at the first battle of Bull Run--In hospital service--On a hospital
transport with Miss Amy M. Bradley--At the second battle of Bull Run--
The soldier boy torn to pieces by a shot while she is ministering to
him--General Kearny's recognition of her services--Kearny's death
prevents her receiving promotion--At Chancellorsville, May 3, 1863--She
leads in a skirmish, rides along the front exhorting the men to do their
duty, and finds herself under heavy fire--An officer killed by her side
and she herself slightly wounded--Her horse, wounded, runs with her--She
seeks General Berry and after a pleasant interview takes charge of a
rebel officer, a prisoner, whom she escorts to the rear--"I would risk
my life for Annie, any time"--General Berry's death--The wounded
artillery-man--She binds up his wounds and has him brought to the
hospital--Touching letter--The retreating soldiers at Spottsylvania--
Annie remonstrates with them, and brings them back into the fight, under
heavy fire--Outside the lines, and closely pursued by the enemy--
Hatcher's Run--She dashes through the enemy's line unhurt--She receives
a Government appointment at the close of the war--Her modesty and
diffidence of demeanor.                                          747-753


Her birth and education--Character of her parents--Her lectures on the
sphere and culture of women--Her labors in Chicago in the collection and
distribution of hospital supplies--Her hospital work--Ill health--She
commences the publication of "The National Banner" first in Chicago,
next in Washington and finally in New York--Its success but partial--Her
efforts long, persistent and unwearied, for the establishment of a
National Home for Soldiers--The bill finally passes Congress--Delay in
organization--Its cause--Miss Baker meantime endeavors to procure Point
Lookout as a location for one of the National Soldiers' Homes--Change in
the act of incorporation--The purchase of the Point Lookout property
consummated.                                                     754-759


A native of New York City--Her education at the State Normal School of
Michigan--Her marriage--Her husband a Colonel of volunteers--She visits
the hospitals and devotes herself to lecturing in behalf of the Aid
movement.                                                        760


Her age--Her patriotism--Whittier's poem.                        761-763


Of revolutionary lineage--Her devotion to the Union--Her defiance of
Isham Harris' efforts to have the Union flag lowered on her house--Mrs.
Hooper's poem.                                                   764-766


Mrs. Effie Titlow--Mrs. Alfred Clapp--Mrs. Moore (Parson Brownlow's
daughter)--Miss Alice Taylor--Mrs. Booth--"_Never surrender the flag to
traitors_".                                                      767-769


Those who donned the male attire not entitled to a place in our pages--
Madame Turchin--Her exploits--Bridget Divers--"Michigan Bridget" or
"Irish Biddy"--She recovers her captain's body, and carries it on her
horse for fifteen miles through rebel territory--Returns after the
wounded, but is overtaken by the rebels while bringing them off and
plundered of her ambulance horses--Others soon after provided--
Accompanies a regiment of the regular army to the plains after the
war--Mrs. Kady Brownell--Her skill as a sharp-shooter, and in sword
exercise--Color Bearer in the Fifth Rhode Island Infantry--A skillful
nurse--Her husband wounded--Discharged from the army in 1863.    770-774


Mrs. Jennie Wade--Her loyalty and courage--Her death during the battle--
Miss Carrie Sheads, Principal of Oak Ridge Seminary--Her preservation of
Colonel Wheelock's sword--Her labors in the care of the wounded--Her
health impaired thereby--Miss Amelia Harmon--Her patriotism and
courage--"Burn the house if you will!"                           775-778


Names of loyal Southern Women already mentioned--The loyal women of
Richmond--Their abundant labors for Union prisoners--Loyal women of
Charleston--The Union League--Food and clothing furnished--Loyalty and
heroism of some of the negro women--Loyal women of New Orleans--The
names of some of the most prominent--Loyal women of the mountainous
districts of the south--Their ready aid to our escaping prisoners--Miss
Melvina Stevens--Malignity of some of the Rebel women--Heroism of Loyal
women in East Tennessee, Northern Georgia and Alabama.           779-782

MISS HETTY A. JONES. _By Horatio G. Jones, Esq._

Miss Jones' birth and lineage--She aids in equipping the companies
of Union soldiers organized in her own neighborhood--Her services in
the Filbert Street Hospital--Death of her brother--Visit to Fortress
Monroe--She determines to go to the front and attaches herself to the
Third Division, Second Corps, Hospital at City Point--Has an attack
of Pleurisy--On her recovery resumes her labors--Is again attacked
and dies on the 21st of December, 1864--Her happy death--Mourning of
the convalescent soldiers of the Filbert Street Hospital over her
death.                                                           783-786



The many necessarily unnamed--Ladies who served at Antietam, Point
Lookout, City Point or Naval Academy Hospital, Annapolis--The faithful
workers at Benton Barracks Hospital, St. Louis--Miss Lovell, Miss
Bissell, Mrs. Tannehill, Mrs. R. S. Smith, Mrs. Gray, Miss Lane, Miss
Adams, Miss Spaulding, Miss King, Mrs. Day--Other nurses of great merit
appointed by the Western Sanitary Commission--Volunteer visitors in the
St. Louis Hospitals--Ladies who ministered to the soldiers in Quincy,
and in Springfield, Illinois--Miss Georgiana Willets, Misses Molineux
and McCabe--Ladies of Cincinnati who served in the hospitals--Mrs. C. J.
Wright, Mrs. Starbuck, Mrs. Gibson, Mrs. Woods and Mrs. Caldwell--Miss
E. L. Porter of Niagara Falls--Boston ladies--Mrs. and Miss Anna Lowell,
Mrs. O. W. Holmes, Miss Stevenson, Mrs. S. Loring, Mrs. Shaw, Mrs.
Brimmer, Miss Rogers, Miss Felton--Louisville, Ky.--Mrs. Bishop Smith
and Mrs. Menefee--Columbus, Ohio--Mrs. Hoyle, Mrs. Ide, Miss Swayne--
Mrs. Seward of Utica--Mrs. Cowen, of Hartford, Conn.--Miss Long, of
Rochester--Mrs. Farr, of Norwalk, Ohio--Miss Bartlett, of the Soldiers'
Aid Society, Peoria, Ill.--Mrs. Russell and Mrs. Comstock, of Michigan,
Mrs. Dame, of Wisconsin--Miss Bucklin, of Auburn, N. Y.--Miss Louise M.
Alcott, of Concord, Mass.--Miss Penfield, of Michigan--The Misses
Rexford of Illinois--Miss Sophia Knight, of South Reading, Mass., a
faithful laborer among the Freedmen.                             787-794

INDEX OF NAMES OF LADIES.                                        795-800




3.--MRS. MARY A. BICKERDYKE               172


5.--MRS. NELLIE MARIA TAYLOR              234

6.--MRS. CORDELIA A. P. HARVEY            260

7.--MISS EMILY E. PARSONS                 273

8.--MRS. MARY MORRIS HUSBAND              287

9.--MISS MARY J. SAFFORD                  357

10.--MRS. R. H. SPENCER                   404

11.--MISS HATTIE A. DADA                  431

12.--MRS. MARIANNE F. STRANAHAN           651

13.--MRS. MARY A. LIVERMORE               577

14.--MRS. HENRIETTA L. COLT               609

15.--MRS. MARY B. WADE                    736

16.--ANNIE ETHERIDGE                      747


A record of the personal services of our American women in the late
Civil War, however painful to the modesty of those whom it brings
conspicuously before the world, is due to the honor of the country, to
the proper understanding of our social life, and to the general
interests of a sex whose rights, duties and capacities are now under
serious discussion. Most of the women commemorated in this work
inevitably lost the benefits of privacy, by the largeness and length of
their public services, and their names and history are to a certain
extent the property of the country. At any rate they must suffer the
penalty which conspicuous merit entails upon its possessors, especially
when won in fields of universal interest.

Notwithstanding the pains taken to collect from all parts of the
country, the names and history of the women who in any way distinguished
themselves in the War, and in spite of the utmost impartiality of
purpose, there is no pretence that all who served the country best, are
named in this record. Doubtless thousands of women, obscure in their
homes, and humble in their fortunes, without official position even in
their local society, and all human trace of whose labors is forever
lost, contributed as generously of their substance, and as freely of
their time and strength, and gave as unreservedly their hearts and their
prayers to the cause, as the most conspicuous on the shining list here
unrolled. For if

    "The world knows nothing of its greatest men,"

it is still more true of its noblest women. Unrewarded by praise,
unsullied by self-complacency, there is a character "of no reputation,"
which formed in strictest retirement, and in the patient exercise of
unobserved sacrifices, is dearer and holier in the eye of Heaven, than
the most illustrious name won by the most splendid services. Women there
were in this war, who without a single relative in the army, denied
themselves for the whole four years, the comforts to which they had
been always accustomed; went thinly clad, took the extra blanket from
their bed, never tasted tea, or sugar, or flesh, that they might wind
another bandage round some unknown soldier's wound, or give some parched
lips in the hospital another sip of wine. Others never let one leisure
moment, saved from lives of pledged labor which barely earned their
bread, go unemployed in the service of the soldiers. God Himself keeps
this record! It is too sacred to be trusted to men.

But it is not such humble, yet exalted souls that will complain of the
praise which to their neglect, is allotted to any of their sisters. The
ranks always contain some heroes braver and better than the most
fortunate and conspicuous officers of staff or line--but they feel
themselves best praised when their regiment, their corps, or their
general is gazetted. And the true-hearted workers for the soldiers among
the women of this country will gladly accept the recognition given to
the noble band of their sisters whom peculiar circumstances lifted into
distinct view, as a tribute offered to the whole company. Indeed, if the
lives set forth in this work, were regarded as exceptional in their
temper and spirit, as they certainly were in their incidents and
largeness of sphere, the whole lesson of the Record would be misread.
These women in their sacrifices, their patriotism, and their
persistency, are only fair representatives of the spirit of their whole
sex. As a rule, American women exhibited not only an intense feeling for
the soldiers in their exposures and their sufferings, but an intelligent
sympathy with the national cause, equal to that which furnished among
the men, two million and three hundred thousand volunteers.

It is not unusual for women of all countries to weep and to work for
those who encounter the perils of war. But the American women, after
giving up, with a principled alacrity, to the ranks of the gathering and
advancing army, their husbands and sons, their brothers and lovers,
proceeded to organize relief for them; and they did it, not in the
spasmodic and sentimental way, which has been common elsewhere, but with
a self-controlled and rational consideration of the wisest and best
means of accomplishing their purpose, which showed them to be in some
degree the products and representatives of a new social era, and a new
political development.

The distinctive features in woman's work in this war, were magnitude,
system, thorough co-operativeness with the other sex, distinctness of
purpose, business-like thoroughness in details, sturdy persistency to
the close. There was no more general rising among the men, than among
the women. Men did not take to the musket, more commonly than women took
to the needle; and for every assembly where men met for mutual
excitation in the service of the country, there was some corresponding
gathering of women, to stir each other's hearts and fingers in the same
sacred cause. All the caucuses and political assemblies of every kind,
in which speech and song quickened the blood of the men, did not exceed
in number the meetings, in the form of Soldiers' Aid Societies, and
Sewing Circles, which the women held, where they talked over the
national cause, and fed the fires of sacrifice in each other's hearts.
Probably never in any war in any country, was there so universal and so
specific an acquaintance on the part of both men and women, with the
principles at issue, and the interests at stake. And of the two, the
women were clearer and more united than the men, because their moral
feelings and political instincts were not so much affected by
selfishness and business, or party considerations. The work which our
system of popular education does for girls and boys alike, and which in
the middle and upper classes practically goes further with girls than
with boys, told magnificently at this crisis. Everywhere, well educated
women were found fully able to understand and explain to their sisters,
the public questions involved in the war. Everywhere the newspapers,
crowded with interest and with discussions, found eager and appreciative
readers among the gentler sex. Everywhere started up women acquainted
with the order of public business; able to call, and preside over public
meetings of their own sex; act as secretaries and committees, draft
constitutions and bye-laws, open books, and keep accounts with adequate
precision, appreciate system, and postpone private inclinations or
preferences to general principles; enter into extensive correspondence
with their own sex: co-operate in the largest and most rational plans
proposed by men who had studied carefully the subject of soldiers'
relief, and adhere through good report and through evil report, to
organizations which commended themselves to their judgment, in spite of
local, sectarian, or personal jealousies and detractions.

It is impossible to over-estimate the amount of consecrated work done by
the loyal women of the North for the Army. Hundreds of thousands of
women probably gave all the leisure they could command, and all the
money they could save and spare, to the soldiers for the whole four
years and more, of the War. Amid discouragements and fearful delays they
never flagged, but to the last increased in zeal and devotion. And their
work was as systematic as it was universal. A generous emulation among
the Branches of the United States Sanitary Commission, managed generally
by women, usually, however, with some aid from men, brought their
business habits and methods to an almost perfect finish. Nothing that
men commonly think peculiar to their own methods was wanting in the
plans of the women. They acknowledged and answered, endorsed and filed
their letters; they sorted their stores, and kept an accurate account of
stock; they had their books and reports kept in the most approved forms;
they balanced their cash accounts with the most pains-taking precision;
they exacted of each other regularity of attendance and punctiliousness
of official etiquette. They showed in short, a perfect aptitude for
business, and proved by their own experience that men can devise nothing
too precise, too systematic or too complicated for women to understand,
apply and improve upon, where there is any sufficient motive for it.

It was another feature of the case that there was no jealousy between
women and men in the work, and no disposition to discourage, underrate,
or dissociate from each other. It seemed to be conceded that men had
more invention, comprehensiveness and power of generalization, and that
their business habits, the fruits of ages of experience, were at least
worth studying and copying by women. On the other hand, men, usually
jealous of woman's extending the sphere of her life and labors, welcomed
in this case her assistance in a public work, and felt how vain men's
toil and sacrifices would be without woman's steady sympathy and patient
ministry of mercy, her more delicate and persistent pity, her
willingness to endure monotonous details of labor for the sake of
charity, her power to open the heart of her husband, and to keep alive
and flowing the fountains of compassion and love.

No words are adequate to describe the systematic, persistent
faithfulness of the women who organized and led the Branches of the
United States Sanitary Commission. Their volunteer labor had all the
regularity of paid service, and a heartiness and earnestness which no
paid services can ever have. Hundreds of women evinced talents there,
which, in other spheres and in the other sex, would have made them
merchant-princes, or great administrators of public affairs. Storms nor
heats could keep them from their posts, and they wore on their faces,
and finally evinced in their breaking constitutions, the marks of the
cruel strain put upon their minds and hearts. They engaged in a
correspondence of the most trying kind, requiring the utmost address to
meet the searching questions asked by intelligent jealousy, and to
answer the rigorous objections raised by impatience or ignorance in the
rural districts. They became instructors of whole townships in the
methods of government business, the constitution of the Commissary and
Quartermaster's Departments, and the forms of the Medical Bureau. They
had steadily to contend with the natural desire of the Aid Societies for
local independence, and to reconcile neighborhoods to the idea of being
merged and lost in large generalizations. They kept up the spirit of
the people distant from the war and the camps, by a steady fire of
letters full of touching incidents; and they were repaid not only by the
most generous returns of stores, but by letters from humble homes and
lonely hearts, so full of truth and tenderness, of wisdom and pity, of
self-sacrifice and patriotic consecration, that the most gifted and
educated women in America, many of them at the head of the Branches or
among their Directors, felt constantly reproved by the nobleness, the
sweetness, the depth of sentiment that welled from the hidden and
obscure springs in the hearts of farmers' wives and factory-girls.

Nor were the talents and the sacrifices of those at the larger Depôts or
Centres, more worthy of notice than the skill and pains evinced in
arousing, maintaining and managing the zeal and work of county or town
societies. Indeed, sometimes larger works are more readily controlled
than smaller ones; and jealousies and individual caprices obstruct the
co-operation of villages more than of towns and cities.

In the ten thousand Soldiers' Aid Societies which at one time or another
probably existed in the country, there was in each some master-spirit,
whose consecrated purpose was the staple in the wall, from which the
chain of service hung and on whose strength and firmness it steadily
drew. I never visited a single town however obscure, that I did not hear
some woman's name which stood in that community for "Army Service;" a
name round which the rest of the women gladly rallied; the name of some
woman whose heart was felt to beat louder and more firmly than any of
the rest for the boys in blue.

Of the practical talent, the personal worth, the aptitude for public
service, the love of self-sacrificing duty thus developed and nursed
into power, and brought to the knowledge of its possessors and their
communities, it is difficult to speak too warmly. Thousands of women
learned in this work to despise frivolity, gossip, fashion and idleness;
learned to think soberly and without prejudice of the capacities of
their own sex; and thus, did more to advance the rights of woman by
proving her gifts and her fitness for public duties, than a whole
library of arguments and protests.

The prodigious exertions put forth by the women who founded and
conducted the great Fairs for the soldiers in a dozen principal cities,
and in many large towns, were only surpassed by the planning skill and
administrative ability which accompanied their progress, and the
marvellous success in which they terminated. Months of anxious
preparation, where hundreds of committees vied with each other in
long-headed schemes for securing the co-operation of the several trades
or industries allotted to each, and during which laborious days and
anxious nights were unintermittingly given to the wearing work, were
followed by weeks of personal service in the fairs themselves, where the
strongest women found their vigor inadequate to the task, and hundreds
laid the foundations of long illness and some of sudden death. These
sacrifices and far-seeing provisions were justly repaid by almost
fabulous returns of money, which to the extent of nearly three millions
of dollars, flowed into the treasury of the United States Sanitary
Commission. The chief women who inaugurated the several great Fairs at
New York, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, St.
Louis, and administered these vast movements, were not behind the ablest
men in the land in their grasp and comprehension of the business in
hand, and often in comparison with the men associated with them,
exhibited a finer scope, a better spirit and a more victorious faith.
But for the women of America, the great Fairs would never have been
born, or would have died ignominiously in their gilded cradles. Their
vastness of conception and their splendid results are to be set as an
everlasting crown on woman's capacity for large and money-yielding
enterprises. The women who led them can never sink back into obscurity.

But I must pass from this inviting theme, where indeed I feel more at
home than in what is to follow, to the consideration of what naturally
occupies a larger space in this work--however much smaller it was in
reality, _i. e._, to the labors of the women who actually went to the
war, and worked in the hospitals and camps.

Of the labors of women in the hospitals and in the field, this book
gives a far fuller history than is likely to be got from any other
source, as this sort of service cannot be recorded in the histories of
organized work. For, far the largest part of this work was done by
persons of exceptional energy and some fine natural aptitude for the
service, which was independent of organizations, and hardly submitted
itself to any rules except the impulses of devoted love for the
work--supplying tact, patience and resources. The women who did hospital
service continuously, or who kept themselves near the base of armies in
the field, or who moved among the camps, and travelled with the corps,
were an exceptional class--as rare as heroines always are--a class,
representing no social grade, but coming from all--belonging to no rank
or age of life in particular; sometimes young and sometimes old,
sometimes refined and sometimes rude; now of fragile physical aspect and
then of extraordinary robustness--but in all cases, women with a mighty
love and earnestness in their hearts--a love and pity, and an ability to
show it forth and to labor in behalf of it, equal to that which in other
departments of life, distinguishes poets, philosophers, sages and
saints, from ordinary or average men.

Moved by an indomitable desire to serve in person the victims of wounds
and sickness, a few hundred women, impelled by instincts which assured
them of their ability to endure the hardship, overcome the obstacles,
and adjust themselves to the unusual and unfeminine circumstances in
which they would be placed--made their way through all obstructions at
home, and at the seat of war, or in the hospitals, to the bed-sides of
the sick and wounded men. Many of these women scandalized their friends
at home by what seemed their Quixotic resolution; or, they left their
families under circumstances which involved a romantic oblivion of the
recognized and usual duties of domestic life; they forsook their own
children, to make children of a whole army corps; they risked their
lives in fevered hospitals; they lived in tents or slept in ambulance
wagons, for months together; they fell sick of fevers themselves, and
after long illness, returned to the old business of hospital and field
service. They carried into their work their womanly tenderness, their
copious sympathies, their great-hearted devotion--and had to face and
contend with the cold routine, the semi-savage professional
indifference, which by the necessities of the case, makes ordinary
medical supervision, in time of actual war, impersonal, official,
unsympathetic and abrupt. The honest, natural jealousy felt by
surgeons-in-charge, and their ward masters, of all outside assistance,
made it necessary for every woman, who was to succeed in her purpose of
holding her place, and really serving the men, to study and practice an
address, an adaptation and a patience, of which not one candidate in ten
was capable. Doubtless nine-tenths of all who wished to offer and
thought themselves capable of this service, failed in their practical
efforts. As many women fancied themselves capable of enduring hospital
life, as there are always in every college, youth who believe they can
become distinguished authors, poets and statesmen. But only the few who
had a _genius_ for the work, continued in it, and succeeded in elbowing
room for themselves through the never-ending obstacles, jealousies and
chagrins that beset the service. Every woman who keeps her place in a
general hospital, or a corps hospital, has to prove her title to be
trusted; her tact, discretion, endurance and strength of nerve and
fibre. No one woman succeeded in rendering years of hospital service,
who was not an exceptional person--a woman of larger heart, clearer
head, finer enthusiasm, and more mingled tact, courage, firmness and
holy will--than one in a thousand of her sex. A grander collection of
women--whether considered in their intellectual or their moral
qualities, their heads or their hearts, I have not had the happiness of
knowing, than the women I saw in the hospitals; they were the flower of
their sex. Great as were the labors of those who superintended the
operations at home--of collecting and preparing supplies for the
hospitals and the field, I cannot but think that the women who lived in
the hospitals, or among the soldiers, required a force of character and
a glow of devotion and self-sacrifice, of a rarer kind. They were really
heroines. They conquered their feminine sensibility at the sight of
blood and wounds; their native antipathy to disorder, confusion and
violence; subdued the rebellious delicacy of their more exquisite
senses; lived coarsely, and dressed and slept rudely; they studied the
caprices of men to whom their ties were simply human--men often
ignorant, feeble-minded--out of their senses--raving with pain and
fever; they had a still harder service to bear with the pride, the
official arrogance, the hardness or the folly--perhaps the impertinence
and presumption of half-trained medical men, whom the urgencies of the
case had fastened on the service.[A] Their position was always critical,
equivocal, suspected, and to be justified only by their undeniable and
conspicuous merits;--their wisdom, patience and proven efficiency;
justified by the love and reverence they exacted from the soldiers

[Footnote A: A large number of the United States Army and volunteer
surgeons were indeed men of the highest and most humane character, and
treated the women who came to the hospitals, with careful and scrupulous
consideration. Some women were able to say that they never encountered
opposition or hindrance from any officials; but this was not the rule.]

True, the rewards of these women were equal to their sacrifices. They
drew their pay from a richer treasury than that of the United States
Government. I never knew one of them who had had a long service, whose
memory of the grateful looks of the dying, of the few awkward words that
fell from the lips of thankful convalescents, or the speechless
eye-following of the dependent soldier, or the pressure of a rough hand,
softened to womanly gentleness by long illness,--was not the sweetest
treasure of all their lives. Nothing in the power of the Nation to give
or to say, can ever compare for a moment with the proud satisfaction
which every brave soldier who risked his life for his country, always
carries in his heart of hearts. And no public recognition, no thanks
from a saved Nation, can ever add anything of much importance to the
rewards of those who tasted the actual joy of ministering with their own
hands and hearts to the wants of one sick and dying man.

It remains only to say a word about the influence of the work of the
women in the War upon the strength and unanimity of the public
sentiment, and on the courage and fortitude of the army itself.

The participation by actual work and service in the labors of the War,
not only took out of women's hearts the soreness which unemployed
energies or incongruous pursuits would have left there, but it took out
of their mouths the murmurs and moans which their deserted, husbandless,
childless condition would so naturally have provoked. The women by their
call to work, and the opportunity of pouring their energies, sympathies
and affections into an ever open and practical channel, were quieted,
reconciled, upheld. The weak were borne upon the bosoms of the strong.
Banded together, and working together, their solicitude and uneasiness
were alleviated. Following in imagination the work of their own hands,
they seemed to be present on the field and in the ranks; they studied
the course of the armies; they watched the policy of the Government;
they learned the character of the Generals; they threw themselves into
the war! And so they helped wonderfully to keep up the enthusiasm, or to
rebuke the lukewarmness, or to check the despondency and apathy which at
times settled over the people. Men were ashamed to doubt where women
trusted, or to murmur where they submitted, or to do little where they
did so much. If during the war, home life had gone on as usual; women
engrossed in their domestic or social cares; shrinking from public
questions; deferring to what their husbands or brothers told them, or
seeking to amuse themselves with social pleasures and striving to forget
the painful strife in frivolous caprices, it would have had a fearful
effect on public sentiment, deepening the gloom of every reverse, adding
to the discouragements which an embarrassed commerce and trade brought
to men's hearts, by domestic echoes of weariness of the strife, and
favoring the growth of a disaffected, compromising, unpatriotic feeling,
which always stood ready to break out with any offered encouragement. A
sense of nearness of the people to the Government which the organization
of the women effected, enlarged their sympathies with its movements and
disposed them to patience. Their own direct experience of the
difficulties of all co-operative undertakings, broadened their views and
rendered intelligible the delays and reverses which our national cause
suffered. In short the women of the country were through the whole
conflict, not only not softening the fibres of war, but they were
actually strengthening its sinews by keeping up their own courage and
that of their households, under the inspiration of the larger and more
public life, the broader work and greater field for enterprise and
self-sacrifice afforded them by their direct labors for the benefit of
the soldiers. They drew thousands of lukewarm, or calculating, or
self-saving men into the support of the national cause by their
practical enthusiasm and devotion. They proved what has again and again
been demonstrated, that what the women of a country resolve shall be
done, will and must be done. They shamed recruits into the ranks, and
made it almost impossible for deserters, or cowards, or malingerers to
come home; they emptied the pockets of social idlers, or wealthy drones,
into the treasuries of the Aid Societies; and they compelled the shops
and domestic trade of all cities to be favorable to the war. The
American women were nearer right and more thoroughly united by this
means, and their own healthier instincts, than the American men. The
Army, whose bayonets were glittering needles, advanced with more
unbroken ranks, and exerted almost a greater moral force than the army
that carried loaded muskets.

The Aid Societies and the direct oversight the women sought to give the
men in the field, very much increased the reason for correspondence
between the homes and the tents.

The women were proud to write what those at the hearth-stone were doing
for those who tended the camp-fires, and the men were happy and cheery
to acknowledge the support they received from this home sympathy. The
immense correspondence between the army and the homes, prodigious beyond
belief as it was, some regiments sending home a thousand letters a week,
and receiving as many more back; the constant transmission to the men of
newspapers, full of the records of home work and army news, produced a
homogeneousness of feeling between the soldiers and the citizens, which
kept the men in the field, civilians, and made the people at home, of
both sexes, half-soldiers.

Thus there never grew up in the army any purely military and anti-social
or anti-civil sentiments. The soldiers studied and appreciated all the
time the moral causes of the War, and were acquainted with the political
as well as military complications. They felt all the impulses of home
strengthening their arms and encouraging their hearts. And their letters
home, as a rule, were designed to put the best face upon things, and to
encourage their wives and sweet-hearts, their sisters and parents, to
bear their absence with fortitude, and even with cheerfulness.

The influence on the tone of their correspondence, exerted by the fact
that the women were always working for the Army, and that the soldiers
always knew they were working, and were always receiving evidence of
their care, may be better imagined than described. It largely ministered
to that sympathetic unity between the soldiers and the country, which
made our army always a corrective and an inspiration to our Governmental
policy, and kept up that fine reciprocal influence between civil and
military life, which gave an heroic fibre to all souls at home, and
finally restored us our soldiers with their citizen hearts beating
regularly under their uniforms, as they dropped them off at the last

    H. W. B.



    Patriotism in some form, an attribute of woman in all nations and
    climes--Its modes of manifestation--Pæans for victory--Lamentations
    for the death of a heroic leader--Personal leadership by women--The
    assassination of tyrants--The care of the sick and wounded of
    national armies--The hospitals established by the Empress Helena--
    The Beguines and their successors--The cantiniéres, vivandiéres,
    etc.--Other modes in which women manifested their patriotism--
    Florence Nightingale and her labors--The results--The awakening of
    patriotic zeal among American women at the opening of the war--The
    organization of philanthropic effort--Hospital nurses--Miss Dix's
    rejection of great numbers of applicants on account of youth--Hired
    nurses--Their services generally prompted by patriotism rather than
    pay--The State relief agents (ladies) at Washington--The hospital
    transport system of the Sanitary Commission--Mrs. Harris's, Miss
    Barton's, Mrs. Fales', Miss Gilson's, and other ladies' services at
    the front during the battles of 1862--Services of other ladies at
    Chancellorsville, at Gettysburg--The Field Relief of the Sanitary
    Commission, and services of ladies in the later battles--Voluntary
    services of women in the armies in the field at the West--Services
    in the hospitals, of garrisons and fortified towns--Soldiers' homes
    and lodges, and their matrons--Homes for Refugees--Instruction of
    the Freedmen--Refreshment Saloons at Philadelphia--Regular visiting
    of hospitals in the large cities--The Soldiers' Aid Societies, and
    their mode of operation--The extraordinary labors of the managers of
    the Branch Societies--Government clothing contracts--Mrs. Springer,
    Miss Wormeley and Miss Gilson--The managers of the local Soldiers'
    Aid Societies--The sacrifices made by the poor to contribute
    supplies--Examples--The labors of the young and the old--
    Inscriptions on articles--The poor seamstress--Five hundred bushels
    of wheat--The five dollar gold piece--The army of martyrs--The
    effect of this female patriotism in stimulating the courage of the
    soldiers--Lack of persistence in this work among the Women of the
    South--Present and future--Effect of patriotism and self-sacrifice
    in elevating and ennobling the female character.

An intense and passionate love of country, holding, for the time, all
other ties in abeyance, has been a not uncommon trait of character among
women of all countries and climes, throughout the ages of human history.
In the nomadic races it assumed the form of attachment to the
patriarchal rules and chiefs of the tribe; in the more savage of the
localized nations, it was reverence for the ruler, coupled with a filial
regard for the resting-places and graves of their ancestors.

But in the more highly organized and civilized countries, it was the
institutions of the nation, its religion, its sacred traditions, its
history, as well as its kings, its military leaders, and its priests,
that were the objects of the deep and intense patriotic devotion of its
noblest and most gifted women.

The manifestations of this patriotic zeal were diverse in different
countries, and at different periods in the same country. At one time it
contented itself with triumphal pæans and dances over victories won by
the nation's armies, as in the case of Miriam and the maidens of Israel
at the destruction of the Egyptians at the Red Sea, or the victories of
the armies led by David against the Philistines; or in the most
heart-rending lamentations over the fall of the nation's heroes on the
field of battle, as in the mourning of the Trojan maidens over the death
of Hector; at other times, some brave and heroic spirit, goaded with the
sense of her country's wrongs, girds upon her own fair and tender form,
the armor of proof, and goes forth, the self-constituted but eagerly
welcomed leader of its mailed hosts, to overthrow the nation's foes. We
need only recall Deborah, the avenger of the Israelites against the
oppressions of the King of Canaan; Boadicea, the daring Queen of the
Britons, and in later times, the heroic but hapless maid of Orleans,
Jeanne d'Arc; and in the Hungarian war of 1848, the brave but
unfortunate Countess Teleki, as examples of these female patriots.

In rare instances, this sense of the nation's sufferings from a tyrant's
oppression, have so wrought upon the sensitive spirit, as to stimulate
it to the determination to achieve the country's freedom by the
assassination of the oppressor. It was thus that Jael brought
deliverance to her country by the murder of Sisera; Judith, by the
assassination of Holofernes; and in modern times, Charlotte Corday
sought the rescue of France from the grasp of the murderous despot,
Marat, by plunging the poniard to his heart.

A far nobler, though less demonstrative manifestation of patriotic
devotion than either of these, is that which has prompted women in all
ages to become ministering angels to the sick, the suffering, and the
wounded among their countrymen who have periled life and health in the
nation's cause.

Occasionally, even in the earliest recorded wars of antiquity, we find
high-born maidens administering solace to the wounded heroes on the
field of battle, and attempting to heal their wounds by the appliances
of their rude and simple surgery; but it was only the favorite leaders,
never the common soldier, or the subordinate officer, who received these
gentle attentions. The influence of Christianity, in its earlier
development, tended to expand the sympathies and open the heart of woman
to all gentle and holy influences, and it is recorded that the wounded
Christian soldiers were, where it was possible, nursed and cared for by
those of the same faith, both men and women.

In the fifth century, the Empress Helena established hospitals for the
sick and wounded soldiers of the empire, on the routes between Rome and
Constantinople, and caused them to be carefully nursed. In the dark ages
that followed, and amid the downfall of the Roman Empire, and the
uprearing of the Gothic kingdoms that succeeded, there was little room
or thought of mercy; but the fair-haired women of the North encouraged
their heroes to deeds of valor, and at times, ministered in their rude
way to their wounds. The monks, at their monasteries, rendered some care
and aid to the wounded in return for their exemption from plunder and
rapine, and in the ninth century, an order of women consecrated to the
work, the Beguines, predecessors of the modern Sisters of Charity, was
established "to minister to the sick and wounded of the armies which
then, and for centuries afterward, scarred the face of continental
Europe with battle-fields." With the Beguines, however, and their
successors, patriotism was not so much the controlling motive of action,
as the attainment of merit by those deeds of charity and self-sacrifice.

In the wars of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and the early part of the
nineteenth century, while the hospitals had a moderate share of fair
ministrants, chiefly of the religious orders, the only female service on
the battle-field or in the camp, often the scene of fatal epidemics, was
that of the _cantiniéres_, _vivandiéres_, _filles du regiment_, and
other camp followers, who, at some risk of reputation, accompanied the
armies in their march, and brought to the wounded and often dying
soldier, on the field of battle, the draught of water which quenched his
raging thirst, or the cordial, which sustained his fast ebbing strength
till relief could come. Humble of origin, and little circumspect in
morals as many of these women were, they are yet deserving of credit for
the courage and patriotism which led them to brave all the horrors of
death, to relieve the suffering of the wounded of the regiments to which
they were attached. Up to the period of the Crimean war in 1854, though
there had been much that was praiseworthy in the manifestations of
female patriotism in connection with the movements of great armies,
there had never been any systematic ministration, prompted by patriotic
devotion, to the relief of the suffering sick and wounded of those

There were yet other modes, however, in which the women of ancient and
modern times manifested their love of their country. The Spartan mother,
who, without a tear, presented her sons with their shields, with the
stern injunction to return with them, or upon them, that is, with honor
untarnished, or dead,--the fair dames and maidens of Carthage, who
divested themselves of their beautiful tresses, to furnish bowstrings
for their soldiers,--the Jewish women who preferred a death of torture,
to the acknowledgment of the power of the tyrant over their country's
rulers, and their faith--the women of the Pays-de Vaud, whose mountain
fastnesses and churches were dearer to them than life--the thousands of
wives and mothers, who in our revolutionary struggle, and in our recent
war, gave up freely at their country's call, their best beloved,
regretting only that they had no more to give; knowing full well, that
in giving them up they condemned themselves to penury and want, to
hard, grinding toil, and privations such as they had never before
experienced, and not improbably to the rending, by the rude vicissitudes
of war, of those ties, dearer than life itself--those who in the
presence of ruffians, capable of any atrocity dared, and in many cases
suffered, a violent death, and indignities worse than death, by their
fearless defense of the cause and flag of their country--and yet again,
those who, in peril of their lives, for the love they bore to their
country, guided hundreds of escaped prisoners, through the regions
haunted by foes, to safety and freedom--all these and many others, whose
deeds of heroism we have not space so much as to name, have shown their
love of country as fully and worthily, as those who in hospital, in camp
or on battle-field have ministered to the battle-scarred hero, or those
who, in all the panoply of war, have led their hosts to the deadly
charge, or the fierce affray of contending armies.

Florence Nightingale, an English gentlewoman, of high social position
and remarkable executive powers, was the first of her sex, at least
among English-speaking nations, to systematize the patriotic ardor of
her countrywomen, and institute such measures of reform in the care of
sick and wounded soldiers in military hospitals, as should conduce to
the comfort and speedy recovery of their inmates. She had voluntarily
passed through the course of training, required of the hospital nurses
and assistants, in Pastor Fliedner's Deaconess' Institution, at
Kaiserswerth on the Rhine, before she entered upon her great mission in
the hospitals at Scutari. She was ably seconded in her labors by other
ladies of rank from England, who, actuated only by patriotic zeal, gave
themselves to the work of bringing order out of chaos, cheerfulness out
of gloom, cleanliness out of the most revolting filth, and the sunshine
of health out of the lazar house of corruption and death. In this heroic
undertaking they periled their lives, more certainly, than those who
took part in the fierce charge of Balaclava. Some fell victims to their
untiring zeal; others, and Miss Nightingale among the number, were
rendered hopeless invalids for life, by their exertions.

Fifty years of peace had rendered our nation more entirely unacquainted
with the arts of war, than was Great Britain, when, at the close of
forty years of quiet, she again marshalled her troops in battle array.
But though the transition was sudden from the arts of peace to the din
and tumult of war, and the blunders, both from inexperience and dogged
adherence to routine, were innumerable, the hearts of the people, and
especially the hearts of the gentler sex, were resolutely set upon one
thing; that the citizen soldiers of the nation should be cared for, in
sickness or in health, as the soldiers of no nation had ever been
before. Soldiers' Aid Societies, Sewing Circles for the soldiers, and
Societies for Relief, sprang up simultaneously with the organization of
regiments, in every village, town, and city throughout the North.
Individual benevolence kept pace with organized charity, and the
managers of the freight trains and expresses, running toward Washington,
were in despair at the fearful accumulation of freight for the soldiers,
demanding instant transportation. It was inevitable that there should be
waste and loss in this lavish outpouring; but it was a manifestation of
the patriotic feeling which throbbed in the hearts of the people, and
which, through four years of war, never ceased or diminished aught of
its zeal, or its abundant liberality. It was felt instinctively, that
there would soon be a demand for nurses for the sick and wounded, and
fired by the noble example of Florence Nightingale, though too often
without her practical training, thousands of young, fair, and highly
educated women offered themselves for the work, and strove for
opportunities for their gentle ministry, as in other days they might
have striven for the prizes of fortune.

Soon order emerged from the chaos of benevolent impulse; the Sanitary
Commission and its affiliated Societies organized and wisely directed
much of the philanthropic effort, which would otherwise have failed of
accomplishing its intended work through misdirection; while other
Commissions, Associations, and skillfully managed personal labors,
supplemented what was lacking in its earlier movements, and ere long the
Christian Commission added intellectual and religious aliment to its
supplies for the wants of the physical man.

Of the thousands of applicants for the position of Hospital Nurses, the
greater part were rejected promptly by the stern, but experienced lady,
to whom the Government had confided the delicate and responsible duty of
making the selection. The ground of rejection was usually the
youthfulness of the applicants; a sufficient reason, doubtless, in most
cases, since the enthusiasm, mingled in some instances, perhaps, with
romance, which had prompted the offer, would often falter before the
extremely unpoetic realities of a nurse's duties, and the youth and
often frail health of the applicants would soon cause them to give way
under labors which required a mature strength, a firm will, and skill in
all household duties. Yet "to err is human," and it need not surprise
us, as it probably did not Miss Dix, to learn, that in a few instances,
those whom she had refused to commission on account of their
youthfulness, proved in other fields, their possession of the very
highest qualifications for the care of the sick and wounded. Miss Gilson
was one of the most remarkable of these instances; and it reflects no
discredit on Miss Dix's powers of discrimination, that she should not
have discovered, in that girlish face, the indications of those high
abilities, of which their possessor was as yet probably unconscious. The
rejection of so many of these volunteer nurses necessitated the
appointment of many from another class,--young women of culture and
education, but generally from the humbler walks of life, in whose hearts
the fire of patriotism was not less ardent and glowing than in those of
their wealthier sisters. Many of these, though they would have preferred
to perform their labors without fee or reward, were compelled, from the
necessities of those at home, to accept the wholly inadequate pittance
(twelve dollars a month and their food) which was offered them by the
Government, but they served in their several stations with a fidelity,
intelligence, and patient devotion which no money could purchase. The
testimony received from all quarters to the faithfulness and great moral
worth of these nurses, is greatly to their honor. Not one of them, so
far as we can learn, ever disgraced her calling, or gave cause for
reproach. We fear that so general an encomium could not truthfully be
bestowed on all the volunteer nurses.

But nursing in the hospitals, was only a small part of the work to which
patriotism called American women. There was the collection and
forwarding to the field, there to be distributed by the chaplains, or
some specially appointed agent, of those supplies which the families and
friends of the soldiers so earnestly desired to send to them; socks,
shirts, handkerchiefs, havelocks, and delicacies in the way of food. The
various states had their agents, generally ladies, in Washington, who
performed these duties, during the first two years of the war, while as
yet the Sanitary Commission had not fully organized its system of Field
Relief. In the West, every considerable town furnished its quota of
supplies, and, after every battle, voluntary agents undertook their

During McClellan's peninsular campaign, a Hospital Transport service was
organized in connection with the Sanitary Commission, which numbered
among its members several gentlemen and ladies of high social position,
whose labors in improvising, often from the scantiest possible supplies,
the means of comfort and healing for the fever-stricken and wounded,
resulted in the preservation of hundreds of valuable lives.

Mrs. John Harris, the devoted and heroic Secretary of the Ladies' Aid
Society of Philadelphia, had already, in the Peninsular campaign,
encountered all the discomforts and annoyances of a life in the camp, to
render what assistance she could to the sick and wounded, while they
were yet in the field or camp hospital. At Cedar Mountain, and in the
subsequent battles of August, in Pope's Campaign, Miss Barton, Mrs. T.
J. Fales, and some others also brought supplies to the field, and
ministered to the wounded, while the shot and shell were crashing around
them, and Antietam had its representatives of the fair sex, angels of
mercy, but for whose tender and judicious ministrations, hundreds and
perhaps thousands would not have seen another morning's light. In the
race for Richmond which followed, Miss Barton's train was hospital and
diet kitchen to the Ninth Corps, and much of the time for the other
Corps also. At Fredericksburg, Mrs. Harris, Mrs. Lee, Mrs. Plummer, Mrs.
Fales, and Miss Barton, and we believe also, Miss Gilson, were all
actively engaged. A part of the same noble company, though not all, were
at Chancellorsville.

At Gettysburg, Mrs. Harris was present and actively engaged, and as soon
as the battle ceased, a delegation of ladies connected with the Sanitary
Commission toiled most faithfully to alleviate the horrors of war. In
the subsequent battles of the Army of the Potomac, the Field Relief
Corps of the Sanitary Commission with its numerous male and female
collaborators, after, or at the time of all the great battles, the
ladies connected with the Christian Commission and a number of efficient
independent workers, did all in their power to relieve the constantly
swelling tide of human suffering, especially during that period of less
than ninety days, when more than ninety thousand men, wounded, dying, or
dead, covered the battle-fields with their gore.

In the West, after the battle of Shiloh, and the subsequent engagements
of Buell's campaign, women of the highest social position visited the
battle-field, and encountered its horrors, to minister to those who were
suffering, and bring them relief. Among these, the names of Mrs. Martha
A. Wallace, the widow of General W. H. L. Wallace, who fell in the
battle of Shiloh; of Mrs. Harvey, the widow of Governor Louis Harvey of
Wisconsin, who was drowned while on a mission of philanthropy to the
Wisconsin soldiers wounded at Shiloh; and the sainted Margaret E.
Breckinridge of St. Louis, will be readily recalled. During Grant's
Vicksburg campaign, as well as after Rosecrans' battles of Stone River
and Chickamauga, there were many of these heroic women who braved all
discomforts and difficulties to bring healing and comfort to the gallant
soldiers who had fallen on the field. Mrs. Hoge and Mrs. Livermore, of
Chicago, visited Grant's camp in front of Vicksburg, more than once, and
by their exertions, saved his army from scurvy; Mrs. Porter, Mrs.
Bickerdyke, and several others are deserving of mention for their
untiring zeal both in these and Sherman's Georgian campaigns. Mrs.
Bickerdyke has won undying renown throughout the Western armies as
pre-eminently the friend of the private soldier.

As our armies, especially in the West and Southwest, won more and more
of the enemy's territory, the important towns of which were immediately
occupied as garrisons, hospital posts, and secondary bases of the
armies, the work of nursing and providing special diet and comfort in
the general hospitals at these posts, which were often of great extent,
involved a vast amount of labor and frequently serious privation, and
personal discomfort on the part of the nurses. Some of these who
volunteered for the work were remarkable for their earnest and faithful
labors in behalf of the soldiers, under circumstances which would have
disheartened any but the most resolute spirits. We may name without
invidiousness among these, Mrs. Colfax, Miss Maertz, Miss Melcenia
Elliott, Miss Parsons, Miss Adams, and Miss Brayton, who, with many
others, perhaps equally faithful, by their constant assiduity in their
duties, have given proof of their ardent love of their country.

To provide for the great numbers of men discharged from the hospitals
while yet feeble and ill, and without the means of going to their often
distant homes, and the hundreds of enfeebled and mutilated soldiers,
whose days of service were over, and who, often in great bodily
weakness, sought to obtain the pay due them from the Government, and not
unseldom died in the effort; the United States Sanitary Commission and
the Western Sanitary Commission established Soldiers' Homes at
Washington, Cincinnati, Chicago, Louisville, Nashville, St. Louis,
Memphis, Vicksburg, and other places. In these, these disabled men found
food and shelter, medical attendance when needed, assistance in
collecting their dues, and aid in their transportation homeward. To each
of these institutions, a Matron was assigned, often with female
assistants. The duties of these Matrons were extremely arduous, but they
were performed most nobly. To some of these homes were attached a
department for the mothers, wives and daughters of the wounded soldiers,
who had come on to care for them, and who often found themselves, when
ready to return, penniless, and without a shelter. To these, a helping
hand, and a kind welcome, was ever extended.

To these should be added the Soldiers' Lodges, established at some
temporary stopping-places on the routes to and from the great
battle-fields; places where the soldier, fainting from his wearisome
march, found refreshment, and if sick, shelter and care; and the
wounded, on their distressing journey from the battle-field to the
distant hospitals, received the gentle ministrations of women, to allay
their thirst, relieve their painful positions, and strengthen their
wearied bodies for further journeyings. There were also, in New York,
Boston, and many other of the Northern cities, Soldiers' Homes or
Depots, not generally connected with the Sanitary Commission, in which
invalid soldiers were cared for and their interests protected. In all
these there were efficient and capable Matrons. In the West, there were
also Homes for Refugees, families of poor whites generally though not
always sufferers for their Union sentiments, sent north by the military
commanders from all the States involved in the rebellion. Reduced to the
lowest depths of poverty, often suffering absolute starvation, usually
dirty and of uncleanly habits, in many cases ignorant in the extreme,
and intensely indolent, these poor creatures had often little to
recommend them to the sympathy of their northern friends, save their
common humanity, and their childlike attachment to the Union cause. Yet
on these, women of high culture and refinement, women who, but for the
fire of patriotism which burned in their hearts, would have turned away,
sickened at the mental and moral degradation which seemed proof against
all instruction or tenderness, bestowed their constant and unwearying
care, endeavoring to rouse in them the instinct of neatness and the love
of household duties; instructing their children, and instilling into the
darkened minds of the adults some ideas of religious duty, and some
gleams of intelligence. No mission to the heathen of India, of Tartary,
or of the African coasts, could possibly have been more hopeless and
discouraging; but they triumphed over every obstacle, and in many
instances had the happiness of seeing these poor people restored to
their southern homes, with higher aims, hopes, and aspirations, and with
better habits, and more intelligence, than they had ever before

The camps and settlements of the freedmen were also the objects of
philanthropic care. To these, many highly educated women volunteered to
go, and establishing schools, endeavored to raise these former slaves to
the comprehension of their privileges and duties as free men. The work
was arduous, for though there was a stronger desire for learning, and a
quicker apprehension of religious and moral instruction, among the
freedmen than among the refugees, their slave life had made them fickle,
untruthful, and to some extent, dishonest and unchaste. Yet the faithful
and indefatigable teachers found their labors wonderfully successful,
and accomplished a great amount of good.

Another and somewhat unique manifestation of the patriotism of our
American women, was the service of the Refreshment Saloons at
Philadelphia. For four years, the women of that portion of Philadelphia
lying in the vicinity of the Navy Yard, responded, by night or by day,
to the signal gun, fired whenever one or more regiments of soldiers were
passing through the city, and hastening to the Volunteer or the Cooper
Shop Refreshment Saloons, spread before the soldiers an ample repast,
and served them with a cordiality and heartiness deserving all praise.
Four hundred thousand soldiers were fed by these willing hands and
generous hearts, and in hospitals connected with both Refreshment
Saloons the sick were tenderly cared for.

In the large general hospitals of Washington, Philadelphia, New York,
Cincinnati, and St. Louis, in addition to the volunteer and paid nurses,
there were committees of ladies, who, on alternate days, or on single
days of each week, were accustomed to visit the hospitals, bringing
delicacies and luxuries, preparing special dishes for the invalid
soldiers, writing to their friends for them, etc. To this sacred duty,
many women of high social position devoted themselves steadily for
nearly three years, alike amid the summer's heat and the winter's cold,
never failing of visiting the patients, to whom their coming was the
most joyous event of the otherwise gloomy day.

But these varied forms of manifestation of patriotic zeal would have
been of but little material service to the soldiers, had there not been
behind them, throughout the loyal North, a vast network of organizations
extending to every village and hamlet, for raising money and preparing
and forwarding supplies of whatever was needful for the welfare of the
sick and wounded. We have already alluded to the spontaneity and
universality of these organizations at the beginning of the war. They
were an outgrowth alike of the patriotism and the systematizing
tendencies of the people of the North. It might have been expected that
the zeal which led to their formation would soon have cooled, and,
perhaps, this would have been the case, but for two causes, viz.: that
they very early became parts of more comprehensive organizations
officered by women of untiring energy, and the most exalted patriotic
devotion; and that the events of the war constantly kept alive the zeal
of a few in each society, who spurred on the laggards, and encouraged
the faint-hearted. These Soldiers' Aid Societies, Ladies' Aid
Associations, Alert Clubs, Soldiers' Relief Societies, or by whatever
other name they were called, were usually auxiliary to some Society in
the larger cities, to which their several contributions of money and
supplies were sent, by which their activity and labors were directed,
and which generally forwarded to some central source of supply, their
donations and its own. The United States Sanitary Commission had its
branches, known under various names, as Branch Commissions, General
Soldiers' Aid Societies, Associates, Local Sanitary Commissions, etc.,
at Boston, Albany, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Buffalo, Cleveland,
Cincinnati, and Chicago, and three central organizations, the Women's
Central Association of Relief, in New York, the Sanitary Commission, at
Washington, and the Western Depot of Supplies, at Louisville, Kentucky.
Affiliated to these were over twelve thousand local Soldiers' Aid
Societies. The Western Sanitary Commission had but one central
organization, besides its own depot, viz.: The Ladies' Union Aid
Society, of St. Louis, which had a very considerable number of
auxiliaries in Missouri and Iowa. The Christian Commission had its
branches in Boston, New York, Brooklyn, Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati,
Chicago, and St. Louis, and several thousand local organizations
reported to these. Aside from these larger bodies, there were the
Ladies' Aid Association of Philadelphia, with numerous auxiliaries in
Pennsylvania, the Baltimore Ladies' Relief Association, the New England
Soldiers' Relief Association of New York; and during the first two years
of the war, Sanitary Commissions in Iowa, Indiana, and Illinois, and
State Relief Societies in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, New York, and some
of the other States with their representative organizations in
Washington. Several Central Aid Societies having large numbers of
auxiliaries, acted independently for the first two years, but were
eventually merged in the Sanitary Commission. Prominent among these were
the Hartford Ladies' Aid Society, having numerous auxiliaries throughout
Connecticut, the Pittsburg Relief Committee, drawing its supplies from
the circumjacent country, and we believe, also, the Penn Relief Society,
an organization among the Friends of Philadelphia and vicinity. The
supplies for the Volunteer and Cooper Shop Refreshment Saloons of
Philadelphia, were contributed by the citizens of that city and

When it is remembered, that by these various organizations, a sum
exceeding fifty millions of dollars was raised, during a little more
than four years, for the comfort and welfare of the soldiers, their
families, their widows, and their orphans, we may be certain that there
was a vast amount of work done by them. Of this aggregate of labor, it
is difficult to form any adequate idea. The ladies who were at the head
of the Branch or Central organizations, worked day after day, during the
long and hot days of summer, and the brief but cold ones of winter, as
assiduously and steadily, as any merchant in his counting-house, or the
banker at his desk, and exhibited business abilities, order, foresight,
judgment, and tact, such as are possessed by very few of the most
eminent men of business in the country. The extent of their operations,
too, was in several instances commensurate with that of some of our
merchant princes. Miss Louisa Lee Schuyler and Miss Ellen Collins, of
the Women's Central Association of Relief at New York, received and
disbursed in supplies and money, several millions of dollars in value;
Mrs. Rouse, Miss Mary Clark Brayton, and Miss Ellen F. Terry, of the
Cleveland Soldiers' Aid Society, somewhat more than a million; Miss Abby
May, of Boston, not far from the same amount; Mrs. Hoge, and Mrs.
Livermore, of the N. W. Sanitary Commission, over a million; while Mrs.
Seymour, of Buffalo, Miss Valeria Campbell, of Detroit, Mrs. Colt, of
Milwaukie, Miss Rachel W. McFadden, of Pittsburg, Mrs. Hoadley, and Mrs.
Mendenhall, of Cincinnati, Mrs. Clapp, and Miss H. A. Adams, of the St.
Louis Ladies' Aid Society, Mrs. Joel Jones, and Mrs. John Harris, of the
Philadelphia Ladies' Aid Society, Mrs. Stranahan, and Mrs. Archer, of
Brooklyn, if they did not do quite so large a business, at least
rivaled the merchants of the smaller cities, in the extent of their
disbursements; and when it is considered, that these ladies were not
only the managers and financiers of their transactions, but in most
cases the book-keepers also, we think their right to be regarded as
possessing superior business qualifications will not be questioned.

But some of these lady managers possessed still other claims to our
respect, for their laborious and self-sacrificing patriotism. It
occurred to several ladies in different sections of the country, as they
ascertained the suffering condition of some of the families of the
soldiers, (the early volunteers, it will be remembered, received no
bounties, or very trifling ones), that if they could secure for them, at
remunerative prices, the making of the soldiers' uniforms, or of the
hospital bedding and clothing, they might thus render them independent
of charity, and capable of self-support.

Three ladies (and perhaps more), Mrs. Springer, of St. Louis, in behalf
of the Ladies' Aid Society of that city, Miss Katherine P. Wormeley, of
Newport, R. I., and Miss Helen L. Gilson, of Chelsea, Mass., applied to
the Governmental purveyors of clothing, for the purpose of obtaining
this work. There was necessarily considerable difficulty in
accomplishing their purpose. The army of contractors opposed them
strongly, and in the end, these ladies were each obliged to take a
contract of large amount themselves, in order to be able to furnish the
work to the wives and daughters of the soldiers. In St. Louis, the terms
of the contract were somewhat more favorable than at the East, and on
the expiration of one, another was taken up, and about four hundred
women were supplied with remunerative work throughout the whole period
of the war. The terms of the contract necessitated the careful
inspection of the clothing, and the certainty of its being well made, by
the lady contractors; but in point of fact, it was all cut and prepared
for the sewing-women by Mrs. Springer and her associates, who, giving
their services to this work, divided among their employés the entire
sum received for each contract, paying them weekly for their work. The
strong competition at the East, rendered the price paid for the work,
for which contracts were taken by Miss Wormeley and Miss Gilson, less
than at the West, but Miss Gilson, and, we believe, Miss Wormeley also,
raised an additional sum, and paid to the sewing-women more than the
contract price for the work. It required a spirit thoroughly imbued with
patriotism and philanthropy to carry on this work, for the drudgery
connected with it was a severe tax upon the strength of those who
undertook it. In the St. Louis contracts, the officers and managers of
the Ladies' Aid Society, rendered assistance to Mrs. Springer, who had
the matter in charge, so far as they could, but not satisfied with this,
one of their number, the late Mrs. Palmer, spent a portion of every day
in visiting the soldiers' families who were thus employed, and whenever
additional aid was needed, it was cheerfully and promptly bestowed. In
this noble work of Christian charity, Mrs. Palmer overtasked her
physical powers, and after a long illness, she passed from earth, to be
reckoned among that list of noble martyrs, who sacrificed life for the
cause of their country.

But it was not the managers and leaders of these central associations
alone whose untiring exertions, and patient fidelity to their patriotic
work should excite our admiration and reverence. Though moving in a
smaller circle, and dealing with details rather than aggregates, there
were, in almost every village and town, those whose zeal, energy, and
devotion to their patriotic work, was as worthy of record, and as heroic
in character, as the labors of their sisters in the cities. We cannot
record the names of those thousands of noble women, but their record is
on high, and in the grand assize, their zealous toil to relieve their
suffering brothers, who were fighting or had fought the nation's
battles, will be recognized by Him, who regards every such act of love
and philanthropy as done to Himself.

Nor are these, alone, among those whose deeds of love and patriotism
are inscribed in the heavenly record. The whole history of the
contributions for relief, is glorified by its abundant instances of
self-sacrifice. The rich gave, often, largely and nobly from their
wealth; but a full moiety of the fifty millions of voluntary gifts, came
from the hard earnings, or patient labors of the poor, often bestowed at
the cost of painful privation. Incidents like the following were of
every-day occurrence, during the later years of the war: In one of the
mountainous countries at the North, in a scattered farming district,
lived a mother and daughters, too poor to obtain by purchase, the
material for making hospital clothing, yet resolved to do something for
the soldier. Twelve miles distant, over the mountain, and accessible
only by a road almost impassable, was the county-town, in which there
was a Relief Association. Borrowing a neighbor's horse, either the
mother or daughters came regularly every fortnight, to procure from this
society, garments to make up for the hospital. They had no money; but
though the care of their few acres of sterile land devolved upon
themselves alone, they could and would find time to work for the
sufferers in the hospitals. At length, curious to know the secret of
such fervor in the cause, one of the managers of the association
addressed them: "You have some relative, a son, or brother, or father,
in the war, I suppose?" "No!" was the reply, "not now; our only brother
fell at Ball's Bluff." "Why then," asked the manager, "do you feel so
deep an interest in this work?" "Our country's cause is the cause of
God, and we would do what we can, for His sake," was the sublime reply.

Take another example. In that little hamlet on the bleak and barren
hills of New England, far away from the great city or even the populous
village, you will find a mother and daughter living in a humble
dwelling. The husband and father has lain for many years 'neath the sod
in the graveyard on the hill slope; the only son, the hope and joy of
both mother and sister, at the call of duty, gave himself to the service
of his country, and left those whom he loved as his own life, to toil at
home alone. By and bye, at Williamsburg, or Fair Oaks, or in that
terrible retreat to James River, or at Cedar Mountain, it matters not
which, the swift speeding bullet laid him low, and after days, or it may
be weeks of terrible suffering, he gave up his young life on the altar
of his country. The shock was a terrible one to those lone dwellers on
the snowy hills. He was their all, but it was for the cause of Freedom,
of Right, of God; and hushing the wild beating of their hearts they
bestir themselves, in their deep poverty, to do something for the cause
for which their young hero had given his life. It is but little, for
they are sorely straitened; but the mother, though her heart is wrapped
in the darkness of sorrow, saves the expense of mourning apparel, and
the daughter turns her faded dress; the little earnings of both are
carefully hoarded, the pretty chintz curtains which had made their
humble room cheerful, are replaced by paper, and by dint of constant
saving, enough money is raised to purchase the other materials for a
hospital quilt, a pair of socks, and a shirt, to be sent to the Relief
Association, to give comfort to some poor wounded soldier, tossing in
agony in some distant hospital. And this, with but slight variation is
the history of hundreds, and perhaps thousands of the articles sent to
the soldiers' aid societies.

This fire of patriotic zeal, while it glowed alike in the hearts of the
rich and poor, inflamed the young as well as the old. Little girls, who
had not attained their tenth year, or who had just passed it, denied
themselves the luxuries and toys they had long desired, and toiled with
a patience and perseverance wholly foreign to childish nature, to
procure or make something of value for their country's defenders. On a
pair of socks sent to the Central Association of Relief, was pinned a
paper with this legend: "These stockings were knit by a little girl five
years old, and she is going to knit some more, for mother said it will
help some poor soldier." The official reports of the Women's Soldiers'
Aid Society of Northern Ohio, the Cleveland branch of the Sanitary
Commission, furnish the following incident: "Every Saturday morning
finds Emma Andrews, ten years of age, at the rooms of the Aid Society
with an application for work. Her little basket is soon filled with
pieces of half-worn linen, which, during the week, she cuts into towels
or handkerchiefs; hems, and returns, neatly washed and ironed, at her
next visit. Her busy fingers have already made two hundred and
twenty-nine towels, and the patriotic little girl is still earnestly
engaged in her work." Holidays and half holidays in the country were
devoted by the little ones with great zeal, to the gathering of
blackberries and grapes, for the preparations of cordials and native
wines for the hospitals, and the picking, paring and drying peaches and
apples, which, in their abundance, proved a valuable safeguard against
scurvy, which threatened the destruction or serious weakening of our
armies, more than once. In the cities and large villages the children,
with generous self-denial, gave the money usually expended for fireworks
to purchase onions and pickles for the soldiers, to prevent scurvy. A
hundred thousand dollars, it is said, was thus consecrated, by these
little ones, to this benevolent work.

In the days of the Sanitary Fairs, hundreds of groups of little girls
held their miniature fairs, stocked for the most part with articles of
their own production, upon the door step, or the walk in front of their
parents' dwellings, or in the wood-shed, or in some vacant room, and the
sums realized from their sales, varying from five to one hundred
dollars, were paid over, without any deduction for expenses, since labor
and attendance were voluntary and the materials a gift, to the
treasuries of the great fairs then in progress.

Nor were the aged women lacking in patriotic devotion. Such inscriptions
as these were not uncommon. "The fortunate owner of these socks is
secretly informed, that they are the one hundred and ninety-first pair
knit for our brave boys by Mrs. Abner Bartlett, of Medford, Mass., now
aged eighty-five years."

A barrel of hospital clothing sent from Conway, Mass., contained a pair
of socks knit by a lady ninety-seven years old, who declared herself
ready and anxious to do all she could. A homespun blanket bore the
inscription, "This blanket was carried by Milly Aldrich, who is
ninety-three years old, down hill and up hill, one and a-half miles, to
be given to some soldier."

A box of lint bore this touching record, "Made in a sick-room where the
sunlight has not entered for nine years, but where God has entered, and
where two sons have bade their mother good-bye, as they have gone out to
the war."

Every one knows the preciousness of the household linen which has been
for generations an heirloom in a family. Yet in numerous instances,
linen sheets, table-cloths, and napkins, from one hundred and twenty to
two hundred years old, which no money could have purchased, were
dedicated, often by those who had nought else to give, to the service of
the hospital.

An instance of generous and self-denying patriotism related by Mrs. D.
P. Livermore, of the Northwestern Sanitary Commission, deserves a record
in this connection, as it was one which has had more than one
counterpart elsewhere. "Some two or three months ago, a poor girl, a
seamstress, came to our rooms. 'I do not feel right,' she said, 'that I
am doing nothing for our soldiers in the hospitals, and have resolved to
do _something_ immediately. Which do you prefer--that I should give
money, or buy material and manufacture it into garments?'"

"You must be guided by your circumstances," was the answer made her; "we
need both money and supplies, and you must do that which is most
convenient for you."

"I prefer to give you money, if it will do as much good."

"Very well; then give money, which we need badly, and without which we
cannot do what is most necessary for our brave sick men."

"Then I will give you the entire earnings of the next two weeks. I'd
give more, but I have to help support my mother who is an invalid.
Generally I make but one vest a day, but I will work earlier and later
these two weeks." In two weeks she came again, the poor sewing girl,
her face radiant with the consciousness of philanthropic intent. Opening
her porte-monnaie, she counted out _nineteen dollars and thirty-seven
cents_. Every penny was earned by the slow needle, and she had stitched
away into the hours of midnight on every one of the working days of the
week. The patriotism which leads to such sacrifices as these, is not
less deserving of honor than that which finds scope for its energies in
ministering to the wounded on the battle-field or in the crowded wards
of a hospital.

Two other offerings inspired by the true spirit of earnest and active
philanthropy, related by the same lady, deserve a place here.

"Some farmers' wives in the north of Wisconsin, eighteen miles from a
railroad, had given to the Commission of their bed and table linen,
their husbands' shirts and drawers, their scanty supply of dried and
canned fruits, till they had exhausted their ability to do more in this
direction. Still they were not satisfied. So they cast about to see what
could be done in another way. They were all the wives of small farmers,
lately moved to the West, all living in log cabins, where one room
sufficed for kitchen, parlor, laundry, nursery and bed-room, doing their
own house-work, sewing, baby-tending, dairy-work, and all. What _could_
they do?

"They were not long in devising a way to gratify the longings of their
motherly and patriotic hearts, and instantly set about carrying it into
action. They resolved to beg wheat of the neighboring farmers, and
convert it into money. Sometimes on foot, and sometimes with a team,
amid the snows and mud of early spring, they canvassed the country for
twenty and twenty-five miles around, everywhere eloquently pleading the
needs of the blue-coated soldier boys in the hospitals, the eloquence
everywhere acting as an _open sesame_ to the granaries. Now they
obtained a little from a rich man, and then a great deal from a poor
man--deeds of benevolence are half the time in an inverse ratio to the
ability of the benefactors--till they had accumulated nearly five
hundred bushels of wheat. This they sent to market, obtained the highest
market price for it, and forwarded the proceeds to the Commission. As we
held this hard-earned money in our hands, we felt that it was
consecrated, that the holy purpose and resolution of these noble women
had imparted a sacredness to it."

Very beautiful is the following incident, narrated by the same lady, of
a little girl, one of thousands of the little ones, who have, during the
war, given up precious and valued keepsakes to aid in ministering to the
sick and wounded soldiers. "A little girl not nine years old, with sweet
and timid grace, came into the rooms of the Commission, and laying a
five dollar gold-piece on our desk, half frightened, told us its
history. 'My uncle gave me that before the war, and I was going to keep
it always; but he's got killed in the army, and mother says now I may
give it to the soldiers if I want to--and I'd like to do so. I don't
suppose it will buy much for them, will it?'" We led the child to the
store-room, and proceeded to show her how valuable her gift was, by
pointing out what it would buy--so many cans of condensed milk, or so
many bottles of ale, or pounds of tea, or codfish, etc. Her face
brightened with pleasure. But when we explained to her that her five
dollar gold-piece was equal to seven dollars and a half in greenbacks,
and told her how much comfort we had been enabled to carry into a
hospital, with as small an amount of stores as that sum would purchase,
she fairly danced with joy.

"Oh, it will do lots of good, won't it?" And folding her hands before
her, she begged, in her charmingly modest way, "Please tell me something
that you've seen in the hospitals?" A narrative of a few touching
events, not such as would too severely shock the little creature, but
which plainly showed the necessity of continued benevolence to the
hospitals, filled her sweet eyes with tears, and drew from her the
resolution, "to save all her money, and to get all the girls to do so,
to buy things for the wounded soldiers."

Innumerable have been the methods by which the loyalty and patriotism of
our countrywomen have manifested themselves; no memorial can ever record
the thousandth part of their labors, their toils, or their sacrifices;
sacrifices which, in so many instances, comprehended the life of the
earnest and faithful worker. A grateful nation and a still more grateful
army will ever hold in remembrance, such martyrs as Margaret
Breckinridge, Anna M. Ross, Arabella Griffith Barlow, Mrs. Howland, Mrs.
Plummer, Mrs. Mary E. Palmer, Mrs. S. C. Pomeroy, Mrs. C. M. Kirkland,
Mrs. David Dudley Field, and Sweet Jenny Wade, of Gettysburg, as well as
many others, who, though less widely known, laid down their lives as
truly for the cause of their country; and their names should be
inscribed upon the ever during granite, for they were indeed the most
heroic spirits of the war, and to them, belong its unfading laurels and
its golden crowns.

And yet, we are sometimes inclined to hesitate in our estimate of the
comparative magnitude of the sacrifices laid upon the Nation's altar;
not in regard to these, for she who gave her life, as well as her
services, to the Nation's cause, gave all she had to give; but in
reference to the others, who, though serving the cause faithfully in
their various ways, yet returned unscathed to their homes. Great and
noble as were the sacrifices made by these women, and fitted as they
were to call forth our admiration, were they after all, equal to those
of the mothers, sisters, and daughters, who, though not without tears,
yet calmly, and with hearts burning with the fire of patriotism,
willingly, gave up their best beloved to fight for the cause of their
country and their God? A sister might give up an only brother, the
playmate of her childhood, her pride, and her hope; a daughter might bid
adieu to a father dearly beloved, whose care and guidance she still
needs and will continue to need. A mother might, perchance, relinquish
her only son, he on whom she had hoped to lean, as the strong staff and
the beautiful rod of her old age; all this might be, with sorrow indeed,
and a deep and abiding sense of loneliness, not to be relieved, except
by the return of that father, brother, or son. But the wife, who, fully
worthy of that holy name, gave the parting hand to a husband who was
dearer, infinitely dearer to her than father, son, or brother, and saw
him go forth to the battle-field, where severe wounds or sudden and
terrible death, were almost certainly to be his portion, sacrificed in
that one act all but life, for she relinquished all that made life
blissful. Yet even in this holocaust there were degrees, gradations of
sacrifice. The wife of the officer might, perchance, have occasion to
see how her husband was honored and advanced for his bravery and good
conduct, and while he was spared, she was not likely to suffer the pangs
of poverty. In these particulars, how much more sad was the condition of
the wife of the private soldier, especially in the earlier years of the
war. To her, except the letters often long delayed or captured on their
route, there were no tidings of her husband, except in the lists of the
wounded or the slain; and her home, often one of refinement and taste,
was not only saddened by the absence of him who was its chief joy, but
often stripped of its best belongings, to help out the scanty pittance
which rewarded her own severe toil, in furnishing food and clothing for
herself and her little ones. Cruel, grinding poverty, was too often the
portion of these poor women. At the West, women tenderly and carefully
reared, were compelled to undertake the rude labors of the field, to
provide bread for their families. And when, to so many of these poor
women who had thus struggled with poverty, and the depressing influences
of loneliness and weariness, there came the sad intelligence, that the
husband so dearly loved, was among the slain, or that he had been
captured and consigned to death by starvation and slow torture at
Andersonville, where even now he might be filling an unknown grave, what
wonder is it that in numerous cases the burden was too heavy for the
wearied spirit, and insanity supervened, or the broken heart found rest
and reunion with the loved and lost in the grave.

Yet in many instances, the heart that seemed nigh to breaking, found
solace in its sorrow, in ministering directly or indirectly to the
wounded soldier, and forgetting its own misery, brought to other hearts
and homes consolation and peace. This seems to us the loftiest and most
divine of all the manifestations of the heroic spirit; it is nearest
akin in its character to the conduct of Him, who while "he was a man of
sorrows and acquainted with grief," yet found the opportunity, with his
infinite tenderness and compassion, to assuage every sorrow and soothe
every grief but his own.

The effect of this patriotic zeal and fervor on the part of the wives,
mothers, sisters, and daughters of the loyal North, in stimulating and
encouraging the soldiers to heroic deeds, was remarkable. Napoleon
sought to awaken the enthusiasm and love of fame of his troops in Egypt,
by that spirit-stirring word, "Soldiers, from the height of yonder
pyramids forty centuries look down upon you." But to the soldier
fighting the battles of freedom, the thought that in every hamlet and
village of the loyal North, patriotic women were toiling and watching
for his welfare, and that they were ready to cheer and encourage him in
the darkest hour, to medicine his wounds, and minister to his sickness
and sorrows in the camp, on the battle-field, or in the hospital wards,
was a far more grateful and inspiring sentiment, than the mythical watch
and ward of the spectral hosts of a hundred centuries of the dead past.

The loyal soldier felt that he was fighting, so to speak, under the very
eyes of his countrywomen, and he was prompted to higher deeds of daring
and valor by the thought. In the smoke and flame of battle, he bore, or
followed the flag, made and consecrated by female hands to his country's
service; many of the articles which contributed to his comfort, and
strengthened his good right arm, and inspirited his heart for the day of
battle were the products of the toil and the gifts of his countrywomen;
and he knew right well, that if he should fall in the fierce conflict,
the gentle ministrations of woman would be called in requisition, to
bind up his wounds, to cool his fevered brow, to minister to his fickle
or failing appetite, to soothe his sorrows, to communicate with his
friends, and if death came to close his eyes, and comfort, so far as
might be those who had loved him. This knowledge strengthened him in the
conflict, and enabled him to strike more boldly and vigorously for
freedom, until the time came when the foe, dispirited and exhausted,
yielded up his last vantage ground, and the war was over.

The Rebel soldiers were not thus sustained by home influences. At first,
indeed, Aid Societies were formed all over the South, and supplies
forwarded to their armies; but in the course of a year, the zeal of the
Southern ladies cooled, and they contented themselves with waving their
handkerchiefs to the soldiers, instead of providing for their wants; and
thenceforward, to the end of the war, though there were no rebels so
bitter and hearty in their expressions of hostility to the North, as the
great mass of Southern women, it was a matter of constant complaint in
the Rebel armies, that their women did nothing for their comfort. The
complaint was doubtless exaggerated, for in their hospitals there were
some women of high station who did minister to the wounded, but after
the first year, the gifts and sacrifices of Southern women to their army
and hospitals, were not the hundredth, hardly the thousandth part of
those of the women of the North to their countrymen.

A still more remarkable result of this wide-spread movement among the
women of the North, was its effect upon the sex themselves. Fifty years
of peace had made us, if not "a nation of shop-keepers," at least a
people given to value too highly, the pomp and show of material wealth,
and our women were as a class, the younger women especially, devoting to
frivolous pursuits, society, gaiety and display, the gifts wherewith God
had endowed them most bountifully. The war, and the benevolence and
patriotism which it evoked, changed all this. The gay and thoughtless
belle, the accomplished and beautiful leader of society, awoke at once
to a new life. The soul of whose existence she had been almost as
unconscious as Fouqué's Undine, began to assert its powers, and the gay
and fashionable woman, no longer ennuyéd by the emptiness and frivolity
of life, found her thoughts and hands alike fully occupied, and rose
into a sphere of life and action, of which, a month before, she would
have considered herself incapable.

Saratoga and Newport, and the other haunts of fashion were not indeed
deserted, but the visitors there were mostly new faces, the wives and
daughters of those who had grown rich through the contracts and
vicissitudes of the war, while their old habitués were toiling amid the
summer's heat to provide supplies for the hospitals, superintending
sanitary fairs, or watching and aiding the sick and wounded soldiers in
the hospitals, or at the front of the army. In these labors of love,
many a fair face grew pale, many a light dancing step became slow and
feeble, and ever and anon the light went out of eyes, that but a little
while before had flashed and glowed in conscious beauty and pride. But
though the cheeks might grow pale, the step feeble, and the eyes dim,
there was a holier and more transcendent beauty about them than in their
gayest hours. "We looked daily," says one who was herself a participant
in this blessed work, in speaking of one who, after years of
self-sacrificing devotion, at last laid down her young life in patriotic
toil, "we looked daily to see the halo surround her head, for it seemed
as if God would not suffer so pure and saintly a soul to walk the earth
without a visible manifestation of his love for her." Work so ennobling,
not only elevated and etherealized the mind and soul, but it glorified
the body, and many times it shed a glory and beauty over the plainest
faces, somewhat akin to that which transfigured the Jewish lawgiver,
when he came down from the Mount. But it has done more than this. The
soul once ennobled by participation in a great and glorious work, can
never again be satisfied to come down to the heartlessness, the
frivolities, the petty jealousies, and littlenesses of a life of
fashion. Its aspirations and sympathies lie otherwheres, and it must
seek in some sphere of humanitarian activity or Christian usefulness,
for work that will gratify its longings.

How pitiful and mean must the brightest of earth's gay assemblages
appear, to her who, day after day, has held converse with the souls of
the departing, as they plumed their wings for the flight heavenward, and
accompanying them in their upward journey so far as mortals may, has
been privileged with some glimpse through the opening gates of pearl,
into the golden streets of the city of our God!

With such experiences, and a discipline so purifying and ennobling, we
can but anticipate a still higher and holier future, for the women of
our time. To them, we must look for the advancement of all noble and
philanthropic enterprises; the lifting vagrant and wayward childhood
from the paths of ruin; the universal diffusion of education and
culture; the succor and elevation of the poor, the weak, and the
down-trodden; the rescue and reformation of the fallen sisterhood; the
improvement of hospitals and the care of the sick; the reclamation of
prisoners, especially in female prisons; and in general, the genial
ministrations of refined and cultured womanhood, wherever these
ministrations can bring calmness, peace and comfort. Wherever there is
sorrow, suffering, or sin, in our own or in other lands, these
heaven-appointed Sisters of Charity will find their mission and their

Glorious indeed will be the results of such labors of love and Christian
charity. Society will be purified and elevated; giant evils which have
so long thwarted human progress, overthrown; the strongholds of sin,
captured and destroyed by the might of truth, and the "new earth wherein
dwelleth righteousness," so long foretold by patriarch, prophet, and
apostle, become a welcome and enduring reality.

And they who have wrought this good work, as, one after another, they
lay down the garments of their earthly toil to assume the glistening
robes of the angels, shall find, as did Enoch of old, that those who
walk with God, shall be spared the agonies of death and translated
peacefully and joyfully to the mansions of their heavenly home, while
waiting choirs of the blessed ones shall hail their advent to the
transcendent glories of the world above.




Among all the women who devoted themselves with untiring energy, and
gave talents of the highest order to the work of caring for our soldiers
during the war, the name of Dorothea L. Dix will always take the first
rank, and history will undoubtedly preserve it long after all others
have sunk into oblivion. This her extraordinary and exceptional official
position will secure. Others have doubtless done as excellent a work,
and earned a praise equal to her own, but her relations to the
government will insure her historical mention and remembrance, while
none will doubt the sincerity of her patriotism, or the faithfulness of
her devotion.

Dorothea L. Dix is a native of Worcester, Mass. Her father was a
physician, who died while she was as yet young, leaving her almost
without pecuniary resources.

Soon after this event, she proceeded to Boston, where she opened a
select school for young ladies, from the income of which she was enabled
to draw a comfortable support.

One day during her residence in Boston, while passing along a street,
she accidentally overheard two gentlemen, who were walking before her,
conversing about the state prison at Charlestown, and expressing their
sorrow at the neglected condition of the convicts. They were undoubtedly
of that class of philanthropists who believe that no man, however vile,
is _all_ bad, but, though sunk into the lowest depths of vice, has yet
in his soul some white spot which the taint has not reached, but which
some kind hand may reach, and some kind heart may touch.

Be that as it may, their remarks found an answering chord in the heart
of Miss Dix. She was powerfully affected and impressed, so much so, that
she obtained no rest until she had herself visited the prison, and
learned that in what she had heard there was no exaggeration. She found
great suffering, and great need of reform.

Energetic of character, and kindly of heart, she at once lent herself to
the work of elevating and instructing the degraded and suffering classes
she found there, and becoming deeply interested in the welfare of these
unfortunates, she continued to employ herself in labors pertaining to
this field of reform, until the year 1834.

At that time her health becoming greatly impaired, she gave up her
school and embarked for Europe. Shortly before this period, she had
inherited from a relative sufficient property to render her independent
of daily exertion for support, and to enable her to carry out any plans
of charitable work which she should form. Like all persons firmly fixed
in an idea which commends itself alike to the judgment and the impulses,
she was very tenacious of her opinions relating to it, and impatient of
opposition. It is said that from this cause she did not always meet the
respect and attention which the important objects to which she was
devoting her life would seem to merit. That she found friends and
helpers however at home and abroad, is undoubtedly true.

She remained abroad until the year 1837, when returning to her native
country she devoted herself to the investigation of the condition of
paupers, lunatics and prisoners. In this work she was warmly aided and
encouraged by her friend and pastor the Rev. Dr. Channing, of whose
children she had been governess, as well as by many other persons whose
hearts beat a chord responsive to that long since awakened in her own.

Since 1841 until the breaking out of the late war, Miss Dix devoted
herself to the great work which she accepted as the special mission of
her life. In pursuance of it, she, during that time, is said to have
visited every State of the Union east of the Rocky Mountains, examining
prisons, poor-houses, lunatic asylums, and endeavoring to persuade
legislatures and influential individuals to take measures for the relief
of the poor and wretched.

Her exertions contributed greatly to the foundation of State lunatic
asylums in Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, Illinois,
Louisiana and North Carolina. She presented a memorial to Congress
during the Session of 1848-9, asking an appropriation of five hundred
thousand acres of the public lands to endow hospitals for the indigent

This measure failed, but, not discouraged, she renewed the appeal in
1850 asking for ten millions of acres. The Committee of the House to
whom the memorial was referred, made a favorable report, and a bill such
as she asked for passed the House, but failed in the Senate for want of
time. In April, 1854, however, her unwearied exertions were rewarded by
the passage of a bill by both houses, appropriating ten millions of
acres to the several States for the relief of the indigent insane. But
this bill was vetoed by President Pierce, chiefly on the ground that the
General Government had no constitutional power to make such

Miss Dix was thus unexpectedly checked and deeply disappointed in the
immediate accomplishment of this branch of the great work of benevolence
to which she had more particularly devoted herself.

From that time she seems to have given herself, with added zeal, to her
labors for the insane. This class so helpless, and so innocently
suffering, seem to have always been, and more particularly during the
later years of her work, peculiarly the object of her sympathies and
labors. In the prosecution of these labors she made another voyage to
Europe in 1858 or '59, and continued to pursue them with indefatigable
zeal and devotion.

The labors of Miss Dix for the insane were continued without
intermission until the occurrence of those startling events which at
once turned into other and new channels nearly all the industries and
philanthropies of our nation. With many a premonition, and many a
muttering of the coming storm, unheeded, our people, inured to peace,
continued unappalled in their quiet pursuits. But while the actual
commencement of active hostilities called thousands of men to arms, from
the monotony of mechanical, agricultural and commercial pursuits and the
professions, it changed as well the thoughts and avocations of those who
were not to enter the ranks of the military.

And not to men alone did these changes come. Not they alone were filled
with a new fire of patriotism, and a quickened devotion to the interests
of our nation. Scarcely had the ear ceased thrilling with the tidings
that our country was indeed the theatre of civil war, when women as well
as men began to inquire if there were not for them some part to be
played in this great drama.

Almost, if not quite the first among these was Miss Dix. Self-reliant,
accustomed to rapid and independent action, conscious of her ability for
usefulness, with her to resolve was to act. Scarcely had the first
regiments gone forward to the defense of our menaced capital, when she
followed, full of a patriotic desire to _offer_ to her country whatever
service a woman could perform in this hour of its need, and determined
that it should be given.

She passed through Baltimore shortly after that fair city had covered
itself with the indelible disgrace of the 16th of April, 1861, and on
her arrival at Washington, the first labor she offered on her country's
altar, was the nursing of some wounded soldiers, victims of the
Baltimore mob. Thus was she earliest in the field.

Washington became a great camp. Every one was willing, nay anxious, to
be useful and employed. Military hospitals were hastily organized.
There were many sick, but few skilful nurses. The opening of the
rebellion had not found the government, nor the loyal people prepared
for it. All was confusion, want of discipline, and disorder. Organizing
minds, persons of executive ability, _leaders_, were wanted.

The services of women could be made available in the hospitals. They
were needed as nurses, but it was equally necessary that some one should
decide upon their qualifications for the task, and direct their efforts.

Miss Dix was present in Washington. Her ability, long experience in
public institutions and high character were well known. Scores of
persons of influence, from all parts of the country, could vouch for
her, and she had already offered her services to the authorities for any
work in which they could be made available.

Her selection for the important post of Superintendent of Female Nurses,
by Secretary Cameron, then at the head of the War Department, on the
10th of June, 1861, commanded universal approbation.

This at once opened for her a wide and most important field of duty and
labor. Except hospital matrons,[B] all women regularly employed in the
hospitals, and entitled to pay from the Government, were appointed by
her. An examination of the qualifications of each applicant was made. A
woman must be mature in years, plain almost to homeliness in dress, and
by no means liberally endowed with personal attractions, if she hoped to
meet the approval of Miss Dix. Good health and an unexceptionable moral
character were always insisted on. As the war progressed, the
applications were numerous, and the need of this kind of service great,
but the rigid scrutiny first adopted by Miss Dix continued, and many
were rejected who did not in all respects possess the qualifications
which she had fixed as her standard. Some of these women, who in other
branches of the service, and under other auspices, became eminently
useful, were rejected on account of their youth; while some, alas! were
received, who afterwards proved themselves quite unfit for the position,
and a disgrace to their sex.

[Footnote B: In many instances she appointed these also.]

But in these matters no blame can attach to Miss Dix. In the first
instance she acted no doubt from the dictates of a sound and mature
judgment; and in the last was often deceived by false testimonials, by a
specious appearance, or by applicants who, innocent at the time, were
not proof against the temptations and allurements of a position which
all must admit to be peculiarly exposed and unsafe.

Besides the appointment of nurses the position of Miss Dix imposed upon
her numerous and onerous duties. She visited hospitals, far and near,
inquiring into the wants of their occupants, in all cases where
possible, supplementing the Government stores by those with which she
was always supplied by private benevolence, or from public sources; she
adjusted disputes, and settled difficulties in which her nurses were
concerned; and in every way showed her true and untiring devotion to her
country, and its suffering defenders. She undertook long journeys by
land and by water, and seemed ubiquitous, for she was seldom missed from
her office in Washington, yet was often seen elsewhere, and always bent
upon the same fixed and earnest purpose. We cannot, perhaps, better
describe the personal appearance of Miss Dix, and give an idea of her
varied duties and many sacrifices, than by transcribing the following
extract from the printed correspondence of a lady, herself an active and
most efficient laborer in the same general field of effort, and holding
an important position in the Northwestern Sanitary Commission.

"It was Sunday morning when we arrived in Washington, and as the
Sanitary Commission held no meeting that day, we decided after breakfast
to pay a visit to Miss Dix.

"We fortunately found the good lady at home, but just ready to start for
the hospitals. She is slight and delicate looking, and seems physically
inadequate to the work she is engaged in. In her youth she must have
possessed considerable beauty, and she is still very comely, with a soft
and musical voice, graceful figure, and very winning manners. Secretary
Cameron vested her with sole power to appoint female nurses in the
hospitals. Secretary Stanton, on succeeding him ratified the
appointment, and she has installed several hundreds of nurses in this
noble work--all of them Protestants, and middle-aged. Miss Dix's whole
soul is in this work. She rents two large houses, which are depots for
sanitary supplies sent to her care, and houses of rest and refreshment
for nurses and convalescent soldiers, employs two secretaries, owns
ambulances and keeps them busily employed, prints and distributes
circulars, goes hither and thither from one remote point to another in
her visitations of hospitals,--and pays all the expenses incurred from
her private purse. Her fortune, time and strength are laid on the altar
of the country in this hour of trial.

"Unfortunately, many of the surgeons in the hospitals do not work
harmoniously with Miss Dix. They are jealous of her power, impatient of
her authority, find fault with her nurses, and accuse her of being
arbitrary, opinionated, severe and capricious. Many to rid themselves of
her entirely, have obtained permission of Surgeon-General Hammond to
employ Sisters of Charity in their hospitals, a proceeding not to Miss
Dix's liking. Knowing by observation that many of the surgeons are
wholly unfit for their office, that too often they fail to bring skill,
morality, or humanity to their work, we could easily understand how this
single-hearted, devoted, tireless friend of the sick and wounded soldier
would come in collision with these laggards, and we liked her none the
less for it."

Though Miss Dix received no salary, devoting to the work her time and
labors without remuneration, a large amount of supplies were placed in
her hands, both by the Government and from private sources, which she
was always ready to dispense with judgment and caution, it is true, but
with a pleasant earnestness alike grateful to the recipient of the
kindness, or to the agent who acted in her stead in this work of mercy.

It was perhaps unfortunate for Miss Dix that at the time when she
received her appointment it was so unprecedented, and the entire service
was still in such a chaotic state, that it was simply impossible to
define her duties or her authority. As, therefore, no plan of action or
rules were adopted, she was forced to abide exclusively by her own ideas
of need and authority. In a letter to the writer, from an official
source, her position and the changes that became necessary are thus

"The appointment of nurses was regulated by her ideas of their
prospective usefulness, good moral character being an absolute
prerequisite. This absence of system, and independence of action, worked
so very unsatisfactorily, that in October, 1863, a General Order was
issued placing the assignment, or employment of female nurses,
exclusively under control of Medical Officers, and limiting the
superintendency to a 'certificate of approval,' without which no woman
nurse could be employed, except by order of the Surgeon-General. This
materially reduced the number of appointments, secured the muster and
pay of those in service, and established discipline and order."

The following is the General Order above alluded to.

        GENERAL ORDERS, NO. 351.

        _October 29, 1863_.

    The employment of women nurses in the United States General
    Hospitals will in future be strictly governed by the following

    1. Persons approved by Miss Dix, or her authorized agents, will
    receive from her, or them, "certificates of approval," which must be
    countersigned by Medical Directors upon their assignment to duty as
    nurses within their Departments.

    2. Assignments of "women nurses" to duty in General Hospitals will
    only be made upon application by the Surgeons in charge, through
    Medical Directors, to Miss Dix or her agents, for the number they
    require, not exceeding one to every thirty beds.

    3. No females, except Hospital Matrons, will be employed in General
    Hospitals, or, after December 31, 1863, born upon the Muster and Pay
    Rolls, without such certificates of approval and regular assignment,
    unless specially appointed by the Surgeon-General.

    4. Women nurses, while on duty in General Hospitals, are under the
    exclusive control of the senior medical officer, who will direct
    their several duties, and may be discharged by him when considered
    supernumerary, or for incompetency, insubordination, or violation of
    his orders. Such discharge, with the reasons therefor, being
    endorsed upon the certificate, will be at once returned to Miss Dix.


        E. D. TOWNSEND,
        _Assistant Adjutant-General_.


By this Order the authority of Miss Dix was better defined, but she
continued to labor under the same difficulty which had from the first
clogged her efforts. Authority had been bestowed upon her, but not the
power to enforce obedience. There was no penalty for disobedience, and
persons disaffected, forgetful, or idle, might refuse or neglect to obey
with impunity. It will at once be seen that this fact must have resulted
disastrously upon her efforts. She doubtless had enemies (as who has
not)? and some were jealous of the power and prominence of her position,
while many might even feel unwilling, under any circumstances, to
acknowledge, and yield to the authority of a woman. Added to this she
had, in some cases, and probably without any fault on her part, failed
to secure the confidence and respect of the surgeons in charge of
hospitals. In these facts lay the sources of trials, discouragements,
and difficulties, all to be met, struggled with, and, if possible,
triumphed over by a woman, standing quite alone in a most responsible,
laborious, and exceptional position. It indeed seems most
wonderful--almost miraculous--that under such circumstances, such a vast
amount of good was accomplished. Had she not accomplished half so much,
she still would richly have deserved that highest of plaudits--Well done
good and faithful servant!

Miss Dix has one remarkable peculiarity--undoubtedly remarkable in one
of her sex which is said, and with truth--to possess great
approbativeness. She does not apparently desire fame, she does not enjoy
being talked about, even in praise. The approval of her own conscience,
the consciousness of performing an unique and useful work, seems quite
to suffice her. Few women are so self-reliant, self-sustained,
self-centered. And in saying this we but echo the sentiments, if not the
words, of an eminent divine who, like herself, was during the whole war
devoted to a work similar in its purpose, and alike responsible and

"She (Miss Dix) is a lady who likes to do things and not have them
talked about. She is freer from the love of public reputation than any
woman I know. Then her plans are so strictly her own, and always so
wholly controlled by her own individual genius and power, that they
cannot well be participated in by others, and not much understood.

"Miss Dix, I suspect, was as early _in_, as _long_ employed, and as
self-sacrificing as any woman who offered her services to the country.
She gave herself--body, soul and substance--to the good work. I wish we
had any record of her work, but we have not.

"I should not dare to speak for her--about her work--except to say that
it was extended, patient and persistent beyond anything I know of,
dependent on a single-handed effort."

All the testimony goes to show that Miss Dix is a woman endowed with
warm feelings and great kindness of heart. It is only those who do not
know her, or who have only met her in the conflict of opposing wills,
who pronounce her, as some have done, a cold and heartless egotist.
Opinionated she may be, because convinced of the general soundness of
her ideas, and infallibility of her judgment. If the success of great
designs, undertaken and carried through single-handed, furnish warrant
for such conviction, she has an undoubted right to hold it.

Her nature is large and generous, yet with no room for narrow grudges,
or mean reservations. As a proof of this, her stores were as readily
dispensed for the use of a hospital in which the surgeon refused and
rejected her nurses, as for those who employed them.

She had the kindest care and oversight over the women she had
commissioned. She wished them to embrace every opportunity for the rest
and refreshment rendered necessary by their arduous labors. A home for
them was established by her in Washington, which at all times opened its
doors for their reception, and where she wished them to enjoy that
perfect quiet and freedom from care, during their occasional sojourns,
which were the best remedies for their weariness and exhaustion of body
and soul.

In her more youthful days Miss Dix devoted herself considerably to
literary pursuits. She has published several works anonymously--the
first of which--"The Garland of Flora," was published in Boston in 1829.
This was succeeded by a number of books for children, among which were
"Conversations about Common Things," "Alice and Ruth," and "Evening
Hours." She has also published a variety of tracts for prisoners, and
has written many memorials to legislative bodies on the subject of the
foundation and conducting of Lunatic Asylums.

Miss Dix is gifted with a singularly gentle and persuasive voice, and
her manners are said to exert a remarkably controlling influence over
the fiercest maniacs.

She is exceedingly quiet and retiring in her deportment, delicate and
refined in manner, with great sweetness of expression. She is far from
realizing the popular idea of the strong-minded woman--loud, boisterous
and uncouth, claiming as a right, what might, perhaps, be more readily
obtained as a courteous concession. On the contrary, her successes with
legislatures and individuals, are obtained by the mildest efforts, which
yet lack nothing of persistence; and few persons beholding this delicate
and retiring woman would imagine they saw in her the champion of the
oppressed and suffering classes.

Miss Dix regards her army work but as an episode in her career. She did
what she could, and with her devotion of self and high patriotism she
would have done no less. She pursued her labors to the end, and her
position was not resigned until many months after the close of the war.
In fact, she tarried in Washington to finish many an uncompleted task,
for some time after her office had been abolished.

When all was done she returned at once to that which she considers her
life's work, the amelioration of the condition of the insane.

A large portion of the winter of 1865-6 was devoted to an attempt to
induce the Legislature of New York to make better provision for the
insane of that State, and to procure, or erect for them, several asylums
of small size where a limited number under the care of experienced
physicians, might enjoy greater facilities for a cure, and a better
prospect of a return to the pursuits and pleasures of life.

Miss Dix now resides at Trenton, New Jersey, where she has since the war
fixed her abode, travelling thence to the various scenes of her labors.
Wherever she may be, and however engaged, we may be assured that her
object is the good of some portion of the race, and is worthy of the
prayers and blessings of all who love humanity and seek the promotion of
its best interests. And to the close of her long and useful life, the
thanks, the heartfelt gratitude of every citizen of our common country
so deeply indebted to her, and to the many devoted and self-sacrificing
women whose efforts she directed, must as assuredly follow her. She
belongs now to History, and America may proudly claim her daughter.




Of those whom the first blast of the war trump roused and called to
lives of patriotic devotion and philanthropic endeavor, some were led
instinctively to associated labor, and found their zeal inflamed, their
patriotic efforts cheered and encouraged by communion with those who
were like-minded. To these the organizations of the Soldiers' Aid
Societies and of the Sanitary and Christian Commissions were a
necessity; they provided a place and way for the exercise and
development of those capacities for noble and heroic endeavor, and
generous self-sacrifice, so gloriously manifested by many of our
American women, and which it has given us so much pleasure to record in
these pages.

[Footnote C: In the preparation of this sketch of Miss Barton, we have
availed ourselves, as far as practicable, of a paper prepared for us by
a clerical friend of the lady, who had known her from childhood. The
passages from this paper are indicated by quotation marks.]

But there were others endowed by their Creator with greater independence
of character and higher executive powers, who while not less modest and
retiring in disposition than their sisters, yet preferred to mark out
their own career, and pursue a comparatively independent course. They
worked harmoniously with the various sanitary and other organizations
when brought into contact with them, but their work was essentially
distinct from them, and was pursued without interfering in any way with
that of others.

To this latter class pre-eminently belongs Miss Clara Harlowe Barton.

Quiet, modest, and unassuming in manner and appearance, there is beneath
this quiet exterior an intense energy, a comprehensive intellect, a
resolute will, and an executive force, which is found in few of the
stronger sex, and which mingled with the tenderness and grace of refined
womanhood eminently qualifies her to become an independent power.

Miss Barton was born in North Oxford, Worcester County, Massachusetts.
Her father, Stephen Barton, Sr., was a man highly esteemed in the
community in which he dwelt, and by which his worth was most thoroughly
known. In early youth he had served as a soldier in the West under
General Wayne, the "Mad Anthony" of the early days of the Republic, and
his boyish eyes had witnessed the evacuation of Detroit by the British
in 1796. "His military training may have contributed to the sterling
uprightness, the inflexible will, and the devotion to law and order and
rightful authority for which he was distinguished." The little Clara was
the youngest by several years in a family of two brothers and three
sisters. She was early taught that primeval benediction, miscalled a
curse, which requires mankind to earn their bread. Besides domestic
duties and a very thorough public school training she learned the
general rules of business by acting as clerk and book-keeper for her
eldest brother. Next she betook herself to the district school, the
usual stepping-stone for all aspiring men and women in New England. She
taught for several years, commencing when very young, in various places
in Massachusetts and New Jersey. The large circle of friends thus formed
was not without its influence in determining her military career. So
many of her pupils volunteered in the first years of the war that at the
second battle of Bull Run she found seven of them, each of whom had lost
an arm or a leg.

"One example will show her character as a teacher. She went to
Bordentown, N. J., in 1853, where there was not, and never had been, a
public school. Three or four unsuccessful attempts had been made, and
the idea had been abandoned as not adapted to that latitude. The
brightest boys in the town ran untaught in the streets. She offered to
teach a free school for three months at her own expense, to convince the
citizens that it could be done; and she was laughed at as a visionary.
Six weeks of waiting and debating induced the authorities to fit up an
unoccupied building at a little distance from the town. She commenced
with six outcast boys, and in five weeks the house would not hold the
number that came. The commissioners, at her instance, erected the
present school-building of Bordentown, a three-story brick building,
costing four thousand dollars; and there, in the winter of 1853-4, she
organized the city free-school with a roll of six hundred pupils. But
the severe labor, and the great amount of loud speaking required, in the
newly plastered rooms, injured her health, and for a time deprived her
of her voice--the prime agent of instruction. Being unable to teach, she
left New Jersey about the 1st of March, 1854, seeking rest and a milder
climate, and went as far south as Washington. While there, a friend and
distant relative, then in Congress, voluntarily obtained for her an
appointment in the Patent Office, where she continued until the fall of
1857. She was employed at first as a copyist, and afterwards in the more
responsible work of abridging original papers, and preparing records for
publication. As she was an excellent chirographer, with a clear head for
business, and was paid by the piece and not by the month, she made money
fast, as matters were then reckoned, and she was very liberal with it. I
met her often during those years, as I have since and rarely saw her
without some pet scheme of benevolence on her hands which she pursued
with an enthusiasm that was quite heroic, and sometimes amusing. The
roll of those she has helped, or tried to help, with her purse, her
personal influence or her counsels, would be a long one; orphan
children, deserted wives, destitute women, sick or unsuccessful
relatives, men who had failed in business, and boys who never had any
business--all who were in want, or in trouble, and could claim the
slightest acquaintance, came to her for aid and were never repulsed.
Strange it was to see this generous girl, whose own hands ministered to
all her wants, always giving to those around her, instead of receiving,
strengthening the hands and directing the steps of so many who would
have seemed better calculated to help her. She must have had a native
genius for nursing; for in her twelfth year she was selected as the
special attendant of a sick brother, and remained in his chamber by day
and by night for two years, with only a respite of one half-day in all
that time. Think, O reader! of a little girl in short dresses and
pantalettes, neither going to school nor to play, but imprisoned for
years in the deadly air of a sick room, and made to feel, every moment,
that a brother's life depended on her vigilance. Then followed a still
longer period of sickness and feebleness on her own part; and from that
time to the present, sickness, danger and death have been always near
her, till they have grown familiar as playmates, and she has come to
understand all the wants and ways and waywardness of the sick; has
learned to anticipate their wishes and cheat them of their fears. Those
who have been under her immediate care, will understand me when I say
there is healing in the touch of her hand, and anodyne in the low melody
of her voice. In the first year of Mr. Buchanan's administration she was
hustled out of the Patent Office on a suspicion of anti-slavery
sentiments. She returned to New England, and devoted her time to study
and works of benevolence. In the winter following the election of Mr.
Lincoln, she returned to Washington at the solicitation of her friends
there, and would doubtless have been reinstated if peace had been
maintained. I happened to see her a day or two after the news came that
Fort Sumter had been fired on. She was confident, even enthusiastic. She
had feared that the Southern aristocracy, by their close combination and
superior political training, might succeed in gradually subjugating the
whole country; but of that there was no longer any danger. The war
might be long and bloody, but the rebels had voluntarily abandoned a
policy in which the chances were in favor of their ultimate success, for
one in which they had no chance at all. For herself, she had saved a
little in time of peace, and she intended to devote it and herself to
the service of her country and of humanity. If war must be, she neither
expected nor desired to come out of it with a dollar. If she survived,
she could no doubt earn a living; and if she did not, it was no matter.
This is actually the substance of what she said, and pretty nearly the
words--without appearing to suspect that it was remarkable."

Three days after Major Anderson had lowered his flag in Charleston
Harbor, the Sixth Massachusetts Militia started for Washington. Their
passage through Baltimore, on the 19th of April, 1861, is a remarkable
point in our national history. The next day about thirty of the sick and
wounded were placed in the Washington Infirmary, where the Judiciary
Square Hospital now stands. Miss Barton proceeded promptly to the spot
to ascertain their condition and afford such voluntary relief as might
be in her power. Hence, if she was not the first person in the country
in this noble work, no one could have been more than a few hours before
her. The regiment was quartered at the Capitol, and as those early
volunteers will remember, troops on their first arrival were often very
poorly provided for. The 21st of April happened to be Sunday. No
omnibuses ran that day, and street cars as yet were not; so she hired
five colored persons, loaded them with baskets of ready prepared food,
and proceeded to the Capitol. The freight they bore served as
countersign and pass; she entered the Senate Chamber, and distributed
her welcome store. Many of the soldiers were from her own neighborhood,
and as they thronged around her, she stood upon the steps to the Vice
President's chair and read to them from a paper she had brought, the
first written history of their departure and their journey. These two
days were the first small beginnings of her military experience,--steps
which naturally led to much else. Men wrote home their own impressions
of what they saw; and her acts found ready reporters. Young soldiers
whom she had taught or known as boys a few years before, called to see
her on their way to the front. Troops were gathering rapidly, and
hospitals--the inevitable shadows of armies--were springing up and
getting filled. Daily she visited them, bringing to the sick news, and
delicacies and comforts of her own procuring, and writing letters for
those who could not write themselves. Mothers and sisters heard of her,
and begged her to visit this one and that, committing to her care
letters, socks, jellies and the like. Her work and its fame grew week by
week, and soon her room, for she generally had but one, became sadly
encumbered with boxes, and barrels and baskets, of the most varied
contents. Through the summer of 1862, the constant stock she had on hand
averaged about five tons. The goods were mainly the contributions of
liberal individuals, churches and sewing-circles to whom she was
personally known. But, although articles of clothing, lint, bandages,
cordials, preserved fruits, liquors, and the like might be sent, there
was always much which she had to buy herself.

During this period as in her subsequent labors, she neither sought or
received recognition by any department of the Government, by which I
mean only that she had no acknowledged position, rank, rights or duties,
was not employed, paid, or compensated in any way, had authority over no
one, and was subject to no one's orders. She was simply an American
lady, mistress of herself and of no one else; free to stay at home, if
she had a home, and equally free to go where she pleased, if she could
procure passports and transportation, which was not always an easy
matter. From many individual officers, she received most valuable
encouragement and assistance; from none more than from General Rucker,
the excellent Chief Quartermaster at Washington. He furnished her
storage for her supplies when necessary, transportation for herself and
them, and added to her stores valuable contributions at times when they
were most wanted. She herself declares, with generous exaggeration, that
if she has ever done any good, it has been due to the watchful care and
kindness of General Rucker.

About the close of 1861, Miss Barton returned to Massachusetts to watch
over the declining health of her father, now in his eighty-eighth year,
and failing fast. In the following March she placed his remains in the
little cemetery at Oxford, and then returned to Washington and to her
former labors. But, as the spring and summer campaigns progressed,
Washington ceased to be the best field for the philanthropist. In the
hospitals of the Capitol the sick and wounded found shelter, food and
attendance. Private generosity now centered there; and the United States
Sanitary Commission had its office and officers there to minister to the
thousand exceptional wants not provided for by the Army Regulations.
There were other fields where the harvest was plenteous and the laborers
few. Yet could she as a young and not unattractive lady, go with safety
and propriety among a hundred thousand armed men, and tell them that no
one had sent her? She would encounter rough soldiers, and camp-followers
of every nation, and officers of all grades of character; and could she
bear herself so wisely and loftily in all trials as to awe the
impertinent, and command the respect of the supercilious, so that she
might be free to come and go at her will, and do what should seem good
to her? Or, if she failed to maintain a character proof against even
inuendoes, would she not break the bridge over which any successor would
have to pass? These questions she pondered, and prayed and wept over for
months, and has spoken of the mental conflict as the most trying one of
her life. She had foreseen and told all these fears to her father; and
the old man, on his death-bed, advised her to go wherever she felt it a
duty to go. He reminded her that he himself had been a soldier, and said
that all true soldiers would respect her. He was naturally a man of
great benevolence, a member of the Masonic fraternity, of the Degree of
Royal Arch Mason; and in his last days he spoke much of the purposes and
noble charities of the Order. She had herself received the initiation
accorded to daughters of Royal Arch Masons, and wore on her bosom a
Masonic emblem, by which she was easily recognized by the brotherhood,
and which subsequently proved a valuable talisman. At last she reached
the conclusion that it was right for her to go amid the actual tumult of
battle and shock of armies. And the fact that she has moved and labored
with the principal armies in the North and in the South for two years
and a half, and that now no one who knows her would speak of her without
the most profound respect, proves two things--that there may be heroism
of the highest order in American women--and that American armies are not
to be judged of, by the recorded statements concerning European ones.

Her first tentative efforts at going to the field were cautious and
beset with difficulties. Through the long Peninsula campaign as each
transport brought its load of suffering men, with the mud of the
Chickahominy and the gore of battle baked hard upon them like the shells
of turtles, she went down each day to the wharves with an ambulance
laden with dressings and restoratives, and there amid the turmoil and
dirt, and under the torrid sun of Washington, toiled day by day,
alleviating such suffering as she could. And when the steamers turned
their prows down the river, she looked wistfully after them, longing to
go to those dread shores whence all this misery came. But she was alone
and unknown, and how could she get the means and the permission to go?
The military authorities were overworked in those days and plagued with
unreasonable applications, and as a class are not very indulgent to
unusual requests. The first officer of rank who gave her a kind answer
was a man who never gave an unkind reply without great provocation--Dr.
R. H. Coolidge, Medical Inspector. Through him a pass was obtained from
Surgeon-General Hammond, and she was referred to Major Rucker,
Quartermaster, for transportation. The Major listened to her story so
patiently and kindly that she was overcome, and sat down and wept. It
was then too late in the season to go to McClellan's army, so she loaded
a railroad car with supplies and started for Culpepper Court-House, then
crowded with the wounded from the battle of Cedar Mountain. With a
similar car-load she was the first of the volunteer aid that reached
Fairfax Station at the close of the disastrous days that culminated in
the second Bull Run, and the battle of Chantilly. On these two
expeditions, and one to Fredericksburg, Miss Barton was accompanied by
friends, at least one gentleman and a lady in each case, but at last a
time came, when through the absence or engagements of these, she must go
alone or not at all.

On Sunday, the 14th of September, 1862, she loaded an army wagon with
supplies and started to follow the march of General McClellan. Her only
companions were Mr. Cornelius M. Welles, the teacher of the first
contraband school in the District of Columbia--a young man of rare
talent and devotion--and one teamster. She travelled three days along
the dusty roads of Maryland, buying bread as she went to the extent of
her means of conveyance, and sleeping in the wagon by night. After dark,
on the night of the sixteenth, she reached Burnside's Corps, and found
the two armies lying face to face along the opposing ridges of hills
that bound the valley of the Antietam. There had already been heavy
skirmishing far away on the right where Hooker had forded the creek and
taken position on the opposite hills; and the air was dark and thick
with fog and exhalations, with the smoke of camp-fires and premonitory
death. There was little sleep that night, and as the morning sun rose
bright and beautiful over the Blue Ridge and dipped down into the
Valley, the firing on the right was resumed. Reinforcements soon began
to move along the rear to Hooker's support. Thinking the place of danger
was the place of duty, Miss Barton ordered her mules to be harnessed and
took her place in the swift train of artillery that was passing. On
reaching the scene of action, they turned into a field of tall corn, and
drove through it to a large barn. They were close upon the line of
battle; the rebel shot and shell flew thickly around and over them; and
in the barn-yard and among the corn lay torn and bleeding men--the worst
cases--just brought from the places where they had fallen. The army
medical supplies had not yet arrived, the small stock of dressings was
exhausted, and the surgeons were trying to make bandages of corn-husks.
Miss Barton opened to them her stock of dressings, and proceeded with
her companions to distribute bread steeped in wine to the wounded and
fainting. In the course of the day she picked up twenty-five men who had
come to the rear with the wounded, and set them to work administering
restoratives, bringing and applying water, lifting men to easier
positions, stopping hemorrhages, etc., etc. At length her bread was all
spent; but luckily a part of the liquors she had brought were found to
have been packed in meal, which suggested the idea of making gruel. A
farm-house was found connected with the barn, and on searching the
cellar, she discovered three barrels of flour, and a bag of salt, which
the rebels had hidden the day before. Kettles were found about the
house, and she prepared to make gruel on a large scale, which was
carried in buckets and distributed along the line for miles. On the
ample piazza of the house were ranged the operating tables, where the
surgeons performed their operations; and on that piazza she kept her
place from the forenoon till nightfall, mixing gruel and directing her
assistants, under the fire of one of the greatest and fiercest battles
of modern times. Before night her face was as black as a negro's, and
her lips and throat parched with the sulphurous smoke of battle. But
night came at last, and the wearied armies lay down on the ground to
rest; and the dead and wounded lay everywhere. Darkness too had its
terrors, and as the night closed in, the surgeon in charge at the old
farm-house, looked despairingly at a bit of candle and said it was the
only one on the place; and no one could stir till morning. A thousand
men dangerously wounded and suffering terribly from thirst lay around,
and many must die before the light of another day. It was a fearful
thing to die alone and in the dark, and no one could move among the
wounded, for fear of stumbling over them. Miss Barton replied, that,
profiting by her experience at Chantilly, she had brought with her
thirty lanterns, and an abundance of candles. It was worth a journey to
Antietam, to light the gloom of that night. On the morrow, the fighting
had ceased, but the work of caring for the wounded was resumed and
continued all day. On the third day the regular supplies arrived, and
Miss Barton having exhausted her small stores, and finding that
continued fatigue and watching were bringing on a fever, turned her
course towards Washington. It was with difficulty that she was able to
reach home, where she was confined to her bed for some time. When she
recovered sufficiently to call on Colonel Rucker, and told him that with
five wagons she could have taken supplies sufficient for the immediate
wants of all the wounded in the battle, that officer shed tears, and
charged her to ask for enough next time.

It was about the 23d of October, when another great battle was expected,
that she next set out with a well appointed and heavily laden train of
six wagons and an ambulance, with seven teamsters, and thirty-eight
mules. The men were rough fellows, little used or disposed to be
commanded by a woman; and they mutinied when they had gone but a few
miles. A plain statement of the course she should pursue in case of
insubordination, induced them to proceed and confine themselves, for the
time being, to imprecations and grumbling. When she overtook the army,
it was crossing the Potomac, below Harper's Ferry. Her men refused to
cross. She offered them the alternative to go forward peaceably, or to
be dismissed and replaced by soldiers. They chose the former, and from
that day forward were all obedience, fidelity and usefulness. The
expected battle was not fought, but gave place to a race for Richmond.
The Army of the Potomac had the advantage in regard to distance,
keeping for a time along the base of the Blue Ridge, while the enemy
followed the course of the Shenandoah. There was naturally a skirmish at
every gap. The rebels were generally the first to gain possession of the
pass, from which they would attempt to surprise some part of the army
that was passing, and capture a portion of our supply trains. Thus every
day brought a battle or a skirmish, and its accession to the list of
sick and wounded; and for a period of about three weeks, until Warrenton
Junction was reached, the national army had no base of operations, nor
any reinforcements or supplies. The sick had to be carried all that time
over the rough roads in wagons or ambulances. Miss Barton with her wagon
train accompanied the Ninth Army Corps, as a general purveyor for the
sick. Her original supply of comforts was very considerable, and her men
contrived to add to it every day such fresh provisions as could be
gathered from the country. At each night's encampment, they lighted
their fires and prepared fresh food and necessaries for the moving
hospital. Through all that long and painful march from Harper's Ferry to
Fredericksburg, those wagons constituted the hospital larder and kitchen
for all the sick within reach.

It will be remembered that after Burnside assumed command of the Army of
the Potomac, the route by Fredericksburg was selected, and the march was
conducted down the left bank of the Rappahannock to a position opposite
that city. From Warrenton Junction Miss Barton made a visit to
Washington, while her wagons kept on with the army, which she rejoined
with fresh supplies at Falmouth. She remained in camp until after the
unsuccessful attack on the works behind Fredericksburg. She was on the
bank of the river in front of the Lacy House, within easy rifle shot
range of the enemy, at the time of the attack of the 11th
December--witnessed the unavailing attempts to lay pontoon bridges
directly into the city, and the heroic crossing of the 19th and 20th
Massachusetts Regiments and the 7th Michigan. During the brief
occupation of the city she remained in it, organizing the hospital
kitchens; and after the withdrawal of the troops, she established a
private kitchen for supplying delicacies to the wounded. Although it was
now winter and the weather inclement, she occupied an old tent while her
train was encamped around; and the cooking was performed in the open
air. When the wounded from the attack on the rebel batteries were
recovered by flag of truce, fifty of them were brought to her camp at
night. They had lain several days in the cold, and were wounded,
famished and frozen. She had the snow cleaned away, large fires built
and the men wrapped in blankets. An old chimney was torn down, the
bricks heated in the fire, and placed around them. As she believed that
wounded men, exhausted and depressed by the loss of blood, required
stimulants, and as Surgeon-General Hammond, with characteristic
liberality had given her one hundred and thirty gallons of confiscated
liquor, she gave them with warm food, enough strong hot toddy to make
them all measurably drunk. The result was that they slept comfortably
until morning, when the medical officers took them in charge. It was her
practice to administer a similar draught to each patient on his leaving
for Acquia Creek, _en route_ to the Washington hospitals.

A circumstance which occurred during the battle of Fredericksburg, will
illustrate very strikingly the courage of Miss Barton, a courage which
has never faltered in the presence of danger, when what she believed to
be duty called. In the skirmishing of the 12th of December, the day
preceding the great and disastrous battle, a part of the Union troops
had crossed over to Fredericksburg, and after a brief fight had driven
back a body of rebels, wounding and capturing a number of them whom they
sent as prisoners across the river to Falmouth, where Miss Barton as yet
had her camp. The wounded rebels were brought to her for care and
treatment. Among them was a young officer, mortally wounded by a shot in
the thigh. Though she could not save his life, she ministered to him as
well as she could, partially staunching his wound, quenching his raging
thirst, and endeavoring to make his condition as comfortable as
possible. Just at this time, an orderly arrived with a message from the
Medical Director of the Ninth Army Corps requesting her to come over to
Fredericksburg, and organize the hospitals and diet kitchens for the
corps. The wounded rebel officer heard the request, and beckoning to
her, for he was too weak to speak aloud, he whispered a request that she
would not go. She replied that she must do so; that her duty to the
corps to which she was attached required it. "Lady," replied the wounded
rebel, "you have been very kind to me. You could not save my life, but
you have endeavored to render death easy. I owe it to you to tell you
what a few hours ago I would have died sooner than have revealed. The
whole arrangement of the Confederate troops and artillery is intended as
a trap for your people. Every street and lane of the city is covered by
our cannon. They are now concealed, and do not reply to the bombardment
of your army, because they wish to entice you across. When your entire
army has reached the other side of the Rappahannock and attempts to move
along the streets, they will find Fredericksburg only a slaughter pen,
and not a regiment of them will be allowed to escape. Do not go over,
for you will go to certain death!" While her tender sensibilities
prevented her from adding to the suffering of the dying man, by not
apparently heeding his warning, Miss Barton did not on account of it
forego for an instant her intention of sharing the fortunes of the Ninth
Corps on the other side of the river. The poor fellow was almost gone,
and waiting only to close his eyes on all earthly objects, she crossed
on the frail bridge, and was welcomed with cheers by the Ninth Corps,
who looked upon her as their guardian angel. She remained with them
until the evening of their masterly retreat, and until the wounded men
of the corps in the hospitals were all safely across. While she was in
Fredericksburg, after the battle of the 13th, some soldiers of the corps
who had been roving about the city, came to her quarters bringing with
great difficulty a large and very costly and elegant carpet. "What is
this for?" asked Miss Barton. "It is for you, ma'am," said one of the
soldiers; "you have been so good to us, that we wanted to bring you
something." "Where did you get it?" she asked. "Oh! ma'am, we
confiscated it," said the soldiers. "No! no!" said the lady; "that will
never do. Governments confiscate. Soldiers when they take such things,
steal. I am afraid, my men, you will have to take it back to the house
from which you took it. I can't receive a stolen carpet." The men looked
sheepish enough, but they shouldered the carpet and carried it back. In
the wearisome weeks that followed the Fredericksburg disaster, when
there was not the excitement of a coming battle, and the wounded whether
detained in the hospitals around Falmouth or forwarded through the deep
mud to the hospital transports on the Potomac, still with saddened
countenances and depressed spirits looked forward to a dreary future,
Miss Barton toiled on, infusing hope and cheerfulness into sad hearts,
and bringing the consolations of religion to her aid, pointed them to
the only true source of hope and comfort.

In the early days of April, 1863, Miss Barton went to the South with the
expectation of being present at the combined land and naval attack on
Charleston. She reached the wharf at Hilton Head on the afternoon of the
7th, in time to hear the crack of Sumter's guns as they opened in
broadside on Dupont's fleet. That memorable assault accomplished nothing
unless it might be to ascertain that Charleston could not be taken by
water. The expedition returned to Hilton Head, and a period of
inactivity followed, enlivened only by unimportant raids, newspaper
correspondence, and the small quarrels that naturally arise in an
unemployed army.

Later in the season Miss Barton accompanied the Gilmore and Dahlgren
expedition, and was present at nearly all the military operations on
James, Folly, and Morris Islands. The ground occupied on the latter by
the army, during the long siege of Fort Wagner, was the low sand-hills
forming the sea-board of the Island. No tree, shrub, or weed grew there;
and the only shelter was light tents without floors. The light sand that
yielded to the tread, the walker sinking to the ankles at almost every
step, glistened in the sun, and burned the feet like particles of fire,
and as the ocean winds swept it, it darkened the air and filled the eyes
and nostrils. There was no defense against it, and every wound speedily
became covered with a concrete of gore and sand. Tent pins would not
hold in the treacherous sand, every vigorous blast from the sea,
overturned the tents, leaving the occupants exposed to the storm or the
torrid sun. It was here, under the fire of the heaviest of the rebel
batteries, that Miss Barton spent the most trying part of the summer.
Her employment was, with three or four men detailed to assist her, to
boil water in the lee of a sand-hill, to wash the wounds of the men who
were daily struck by rebel shot, to prepare tea and coffee, and various
dishes made from dried fruits, farina, and desiccated milk and eggs. On
the 19th of July, when the great night assault was made on Wagner, and
everybody expected to find rest and refreshments within the rebel
fortress, she alone, so far as I can learn, kept up her fires and
preparations. She alone had anything suitable to offer the wounded and
exhausted men who streamed back from the repulse, and covered the
sand-hills like a flight of locusts.

Through all the long bombardment that followed; until Sumter was
reduced, and Wagner and Gregg was ours, amid the scorching sun and the
prevalence of prostrating diseases, though herself more than once struck
down with illness, she remained at her post, a most fearless and
efficient co-worker with the indefatigable agent of the Sanitary
Commission, Dr. M. M. Marsh, in saving the lives and promoting the
health of the soldiers of the Union army. "How could you," said a friend
to her subsequently, "how could you expose your life and health to that
deadly heat?" "Why," she answered, evidently without a thought of the
heroism of the answer, "the other ladies thought they could not endure
the climate, and as I knew somebody must take care of the soldiers, I

In January, 1864, Miss Barton returned to the North, and after spending
four or five weeks in visiting her friends and recruiting her wasted
strength, again took up her position at Washington, and commenced making
preparations for the coming campaign which from observation, she was
convinced would be the fiercest and most destructive of human life of
any of the war. The first week of the campaign found her at the
secondary base of the army at Belle Plain, and thence with the great
army of the wounded she moved to Fredericksburg. Extensive as had been
her preparations, and wide as were the circle of friends who had
entrusted to her the means of solace and healing, the slaughter had been
so terrific that she found her supplies nearly exhausted, and for the
first time during the war was compelled to appeal for further supplies
to her friends at the North, expending in the meantime freely, as she
had done all along, of her own private means for the succor of the poor
wounded soldiers. Moving on to Port Royal, and thence to the James
River, she presently became attached to the Army of the James, where
General Butler, at the instance of his Chief Medical Director, Surgeon
McCormick, acknowledging her past services, and appreciating her
abilities, gave her a recognized position, which greatly enhanced her
usefulness, and enabled her, with her energetic nature, to contribute as
much to the welfare and comfort of the army in that year, as she had
been able to do in all her previous connection with it. In January,
1865, she returned to Washington, where she was detained from the front
for nearly two months by the illness and death of a brother and nephew,
and did not again join the army in the field.

By this time, of course, she was very generally known, and the circle of
her correspondence was wide. Her influence in high official quarters
was supposed to be considerable, and she was in the daily receipt of
inquiries and applications of various kinds, in particular in regard to
the fate of men believed to have been confined in Southern prisons. The
great number of letters received of this class, led her to decide to
spend some months at Annapolis, among the camps and records of paroled
and exchanged prisoners, for the purpose of answering the inquiries of
friends. Her plan of operation was approved by President Lincoln, March
11, 1865, and notice of her appointment as "General Correspondent for
the friends of Paroled Prisoners," was published in the newspapers
extensively, bringing in a torrent of inquiries and letters from wives,
parents, State officials, agencies, the Sanitary Commission and the
Christian Commission. On reaching Annapolis, she encountered obstacles
that were vexatious, time-wasting, and in fact, insupportable. Without
rank, rights or authority credited by law, the officials there were at a
loss how to receive her. The town was so crowded that she could find no
private lodgings, and had to force herself as a scarce welcome guest
upon some one for a few days, while her baggage stood out in the snow.
Nearly two months were consumed in negotiations before an order was
obtained from the War Department to the effect that the military
authorities at Annapolis _might_ allow her the use of a tent, and its
furniture, and a moderate supply of postage stamps. This was not
mandatory, but permissive; and negotiations could now be opened with the
gentlemen at Annapolis. In the meantime the President had been
assassinated, Richmond taken, and Lee's army surrendered. The rebellion
was breaking away. All prisoners were to be released from parole, and
sent home, and nothing would remain at Annapolis but the records.
Unfortunately these proved to be of very little service--but a small per
centage of those inquired for, were found on the rolls, and obviously
these, for the most part, were not men who had been lost, but who had
returned. She was also informed, on good authority, that a large number
of prisoners had been exchanged without roll or record, and that some
rolls were so fraudulent and incorrect, as to be worthless. Poor
wretches in the rebel pens seemed even to forget the names their mother
called them. The Annapolis scheme was therefore abandoned, with
mortification that thousands of letters had lain so long unanswered,
that thousands of anxious friends were daily waiting for tidings of
their loved and lost. The pathos and simplicity of these letters was
often touching. An old man writes that he has two sons and three
grandsons in the army, and of two of the five he could get no tidings.
Another says she knew her son was brave, and if he died, he died
honorably. He was all she had and she gave him freely to the country. If
he be really lost she will not repine; but she feels she has a right to
be told what became of him. Many of the writers seemed to have a very
primitive idea of the way information was to be picked up. They imagined
that Miss Barton was to walk through all hospitals, camps, armies and
prisons, and narrowly scrutinizing every face, would be able to identify
the lost boy by the descriptions given her. Hence the fond mother
minutely described her boy as he remained graven on her memory on the
day of his departure. The result of these delays was the organization,
by Miss Barton, at her own cost, of a Bureau of Records of Missing Men
of the Armies of the United States, at Washington. Here she collected
all rolls of prisoners, hospital records, and records of burials in the
rebel prisons and elsewhere, and at short intervals published Rolls of
Missing Men, which, by the franks of some of her friends among the
Members of Congress, were sent to all parts of the United States, and
posted in prominent places, and in many instances copied into local
papers. The method adopted for the discovery of information concerning
these missing men, and the communication of that information to their
friends who had made inquiries concerning them may be thus illustrated.

A Mrs. James of Kennebunk, Maine, has seen a notice in the paper that
Miss Clara Barton of Washington will receive inquiries from friends of
"missing men of the Army," and will endeavor to obtain information for
them without fee or reward. She forthwith writes to Miss Barton that she
is anxious to gain tidings of her husband, Eli James, Sergeant Company
F. Fourth Maine Infantry, who has not been heard of since the battle of
----. This letter, when received, is immediately acknowledged,
registered in a book, endorsed and filed away for convenient reference.
The answer satisfied Mrs. James for the time, that her letter was not
lost and that some attention is given to her inquiry. If the fate of
Sergeant James is known or can be learned from the official rolls the
information is sent at once. Otherwise the case lies over until there
are enough to form a roll, which will probably be within a few weeks. A
roll of Missing Men is then made up--with an appeal for information
respecting them, of which from twenty thousand to thirty thousand copies
are printed to be posted all over the United States, in all places where
soldiers are most likely to congregate. It is not impossible, that in
say two weeks' time, one James Miller, of Keokuk, Iowa, writes that he
has seen the name of his friend James posted for information; that he
found him lying on the ground, at the battle of ---- mortally wounded
with a fragment of shell; that he, James, gave the writer a few articles
from about his person, and a brief message to his wife and children,
whom he is now unable to find; that the national troops fell back from
that portion of the field leaving the dead within the enemy's lines, who
consequently were never reported. When this letter is received it is
also registered in a book, endorsed and filed, and a summary of its
contents is sent to Mrs. James, with the intimation that further
particulars of interest to her can be learned by addressing James
Miller, of Keokuk, Iowa.

Soon after entering fully upon this work in Washington, and having
obtained the rolls of the prison hospitals of Wilmington, Salisbury,
Florence, Charleston, and other Rebel prisons of the South, Miss Barton
ascertained that Dorrance Atwater, a young Connecticut soldier, who had
been a prisoner at Andersonville, Georgia, had succeeded in obtaining a
copy of all the records of interments in that field of death, during his
employment in the hospital there, and that he could identify the graves
of most of the thirteen thousand who had died there the victims of Rebel

Atwater was induced to permit Government officers to copy his roll, and
on the representation of Miss Barton that no time should be lost in
putting up head-boards to the graves of the Union Soldiers, Captain
James M. Moore, Assistant Quartermaster, was ordered to proceed to
Andersonville with young Atwater and a suitable force, to lay out the
grounds as a cemetery and place head-boards to the graves; and Miss
Barton was requested by the Secretary of War to accompany him. She did
so, and the grounds were laid out and fenced, and all the graves except
about four hundred which could not be identified were marked with
suitable head-boards. On their return, Miss Barton resumed her duties,
and Captain Moore caused Atwater's arrest on the charge of having stolen
from the Government the list he had loaned them for copying, and after a
hasty trial by Court-Martial, he was sentenced to be imprisoned in the
Auburn State Prison for two years and six months. The sentence was
immediately carried into effect.

Miss Barton felt that this whole charge, trial and sentence, was grossly
unjust; that Atwater had committed no crime, not even a technical one,
and that he ought to be relieved from imprisonment. She accordingly
exerted herself to have the case brought before the President. This was
done; and in part through the influence of General Benjamin F. Butler,
an order was sent on to the Warden of the Auburn Prison to set the
prisoner at liberty, Atwater subsequently published his roll of the
Andersonville dead, to which Miss Barton prefixed a narrative of the
expedition to Andersonville. Her Bureau had by this time become an
institution of great and indispensable importance not only to the
friends of missing men but to the Sanitary Commission, and to the
Government itself, which could not without daily and almost hourly
reference to her records settle the accounts for bounties, back pay, and
pensions. Thus far, however, it had been sustained wholly at her own
cost, and in this and other labors for the soldiers she had expended her
entire private fortune of eight or ten thousand dollars. Soon after the
assembling of Congress, Hon. Henry Wilson, of Massachusetts, who had
always been her firm friend, moved an appropriation of fifteen thousand
dollars to remunerate her for past expenditure, and enable her to
maintain the Bureau of Records of Missing Men, which had proved of such
service. To the honor of Congress it should be said, that the
appropriation passed both houses by a unanimous vote. Miss Barton still
continues her good work, and has been instrumental in sending certainty
if not solace to thousands of families, who mourned their loved ones as
lying in unknown graves.

In person Miss Barton is about of medium height, her form and figure
indicating great powers of endurance. Though not technically beautiful,
her dark expressive eye is attractive, and she possesses, evidently
unconsciously to herself, great powers of fascination. Her voice is
soft, low, and of extraordinary sweetness of tone. As we have said she
is modest, quiet and retiring in manner, and is extremely reticent in
speaking of anything she has done, while she is ever ready to bestow the
full meed of praise on the labors of others. Her devotion to her work
has been remarkable, and her organizing abilities are unsurpassed among
her own sex and equalled by very few among the other. She is still
young, and with her power and disposition for usefulness is destined we
hope to prove greatly serviceable to the country she so ardently loves.


Miss Helen Louise Gilson is a native of Boston, but removed in childhood
to Chelsea, Massachusetts, where she now resides. She is a niece of Hon.
Frank B. Fay, former Mayor of Chelsea, and was his ward. Mr. Fay, from
the commencement of the war took the most active interest in the
National cause, devoting his time, his wealth and his personal efforts
to the welfare of the soldiers. In the autumn of 1861 he went in person
to the seat of war, and from that time forward, in every battle in which
the Army of the Potomac was engaged, he was promptly upon the field with
his stores and appliances of healing, and moved gently though rapidly
among the dead and wounded, soothing helpless, suffering and bleeding
men parched with fever, crazed with thirst, or lying neglected in the
last agonies of death. After two years of this independent work
performed when as yet the Sanitary Commission had no field agencies, and
did not attempt to minister to the suffering and wounded until they had
come under the hands of the surgeons, Mr. Fay laid before the Sanitary
Commission, in the winter of 1863-4, his plans for an Auxiliary Relief
Corps, to afford personal relief in the field, to the wounded soldier,
and render him such assistance, as should enable him to bear with less
injury the delay which must ensue before he could come under the
surgeon's care or be transferred to a hospital, and in cases of the
slighter wounds furnish the necessary dressings and attention. The
Sanitary Commission at once adopted these plans and made Mr. Fay chief
of the Auxiliary Relief Corps. In this capacity he performed an amount
of labor of which few men were capable, till December, 1864, when he
retired from it but continued his independent work till the close of the
war. During his visits at home he was active in organizing and directing
measures for raising supplies and money for the Sanitary Commission and
the independent measures of relief.

Influenced by such an example of lofty and self-sacrificing patriotism,
and with her own young heart on fire with love for her country, Miss
Gilson from the very commencement of the war, gave herself to the work
of caring for the soldiers, first at home, and afterward in the field.
In that glorious uprising of American women, all over the North, in the
spring of 1861, to organize Soldiers' Aid Societies she was active and
among the foremost in her own city. She had helped to prepare and
collect supplies, and to arrange them for transportation. She had also
obtained a contract for the manufacture of army clothing, from the
Government, by means of which she provided employment for soldiers'
wives and daughters, raising among the benevolent and patriotic people
of Chelsea and vicinity, a fund which enabled her to pay a far more
liberal sum than the contractors' prices, for this labor.

When Mr. Fay commenced his personal services with the Army of the
Potomac, Miss Gilson, wishing to accompany him, applied to Miss D. L.
Dix, Government Superintendent of Female Nurses, for a diploma, but as
she had not reached the required age she was rejected. This, however,
did not prevent her from fulfilling her ardent desire of ministering to
the sick and wounded, but served in a measure to limit her to services
upon the field, where she could act in concert with Mr. Fay, or
otherwise under the direction of the Sanitary Commission.

During nearly the whole term of Miss Gilson's service she was in company
with Mr. Fay and his assistants. The party had their own tent, forming
a household, and carrying with them something of home-life.

In this manner she, with her associates, followed the Army of the
Potomac, through its various vicissitudes, and was present at, or near,
almost every one of its great battles except the first battle of Bull

In the summer of 1862 Miss Gilson was for some time attached to the
Hospital Transport service, and was on board the Knickerbocker when up
the Pamunky River at White House, and afterward at Harrison's Landing
during the severe battles which marked McClellan's movement from the
Chickahominy to the James River. Amidst the terrible scenes of those
eventful days, the quiet energy, the wonderful comforting and soothing
power, and the perfect adaptability of Miss Gilson to her work were

Whatever she did was done well, and so noiselessly that only the results
were seen. When not more actively employed she would sit by the
bed-sides of the suffering men, and charm away their pain by the
magnetism of her low, calm voice, and soothing words. She sang for them,
and, kneeling beside them, where they lay amidst all the agonizing
sights and sounds of the hospital wards, and even upon the field of
carnage, her voice would ascend in petition, for peace, for relief, for
sustaining grace in the brief journey to the other world, carrying with
it their souls into the realms of an exalted faith.

As may be supposed, Miss Gilson exerted a remarkable personal influence
over the wounded soldiers as well as all those with whom she was brought
in contact. She always shrank from notoriety, and strongly deprecated
any publicity in regard to her work; but the thousands who witnessed her
extraordinary activity, her remarkable executive power, her ability in
evoking order out of chaos, and providing for thousands of sick and
wounded men where most persons would have been completely overwhelmed in
the care of scores or hundreds, could not always be prevented from
speaking of her in the public prints. The uniform cheerfulness and
buoyancy of spirit with which all her work was performed, added greatly
to its efficiency in removing the depressing influences, so common in
the hospitals and among the wounded.

From some of the reports of agents of the Sanitary Commission we select
the following passages referring to her, as expressing in more moderate
language than some others, the sentiments in regard to her work
entertained by all who were brought into contact with her.

"Upon Miss Gilson's services, we scarcely dare trust ourselves to
comment. Upon her experience we relied for counsel, and it was chiefly
due to her advice and efforts, that the work in our hospital went on so
successfully. Always quiet, self-possessed, and prompt in the discharge
of duty, she accomplished more than any one else could for the relief of
the wounded, besides being a constant example and embodiment of
earnestness for all. Her ministrations were always grateful to the
wounded men, who devotedly loved her for her self-sacrificing spirit.
Said one of the Fifth New Jersey in our hearing, 'There isn't a man in
our regiment who wouldn't lay down his life for Miss Gilson.'

"We have seen the dying man lean his head upon her shoulder, while she
breathed into his ear the soothing prayer that calmed, cheered and
prepared him for his journey through the dark valley.

"Under the direction of Miss Gilson, the special diet was prepared, and
we cannot strongly enough express our sense of the invaluable service
she rendered in this department. The food was always eagerly expected
and relished by the men, with many expressions of praise."

After the battle of Gettysburg Mr. Fay and his party went thither on
their mission of help and mercy. And never was such a mission more
needed. Crowded within the limits, and in the immediate vicinity, of
that small country-town, were twenty-five thousand wounded men,
thirteen thousand seven hundred and thirteen of our own, and nearly
twelve thousand wounded rebel prisoners. The Government in anticipation
of the battle had provided medical and surgical supplies and attendance
for about ten thousand. Had not the Sanitary Commission supplemented
this supply, and sent efficient agents to the field, the loss of life,
and the amount of suffering, terrible as they were with the best
appliances, must have been almost incredibly great.

Here as elsewhere Miss Gilson soon made a favorable impression on the
wounded men. They looked up to her, reverenced and almost worshipped
her. She had their entire confidence and respect. Even the roughest of
them yielded to her influence and obeyed her wishes, which were always
made known in a gentle manner and in a voice peculiarly low and sweet.

It has been recorded by one who knew her well, that she once stepped out
of her tent, before which a group of brutal men were fiercely
quarrelling, having refused, with oaths and vile language, to carry a
sick comrade to the hospital at the request of one of the male agents of
the Commission, and quietly advancing to their midst, renewed the
request as her own. Immediately every angry tone was stilled. Their
voices were lowered, and modulated respectfully. Their oaths ceased, and
quietly and cheerfully, without a word of objection, they lifted their
helpless burden, and tenderly carried him away.

At the same time she was as efficient in action as in influence. Without
bustle, and with unmoved calmness, she would superintend the preparation
of food for a thousand men, and assist in feeding them herself. Just so
she moved amidst the flying bullets upon the field, bringing succor to
the wounded; or through the hospitals amidst the pestilent air of the
fever-stricken wards. Self-controlled, she could control others, and
order and symmetry sprung up before her as a natural result of the
operation of a well-balanced mind.

In all her journeys Miss Gilson made use of the opportunities afforded
her wherever she stopped to plead the cause of the soldier to the
people, who readily assembled at her suggestion. She thus stimulated
energies that might otherwise have flagged, and helped to swell the
supplies continually pouring in to the depots of the Sanitary
Commission. But Miss Gilson's crowning work was performed during that
last protracted campaign of General Grant from the Rapidan to Petersburg
and the Appomattox, a campaign which by almost a year of constant
fighting finished the most terrible and destructive war of modern times.
She had taken the field with Mr. Fay at the very commencement of the
campaign, and had been indefatigable in her efforts to relieve what she
could of the fearful suffering of those destructive battles of May,
1864, in which the dead and wounded were numbered by scores of
thousands. To how many poor sufferers she brought relief from the raging
thirst and the racking agony of their wounds, to how many aching hearts
her words of cheer and her sweet songs bore comfort and hope, to how
many of those on whose countenances the Angel of death had already set
his seal, she whispered of a dying and risen Saviour, and of the
mansions prepared for them that love him, will never be known till the
judgment of the great day; but this we know, that thousands now living
speak with an almost rapturous enthusiasm, of "the little lady who in
their hours of agony, ministered to them with such sweetness, and never
seemed to weary of serving them."

A young physician in the service of the Sanitary Commission, Dr. William
Howell Reed, who was afterwards for many months associated with her and
Mr. Fay in their labors of auxiliary relief, thus describes his first
opportunity of observing her work. It was at Fredericksburg in May,
1864, when that town was for a time the base of the Army of the Potomac,
and the place to which the wounded were brought for treatment before
being sent to the hospitals at Washington and Baltimore. The building
used as a hospital, and which she visited was the mansion of John L.
Marie, a large building, but much of it in ruins from the previous
bombardment of the city. It was crowded with wounded in every part. Dr.
Reed says:--

"One afternoon, just before the evacuation, when the atmosphere of our
rooms was close and foul, and all were longing for a breath of our
cooler northern air, while the men were moaning in pain, or were
restless with fever, and our hearts were sick with pity for the
sufferers, I heard a light step upon the stairs; and looking up I saw a
young lady enter, who brought with her such an atmosphere of calm and
cheerful courage, so much freshness, such an expression of gentle,
womanly sympathy, that her mere presence seemed to revive the drooping
spirits of the men, and to give a new power of endurance through the
long and painful hours of suffering. First with one, then at the side of
another, a friendly word here, a gentle nod and smile there, a tender
sympathy with each prostrate sufferer, a sympathy which could read in
his eyes his longing for home love, and for the presence of some absent
one--in those few minutes hers was indeed an angel ministry. Before she
left the room she sang to them, first some stirring national melody,
then some sweet or plaintive hymn to strengthen the fainting heart; and
I remember how the notes penetrated to every part of the building.
Soldiers with less severe wounds, from the rooms above, began to crawl
out into the entries, and men from below crept up on their hands and
knees, to catch every note, and to receive of the benediction of her
presence--for such it was to them. Then she went away. I did not know
who she was, but I was as much moved and melted as any soldier of them
all. This is my first reminiscence of Helen L. Gilson."

Thus far Miss Gilson's cares and labors had been bestowed almost
exclusively on the white soldiers; but the time approached when she was
to devote herself to the work of creating a model hospital for the
colored soldiers who now formed a considerable body of troops in the
Army of the Potomac. She was deeply interested in the struggle of the
African race upward into the new life which seemed opening for them, and
her efforts for the mental and moral elevation of the freedmen and their
families were eminently deserving of record.

Dr. Reed relates how, as they were passing down the Rappahannock and up
the York and Pamunky rivers to the new temporary base of the army at
Port Royal, they found a government barge which had been appropriated to
the use of the "contrabands," of whom about a thousand were stowed away
upon it, of all ages and both sexes, all escaped from their former
masters in that part of Virginia. The hospital party heard them singing
the negroes' evening hymn, and taking a boat from the steamer rowed to
the barge, and after a little conversation persuaded them to renew their
song, which was delivered with all the fervor, emotion and _abandon_ of
the negro character.

When their song had ceased, Miss Gilson addressed them. She pictured the
reality of freedom, told them what it meant and what they would have to
do, no longer would there be a master to deal out the peck of corn, no
longer a mistress to care for the old people or the children. They were
to work for themselves, provide for their own sick, and support their
own infirm; but all this was to be done under new conditions. No
overseer was to stand over them with the whip, for their new master was
the necessity of earning their daily bread. Very soon new and higher
motives would come; fresh encouragements, a nobler ambition, would grow
into their new condition. Then in the simplest language she explained
the difference between their former relations with the then master and
their new relations with the northern people, showing that labor here
was voluntary, and that they could only expect to secure kind employers
by faithfully doing all they had to do. Then, enforcing truthfulness,
neatness, and economy, she said,--

"You know that the Lord Jesus died and rose again for you. You love to
sing his praise and to draw near to him in prayer. But remember that
this is not all of religion. You must do right as well as pray right.
Your lives must be full of kind deeds towards each other, full of gentle
and loving affections, full of unselfishness and truth: this is true
piety. You must make Monday and Tuesday just as good and pure as Sunday
is, remembering that God looks not only at your prayers and your
emotions, but at the way you live, and speak, and act, every hour of
your lives."

Then she sang Whittier's exquisite hymn:--

    "O, praise an' tanks,--the Lord he come
      To set de people free;
    An' massa tink it day ob doom,
      An' we ob jubilee.
    De Lord dat heap de Red Sea wabes,
      He just as 'trong as den;
    He say de word, we last night slabes,
      To-day de Lord's free men."

Here were a thousand people breathing their first free air. They were
new born with this delicious sense of freedom. They listened with
moistened eyes to every word which concerned their future, and felt that
its utterance came from a heart which could embrace them all in its
sympathies. Life was to them a jubilee only so far as they could make it
so by a consciousness of duty faithfully done. They had hard work before
them, much privation, many struggles. They had everything to learn--the
new industries of the North, their changed social condition, and how to
accept their new responsibilities.

As she spoke the circle grew larger, and they pressed round her more
eagerly. It was all a part of their new life. They welcomed it; and, by
every possible expression of gratitude to her, they showed how desirous
they were to learn. Those who were present can never forget the scene--a
thousand dusky faces, expressive of such fervency and enthusiasm, their
large eyes filled with tears, answering to the throbbing heart below,
all dimly outlined by the flickering rays of a single lamp. And when it
was over, we felt that we could understand our relations to them, and
the new duties which this great hour had brought upon us.

It was not till the sanguinary battles of the 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th
of June, 1864, that there had been any considerable number of the
colored troops of the Army of the Potomac wounded. In those engagements
however, as well as in the subsequent ones of the explosion of the mine,
and the actions immediately around Petersburg, they suffered terribly.
The wounded were brought rapidly to City Point, where a temporary
hospital had been provided. We give a description of this hospital in
the words of Dr. Reed, who was associated subsequently with Miss Gilson
in its management.

"It was, in no other sense a hospital, than that it was a depot for
wounded men. There were defective management and chaotic confusion. The
men were neglected, the hospital organization was imperfect, and the
mortality was in consequence frightfully large. Their condition was
horrible. The severity of the campaign in a malarious country had
prostrated many with fevers, and typhoid, in its most malignant forms,
was raging with increasing fatality.

"These stories of suffering reached Miss Gilson at a moment when the
previous labors of the campaign had nearly exhausted her strength; but
her duty seemed plain. There were no volunteers for the emergency, and
she prepared to go. Her friends declared that she could not survive it;
but replying that she could not die in a cause more sacred, she started
out alone. A hospital was to be created, and this required all the tact,
finesse and diplomacy of which a woman is capable. Official prejudice
and professional pride was to be met and overcome. A new policy was to
be introduced, and it was to be done without seeming to interfere. Her
doctrine and practice always were instant, silent, and cheerful
obedience to medical and disciplinary orders, without any qualification
whatever; and by this she overcame the natural sensitiveness of the
medical authorities.

"A hospital kitchen was to be organized upon her method of special diet;
nurses were to learn her way, and be educated to their duties; while
cleanliness, order, system, were to be enforced in the daily routine.
Moving quietly on with her work of renovation, she took the
responsibility of all changes that became necessary; and such harmony
prevailed in the camp that her policy was vindicated as time rolled on.
The rate of mortality was lessened, and the hospital was soon considered
the best in the department. This was accomplished by a tact and energy
which sought no praise, but modestly veiled themselves behind the orders
of officials. The management of her kitchen was like the ticking of a
clock--regular discipline, gentle firmness, and sweet temper always. The
diet for the men was changed three times a day; and it was her aim to
cater as far as possible to the appetites of individual men. Her daily
rounds in the wards brought her into personal intercourse with every
patient, and she knew his special need. At one time, when nine hundred
men were supplied from her kitchen (with seven hundred rations daily), I
took down her diet list for one dinner, and give it here in a note,[D]
to show the variety of the articles, and her careful consideration of
the condition of separate men."

[Footnote D: "List of rations in the Colored Hospital at City Point,
being a dinner on Wednesday, April 25th, 1865:--

    Roast Beef,
    Veal Broth,
    Stewed Oysters,
    Beef Tea,
    Mashed Potatoes,
    Apple Jelly,
    Farina Pudding.
    Scalded Milk,
    Crackers and Sherry Cobbler,
    Roast Apple

Let it not be supposed that this was an ordinary hospital diet. Although
such a list was furnished at this time, yet it was only possible while
the hospital had an ample base, like City Point. The armies, when
operating at a distance, could give but two or three articles; and in
active campaigns these were furnished with great irregularity."]

The following passage from the pen of Harriet Martineau, in regard to
the management of the kitchen at Scutari, by Florence Nightingale, is
true also of those organized by Miss Gilson in Virginia. The parallel is
so close, and the illustration of the daily administration of this
department of her work so vivid, that, if the circumstances under which
it was written were not known, I should have said it was a faithful
picture of our kitchen in the Colored Hospital at City Point:--

"The very idea of that kitchen was savory in the wards; for out of it
came, at the right moment, arrowroot, hot and of the pleasantest
consistence; rice puddings, neither hard on the one hand or clammy on
the other; cool lemonade for the feverish; cans full of hot tea for the
weary, and good coffee for the faint. When the sinking sufferer was
lying with closed eyes, too feeble to make moan or sigh, the hospital
spoon was put between his lips, with the mouthful of strong broth or hot
wine, which rallied him till the watchful nurse came round again. The
meat from that kitchen was tenderer than any other, the beef tea was
more savory. One thing that came out of it was the lesson on the saving
of good cookery. The mere circumstance of the boiling water being really
boiling there, made a difference of two ounces of rice in every four
puddings, and of more than half the arrowroot used. The same quantity of
arrowroot which made a pint thin and poor in the general kitchen, made
two pints thick and good in Miss Nightingale's.

"Again, in contrasting the general kitchen with the light or special
diet prepared for the sicker men, there was all the difference between
having placed before them 'the cold mutton chop with its opaque fat, the
beef with its caked gravy, the arrowroot stiff and glazed, all
untouched, as might be seen by the bed-sides in the afternoons, while
the patients were lying back, sinking for want of support,' and seeing
'the quick and quiet nurses enter as the clock struck, with their hot
water tins, hot morsels ready cut, bright knife, and fork, and
spoon,--and all ready for instant eating!'

"The nurses looked for Miss Gilson's word of praise, and labored for it;
and she had only to suggest a variety in the decoration of the tents to
stimulate a most honorable rivalry among them, which soon opened a wide
field for displaying ingenuity and taste, so that not only was its
standard the highest, but it was the most cheerfully picturesque
hospital at City Point.

"This colored hospital service was one of those extraordinary tasks, out
of the ordinary course of army hospital discipline, that none but a
woman could execute. It required more than a man's power of endurance,
for men fainted and fell under the burden. It required a woman's
discernment, a woman's tenderness, a woman's delicacy and tact; it
required such nerve and moral force, and such executive power, as are
rarely united in any woman's character. The simple grace with which she
moved about the hospital camps, the gentle dignity with which she
ministered to the suffering about her, won all hearts. As she passed
through the wards, the men would follow her with their eyes, attracted
by the grave sweetness of her manner; and when she stopped by some
bed-side, and laid her hand upon the forehead and smoothed the hair of a
soldier, speaking some cheering, pleasant word, I have seen the tears
gather in his eyes, and his lips quiver, as he tried to speak or to
touch the fold of her dress, as if appealing to her to listen, while he
opened his heart about the mother, wife, or sister far away. I have seen
her in her sober gray flannel gown, sitting motionless by the dim
candle-light,--which was all our camp could afford,--with her eyes open
and watchful, and her hands ever ready for all those endless wants of
sickness at night, especially sickness that may be tended unto death, or
unto the awful struggle between life and death, which it was the lot of
nearly all of us at some time to keep watch over until the danger had
gone by. And in sadder trials, when the life of a soldier whom she had
watched and ministered to was trembling in the balance between earth and
heaven, waiting for Him to make all things new, she has seemed, by some
special grace of the Spirit, to reach the living Christ, and draw a
blessing down as the shining way was opened to the tomb. And I have seen
such looks of gratitude from weary eyes, now brightened by visions of
heavenly glory, the last of many recognitions of her ministry. Absorbed
in her work, unconscious of the spiritual beauty which invested her
daily life,--whether in her kitchen, in the heat and overcrowding
incident to the issues of a large special diet list, or sitting at the
cot of some poor lonely soldier, whispering of the higher realities of
another world,--she was always the same presence of grace and love, of
peace and benediction. I have been with her in the wards when the men
have craved some simple religious services,--the reading of Scripture,
the repetition of a psalm, the singing of a hymn, or the offering of a
prayer,--and invariably the men were melted to tears by the touching
simplicity of her eloquence.

"These were the tokens of her ministry among the sickest men; but it was
not here alone that her influence was felt in the hospital. Was there
jealousy in the kitchen, her quick penetration detected the cause, and
in her gentle way harmony was restored; was there profanity among the
convalescents, her daily presence and kindly admonition or reproof, with
an occasional glance which spoke her sorrow for such sin, were enough to
check the evil; or was there hardship or discontent, the knowledge that
she was sharing the discomfort too, was enough to compel patient
endurance until a remedy could be provided. And so, through all the war,
from the seven days' conflict upon the Peninsula, in those early July
days of 1862, through the campaigns of Antietam and Fredericksburg, of
Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, and after the conflicts of the
Wilderness, and the fierce and undecided battles which were fought for
the possession of Richmond and Petersburg, in 1864 and 1865, she labored
steadfastly on until the end. Through scorching heat and pinching cold,
in the tent or upon the open field, in the ambulance or on the saddle,
through rain and snow, amid unseen perils of the enemy, under fire upon
the field, or in the more insidious dangers of contagion, she worked
quietly on, doing her simple part with all womanly tact and skill, until
now the hospital dress is laid aside, and she rests, with the sense of a
noble work done, and with the blessings and prayers of the thousands
whose sufferings she has relieved, or whose lives she has saved."

Amid all these labors, Miss Gilson found time and opportunity to care
for the poor negro washerwomen and their families, who doing the washing
of the hospital were allowed rations and a rude shelter by the
government in a camp near the hospital grounds. Finding that they were
suffering from overcrowding, privation, neglect, and sickness, she
procured the erection of comfortable huts for them, obtained clothing
from the North for the more destitute, and by example and precept
encouraged them in habits of neatness and order, while she also
inculcated practical godliness in all their life. In a short time from
one of the most miserable this became the best of the Freedmen's camps.

As was the case with nearly every woman who entered the service at the
seat of war, Miss Gilson suffered from malarious fever. As often as
possible she returned to her home for a brief space, to recruit her
wasted energies, and it was those brief intervals of rest which enabled
her to remain at her post until several months after the surrender of
Lee virtually ended the war.

She left Richmond in July, 1865, and spent the remainder of the summer
in a quiet retreat upon Long Island, where she partially recovered her
impaired health, and in the autumn returned to her home in Chelsea.

In person Miss Gilson is small and delicately proportioned. Without
being technically beautiful, her features are lovely both in form and
expression, and though now nearly thirty years of age she looks much
younger than she actually is. Her voice is low and soft, and her speech
gentle and deliberate. Her movements correspond in exact harmony with
voice and speech. But, under the softness and gentleness of her external
demeanor, one soon detects a firmness of determination, and a fixedness
of will. No doubt, once determined upon the duty and propriety of any
course, she will pursue it calmly and persistently to the end. It is to
these qualifications, and physical and moral traits, that she owes the
undoubted power and influence exercised in her late mission.


He would have been a man of uncommon sagacity and penetration, who in
the beginning of 1861, should have chosen Mrs. Harris as capable of the
great services and the extraordinary power of endurance with which her
name has since been identified. A pale, quiet, delicate woman, often an
invalid for months, and almost always a sufferer; the wife of a somewhat
eminent physician, in Philadelphia, and in circumstances which did not
require constant activity for her livelihood, refined, educated, and
shrinking from all rough or brutal sights or sounds, she seemed one of
those who were least fitted to endure the hardships, and encounter the
roughnesses of a life in the camp or field hospitals.

But beneath that quiet and frail exterior, there dwelt a firm and
dauntless spirit. She had been known by her neighbors, and especially in
the church of which she was an honored member, as a woman of remarkable
piety and devotion, and as an excellent and skilful attendant upon the
sick. When the war commenced, she was one of the ladies who assembled to
form the Ladies' Aid Society of Philadelphia, and was chosen, we believe
unanimously, Corresponding Secretary. She seems to have entered upon the
work from the feeling that it was a part of her duty, a sacrifice she
was called to make, a burden which she ought to bear. And through the
war, mainly from her temperament, which inclined her to look on the dark
side, she never seemed stimulated or strengthened in her work by that
abiding conviction of the final success of our arms, which was to so
many of the patient workers, the day-star of hope. Like Bunyan's Master
Fearing, she was always apprehensive of defeat and disaster, of the
triumph of the adversary; and when victories came, her eyes were so dim
with tears for the bereaved and sorrow-stricken, and her heart so heavy
with their griefs that she could not join in the songs of triumph, or
smile in unison with the nation's rejoicings. We speak of this not to
depreciate her work or zeal, but rather to do the more honor to both.
The despondent temperament and the intense sympathy with sorrow were
constitutional, or the result of years of ill-health, and that under
their depressing influence, with no step of her way lighted with the
sunshine of joy, she should have not only continued faithful to her
work, but have undergone more hardships and accomplished more, for the
soldiers than most others, reflects the highest credit upon her
patience, perseverance and devotion to the cause.

We have elsewhere in this volume given an account of the origin and
progress of the Ladies' Aid Society, of Philadelphia. Mrs. Harris,
though continued as its Corresponding Secretary through the war, was,
during the greater part of the time, its correspondent in the field, and
left to the other officers, the work of raising and forwarding the money
and supplies, while she attended in person to their distribution. This
division of labor seems to have satisfied her associates, who forwarded
to her order their hospital stores and money with the most perfect
confidence in her judicious disposition of both. Other Societies, such
as the Penn Relief, the Patriotic Daughters of Lancaster, and Aid
Societies from the interior of Pennsylvania, as well as the Christian
and Sanitary Commissions, made her their almoners, and she distributed a
larger amount of stores, perhaps, than any other lady in the field.

The history of her work during the war, is given very fully, in her
correspondence with the Ladies' Aid Society, published in their
semi-annual reports. From these we gather that she had visited in 1861,
and the winter of 1862, before the movement of the army to the
peninsula, more than one hundred hospitals of the army of the Potomac,
in and around Washington, and had not only ministered to the physical
wants of the sick and wounded men, but had imparted religious
instruction and consolation to many of them. Everywhere her coming had
been welcomed; in many instances, eyes dimmed by the shadow of the wings
of the death-angel, saw in her the wife or mother, for whose coming they
had longed and died, with the hallowed word "mother" on their lips.

When in the spring of 1862, the army of the Potomac moved to the
Peninsula, Mrs. Harris went thither, first distributing as far as
practicable, her stores among the men. Soon after her arrival on the
Peninsula, she found ample employment for her time. The Chesapeake and
Hygeia hospitals at Fortress Monroe, filled at first mostly with the
sick, and the few wounded in the siege of Yorktown, were, after the
battles of Williamsburg and West Point crowded with such of the wounded,
both Union and Confederate soldiers as could be brought so far from the
battle-fields. She spent two or three weeks here, aiding the noble women
who were acting as Matrons of these hospitals. From thence she went on
board the Vanderbilt, then just taken as a Government Transport for the
wounded from the bloody field of Fair Oaks.

She thus describes the scene and her work:

     "There were eight hundred on board. Passage-ways, state-rooms,
     floors from the dark and foetid hold to the hurricane deck, were
     all more than filled; some on mattresses, some on blankets, others
     on straw; some in the death-struggle, others nearing it, some
     already beyond human sympathy and help; some in their blood as they
     had been brought from the battle-field of the Sabbath previous, and
     all hungry and thirsty, not having had anything to eat or drink,
     except hard crackers, for twenty-four hours.

     "The gentlemen who came on with us hurried on to the White House,
     and would have had us go with them, but something held us back;
     thank God it was so. Meeting Dr. Cuyler, Medical Director, he
     exclaimed, 'Here is work for you!' He, poor man, was completely
     overwhelmed with the general care of all the hospitals at Old
     Point, and added to these, these mammoth floating hospitals, which
     are coming in from day to day with their precious cargoes. Without
     any previous notice, they anchor, and send to him for supplies,
     which it would be extremely difficult to improvise, even in our
     large cities, and quite impossible at Old Point. 'No bakeries, no
     stores, except small sutlers.' The bread had all to be baked; the
     boat rationed for two days; _eight hundred_ on board.

     "When we went aboard, the first cry we met was for tea and bread.
     'For God's sake, give us _bread_,' came from many of our wounded
     soldiers. Others shot in the face or neck, begged for liquid food.
     With feelings of a _mixed_ character, shame, indignation, and
     sorrow blending, we turned away to see what resources we could
     muster to meet the demand. A box of tea, a barrel of cornmeal,
     sundry parcels of dried fruit, a few crackers, ginger cakes, dried
     rusk, sundry jars of jelly and of pickles, were seized upon,
     soldiers and contrabands impressed into service, all the cooking
     arrangements of three families appropriated, by permission, and
     soon three pounds of tea were boiling, and many gallons of gruel
     blubbering. In the meantime, all the bread we could buy,
     twenty-five loaves, were cut into slices and _jellied_, pickles
     were got in readiness, and in an incredibly short time, we were
     back to our poor sufferers.

     "When we carried in bread, hands from every quarter were
     outstretched, and the cry, 'Give me a piece, O please! I have had
     nothing since Monday;' another, 'Nothing but hard crackers since
     the fight,' etc. When we had dealt out nearly all the bread, a
     surgeon came in, and cried, 'Do please keep some for the poor
     fellows in the hold; they are so badly off for everything.' So with
     the remnant we threaded our way through the suffering crowd, amid
     such exclamations as 'Oh! please don't touch my foot,' or, 'For
     mercy's sake, don't touch my arm;' another, 'Please don't move the
     blanket; I am so terribly cut up,' down to the hold, in which were
     not less than one hundred and fifty, nearly all sick, some very
     sick. It was like plunging into a vapor bath, so hot, close, and
     full of moisture, and then in this dismal place, we distributed our
     bread, oranges, and pickles, which were seized upon with avidity.
     And here let me say, at least twenty of them told us next day that
     the pickles had done them more good than all the medicine they had
     taken. The tea was carried all around in buckets, sweetened, but no
     milk in it. How much we wished for some concentrated milk. The
     gruel, into which we had put a goodly quantity of wine, was
     relished, you cannot know how much. One poor wounded boy, exhausted
     with the loss of blood and long fasting, looked up after taking the
     first nourishment he could swallow since the battle of Saturday,
     then four days, and exclaimed, with face radiant with gratitude and
     pleasure, 'Oh! that is life to me; I feel as if _twenty years were
     given me_ to live.' He was shockingly wounded about the neck and
     face, and could only take liquid food from a feeding-cup, of which
     they had none on board. We left them four, together with a number
     of tin dishes, spoons, etc. After hours spent in this way, we
     returned to the Hygeia Hospital, stopping on our way to stew a
     quantity of dried fruit, which served for supper, reaching the
     Hygeia wet through and through, _every garment_ saturated.
     Disrobed, and bathing with bay rum, was glad to lie down, every
     bone aching, and head and heart throbbing, unwilling to cease work
     where so much was to be done, and yet wholly unable to do more.
     There I lay, with the sick, wounded, and dying all around, and
     slept from sheer exhaustion, the last sounds falling upon my ear
     being groans from the operating room."

Her ministrations to the wounded on the Vanderbilt were unexpectedly
prolonged by the inability of the officers to get the necessary supplies
on board, but two days after she was on the Knickerbocker, a Sanitary
Commission Transport, and on her way to White House Landing where in
company with Miss Charlotte Bradford, she spent the whole night on the
Transport Louisiana, dressing and caring for the wounded. When she left
the boat at eleven o'clock the next night she was obliged to wash all
her skirts which were saturated with the mingled blood of the Union and
Confederate soldiers which covered the floor, as she kneeled between
them to wash their faces. She had torn up all her spare clothing which
could be of use to them for bandages and compresses. From White House
she proceeded to the battle-ground of Fair Oaks, and presently pitched
her tent on the Dudley Farm, near Savage Station, to be near the group
of field hospitals, to which the wounded in the almost daily skirmishes
and the sick smitten with that terrible Chickahominy fever were sent.

The provision made by the Medical Bureau of the Government at this time
for the care and comfort of the wounded and fever-stricken was small and
often inappropriate. Where tents were provided, they were either of the
wedge pattern or the bivouacking tent of black cloth, and in the hot sun
of a Virginia summer absorbed the sun's rays till they were like ovens;
many of the sick were put into the cabins and miserable shanties of the
vicinity, and not unfrequently in the attics of these, where amid the
intense heat they were left without food or drink except when the
Sanitary Commission's agents or some of the ladies connected with other
organizations, like Mrs. Harris, ministered to their necessities. One
case of this kind, not by any means the worst, but told with a simple
pathos deserves to be quoted:

     "Passing a forlorn-looking house, we were told by a sentinel that a
     young Captain of a Maine regiment laid in it very sick; we went in,
     no door obstructing, and there upon a stretcher in a corner of the
     room opening directly upon the road lay an elegant-looking youth
     struggling with the last great enemy. His mind wandered; and as we
     approached him he exclaimed: 'Is it not cruel to keep me here when
     my mother and sister, whom I have not seen for a year, are in the
     next room; they might let me go in?' His mind continued to wander;
     only for an instant did he seem to have a glimpse of the reality,
     when he drew two rings from his finger, placed there by a loving
     mother and sister, handed them to an attendant, saying: 'Carry them
     home,' and then he was amid battle scenes, calling out, 'Deploy to
     the left;' 'Keep out of that ambuscade;' 'Now go, my braves, double
     quick, and strike for your flag! On, on,' and he threw up his arms
     as if cheering them, 'you'll win the day;' and so he continued to
     talk, whilst death was doing its terrible work. As we looked upon
     the beautiful face and manly form, and thought of the mother and
     sister in their distant home, surrounded by every luxury wealth
     could purchase, worlds seemed all too cheap to give to have him
     with them. But this could not be. The soldier of three battles, he
     was not willing to admit that he was sick until his strength
     failed, and he was actually dying. He was carried to this cheerless
     room, a rude table the only furniture; no door, no window-shutters;
     the western sun threw its hot rays in upon him,--no cooling shade
     for his fevered brow: and so he lay unconscious of the monster's
     grasp, which would not relax until he had done his work. His last
     expressions told of interest in his men. He was a graduate of
     Waterville College. Twenty of his company graduated at the same
     institution. He was greatly beloved; his death, even in this
     Golgotha, was painfully impressive. There was no time to talk to
     him of that spirit-land upon which he was so soon to enter.
     Whispered a few verses of Scripture into his ear; he looked with a
     sweet smile and thanked me, but his manner betokened no
     appreciation of the sacred words. He was an only son. His mother
     and sister doted on him. He had everything to bind him to life, but
     the mandate had gone forth."

Of the scenes of the retreat from the Chickahominy to Harrison's
Landing, Mrs. Harris was an active and deeply interested witness; she
remained at Savage Station caring for the wounded, for some time, and
then proceeded to Seven Pines, where a day was passed in preparing the
wounded for the operations deemed necessary, obtaining, at great
personal peril, candles to light the darkness of the field hospital, and
was sitting down, completely exhausted with her trying and wearisome
labors, when an army chaplain, an exception it is to be hoped to most of
his profession, in his unwillingness to serve the wounded, came to her
and said, "They have just brought in a soldier with a leg blown off; he
is in a horrible condition; could you wash him?" Wearied as she was, she
performed the duty tenderly, but it was scarcely finished when death
claimed him. Her escape to White House, and thence to Harrison's
Landing, was made not a minute too soon; she was obliged to abandon her
stores, and to come off on the steamer in a borrowed bonnet.

At this trying time, her constitutional tendency to despondency took
full possession of her. "The heavens are filled with blackness," she
writes; "I find myself on board the Nelly Baker, on my way to City
Point, with supplies for our poor army, if we still have one; I am not
always hopeful, you see. * * * Alarming accounts come to us. Prepare for
the worst, but hope for the best. We do not doubt we are in a very
critical condition, out of which only the Most High can bring us." This
is not the language of fear or cowardice. There was no disposition on
her part to seek her own personal safety, but while she despaired of
success, she was ready to brave any danger for the sake of the wounded
soldiers. This courage in the midst of despair, is really greater than
that of the battle-field.

The months of July and August, 1862, except a brief visit home, were
spent at Harrison's Landing, amid the scenes of distress, disease,
wounds and suffering, which abounded there. The malaria of the
Chickahominy swamps had done much to demoralize the finest army ever put
into the field; tens of thousands were ill with it, and these, with the
hosts of wounded accumulated more rapidly than the transports, numerous
as they were, could carry them away. Their condition at Harrison's
Landing was pitiable; the medical bureau seemed to have shared in the
general demoralization. The proper diet, the necessary hospital
arrangements, everything required for the soldiers' restoration to
health, was wanting; the pasty, adhesive mud was everywhere, and the
hospital tents, old, mildewed, and leaky, were pitched in it, and no
floors provided; hard tack, salt junk, fat salt pork, and cold, greasy
bean soup, was the diet provided for men suffering from typhoid fever,
and from wounds which rendered liquid food indispensable. Soft bread was
promised, but was not obtained till just before the breaking up of the
encampment. Nor was the destitution of hospital clothing less complete.
In that disastrous retreat across the peninsula, many of the men had
lost their knapsacks; the government did not provide shirts, drawers,
undershirts, as well as mattresses, sheets, blankets, etc., in anything
like the quantity needed, and men had often lain for weeks without a
change of clothing, in the mud and filth. So far as a few zealous
workers could do it, Mrs. Harris, and her willing and active coadjutors
sought to remedy these evils; the clothing, and the more palatable and
appropriate food they could and did provide for most of those who
remained. Having accomplished all for these which she could, and the
army having left the James River, after spending a few days at the
hospitals near Fortress Monroe, Mrs. Harris came up the Potomac in one
of the Government transports, reaching Alexandria on the 31st of August.
Here she found ample employment in bestowing her tender care upon the
thousands of wounded from Pope's campaigns.

On the 8th of September, she followed, with her supplies, the army on
its march toward South Mountain and Antietam. She reached Antietam the
day after the battle, and from that time till the 3rd of November, aided
by a corps of most devoted and earnest laborers in the work of mercy,
among whom were Mrs. M. M. Husband, Miss M. M. C. Hall, Mrs. Mary W.
Lee, Miss Tyson, and others. Mrs. Harris gave herself to the work of
caring for the wounded. Sad were the sights she was often called to
witness. She bore ample testimony to the patience and the uncomplaining
spirit of our soldiers; to their filial devotion, to the deep love of
home, and the dear ones left behind, which would be manifested in the
dying hour, by brave, noble-hearted men, and to the patriotism which
even in the death agony, made them rejoice to lay down their lives for
their country.

Early in November, 1862, Mrs. Harris left Smoketown General Hospital,
near Antietam, and came to Washington. In the hospitals in and around
that city thirty thousand sick and wounded men were lying, some of them
well and tenderly cared for, some like those in the Parole and
Convalescent Camps near Alexandria, (the "Camp Misery" of those days),
suffering from all possible privations. She did all that she could to
supply the more pressing needs of these poor men. After a few weeks
spent in the vicinity of the Capitol, news of the disastrous battle of
Fredericksburg came to Washington. Though deeply depressed by the
intelligence, she hastened to the front to do what she could for the
thousands of sufferers. From this time till about the middle of June,
1863, Mrs. Harris had her quarters in the Lacy House, Falmouth, and
aided by Mrs. Beck and Mrs. Lee, worked faithfully for the soldiers,
taking measures to relieve and cure the ailing, and to prevent illness
from the long and severe exposures to which the troops were subject on
picket duty, or special marches, through that stormy and inclement
winter. This work was in addition to that in the camp and field
hospitals of the Sixth Corps. Another part of her work and one of
special interest and usefulness, was the daily and Sabbath worship at
her rooms, in which such of the soldiers as were disposed, participated.
The contrabands were also the objects of her sympathy and care, and she
assembled them for religious worship and instruction on the Sabbath.

But the invasion of Pennsylvania was approaching, and she went forward
to Harrisburg, which was at first thought to be threatened, on the 25th
of June. After two or three days, finding that there was no probability
of an immediate battle there, she returned to Philadelphia, and thence
to Washington, which she reached on the 30th of June. The next three
days were spent in the effort to forward hospital stores, and obtain
transportation to Gettysburg. The War Department then, as in most of the
great battles previously, refused to grant this privilege, and though
she sought with tears and her utmost powers of persuasion, the
permission to forward a single car-load of stores, she was denied, even
on the 3rd of July. She could not be restrained, however, from going
where she felt that her services would be imperatively needed, and at
five P. M., of the 3rd of July, she left Washington carrying only some
chloroform and a few stimulants, reached Westminster at four A. M., of
the 4th, and was carried to the battle-field of Gettysburg, in the
ambulance which had brought the wounded General Hancock to Westminster.
The next week was spent day and night amid the horrors of that field of
blood, horrors which no pen can describe. That she and her indefatigable
aid, (this time a young lady from Philadelphia), were able to alleviate
a vast amount of suffering, to give nourishment to many who were
famishing; to dress hundreds of wounds, and to point the dying sinner to
the Saviour, or whisper words of consolation to the agonized heart, was
certain. On the night of the 10th of July, Mrs. Harris and her friend
Miss B. left for Frederick, Maryland, where a battle was expected; but
as only skirmishing took place, they kept on to Warrenton and Warrenton
Junction, where their labors were incessant in caring for the great
numbers of wounded and sick in the hospitals. Constant labor had so far
impaired her health, that on the 18th of August she attempted to get
away from her work for a few days rest; but falling in with the sick men
of the Sixth Michigan Cavalry, she went to work with her usual zeal to
prepare food and comforts for them, and when they were supplied returned
to her work; going to Culpepper Court House, where there were four
hospitals, and remaining there till the last of September.

The severe battle of Chickamauga, occurring on the 19th and 20th of
September, roused her to the consciousness of the great field for labor,
offered by the Western armies, and about the 1st of October, she went to
Nashville, Tennessee, taking her friends Miss Tyson and Mrs. Beck with
her. It was her intention to go on to Chattanooga, but she found it
impossible at that time to procure transportation, and she and her
friends at once commenced work among the refugees, the "poor white
trash," who were then crowding into Nashville. For a month and more they
labored zealously, and with good results, among these poor, ignorant,
but loyal people, and then Mrs. Harris, after a visit to Louisville to
provide for the inmates of the numerous hospitals in Nashville, a
Thanksgiving dinner, pushed forward to the front, reaching Bridgeport,
on the 28th of November, and Chattanooga the next day. Here she found
abundant work, but her protracted labors had overtasked her strength,
and she was for several weeks so ill that her life was despaired of. She
was unable to resume her labors until the latter part of January, 1864,
and then she worked with a will for the half starved soldiers in the
hospitals, among whom scurvy and hospital gangrene were prevailing.
After two months of faithful labor among these poor fellows, she went
back to Nashville, and spent four or five months more among the
refugees. She returned home early in May, 1864, hoping to take a brief
period of rest, of which she was in great need; but two weeks later, she
was in Fredericksburg, attending to the vast numbers of wounded brought
from the battles of the Wilderness and Spottsylvania, and followed on
with that sad procession of the wounded, the dead, and the dying, to
Port Royal, White House, and City Point. Never had been there so much
need for her labors, and she toiled on, though suffering from constant
prostration of strength, until the close of June, when she was obliged
to relinquish labor for a time, and restore the almost exhausted vital
forces. In September, she was again in the field, this time with the
Army of the Shenandoah, at Winchester, where she ministered to the
wounded for some weeks. She was called home to attend her mother in her
last illness, and for three or four months devoted herself to this
sacred duty. Early in the spring of 1865, she visited North Carolina,
and all the sympathy of her nature was called out in behalf of the poor
released prisoners from Andersonville and Salisbury, to whom she
ministered with her usual faithfulness. At the close of the war, she
returned to her home, more an invalid than ever from the effects of a
sun-stroke received while in attendance on a field hospital in


Mrs. Eliza C. Porter, the subject of the following sketch, is the wife
of the Rev. Jeremiah Porter, a Presbyterian clergyman of Chicago,

Of all the noble band of Western women who during the late war devoted
time, thought, and untiring exertions to the care of our country's
defenders, very few, if any are more worthy of honorable mention, and
the praise of a grateful nation, than Mrs. Porter. Freely she gave all,
withholding not even the most precious of her possessions and
efforts--her husband, her sons, her time and strength, the labor of
hands and brain, and, above all, her prayers. Few indeed at a time when
sacrifices were general, and among the women of our country the rule
rather than the exception, made greater sacrifices than she. Her home
was broken up, and the beloved circle scattered, each member in his or
her own appropriate sphere, actively engaged in the great work which the
war unfolded.

A correspondent thus describes Mrs. Porter; "Mrs. Porter is from
forty-five to fifty years of age, a quiet, modest, lady-like woman, very
gentle in her manners, and admirably qualified to soothe, comfort and
care for the sick and wounded." But this description, by no means
includes, or does justice to the admirable fitness for the work which
her labors have developed, her quiet energy, her great executive and
organizing ability, and her tact ever displayed in doing and saying the
right thing at precisely the right time. Of the value of this latter
qualification few can form an estimate who have not seen excellent and
praiseworthy exertions so often wither unfruitfully for the lack alone
of an adjunct so nearly indispensable.

Mrs. Porter was early stimulated to exertion and sacrifice. In the
spring of 1861, immediately after the breaking out of the war, while
sitting one morning at her breakfast table, her husband, eldest son and
two nephews being present, she exclaimed fervently; "If I had a hundred
sons, I would gladly send them all forth to this work of putting down
the rebellion."

The three young men then present all entered the army. One of them after
three years' service was disabled by wounds and constant labor. The
other two gave themselves anew to their country, all they could give.

During the summer of 1861 Mrs. Porter visited Cairo where hospitals had
been established, and in her labors and experiences there carried what
things were most needed by the sick and wounded soldiers. In October of
that year, Illinois was first roused to co-operation in the work of the
Sanitary Commission. The Northwestern Sanitary Commission was
established, and at the request of Mr. E. W. Blatchford and others, Mrs.
Porter was induced to take charge of the Commission Rooms which were
opened in Chicago. Her zeal and abilities, as well as the hospital
experiences of the summer, had fitted her for the arduous task, and as
opening to her a field of great usefulness, she accepted the
appointment. How she devoted herself to that work, at what sacrifice of
family comfort, and with what success, is well known to the Commission,
and to thousands of its early contributors.

In April, 1862, she became satisfied that she could be more useful in
the field, by taking good nurses to the army hospitals, and herself
laboring with them. Her husband, who the previous winter had been
commissioned as Chaplain of the First Illinois Light Artillery, was then
at Cairo, where he had been ordered to labor in hospitals; and Mrs.
Porter, visiting Cairo and Paducah, entered earnestly into the work of
placing the nurses she had brought with her from Chicago. Some of these
devoted themselves constantly to the service, and proved equally
successful and valuable.

At Cairo, Mrs. Porter made the acquaintance of Miss Mary J. Safford,
since known as the "Cairo Angel," and co-operating with her there, and
with Mr. Porter and various surgeons and philanthropists, aided in
receiving, and temporarily caring for seven hundred men from the field
of Pittsburgh Landing, and in transferring them to the hospitals of
Mound City, Illinois.

From four o'clock in the morning until ten at night, Mrs. Porter and her
friends labored, and then, their work accomplished and their suffering
charges made as comfortable as circumstances would permit, they were
forced, by the absence of hotel accommodations, to spend the night
upon the steamer where the state-rooms being occupied, they slept upon

Soon afterward she went, accompanied by Miss Safford, to Pittsburgh
Landing. There she obtained from the Medical Director, Dr. Charles
McDougal, an order for several female nurses for his department. She
hastened to Chicago, secured them, and accompanying them to Tennessee
placed them at Savannah with Mrs. Mary Bickerdyke, who had been with the
wounded since the battle of Shiloh. From thence she went to Corinth,
then just taken by General Grant. She was accompanied by several
benevolent ladies from Chicago, like herself bent on doing good to the
sick and wounded. At Corinth she joined her husband, and he being
ordered to join his regiment at Memphis, she went thither in his

Here, principally in the hospital of the First Light Artillery at Fort
Pickering, she labored through the summer of 1862, and afterwards
returned to visit some of the southern towns of Illinois in search of
stores from the farmers, which she added to the supplies forwarded by
the Commission.

While at Memphis, Mrs. Porter became deeply interested in the welfare
of the escaped slaves and their families congregated there.

Receiving aid from friends at the North, she organized a school for
them, and spent all her leisure hours in giving them instruction. One of
the nurses she had brought thither desired to aid in the work, and
obtaining needful books and charts she organized a school for Miss
Humphrey at Shiloh.

Mrs. Porter was very successful in this work. In her youth she had
gathered an infant school among the half-breed children at Mackinac and
Point St. Ignace, and understood well how to deal with these minds
scarce awakened from the dense slumber of ignorance.

The school flourished, and others entered into the work, and other
schools were established. Ministering to their temporal wants as well,
clothing, feeding, medicating these unfortunate people, visiting their
hospitals as well as those of the army, Mrs. Porter remained at Memphis
and in its vicinity until June, 1863.

Her schools having by that time become well-established, and general
interest in the scheme awakened, Mrs. Porter felt herself constrained to
once more devote herself exclusively to the soldiers, a large number of
whom were languishing in Southern hospitals in an unhealthy climate.
Failing in her attempts to get them rapidly removed to the North,
through correspondence with the Governors of Ohio and Illinois, she went
North for the purpose of obtaining interviews with these gentlemen. At
Green Bay, Wisconsin, she joined Mrs. Governor Harvey, who was striving
to obtain a State Hospital for Wisconsin. Here she proposed to Senator
T. O. Howe to draft a petition to the President, praying for the
establishment of such hospitals. Judge Howe was greatly pleased to
comply, and accordingly drew up the petition to which Mrs. Howe and
others obtained over eight thousand names. Mrs. Harvey desired Mrs.
Porter to accompany her to Washington with the petition, but she
declined, and Mrs. Harvey went alone, and as the result of her efforts,
succeeded in the establishment of the Harvey Hospital at Madison,

Other parties took up the matter in Illinois, and Mrs. Porter returned
to her beloved work at the South, visiting Natchez and Vicksburg. At the
latter place she joined Mrs. Harvey and Mrs. Bickerdyke, all three
ministering by Sanitary stores and personal aid to the sick and wounded
in hospitals and regiments.

While on her way, at Memphis, she learned that the battery, in which
were her eldest son and a nephew, had gone with Sherman's army toward
Corinth, and started by rail to overtake them. At Corinth, standing in
the room of the Sanitary Commission, she saw the battery pass in which
were her boys. It was raining, and mud-bespattered and drenched, her son
rode by in an ague chill, and could only give her a look of recognition
as he passed on to the camp two miles beyond. The next morning she went
out to his camp, but missed him, and returning found him at the Sanitary
Rooms in another chill. The next day she nursed him through a third
chill, and then parting she sent her sick boy on his way toward
Knoxville and Chattanooga.

After a short stay at Vicksburg she once more returned to Illinois to
plead with Governor Yates to bring home his disabled soldiers, then went
back, by way of Louisville and Nashville, to Huntsville, Alabama, where
she met and labored indefatigably with Mrs. Lincoln Clark and her
daughter, of Chicago, and Mrs. Bickerdyke.

After a few weeks spent there in comforting the sick, pointing the dying
to the Saviour, and ministering to surgeons, officers, and soldiers, she
followed our conquering arms to Chattanooga, Resaca, Kingston, Allatoona
Pass, Marietta and Atlanta.

As a memorial of her earlier movements in this campaign, we extract the
following letter from the Report for January and February, 1864, of the
Northwestern Sanitary Commission.

"From a mass of deeply interesting correspondence on hand, we select
the following letter from Rev. Mrs. Jeremiah Porter, who, with Mrs.
Bickerdyke, the widely known and very efficient Hospital Matron, has
been laboring in the hospitals of the 15th Army Corps, most of the time
since the battle of Chickamauga. Mrs. Bickerdyke was assigned to
hospital duty in this corps, at the request of General Sherman, and is
still actively engaged there. This letter affords glimpses of the
hardships and privations of our brave men, whose sufferings in Southern
and Eastern Tennessee during the months of December and January, have
been unparalleled."

            "CHATTANOOGA, _January 24, 1864._

     "I reached this place on New Year's Eve, making the trip of the few
     miles from Bridgeport to Chattanooga, in twenty-four hours. New
     Year's morning was very cold. I went immediately to the Field
     Hospital about two miles out of town, where I found Mrs. Bickerdyke
     hard at work, as usual, endeavoring to comfort the cold and
     suffering, sick and wounded. The work done on that day told most
     happily on the comfort of the poor wounded men.

     "The wind came sweeping around Lookout Mountain, and uniting with
     currents from the valleys of Mission Ridge, pressed in upon the
     hospital tents, overturning some, and making the inmates of all
     tremble with cold and anxious fear. The cold had been preceded by a
     great rain, which added to the general discomfort. Mrs. Bickerdyke
     went from tent to tent in the gale, carrying hot bricks and hot
     drinks to warm and to cheer the poor fellows. 'She is a power of
     good,' said one soldier. 'We fared mighty poor till she came here,'
     said another. 'God bless the Sanitary Commission,' said a third,
     'for sending women among us!' The soldiers fully appreciate 'Mother
     Bickerdyke,' as they call her, and her work.

     "Mrs. Bickerdyke left Vicksburg at the request of General Sherman,
     and other officers of his corps, as they wished to secure her
     services for the then approaching battle. The Field Hospital of the
     15th (Sherman's) Army Corps, was situated on the north bank of the
     Genesee river, on a slope at the base of Mission Ridge, where,
     after the struggle was over, seventeen hundred of our wounded and
     exhausted soldiers were brought. Mrs. Bickerdyke reached there
     before the din and smoke of battle were well over, and before all
     were brought from the field of blood and carnage. There she
     remained the only female attendant for four weeks. Never has she
     rendered more valuable service. Dr. Newberry arrived in Chattanooga
     with Sanitary goods which Mrs. Bickerdyke had the pleasure of
     using, as she says, 'just when and where needed,' and never were
     Sanitary goods more deeply felt to be _good goods_. 'What could we
     do without them?' is a question I often hear raised, and answered
     with a hearty 'God bless the Sanitary Commission!' which is now,
     everywhere, acknowledged as a great power for good.

     "The Field Hospital was in a forest, about five miles from
     Chattanooga, wood was abundant, and the camp was warmed by immense
     burning 'log heaps,' which were the only fire-places or
     cooking-stoves of the camp or hospitals. Men were detailed to fell
     the trees and pile the logs to heat the air, which was very wintry.
     And beside them Mrs. Bickerdyke made soup and toast, tea and
     coffee, and broiled mutton, without a gridiron, often blistering
     her fingers in the process. A house in due time was demolished to
     make bunks for the worst cases, and the brick from the chimney was
     converted into an oven, when Mrs. Bickerdyke made bread, yeast
     having been found in the Chicago boxes, and flour at a neighboring
     mill, which had furnished flour to secessionists through the war
     until now. Great multitudes were fed from these rude kitchens.
     Companies of hungry soldiers were refreshed before those open
     fire-places, and from those ovens. On one occasion, a citizen came
     and told the men to follow him, he would show them a reserve of
     beef and sheep which had been provided for General Bragg's army,
     and about thirty head of cattle and twenty sheep was the prize.
     Large potash kettles were found, which were used over the huge log
     fires, and various kitchen utensils for cooking were brought into
     camp from time to time, almost every day adding to our
     conveniences. After four weeks of toil and labor, all the soldiers
     who were able to leave were furloughed home, and the rest brought
     to the large hospital where I am now located. About nine hundred
     men are here, most of them convalescents, and waiting anxiously to
     have the men and mules supplied with food, so that they may have
     the benefit of the cars, which have been promised to take them

     "There was great joy in the encampment last week, at the
     announcement of the arrival of a train of cars from Bridgeport. You
     at home can have little appreciation of the feelings of the men as
     that sound greeted their ears. Our poor soldiers had been reduced
     to half and quarter rations for weeks, and those of the poorest
     quality. The mules had fallen by the wayside from very starvation.
     You cannot go a mile in any direction without seeing these animals
     lying dead from starvation--and this state of things had to
     continue until the railroad was finished to Chattanooga, and the
     cars could bring in sustenance for man and beast. You will not
     wonder then at the huzzas of the men in the hospitals and camps, as
     the whistle of the long looked for train was heard.

     "The most harrowing scenes are daily witnessed here. A wife came on
     yesterday only to learn that her dear husband had died the morning
     previous. Her lamentations were heart-breaking. 'Why could he not
     have lived until I came? Why?' In the evening came a sister, whose
     aged parents had sent her to search for their only son. She also
     came too late. The brother had gone to the soldier's grave two days
     previous. One continued wail of sorrow goes up from all parts of
     this stricken land.

     "I have protracted this letter, I fear, until you are weary. I
     write in great haste, not knowing how to take the time from
     pressing duties which call me everywhere. Yours, etc.,

        "ELIZA C. PORTER."

In illustration of her services at this time, and of the undercurrent of
terror and sadness of this triumphal march, we can do no better than to
give some extracts from her journal, kept during this period, and
published without her knowledge in the Sanitary Commission Bulletin. It
was commenced on the 15th of May, 1864, as she was following Mrs.
Bickerdyke to Ringgold, Georgia. Together they arrived at Sugar Creek,
where but two miles distant the battle was raging, and spent the night
at General Logan's headquarters, within hearing of its terrific sounds.
All night, and all day Sunday, they passed thus, not being permitted to
go upon the field, but caring for the wounded as rapidly as possible, as
they were brought to the rear. She says:

"The wounded were brought into hospitals, quickly and roughly prepared
in the forest, as near the field as safety would permit. What a scene
was presented! Precious sons of northern mothers, beloved husbands of
northern wives were already here to undergo amputation, to have wounds
probed and dressed, or broken limbs set and bandaged. Some were writhing
under the surgeon's knife, but bore their sufferings bravely and
uncomplainingly. There were many whose wounds were considered slight,
such as a shot through the hand, arm, or leg, which but for the contrast
with severer cases, would seem dreadful. Never was the presence of women
more joyfully welcomed. It was touching to see those precious boys
looking up into our faces with such hope and gladness. It brought to
their minds mother and home, as each testified, while his wounds were
being dressed; 'This seems a little like having mother about,' was the
reiterated expression of the wounded, as one after another was washed
and had his wounds dressed. Mrs. Bickerdyke and myself assisted in the
operation. Poor boys! how my heart ached that I could do so little.

"After doing what we could in Hospital No. 1, to render the condition of
the poor fellows tolerable, we proceeded to No. 2, and did what we could
there, distributing our sanitary comforts in the most economical manner,
so as to make them go as far as possible. We found that what we brought
in the ambulance was giving untold comfort to our poor exhausted wounded
men, whose rough hospital couches were made by pine boughs with the
stems cut out, spread upon the ground over which their blankets were
thrown. This forms the bed, and the poor fellows' blouses, saturated
with their own blood, is their only pillow, their knapsacks being left
behind when they went into battle. More sanitary goods are on the way,
and will be brought to relieve the men as soon as possible."

Amidst all this care for others, there was little thought for her own
comfort. She says in another place:

"Our bed was composed of dry leaves, spread with a rubber and soldier's
blanket--our own blankets, with pillows and all, having been given out
to sufferers long before night."

In this diary we find another illustration of her extreme modesty.
Though intended but for the eyes of her own family, she says much of
Mrs. Bickerdyke's work, and but little of her own. Two, three, or four
hundred men, weary and exhausted, would be sent to them, and they must
exert every nerve to feed them, while they snatched a little rest.
Pickles, sauer-kraut, coffee and hard bread they gave to these--for the
sick and wounded they reserved their precious luxuries. With a fire made
out of doors, beneath a burning sun, and in kettles such as they could
find, and of no great capacity, they made coffee, mush, and cooked dried
fruit and vegetables, toiling unweariedly through the long hot days and
far into the nights. Many of the men knew Mrs. Bickerdyke, for many of
them she had nursed through wounds and sickness during the two years
she had been with this army, and she was saluted as "Mother" on all
sides. Not less grateful were they to Mrs. Porter. Again she says:

"The failing and faint-hearted are constantly coming in. They report
themselves sick, and a few days of rest and nourishing food will restore
most of them, but some have made their last march, and will soon be laid
in a soldier's grave! Mrs. Bickerdyke has sent gruel and other food,
which I have been distributing according to the wants of the prostrate
multitude, all on the _floor_. Some are very sick men. It is a pleasure
to do something for them. They are all dear to some circle, and are a
noble company."

Again she gives a sort of summary of her work in a letter, dated
Kingston, Georgia, June 1st: "We have received, fed, and comforted at
this hospital, during the past week, between four and five thousand
wounded men, and still they come. All the food and clothing have passed
under our supervision, and, indeed, almost every garment has been given
out by our hands. Almost every article of special diet has been cooked
by Mrs. Bickerdyke personally, and all has been superintended by her. I
speak of this particularly, as it is a wonderful fulfillment of the
promise, 'As thy day is, so shall thy strength be.'"

Again, writing from Alatoona, Georgia, June 14th: "I have just visited a
tent filled with 'amputated cases,' They are noble young men, the pride
and hope of loving families at the North, but most of them are so low
that they will never again return to them. Each had a special request
for 'something that he could relish,' I made my way quickly down from
the heights, where the hospital tents are pitched, and sought for the
food they craved. I found it among the goods of the Sanitary
Commission--and now the dried currants, cherries, and other fruit are
stewing; we have unsoddered cans containing condensed milk and preserved
fruit--and the poor fellows will not be disappointed in their

In the foregoing sketch we have given but a very brief statement of the
labors and sacrifices of Mrs. Porter which were not intermitted until
the close of the war. We have said that her sons were in the army. Her
eldest son re-enlisted at the close of his first term, and the youngest,
after a hundred days' service, returned to college to fit himself for
future usefulness in his regenerated country. Mr. Porter's services, as
well as those of his wife were of great value, and her son, James B.
Porter, though serving as a private only, in Battery A, First Illinois
Light Artillery, has had frequent and honorable mention.

At the close of Sherman's campaign Mrs. Porter finished her army service
by caring for the travel-worn and wearied braves as they came into camp
at Washington where, with Mrs. Stephen Barker and others, she devoted
herself to the distribution of sanitary stores, attending the sick and
in various ways comforting and relieving all who needed her aid after
the toils of the Grand March.


Among the hundreds who with untiring devotion have consecrated their
services to the ministrations of mercy in the Armies of the Union, there
is but one "Mother" Bickerdyke. Others may in various ways have made as
great sacrifices, or displayed equal heroism, but her measures and
methods have been peculiarly her own, and "none but herself can be her

She is a widow, somewhat above forty years of age, of humble origin, and
of but moderate education, with a robust frame and great powers of
endurance, and possessing a rough stirring eloquence, a stern,
determined will and extraordinary executive ability. No woman connected
with the philanthropic work of the army has encountered more obstacles
in the accomplishment of her purposes, and none ever carried them
through more triumphantly. She has two little sons, noble boys, to whom
she is devotedly attached, but her patriotic zeal was even stronger than
her love for her children, and she gave herself up to the cause of her
country most unhesitatingly.

[Illustration: MRS. MARY A. BICKERDYKE.
  Eng^d. by A.H. Ritchie.]

At the commencement of the war, she was, it is said, housekeeper in the
family of a gentleman in Cleveland, but she commenced her labors among
the sick and wounded men of the army very early, and never relinquished
her work until the close of the conflict. It has been one of her
peculiarities that she devoted her attention almost exclusively to the
care of the private soldiers; the officers, she said, had enough to
look after them; but it was the men, poor fellows, with but a private's
pay, a private's fare, and a private's dangers, to whom she was
particularly called. They were dear to somebody, and she would be a
mother to them. And it should be said, to the honor of the private
soldiers of the Western Armies, that they returned her kindness with
very decided gratitude and affection. If they were her "boys" as she
always insisted, she was "Mother Bickerdyke" to the whole army. Nothing
could exceed the zeal and earnestness with which she has always defended
their interests. For her "boys," she would brave everything; if the
surgeons or attendants at the hospitals were unfaithful, she denounced
them with a terrible vehemence, and always managed to secure their
dismission; if the Government officers were slow or delinquent in
forwarding needed supplies, they were sure to be reported at
headquarters by her, and in such a way that their conduct would be
thoroughly investigated. Yet while thus stern and vindictive toward
those who through negligence or malice wronged the soldiers of the army,
no one could be more tender in dealing with the sick and wounded. On the
battle-field, in the field, camp, post or general hospitals, her
vigorous arm was ever ready to lift the wounded soldier as tenderly as
his own mother could have done, and her ready skill was exerted with
equal facility in dressing his wounds, or in preparing such nourishment
for him as should call back his fleeting strength or tempt his fickle
and failing appetite. She was a capital forager, and for the sake of a
sick soldier she would undergo any peril or danger, and violate military
rules without the least hesitation. For herself she craved
nothing--would accept nothing--if "the boys in the hospital" could be
provided for, she was supremely happy. The soldiers were ready to do
anything in their power for her, while the contrabands regarded her
almost as a divinity, and would fly with unwonted alacrity to obey her

We are not certain whether she was an assistant in one of the
hospitals, or succored the wounded in any of the battles in Kentucky or
Missouri, in the autumn of 1861; we believe she was actively engaged in
ministering to the wounded after the fall of Fort Donelson, and at
Shiloh after the battle she rendered great and important services. It
was here, or rather at Savannah, Tennessee, where one of the largest
hospitals was established, soon after the battle, and placed in her
charge, that she first met Mrs. Eliza C. Porter, who was afterward
during Sherman's Grand March her associate and companion. Mrs. Porter
brought from Chicago a number of nurses, whom she placed under Mrs.
Bickerdyke's charge.

The care of this hospital occupied Mrs. Bickerdyke for some months, and
we lose sight of her till the battle of Perrysville where amid
difficulties which would have appalled any ordinary spirit, she
succeeded in dressing the wounds of the soldiers and supplying them with
nourishment. But with her untiring energy, she was not satisfied with
this. Collecting a large number of negro women who had escaped from the
plantations along the route of the Union Army, she set them to work
gathering the blankets and clothing left on the field, and such of the
clothing of the slain and desperately wounded as could be spared, and
having superintended the washing and repairing of these articles,
distributed them to the wounded who were in great need of additional
clothing. She also caused her corps of contrabands to pick up all the
arms and accoutrements left on the field, and turn them over to the
Union Quartermaster. Having returned after a time to Louisville, she was
appointed Matron of the Gayoso Hospital, at Memphis. This hospital
occupied the Gayoso House, formerly the largest hotel in Memphis. It was
Mrs. Bickerdyke's ambition to make this the best hospital of the six or
eight in the city, some of them buildings erected for hospital purposes.
A large hotel is not the best structure for a model hospital, but before
her energy and industry all obstacles disappeared. By an Army regulation
or custom, convalescent soldiers were employed as nurses, attendants
and ward-masters in the hospitals; an arrangement which though on some
accounts desirable, yet was on others objectionable. The soldiers not
yet fully recovered, were often weak, and incapable of the proper
performance of their duties; they were often, also, peevish and fretful,
and from sheer weakness slept at their posts, to the detriment of the
patients. It was hardly possible with such assistance to maintain that
perfect cleanliness so indispensable for a hospital. Mrs. Bickerdyke
determined from the first that she would not have these convalescents as
nurses and attendants in her hospital. Selecting carefully the more
intelligent of the negro women who flocked into Memphis in great
numbers, she assigned to them the severer work of the hospital, the
washing, cleaning, waiting upon the patients, and with the aid of some
excellent women nurses, paid by Government, she soon made her hospital
by far the best regulated one in the city. The cleanliness and
ventilation were perfect. The patients were carefully and tenderly
nursed, their medicine administered at the required intervals, and the
preparation of the special diet being wholly under Mrs. Bickerdyke's
supervision, herself a cook of remarkable skill, was admirably done.
Nothing escaped her vigilance, and under her watchful care, the affairs
of the hospital were admirably managed. She would not tolerate any
neglect of the men, either on the part of attendants, assistant surgeons
or surgeons.

On one occasion, visiting one of the wards containing the badly wounded
men, at nearly eleven o'clock, A. M., she found that the assistant
surgeon, in charge of that ward, who had been out on a drunken spree the
night before, and had slept very late, had not yet made out the special
diet list for the ward, and the men, faint and hungry, had had no
breakfast. She denounced him at once in the strongest terms, and as he
came in, and with an attempt at jollity inquired, "Hoity-toity, what's
the matter?" she turned upon him with "Matter enough, you miserable
scoundrel! Here these men, any one of them worth a thousand of you, are
suffered to starve and die, because you want to be off upon a drunk!
Pull off your shoulder-straps," she continued, as he tried feebly to
laugh off her reproaches, "pull off your shoulder-straps, for you shall
not stay in the army a week longer." The surgeon still laughed, but he
turned pale, for he knew her power. She was as good as her word. Within
three days she had caused his discharge. He went to headquarters and
asked to be reinstated. Major-General Sherman, who was then in command,
listened patiently, and then inquired who had procured his discharge. "I
was discharged in consequence of misrepresentation," answered the
surgeon, evasively. "But who caused your discharge?" persisted the
general. "Why," said the surgeon, hesitatingly, "I suppose it was that
woman, that Mrs. Bickerdyke." "Oh!" said Sherman, "well, if it was her,
I can do nothing for you. She ranks me."

We may say in this connection, that the commanding generals of the
armies in which Mrs. Bickerdyke performed her labors, Generals Sherman,
Hurlburt, Grant, and Sherman again, in his great march, having become
fully satisfied how invaluable she was in her care of the private
soldiers, were always ready to listen to her appeals and to grant her
requests. She was, in particular, a great favorite with both Grant and
Sherman, and had only to ask for anything she needed to get it, if it
was within the power of the commander to obtain it. It should be said in
justice to her, that she never asked anything for herself, and that her
requests were always for something that would promote the welfare of the

Some months after the discharge of the assistant surgeon, the surgeon in
charge of the hospital, who was a martinet in discipline, and somewhat
irritated for some cause, resolved, in order to annoy her, to compel the
discharge of the negro nurses and attendants, and require her to employ
convalescent soldiers, as the other hospitals were doing. For this
purpose he procured from the medical director an order that none but
convalescent soldiers should be employed as nurses in the Memphis
hospitals. The order was issued, probably, without any knowledge of the
annoyance it was intended to cause Mrs. Bickerdyke. It was to take
effect at nine o'clock the following morning. Mrs. Bickerdyke heard of
it just at night. The Gayoso Hospital was nearly three-fourths of a mile
from headquarters. It was raining heavily, and the mud was deep; but she
was not the woman to be thwarted in her plans by a hospital surgeon,
without a struggle; so, nothing daunted, she sallied out, having first
had the form of an order drawn up, permitting the employment of
contrabands as nurses, at the Gayoso Hospital. Arrived at headquarters,
she was told that the commanding general, Sherman's successor, was ill
and could not be seen. Suspecting that his alleged illness was only
another name for over-indulgence in strong drink, she insisted that she
must and would see him, and in spite of the objections of his
staff-officers, forced her way to his room, and finding him in bed,
roused him partially, propped him up, put a pen in his hand, and made
him sign the order she had brought. This done, she returned to her
hospital, and the next morning, when the surgeon and medical director
came around to enforce the order of the latter, she quietly handed them
the order of the commanding-general, permitting her to retain her

While in charge of this hospital, she made several journeys to Chicago
and other cities of the Northwest, to procure aid for the suffering
soldiers. The first of these were characteristic of her energy and
resolution. She had found great difficulty in procuring, in the vicinity
of Memphis, the milk, butter, and eggs needed for her hospital. She had
foraged from the secessionists, had traded with them her own clothing
and whatever else she could spare, for these necessaries for her "boys,"
until there was nothing more left to trade. The other hospitals were in
about the same condition. She resolved, therefore, to have a dairy for
the hospitals. Going among the farmers of Central Illinois, she begged
two hundred cows and a thousand hens, and returned in triumph with her
flock of hens and her drove of cows. On reaching Memphis, her cattle and
fowls made such a lowing and cackling, that the secessionists of the
city entered their complaints to the commanding general, who assigned
her an island in the Mississippi, opposite the city, where her dairy and
hennery were comfortably accommodated. It was we believe, while on this
expedition that, at the request of Mrs. Hoge and Mrs. Livermore, the
Associate Managers of the Northwestern Sanitary Commission, she visited
Milwaukie, Wisconsin. The Ladies' Aid Society of that city had
memorialized their Chamber of Commerce to make an appropriation to aid
them in procuring supplies for the wounded soldiers, and were that day
to receive the reply of the chamber.

Mrs. Bickerdyke went with the ladies, and the President of the Chamber,
in his blandest tones, informed them that the Chamber of Commerce had
considered their request, but that they had expended so much recently in
fitting out a regiment, that they thought they must be excused from
making any contributions to the Ladies' Aid Society. Mrs. Bickerdyke
asked the privilege of saying a few words in the way of answer. For half
an hour she held them enchained while she described, in simple but
eloquent language, the life of the private soldier, his privations and
sufferings, the patriotism which animated him, and led him to endure,
without murmuring, hardships, sickness, and even death itself, for his
country. She contrasted this with the sordid love of gain which not only
shrank from these sacrifices in person, but grudged the pittance
necessary to alleviate them, while it made the trifling amount it had
already contributed, an excuse for making no further donations, and
closed with this forcible denunciation: "And you, merchants and rich men
of Milwaukie, living at your ease, dressed in your broad-cloth, knowing
little and caring less for the sufferings of these soldiers from hunger
and thirst, from cold and nakedness, from sickness and wounds, from pain
and death, all incurred that you may roll in wealth, and your homes and
little ones be safe; you will refuse to give aid to these poor soldiers,
because, forsooth, you gave a few dollars some time ago to fit out a
regiment! Shame on you--you are not men--you are cowards--go over to
Canada--this country has no place for such creatures!" The Chamber of
Commerce was not prepared for such a rebuke, and they reconsidered their
action, and made an appropriation at once to the Ladies' Aid Society.

Immediately after the surrender of Vicksburg, Mrs. Bickerdyke
surrendered her hospital at Memphis into other hands, and went thither
to care for the wounded. She accompanied Sherman's corps in their
expedition to Jackson, and amid all the hardships and exposures of the
field, ministered to the sick and wounded. Cooking for them in the open
air, under the burning sun and the heavy dews, she was much exposed to
the malarious fevers of that sickly climate, but her admirable
constitution enabled her to endure fatigue and exposure, better even
than most of the soldiers. Though always neat and cleanly in person, she
was indifferent to the attractions of dress, and amid the flying sparks
from her fires in the open air, her calico dresses would often take
fire, and as she expressed it, "the soldiers would put her out," _i. e._
extinguish the sparks which were burning her dresses. In this way it
happened that she had not a single dress which had not been more or less
riddled by these sparks. With her clothing in this plight she visited
Chicago again late in the summer of 1863, and the ladies of the Sanitary
Commission replenished her wardrobe, and soon after sent her a box of
excellent clothing for her own use. Some of the articles in this box,
the gift of those who admired her earnest devotion to the interests of
the soldiers, were richly wrought and trimmed. Among these were two
elegant night dresses, trimmed with ruffles and lace. On receiving the
box, Mrs. Bickerdyke, who was again for the time in charge of a
hospital, reserving for herself only a few of the plainest and cheapest
articles, traded off the remainder, except the two night dresses, with
the rebel women of the vicinity, for butter, eggs, and other delicacies
for her sick soldiers, and as she purposed going to Cairo soon, and
thought that the night dresses would bring more for the same purpose in
Tennessee or Kentucky, she reserved them to be traded on her journey. On
her way, however, at one of the towns on the Mobile and Ohio railroad,
she found two poor fellows who had been discharged from some of the
hospitals with their wounds not yet fully healed, and their exertions in
traveling had caused them to break out afresh. Here they were, in a
miserable shanty, sick, bleeding, hungry, penniless, and with only their
soiled clothing. Mrs. Bickerdyke at once took them in hand. Washing
their wounds and staunching the blood, she tore off the lower portions
of the night dresses for bandages, and as the men had no shirts, she
arrayed them in the remainder of these dresses, ruffles, lace, and all.
The soldiers modestly demurred a little at the ruffles and lace, but
Mrs. Bickerdyke suggested to them that if any inquiries were made, they
could say that they had been plundering the secessionists.

Visiting Chicago at this time, she was again invited to Milwaukie, and
went with the ladies to the Chamber of Commerce. Here she was very
politely received, and the President informed her that the Chamber
feeling deeply impressed with the good work, she and the other ladies
were doing in behalf of the soldiers, had voted a contribution of twelve
hundred dollars a month to the Ladies' Aid Society. Mrs. Bickerdyke was
not, however, disposed to tender them the congratulations, to which
perhaps they believed themselves entitled for their liberality. "You
believe yourselves very generous, no doubt, gentlemen," she said, "and
think that because you have voted this pretty sum, you are doing all
that is required of you. But I have in my hospital a hundred poor
soldiers who have done more than any of you. Who of you would contribute
a leg, an arm, or an eye, instead of what you have done? How many
hundred or thousand dollars would you consider an equivalent for
either? Don't deceive yourselves, gentlemen. The poor soldier who has
given an arm, a leg, or an eye to his country (and many of them have
given more than one) has given more than you have or can. How much more,
then, he who has given his life? No! gentlemen, you must set your
standard higher yet or you will not come up to the full measure of
liberality in giving."

On her return to the South Mrs. Bickerdyke spent a few weeks at
Huntsville, Alabama, in charge of a hospital, and then joined Sherman's
Fifteenth Corps in their rapid march toward Chattanooga. It will be
remembered that Sherman's Corps, or rather the Army of the Tennessee
which he now commanded were hurried into action immediately on their
arrival at Chattanooga. To them was assigned the duty of making the
attack against that portion of the enemy who were posted on the northern
termination of Mission Ridge, and the persistent assaults on Fort
Buckner were attended with severe slaughter, though they made the
victory elsewhere possible. The Field Hospital of the Fifteenth Army
Corps was situated on the north bank of the Genesee River, on a slope at
the base of Mission Ridge, where after the struggle was over seventeen
hundred of our wounded and exhausted soldiers were brought. Mrs.
Bickerdyke reached there before the din and smoke of battle were well
over, and before all were brought from the field of blood and carnage.
There she remained the only female attendant for four weeks. The
supplies she had been able to bring with her soon gave out, but Dr.
Newberry, the Western Secretary of the Sanitary Commission, presently
arrived with an ample supply which she used freely.

The Field Hospital was in a forest, about five miles from Chattanooga;
wood was abundant, and the camp was warmed by immense burning log heaps,
which were the only fire-places or cooking-stoves of the camp or
hospitals. Men were detailed to fell the trees and pile the logs to heat
the air, which was very wintry. Beside these fires Mrs. Bickerdyke made
soup and toast, tea and coffee, and broiled mutton without a gridiron,
often blistering her fingers in the process. A house in due time was
demolished to make bunks for the worst cases, and the bricks from the
chimney were converted into an oven, where Mrs. Bickerdyke made bread,
yeast having been found in the Chicago boxes, and flour at a neighboring
mill which had furnished flour to secessionists through the war until
that time. Great multitudes were fed from these rude kitchens, and from
time to time other conveniences were added and the labor made somewhat
less exhausting. After four weeks of severe toil all the soldiers who
were able to leave were furloughed home, and the remainder, about nine
hundred, brought to a more comfortable Field Hospital, two miles from
Chattanooga. In this hospital Mrs. Bickerdyke continued her work, being
joined, New Year's eve, by Mrs. Eliza C. Porter, who thenceforward was
her constant associate, both being employed by the Northwestern Sanitary
Commission to attend to this work of special field relief in that army.
Mrs. Porter says that when she arrived there it was very cold, and the
wind which had followed a heavy rain was very piercing, overturning some
of the hospital tents and causing the inmates of all to tremble with
cold and anxious fear. Mrs. Bickerdyke was going from tent to tent in
the gale carrying hot bricks and hot drinks to warm and cheer the poor
fellows. It was touching to see the strong attachment the soldiers felt
for her. "She is a power of good," said one soldier. "We fared mighty
poor till she came here," said another. "God bless the Sanitary
Commission," said a third, "for sending women among us." True to her
attachment to the private soldiers, Mrs. Bickerdyke early sought an
interview with General Grant, and told him in her plain way, that the
surgeons in some of the hospitals were great rascals, and neglected the
men shamefully; and that unless they were removed and faithful men put
in their places, he would lose hundreds and perhaps thousands of his
veteran soldiers whom he could ill afford to spare. "You must not," she
said, "trust anybody's report in this matter, but see to it yourself.
Disguise yourself so that the surgeons or men won't know you, and go
around to the hospitals and see for yourself how the men are neglected."

"But, Mrs. Bickerdyke," said the general, "that is the business of my
medical director, he must attend to that. I can't see to everything in

"Well," was her reply, "leave it to him if you think best; but if you do
you will lose your men."

The general made no promises, but a night or two later the hospitals
were visited by a stranger who made very particular inquiries, and
within a week about half a dozen surgeons were dismissed and more
efficient men put in their places. At the opening of spring, Mrs.
Bickerdyke and Mrs. Porter returned to Huntsville and superintended the
distribution of Sanitary Supplies in the hospitals there, and at Pulaski
and other points.

No sooner was General Sherman prepared to move on his Atlanta Campaign
than he sent word to Mrs. Bickerdyke to come up and accompany the army
in its march. She accordingly left Huntsville on the 10th of May for
Chattanooga, and from thence went immediately to Ringgold, near which
town the army was then stationed. As the army moved forward to Dalton
and Resaca, she sent forward teams laden with supplies, and followed
them in an ambulance the next day. On the 16th of May she and her
associate Mrs. Porter proceeded at once to the Field Hospitals which
were as near as safety would permit to the hard-fought battle-ground of
the previous day, washed the wounded, dressed their wounds, and
administered to them such nourishment as could be prepared. There was at
first some little delay in the receipt of sanitary stores, but with
wonderful tact and ingenuity Mrs. Bickerdyke succeeded in making
palatable dishes for the sick from the hard tack, coffee and other items
of the soldier's ration. Soon however the sanitary goods came up, and
thenceforward, with her rare executive ability the department of special
relief for that portion of the army to which she was assigned was
maintained in its highest condition of efficiency, in spite of
disabilities which would have completely discouraged any woman of less
resolution. The diary of her associate, Mrs. Porter, is full of
allusions to the extraordinary exertions of Mrs. Bickerdyke during this
campaign. We quote two or three as examples.

"To-day every kettle which could be raised has been used in making
coffee. Mrs. Bickerdyke has made barrel after barrel, and it is a
comfort to know that multitudes are reached, and cheered, and saved. Two
hundred and sixty slightly wounded men just came to this point on the
cars on their way North, all hungry and weary, saying, 'We are so
thirsty,' 'Do give us something to eat,' Mrs. Bickerdyke was engaged in
giving out supper to the three hundred in wards here, and told them she
could not feed them then. They turned away in sorrow and were leaving,
when learning who they were--wounded men of the Twentieth Army Corps,
and their necessity--she told them to wait a few moments, she would
attend to them. She gave them coffee, krout, and potato pickles, which
are never eaten but by famished men, and for once they were a luxury. I
stood in the room where our supplies were deposited, giving to some
crackers, to some pickles, and to each hungry man something. One of the
green cards that come on all the stores of the Northwestern Commission
Mrs. Bickerdyke had tacked upon the wall, and this told the inquirers
from what branch of the Commission the supplies were obtained. The men
were mostly from New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and most
grateful recipients were they of the generosity of the Northwest. You
can imagine the effort made to supply two barrels of coffee with only
three camp-kettles, two iron boilers holding two pailfuls, one small
iron tea-kettle and one sauce-pan, to make it in. These all placed over
a dry rail-fire were boiled in double-quick time, and were filled and
refilled till all had a portion. Chicago canned milk never gave more
comfort than on this occasion, I assure you. Our cooking conveniences
are much the same as at Mission Ridge, but there is to be a change soon.
The Medical Director informs me that this is to be a recovering
hospital, and cooking apparatus will soon be provided."

"Mrs. Bickerdyke was greeted on the street by a soldier on horseback;
'Mother,' said he, 'is that you? Don't you remember me? I was in the
hospital, my arm amputated, and I was saved by your kindness. I am so
glad to see you,' giving her a beautiful bouquet of roses, the only
token of grateful remembrance he could command. Mrs. Bickerdyke daily
receives such greetings from men, who say they have been saved from
death by her efforts."

"To-day three hundred and twelve men have been fed and comforted here.
This morning Mrs. Bickerdyke made mush for two hundred, having gathered
up in various places kettles, so that by great effort out of doors she
can cook something. Potatoes, received from Iowa, and dried fruit and
canned, have been distributed among the men. Many of them are from Iowa.
'What could we do without these stores?' is the constant inquiry."

"Almost every article of special diet has been cooked by Mrs. Bickerdyke
personally, and all has been superintended by her."

After the close of the Atlanta Campaign and the convalescence of the
greater part of the wounded, Mrs. Bickerdyke returned to Chicago for a
brief period of rest, but was soon called to Nashville and Franklin to
attend the wounded of General Thomas's Army after the campaign which
ended in Hood's utter discomfiture. When Savannah was surrendered she
hastened thither, and after organizing the supply department of its
hospitals, she and Mrs. Porter, who still accompanied her, established
their system of Field Relief in Sherman's Campaign through the
Carolinas. When at last in June, 1865, Sherman's veterans reached the
National Capitol and were to be mustered out, the Sanitary Commission
commenced its work of furnishing the supplies of clothing and other
needful articles to these grim soldiers, to make their homeward journey
more comfortable and their appearance to their families more agreeable.
The work of distribution in the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Army Corps was
assigned to Mrs. Bickerdyke and Mrs. Porter, and was performed, says
Mrs. Barker, who had the general superintendence of the distribution,
admirably. With this labor Mrs. Bickerdyke's connection with the
sanitary work of the army ceased. She had, however, been too long
engaged in philanthropic labor, to be content to sit down quietly, and
lead a life of inaction; and after a brief period of rest, she began to
gather the more helpless of the freedmen, in Chicago, and has since
devoted her time and efforts to a "Freedmen's Home and Refuge" in that
city, in which she is accomplishing great good. Out of the host of
zealous workers in the hospitals and in the field, none have borne to
their homes in greater measure the hearty and earnest love of the
soldiers, as none had been more zealously and persistently devoted to
their interests.

  Eng^d. by A.H. Ritchie.]


A true heroine of the war was Margaret Elizabeth Breckinridge. Patient,
courageous, self-forgetting, steady of purpose and cheerful in spirit,
she belonged by nature to the heroic order, while all the circumstances
of her early life tended to mature and prepare her for her destined
work. Had her lot been cast in the dark days of religious intolerance
and persecution, her steadfast enthusiasm and holy zeal would have
earned for her a martyr's cross and crown; but, born in this glorious
nineteenth century, and reared in an atmosphere of liberal thought and
active humanity, the first spark of patriotism that flashed across the
startled North at the outbreak of the rebellion, set all her soul aglow,
and made it henceforth an altar of living sacrifice, a burning and a
shining light, to the end of her days. Dearer to her gentle spirit than
any martyr's crown, must have been the consciousness that this God-given
light had proved a guiding beacon to many a faltering soul feeling its
way into the dim beyond, out of the drear loneliness of camp or
hospital. With her slight form, her bright face, and her musical voice,
she seemed a ministering angel to the sick and suffering soldiers, while
her sweet womanly purity and her tender devotion to their wants made her
almost an object of worship among them. "Ain't she an angel?" said a
gray-headed soldier as he watched her one morning as she was busy
getting breakfast for the boys on the steamer "City of Alton." "She
never seems to tire, she is always smiling, and don't seem to walk--she
flies, all but--God bless her!" Another, a soldier boy of seventeen
said to her, as she was smoothing his hair and saying cheering words
about mother and home to him, "Ma'am, where do you come from? How could
such a lady as you are come down here, to take care of us poor, sick,
dirty boys?" She answered--"I consider it an honor to wait on you, and
wash off the mud you've waded through for me."

Another asked this favor of her, "Lady, please write down your name, and
let me look at it, and take it home, to show my wife who wrote my
letters, and combed my hair and fed me. I don't believe you're like
other people." In one of her letters she says, "I am often touched with
their anxiety not to give trouble, not to _bother_, as they say. That
same evening I found a poor, exhausted fellow, lying on a stretcher, on
which he had just been brought in. There was no bed for him just then,
and he was to remain there for the present, and looked uncomfortable
enough, with his knapsack for a pillow. 'I know some hot tea will do you
good,' I said. 'Yes, ma'am,' he answered, 'but I am too weak to sit up
with nothing to lean against; it's no matter,--don't bother about me,'
but his eyes were fixed longingly on the smoking tea. Everybody was
busy, not even a nurse in sight, but the poor man must have his tea. I
pushed away the knapsack, raised his head, and seated myself on the end
of the stretcher; and, as I drew his poor tired head back upon my
shoulder and half held him, he seemed, with all his pleasure and eager
enjoyment of the tea, to be troubled at my being so bothered with him.
He forgot I had come so many hundred miles on purpose to be bothered."

One can hardly read this simple unaffected statement of hers, without
instinctively recalling the touching story told of a soldier in one of
the hospitals of the Crimea who, when Florence Nightingale had passed,
turned and kissed the place upon his pillow where her shadow fell. The
sweet name of the fair English nurse might well be claimed by many of
our American heroines, but, when we think of Margaret's pure voice,
singing hymns with the soldiers on the hospital-boat, filling the
desolate woods along the Mississippi shores with solemn music in the
still night, we feel that it belongs especially to her and that we may
call her, without offense to the others, _our Florence Nightingale_.

Her great power of adaptation served her well in her chosen vocation.
Unmindful of herself, and always considerate of others, she could suit
herself to the need of the moment and was equally at home in making tea
and toast for the hungry, dressing ghastly wounds for the sufferers, and
in singing hymns and talking of spiritual things with the sick and

She found indeed her true vocation. She saw her way and walked
fearlessly in it; she knew her work and did it with all her heart and
soul. When she first began to visit the hospitals in and around St.
Louis, she wrote "I shall never be satisfied till I get right into a
hospital, to live till the war is over. If you are constantly with the
men, you have hundreds of opportunities and moments of influence in
which you can gain their attention and their hearts, and do more good
than in any missionary field." Once, on board a steamer near Vicksburg,
during the fearful winter siege of that city, some one said to her, "You
must hold back, you are going beyond your strength, you will die if you
are not more prudent!" "Well," said she, with thrilling earnestness,
"what if I do? Shall men come here by tens of thousands and fight, and
suffer, and die, and shall not some women be willing to die to sustain
and succor them?" No wonder that such sincerity won all hearts and
carried all before it! Alas! the brave spirit was stronger than the
frail casket that encased it, and that yielded inevitably to the heavy
demands that were made upon it.

A rare and consistent life was hers, a worthy and heroic death. Let us
stop a moment to admire the truth and beauty of the one, and to do
reverence to the deep devotion of the other. The following sketch is
gathered from the pages of a "Memorial" published by her friends
shortly after her death, which occurred at Niagara Falls, July 27th,

"Margaret Elizabeth Breckinridge was born in Philadelphia, March 24th,
1832. Her paternal grandfather was John Breckinridge, of Kentucky, once
Attorney-General of the United States. Her father, the Rev. John
Breckinridge, D. D., was his second son, a man of talent and influence,
from whom Margaret inherited good gifts of mind and heart, and an
honored name. Her mother, who was the daughter of Rev. Samuel Miller, of
Princeton, N. J., died when Margaret was only six years old, at which
time she and her sister Mary went to live with their grandparents at
Princeton. Their father dying three years afterwards, the home of the
grandparents became their permanent abode. They had one brother, now
Judge Breckinridge of St. Louis. Margaret's school-days were pleasantly
passed, for she had a genuine love of study, an active intellect, and a
very retentive memory. When her school education was over, she still
continued her studies, and never gave up her prescribed course until the
great work came upon her which absorbed all her time and powers. In the
year 1852 her sister married Mr. Peter A. Porter of Niagara Falls, a
gentleman of culture and accomplishments, a noble man, a true patriot.
At his house the resort of literary and scientific men, the shelter of
the poor and friendless, the centre of sweet social life and domestic
peace, Margaret found for a time a happy home.

"Between her and her sister, Mrs. Porter, there was genuine sisterly
love, a fine intellectual sympathy, and a deep and tender affection. The
first great trial of Miss Breckinridge's life was the death of this
beloved sister which occurred in 1854, only two years after her
marriage. She died of cholera, after an illness of only a few hours.
Margaret had left her but a few days before, in perfect health. The
shock was so terrible that for many years she could not speak her
sister's name without deep emotion; but she was too brave and too truly
religious to allow this blow, dreadful as it was, to impair her
usefulness or unfit her for her destined work. Her religion was
eminently practical and energetic. She was a constant and faithful
Sunday-school teacher, and devoted her attention especially to the
colored people in whom she had a deep interest. She had become by
inheritance the owner of several slaves in Kentucky, who were a source
of great anxiety to her, and the will of her father, though carefully
designed to secure their freedom, had become so entangled with state
laws, subsequently made, as to prevent her, during her life, from
carrying out what was his wish as well as her own. By her will she
directed that they should be freed as soon as possible, and something
given them to provide against the first uncertainties of self-support."

So the beginning of the war found Margaret ripe and ready for her noble
womanly work; trained to self-reliance, accustomed to using her powers
in the service of others, tender, brave, and enthusiastic, chastened by
a life-long sorrow, she longed to devote herself to her country, and to
do all in her power to help on its noble defenders. During the first
year of the struggle duty constrained her to remain at home, but heart
and hands worked bravely all the time, and even her ready pen was
pressed into the service.

But Margaret could not be satisfied to remain with the Home-Guards. She
must be close to the scene of action and in the foremost ranks. She
determined to become a hospital-nurse. Her anxious friends combated her
resolution in vain; they felt that her slender frame and excitable
temperament could not bear the stress and strain of hospital work, but
she had set her mark and must press onward let life or death be the
issue. In April, 1862, Miss Breckinridge set out for the West, stopping
a few weeks at Baltimore on her way. Then she commenced her hospital
service; then, too, she contracted measles, and, by the time she reached
Lexington, Kentucky, her destination, she was quite ill; but the delay
was only temporary, and soon she was again absorbed in her work. A
guerrilla raid, under John Morgan, brought her face to face with the
realities of war, and soon after, early in September she found herself
in a beleaguered city, actually in the grasp of the Rebels, Kirby Smith
holding possession of Lexington and its neighborhood for about six
weeks. It is quite evident that Miss Breckinridge improved this occasion
to air her loyal sentiments and give such help and courage to Unionists
as lay in her power. In a letter written just after this invasion she
says, "At that very time, a train of ambulances, bringing our sick and
wounded from Richmond, was leaving town on its way to Cincinnati. It was
a sight to stir every loyal heart; and so the Union people thronged
round them to cheer them up with pleasant, hopeful words, to bid them
God speed, and last, but not least, to fill their haversacks and
canteens. We went, thinking it possible we might be ordered off by the
guard, but they only stood off, scowling and wondering.

"'Good-by,' said the poor fellows from the ambulances, 'we're coming
back as soon as ever we get well.'

"'Yes, yes,' we whispered, for there were spies all around us, 'and
every one of you bring a regiment with you.'"

As soon as these alarms were over, and Kentucky freed from rebel
invaders, Miss Breckinridge went on to St. Louis, to spend the winter
with her brother. As soon as she arrived, she began to visit the
hospitals of the city and its neighborhood, but her chief work, and that
from the effects of which she never recovered, was the service she
undertook upon the hospital boats, which were sent down the Mississippi
to bring up the sick and wounded from the posts below. She made two
excursions of this kind, full of intense experiences, both of pleasure
and pain. These boats went down the river empty unless they chanced to
carry companies of soldiers to rejoin their regiments, but they returned
crowded with the sick and dying, emaciated, fever-stricken men, sadly in
need of tender nursing but with scarcely a single comfort at command.
Several of the nurses broke down under this arduous and difficult
service, but Margaret congratulated herself that she had held out to the
end. These expeditions were not without danger as well as privation. One
of her letters records a narrow escape. "To give you an idea of the
audacity of these guerrillas; while we lay at Memphis that afternoon, in
broad daylight, a party of six, dressed in our uniform, went on board a
government boat, lying just across the river, and asked to be taken as
passengers six miles up the river, which was granted; but they had no
sooner left the shore than they drew their pistols, overpowered the
crew, and made them go up eighteen miles to meet another government boat
coming down loaded with stores, tied the boats together and burned them,
setting the crew of each adrift in their own yawl, and nobody knew it
till they reached Memphis, two hours later. Being able to hear nothing
of the wounded, we pushed on to Helena, ninety miles below, and here
dangers thickened. We saw the guerrillas burning cotton, with our own
eyes, along the shore, we saw their little skiffs hid away among the
bushes on the shore; and just before we got to Helena, had a most narrow
escape from their clutches. A signal to land on the river was in
ordinary times never disregarded, as the way business of freight and
passengers was the chief profit often of the trip, and it seems hard for
pilots and captains always to be on their guard against a decoy. At this
landing the signal was given, all as it should be, and we were just
rounding to, when, with a sudden jerk, the boat swung round into the
stream again. The mistake was discovered in time, by a government
officer on board, and we escaped an ambush. Just think! we might have
been prisoners in Mississippi now, but God meant better things for us
than that."

Her tender heart was moved by the sufferings of the wretched colored
people at Helena. She says, "But oh! the contrabands! my heart did ache
for them. Such wretched, uncared-for, sad-looking creatures I never saw.
They come in such swarms that it is impossible to do anything for them,
unless benevolent people take the thing into their hands. They have a
little settlement in one end of the town, and the government furnishes
them rations, but they cannot all get work, even if they were all able
and willing to do it; then they get sick from exposure, and now the
small pox is making terrible havoc among them. They have a hospital of
their own, and one of our Union Aid ladies has gone down to superintend
it, and get it into some order, but it seems as if there was nothing
before them but suffering for many a long day to come, and that sad, sad
truth came back to me so often as I went about among them, that no
people ever gained their freedom without a baptism of fire."

Miss Breckinridge returned to St. Louis on a small hospital-boat on
which there were one hundred and sixty patients in care of herself and
one other lady. A few extracts from one of her letters will show what
brave work it gave her to do.

"It was on Sunday morning, 25th of January, that Mrs. C. and I went on
board the hospital boat which had received its sad freight the day
before, and was to leave at once for St. Louis, and it would be
impossible to describe the scene which presented itself to me as I stood
in the door of the cabin. Lying on the floor, with nothing under them
but a tarpaulin and their blankets, were crowded fifty men, many of them
with death written on their faces; and looking through the half-open
doors of the state-rooms, we saw that they contained as many more.
Young, boyish faces, old and thin from suffering, great restless eyes
that were fixed on nothing, incoherent ravings of those who were wild
with fever, and hollow coughs on every side--this, and much more that I
do not want to recall, was our welcome to our new work; but, as we
passed between the two long rows, back to our own cabin, pleasant smiles
came to the lips of some, others looked after us wonderingly, and one
poor boy whispered, 'Oh, but it is good to see the ladies come in!' I
took one long look into Mrs. C's eyes to see how much strength and
courage was hidden in them. We asked each other, not in words, but in
those fine electric thrills by which one soul questions another, 'Can we
bring strength, and hope, and comfort to these poor suffering men?' and
the answer was, 'Yes, by God's help we will!' The first thing was to
give them something like a comfortable bed, and, Sunday though it was,
we went to work to run up our sheets into bed-sacks. Every man that had
strength enough to stagger was pressed into the service, and by night
most of them had something softer than a tarpaulin to sleep on. 'Oh, I
am so comfortable now!' some of them said; 'I think I can sleep
to-night,' exclaimed one little fellow, half-laughing with pleasure. The
next thing was to provide something that sick people could eat, for
coffee and bread was poor food for most of them. We had two little
stoves, one in the cabin and one in the chambermaid's room, and here,
the whole time we were on board, we had to do the cooking for a hundred
men. Twenty times that day I fully made up my mind to cry with vexation,
and twenty times that day I laughed instead; and surely, a kettle of tea
was never made under so many difficulties as the one I made that
morning. The kettle lid was not to be found, the water simmered and sang
at its leisure, and when I asked for the poker I could get nothing but
an old bayonet, and, all the time, through the half-open door behind me,
I heard the poor hungry fellows asking the nurses, 'Where is that tea
the lady promised me?' or 'When will my toast come?' But there must be
an end to all things, and when I carried them their tea and toast, and
heard them pronounce it 'plaguey good,' and 'awful nice,' it was more
than a recompense for all the worry.

"One great trouble was the intense cold. We could not keep life in some
of the poor emaciated frames. 'Oh dear! I shall freeze to death!' one
poor little fellow groaned, as I passed him. Blankets seemed to have no
effect upon them, and at last we had to keep canteens filled with
boiling water at their feet." * * *

"There was one poor boy about whom from the first I had been very
anxious. He drooped and faded from day to day before my eyes. Nothing
but constant stimulants seemed to keep him alive, and, at last I
summoned courage to tell him--oh, how hard it was!--that he could not
live many hours. 'Are you willing to die?' I asked him. He closed his
eyes, and was silent a moment; then came that passionate exclamation
which I have heard so often, 'My mother, oh! my mother!' and, to the
last, though I believe God gave him strength to trust in Christ, and
willingness to die, he longed for his mother. I had to leave him, and,
not long after, he sent for me to come, that he was dying, and wanted me
to sing to him. He prayed for himself in the most touching words; he
confessed that he had been a wicked boy, and then with one last message
for that dear mother, turned his face to the pillow and died; and so,
one by one, we saw them pass away, and all the little keepsakes and
treasures they had loved and kept about them, laid away to be sent home
to those they should never see again. Oh, it was heart-breaking to see

After the "sad freight" had reached its destination, and the care and
responsibility are over, true woman that she is, she breaks down and
cries over it all, but brightens up, and looking back upon it declares:
"I certainly never had so much comfort and satisfaction in anything in
all my life, and the tearful thanks of those who thought in their
gratitude that they owed a great deal more to us than they did, the
blessings breathed from dying lips, and the comfort it has been to
friends at home to hear all about the last sad hours of those they love,
and know their dying messages of love to them; all this is a rich, and
full, and overflowing reward for any labor and for any sacrifice." Again
she says: "There is a soldier's song of which they are very fond, one
verse of which often comes back to me:

    'So I've had a sight of drilling,
      And I've roughed it many days;
    Yes, and death has nearly had me,
      Yet, I think, the service pays.'

Indeed it does,--richly, abundantly, blessedly, and I thank God that he
has honored me by letting me do a little and suffer a little for this
grand old Union, and the dear, brave fellows who are fighting for it."

Early in March she returned to St. Louis, expecting to make another trip
down the river, but her work was nearly over, and the seeds of disease
sown in her winter's campaign were already overmastering her delicate
constitution. She determined to go eastward for rest and recovery,
intending to return in the autumn and fix herself in one of the Western
hospitals, where she could devote herself to her beloved work while the
war lasted. At this time she writes to her Eastern friends: "I shall
soon turn my face eastward, and I have more and more to do as my time
here grows shorter. I have been at the hospital every day this week, and
at the Government rooms, where we prepare the Government work for the
poor women, four hundred of whom we supply with work every week. I have
also a family of refugees to look after, so I do not lack employment."

Early in June, Miss Breckinridge reached Niagara on her way to the East,
where she remained for a month. For a year she struggled against disease
and weakness, longing all the time to be at work again, making vain
plans for the time when she should be "well and strong, and able to go
back to the hospitals." With this cherished scheme in view she went in
the early part of May, 1864, into the Episcopal Hospital in
Philadelphia, that she might acquire experience in nursing, especially
in surgical cases, so that in the autumn, she could begin her labor of
love among the soldiers more efficiently and confidently than before.
She went to work with her usual energy and promptness, following the
surgical nurse every day through the wards, learning the best methods of
bandaging and treating the various wounds. She was not satisfied with
merely seeing this done, but often washed and dressed the wounds with
her own hands, saying, "I shall be able to do this for the soldiers when
I get back to the army." The patients could not understand this, and
would often expostulate, saying, "Oh no, Miss, that is not for the like
of you to do!" but she would playfully insist and have her way. Nor was
she satisfied to gain so much without giving something in return. She
went from bed to bed, encouraging the despondent, cheering the weak and
miserable, reading to them from her little Testament, and singing sweet
hymns at twilight,--a ministering angel here as well as on the
hospital-boats on the Mississippi.

On the 2d of June she had an attack of erysipelas, which however was not
considered alarming, and under which she was patient and cheerful.

Then came news of the fighting before Richmond and of the probability
that her brother-in-law, Colonel Porter,[E] had fallen. Her friends
concealed it from her until the probability became a sad certainty, and
then they were obliged to reveal it to her. The blow fell upon her with
overwhelming force. One wild cry of agony, one hour of unmitigated
sorrow, and then she sweetly and submissively bowed herself to the will
of her Heavenly Father, and was still; but the shock was too great for
the wearied body and the bereaved heart. Gathering up her small remnant
of strength and courage she went to Baltimore to join the afflicted
family of Colonel Porter, saying characteristically, "I can do more good
with them than anywhere else just now." After a week's rest in Baltimore
she proceeded with them to Niagara, bearing the journey apparently well,
but the night after her arrival she became alarmingly ill, and it was
soon evident that she could not recover from her extreme exhaustion and
prostration. For five weeks her life hung trembling in the balance, and
then the silver cord was loosed and she went to join her dear ones gone

"Underneath are the everlasting arms," she said to a friend who bent
anxiously over her during her sickness. Yes, "the everlasting arms"
upheld her in all her courageous heroic earthly work; they cradle her
spirit now in eternal rest.

[Footnote E: This truly Christian hero, the son of General Peter A.
Porter of Niagara Falls, was one of those rare spirits, who surrounded
by everything which could make life blissful, were led by the promptings
of a lofty and self-sacrificing patriotism to devote their lives to
their country. He was killed in the severe battle of June 3, 1864. His
first wife who had deceased some years before was a sister of Margaret
Breckinridge, and the second who survived him was her cousin. One of the
delegates of the Christian Commission writes concerning him:--"Colonel
Peter B. Porter, of Niagara Falls, commanding the 8th New York heavy
artillery, was killed within five or six rods of the rebel lines. Seven
wounds were found upon his body. One in his neck, one between his
shoulders, one on the right side, and lower part of the stomach, one on
the left, and near his heart, and two in his legs. The evening before he
said, 'that if the charge was made he would not come out alive; but that
if required, he would go into it.' The last words heard from him were:
'_Boys, follow me._' We notice the following extract from his will,
which was made before entering the service, which shows the man:

"Feeling to its full extent the probability that I may not return from
the path of duty on which I have entered--if it please God that it be
so--I can say with truth I have entered on the career of danger with no
ambitious aspirations, nor with the idea that I am fitted by nature or
experience to be of any important service to the Government; but in
obedience to the call of duty demanding every citizen to contribute what
he could in means, labor, or life to sustain the government of his
country; a sacrifice made, too, the more willingly by me when I consider
how singularly benefited I have been by the institutions of this land,
and that up to this time all the blessings of life have been showered
upon me beyond what falls usually to the lot of man."]


Mrs. Barker is a lady of great refinement and high culture, the sister
of the Hon. William Whiting, late Attorney-General of Massachusetts, and
the wife of the Rev. Stephen Barker, during the war, Chaplain of the
First Massachusetts Heavy Artillery.

This regiment was organized in July, 1861, as the Fourteenth
Massachusetts Infantry (but afterwards changed as above) under the
command of Colonel William B. Green, of Boston, and was immediately
ordered to Fort Albany, which was then an outpost of defense guarding
the Long Bridge over the Potomac, near Washington.

Having resolved to share the fortunes of this regiment in the service of
its hospitals, Mrs. Barker followed it to Washington in August, and
remained in that city six months before suitable quarters were arranged
for her at the fort.

During her stay in Washington, she spent much of her time in visiting
hospitals, and in ministering to their suffering inmates. Especially was
this the case with the E. Street Infirmary, which was destroyed by fire
in the autumn of that year. After the fire the inmates were distributed
to other hospitals, except a few whose wounds would not admit of a
removal. These were collected together in a small brick school-house,
which stands on the corner of the lot now occupied by the Judiciary
Square Hospital, and there was had the first Thanksgiving Dinner which
was given in an army hospital.

After dinner, which was made as nice and home-like as possible, they
played games of checkers, chess, and backgammon on some new boards
presented from the supplies of the Sanitary Commission, and Mrs. Barker
read aloud "The Cricket on the Hearth." This occupied all the afternoon
and made the day seem so short to these poor convalescents that they all
confessed afterwards that they had no idea, nor expectation that they
could so enjoy a day which they had hoped to spend at home; and they
always remembered and spoke of it with pleasure.

This was a new and entirely exceptional experience to Mrs. Barker. Like
all the ladies who have gone out as volunteer nurses or helps in the
hospitals, she had her whole duty to learn. In this she was aided by a
sound judgment, and an evident natural capacity and executive ability.
Without rules or instructions in hospital visiting, she had to learn by
experience the best methods of aiding sick soldiers without coming into
conflict with the regulations peculiar to military hospitals. Of course,
no useful work could be accomplished without the sanction and confidence
of the surgeons, and these could only be won by strict and honorable
obedience to orders.

The first duty was to learn what Government supplies could properly be
expected in the hospitals; next to be sure that where wanting they were
not withheld by the ignorance or carelessness of the sub-officials; and
lastly that the soldier was sincere and reliable in the statement of his
wants. By degrees these questions received their natural solution; and
the large discretionary power granted by the surgeons, and the generous
confidence and aid extended by the Sanitary Commission, in furnishing
whatever supplies she asked for, soon gave Mrs. Barker all the
facilities she desired for her useful and engrossing work.

In March, 1862, Mrs. Barker removed to Fort Albany, and systematically
commenced the work which had first induced her to leave her home. This
work was substantially the same that she had done in Washington, but was
confined to the Regimental Hospitals. But it was for many reasons
pleasanter and more interesting. As the wife of the Chaplain of the
Regiment, the men all recognized the fitness of her position, and she
shared with him all the duties, not strictly clerical, of his office,
finding great happiness in their mutual usefulness and sustaining power.
She also saw the same men oftener, and became better acquainted, and
more deeply interested in their individual conditions, and she had here
facilities at her command for the preparation of all the little luxuries
and delicacies demanded by special cases.

While the regiment held Fort Albany, and others of the forts forming the
defenses of Washington, the officers' quarters were always such as to
furnish a comfortable home, and Mrs. Barker had, consequently, none of
the exposures and hardships of those who followed the army and labored
in the field. As she, herself, has written in a private letter--"It was
no sacrifice to go to the army, because my husband was in it, and it
would have been much harder to stay at home than to go with him. * * * I
cannot even claim the merit of acting from a sense of _duty_--for I
wanted to work for the soldiers, and should have been desperately
disappointed had I been prevented from doing it."

And so, with a high heart, and an unselfish spirit, which disclaimed all
merit in sacrifice, and even the existence of the sacrifice, she entered
upon and fulfilled to the end the arduous and painful duties which
devolved upon her.

For nearly two years she continued in unremitting attendance upon the
regimental hospitals, except when briefly called home to the sick and
dying bed of her father.

All this time her dependence for hospital comforts was upon the Sanitary
Commission, for though the regiment was performing the duties of a
garrison it was not so considered by the War Department, and the
hospital received none of the furnishings it would have been entitled to
as a Post Hospital. Most of the hospital bedding and clothing, as well
as delicacies of diet came from the Sanitary Commission, and a little
money contributed from private sources helped to procure the needed
furniture. Mrs. Barker found this "camp life" absorbing and interesting.
She became identified with the regiment and was accustomed to speak of
it as a part of herself. And even more closely and intimately did she
identify herself with her suffering patients in the hospital.

On Sundays, while the chaplain was about his regular duties, she was
accustomed to have a little service of her own for the patients, which
mostly consisted in reading aloud a printed sermon of the Rev. Henry
Ward Beecher, which appeared in the Weekly Traveller, and which was
always listened to with eager interest.

The chaplain's quarters were close by the hospital, and at any hour of
the day and till a late hour of the night Mr. and Mrs. Barker could
assure themselves of the condition and wants of any of the patients, and
be instantly ready to minister to them. Mrs. Barker, especially, bore
them continually in her thoughts, and though not with them, her heart
and time were given to the work of consolation, either by adding to the
comforts of the body or the mind.

In January, 1864, it became evident to Mrs. Barker that she could serve
in the hospitals more effectually by living in Washington, than by
remaining at Fort Albany. She therefore offered her services to the
Sanitary Commission without other compensation than the expenses of her
board, and making no stipulation as to the nature of her duties, but
only that she might remain within reach of the regimental hospital, to
which she had so long been devoted.

Just at this time the Commission had determined to secure a more sure
and thorough personal distribution of the articles intended for
soldiers, and she was requested to become a visitor in certain hospitals
in Washington. It was desirable to visit bed-sides, as before, but
henceforth as a representative of the Sanitary Commission, with a wider
range of duties, and a proportionate increase of facilities. Soldiers
were complaining that they saw nothing of the Sanitary Commission, when
the shirts they wore, the fruits they ate, the stationery they used, and
numerous other comforts from the Commission abounded in the hospitals.
Mrs. Barker found that she had only to refuse the thanks which she
constantly received, and refer them to the proper object, to see a
marked change in the feeling of the sick toward the Sanitary Commission.
And she was so fully convinced of the beneficial results of this
remarkable organization, that she found the greatest pleasure in doing

In all other respects her work was unchanged. There was the same need of
cheering influences--the writing of letters and procuring of books, and
obtaining of information. There were the thousand varied calls for
sympathy and care which kept one constantly on the keenest strain of
active life, so that she came to feel that no gift, grace, or
accomplishment could be spared without leaving something wanting of a
perfect woman's work in the hospitals.

Nine hospitals, in addition to the regimental hospital, which she still
thought of as her "own," were assigned her. Of these Harewood contained
nearly as many patients as all the others. During the summer of 1864,
its wards and tents held twenty-eight hundred patients. It was Mrs.
Barker's custom to commence here every Monday morning at the First Ward,
doing all she saw needful as she went along, and to go on as far as she
could before two o'clock, when she went to dinner. In the afternoon she
would visit one of the smaller hospitals, all of whose inmates she could
see in the course of one visit, and devote the whole afternoon entirely
to that hospital.

The next morning she would begin again at Harewood, where she stopped
the day before, doing all she could there, previous to two o'clock, and
devoting the afternoon to a smaller hospital. When Harewood was
finished, two hospitals might be visited in a day, and in this manner
she would complete the entire round weekly.

It was not necessary to speak to every man, for on being recognized as a
Sanitary Visitor the men would tell her their wants, and her eye was
sufficiently practiced to discern where undue shyness prevented any from
speaking of them. An assistant always went with her, who drove the
horses, and who, by his knowledge of German, was a great help in
understanding the foreign soldiers. They carried a variety of common
articles with them, so that the larger proportion of the wants could be
supplied on the spot. In this way a constant distribution was going on,
in all the hospitals of Washington, whereby the soldiers received what
was sent for them with certainty and promptness.

In the meantime the First Heavy Artillery had been ordered to join the
army before Petersburg. On the fourth day after it left the forts round
Washington, it lost two hundred men killed, wounded and taken prisoners.
As soon as the sick or wounded men began to be sent back to Washington,
Mrs. Barker was notified of it by her husband, and sought them out to
make them the objects of her special care.

At the same time the soldiers of this regiment, in the field, were
constantly confiding money and mementoes to Mr. Barker, to be sent to
Mrs. Barker by returning Sanitary Agents, and forwarded by her to their
families in New England. Often she gave up the entire day to the
preparation of these little packages for the express, and to the writing
of letters to each person who was to receive a package, containing
messages, and a request for a reply when the money was received. Large
as this business was, she never entrusted it to any hands but her own,
and though she sent over two thousand dollars in small sums, and
numerous mementoes, she never lost an article of all that were
transmitted by express.

But whatever she had on hand, it was, at this time, an especial duty to
attend to any person who desired a more thorough understanding of the
work of hospitals; and many days were thus spent with strangers who had
no other means of access to the information they desired, except through
one whose time could be given to such purposes.

These somewhat minute details of Mrs. Barker's labors are given as being
peculiar to the department of service in which she worked, and to which
she so conscientiously devoted herself for such a length of time.

In this way she toiled on until December, 1864, when a request was made
by the Women's Central Association that a hospital visitor might be sent
to the Soldiers' Aid Societies in the State of New York. Few of these
had ever seen a person actually engaged in hospital work, and it was
thought advisable to assure them that their labors were not only needed,
but that their results really reached and benefited the sick soldiers.

Mrs. Barker was chosen as this representative, and the programme
included the services of Mr. Barker, whose regiment was now mustered out
of service, as a lecturer before general audiences, while Mrs. Barker
met the Aid Societies in the same places. During the month of December,
1864, Mr. and Mrs. Barker, in pursuance of this plan, visited Harlem,
Brooklyn, Astoria, Hastings, Irvington, Rhinebeck, Albany, Troy, Rome,
Syracuse, Auburn, and Buffalo, presenting the needs of the soldier, and
the benefits of the work of the Sanitary Commission to the people
generally, and to the societies in particular, with great acceptance,
and to the ultimate benefit of the cause. This tour accomplished, Mrs.
Barker returned to her hospital work in Washington.

After the surrender of Lee's army, Mrs. Barker visited Richmond and
Petersburg, and as she walked the deserted streets of those fallen
cities, she felt that her work was nearly done. Almost four years, in
storm and in sunshine, in heat and in cold, in hope and in
discouragement she had ceaselessly toiled on; and all along her path
were strewed the blessings of thousands of grateful hearts.

The increasing heats of summer warned her that she could not withstand
the influences of another season of hard work in a warm climate, and on
the day of the assassination of President Lincoln, she left Washington
for Boston.

Mrs. Barker had been at home about six weeks when a new call for effort
came, on the return of the Army of the Potomac encamped around
Washington previous to its final march for home. To it was presently
added the Veterans of Sherman's grand march, and all were in a state of
destitution. The following extract from the _Report of the Field Relief
Service of the United States Sanitary Commission with the Armies of the
Potomac, Georgia, and Tennessee, in the Department of Washington, May
and June, 1865_, gives a much better idea of the work required than
could otherwise be presented.

"Armies, the aggregate strength of which must have exceeded two hundred
thousand men, were rapidly assembling around this city, previous, to the
grand review and their disbandment. These men were the travel-worn
veterans of Sherman, and the battle-stained heroes of the glorious old
Army of the Potomac, men of whom the nation is already proud, and whom
history will teach our children to venerate. Alas! that veterans require
more than 'field rations;' that heroes will wear out or throw away their
clothes, or become diseased with scurvy or chronic diarrhoea.

"The Army of the West had marched almost two thousand miles, subsisting
from Atlanta to the ocean almost wholly upon the country through which
it passed. When it entered the destitute regions of North Carolina and
Virginia it became affected with scorbutic diseases. A return to the
ordinary marching rations gave the men plenty to eat, but no vegetables.
Nor had foraging put them in a condition to bear renewed privation.

"The Commissary Department issued vegetables in such small quantities
that they did not affect the condition of the troops in any appreciable
degree. Surgeons immediately sought the Sanitary Commission. The demand
soon became greater than the supply. At first they wanted nothing but
vegetables, for having these, they said, all other discomforts would
become as nothing.

"After we had secured an organization through the return of agents and
the arrival of transportation, a division of labor was made, resulting
ultimately in three departments, more or less distinct. These were:

"First, the supply of vegetables;

"Second, the depots for hospital and miscellaneous supplies; and,

"Third, the visitation of troops for the purpose of direct distribution
of small articles of necessity or comfort."

These men, war-worn--and many of them sick--veterans, were without
money, often in rags, or destitute of needful clothing, and they were
not to be paid until they were mustered out of the service in their
respective States. Generous, thorough and rapid distribution was
desirable, and all the regular hospital visitors, as well as others
temporarily employed in the work, entered upon the duties of field
distribution. In twenty days, such was the system and expedition used,
every regiment, and all men on detached duty, had been visited and
supplied with necessaries on their camping grounds; and frequent
expressions of gratitude from officers and men, attested that a great
work had been successfully accomplished.

This was the conclusion of Mrs. Barker's army work, and what it was, how
thorough, kind, and every way excellent we cannot better tell than by
appending to this sketch her own report to the Chief of Field Relief

        "WASHINGTON, D. C., _June 29, 1865_.

     "A. M. SPERRY--Sir: It was my privilege to witness the advance of
     the army in the spring of 1862, and the care of soldiers in camp
     and hospital having occupied all my time since then, it was
     therefore gratifying to close my labors by welcoming the returning
     army to the same camping grounds it left four years ago. The
     circumstances under which it went forth and returned were so
     unlike, the contrast between our tremulous farewell and our
     exultant welcome so extreme, that it has been difficult to find an
     expression suited to the hour. The Sanitary Commission adopted the
     one method by which alone it could give for itself this expression.
     It sent out its agents to visit every regiment and all soldiers on
     detached duty, to ascertain and relieve their wants, and by words
     and acts of kindness to assure them of the deep and heartfelt
     gratitude of the nation for their heroic sufferings and

     "The Second, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth,
     Seventeenth, and Twentieth army corps have been encamped about the
     capital. They numbered over two hundred thousand men.

     "Our first work was to establish stations for sanitary stores in
     the camps, wherever it was practicable, to which soldiers might
     come for the supply of their wants without the trouble of getting
     passes into Washington. Our Field Relief Agents, who have followed
     the army from point to point, called on the officers to inform them
     of our storehouse for supplies of vegetables and pickles. The
     report of the Superintendent of Field Relief will show how great a
     work has been done for the army in these respects. How great has
     been the need of a full and generous distribution of the articles
     of food and clothing may be realized by the fact, that here were
     men unpaid for the last six months, and yet to remain so till
     mustered out of the service in their respective States; whose
     government accounts were closed, with no sutlers in their
     regiments, and no credit anywhere. Every market-day, numbers of
     these war-worn veterans have been seen asking for some green
     vegetable from the tempting piles, which were forbidden fruits to

     "In order to make our work in the army as thorough, rapid, and
     effective as possible, it was decided to accept the services of the
     'Hospital Visitors.' They have been at home in the hospitals ever
     since the war began, but never in the camp. But we believed that
     even here they would be safe, and the gifts they brought would be
     more valued because brought by them.

     "Six ladies have been employed by the Sanitary Commission as
     Hospital Visitors. These were temporarily transferred from their
     hospitals to the field.

     "The Second and Fifth Corps were visited by Mrs. Steel and Miss
     Abby Francis.

     "The Sixth Corps by Mrs. Johnson, Miss Armstrong, and Mrs. Barker;
     on in each division.

     "The Ninth Corps by Miss Wallace, whose illness afterward obliged
     her to yield her place to Mrs. Barker.

     "The Fourteenth Corps by Miss Armstrong.

     "The Fifteenth and Seventeenth Corps by ladies belonging to those
     corps--Mrs. Porter and Mrs. Bickerdyke--whose admirable services
     rendered other presence superfluous.

     "The Twentieth Corps was visited by Mrs. Johnson.

     "The articles selected for their distribution were the same for all
     the corps; while heavy articles of food and clothing were issued by
     orders from the field agents, smaller articles--like towels,
     handkerchiefs, stationery, sewing materials, combs, reading matter,
     etc.--were left to the ladies.

     "This division of labor has been followed, except in cases where no
     field agent accompanied the lady, and there was no sanitary station
     in the corps. Then the lady agent performed double duty. She was
     provided with a vehicle, and followed by an army wagon loaded with
     supplies sufficient for her day's distribution, which had been
     drawn from the Commission storehouse upon a requisition approved by
     the chief clerk. On arriving at the camp, her first call was at
     headquarters, to obtain permission to distribute her little
     articles, to learn how sick the men were, in quarters or in
     hospital, and to find out the numbers in each company. The ladies
     adopted two modes of issuing supplies: some called for the entire
     company, giving into each man's hand the thing he needed; others
     gave to the orderly sergeant of each company the same proportion of
     each article, which he distributed to the men. The willing help and
     heartfelt pleasure of the officers in distributing our gifts among
     their men have added much to the respect and affection already felt
     for them by the soldiers and their friends.

     "In Mrs. Johnson's report of her work in the Twentieth Army Corps,
     she says: 'In several instances officers have tendered the thanks
     of their regiments, when they were so choked by tears as to render
     their voices unheard.'

     "I remember no scenes in camp more picturesque than some of our
     visits have presented. The great open army wagon stands under some
     shade-tree, with the officer who has volunteered to help, or the
     regular Field Agent, standing in the midst of boxes, bales, and
     bundles. Wheels, sides, and every projecting point are crowded with
     eager soldiers, to see what 'the Sanitary' has brought for them. By
     the side of the great wagon stands the light wagon of the lady,
     with its curtains all rolled up, while she arranges before and
     around her the supplies she is to distribute. Another eager crowd
     surrounds her, patient, kind, and respectful as the first, except
     that a shade more of softness in their look and tone attest to the
     ever-living power of woman over the rough elements of manhood. In
     these hours of personal communication with the soldier, she finds
     the true meaning of her work. This is her golden opportunity, when
     by look, and tone, and movement she may call up, as if by magic,
     the pure influences of home, which may have been long banished by
     the hard necessities of war. Quietly and rapidly the supplies are
     handed out for Companies A, B, C, etc., first from one wagon, then
     the other, and as soon as a regiment is completed the men hurry
     back to their tents to receive their share, and write letters on
     the newly received paper, or apply the long needed comb, or mend
     the gaping seams in their now 'historic garments.' When at last the
     supplies are exhausted, and sunset reminds us that we are yet many
     miles from home, we gather up the remnants, bid good by to the
     friendly faces which already seem like old acquaintances, promising
     to come again to visit new regiments to-morrow, and hurry home to
     prepare for the next day's work.

     "Every day, from the first to the twentieth day of June, our little
     band of missionaries has repeated a day's work such as I have now
     described. Every regiment, except some which were sent home before
     we were able to reach them, has shared alike in what we had to
     give. And I think I speak for all in saying that among the many
     pleasant memories connected with our sanitary work, the last but
     not the least will be our share in the Field Relief.

        "Yours respectfully,
            "MRS. STEPHEN BARKER."


Very few individuals in our country are entirely ignorant of the
beneficent work performed by the Sanitary Commission during the late
war; and these, perhaps, are the only ones to whom the name of Amy M.
Bradley is unfamiliar. Very early in the war she commenced her work for
the soldiers, and did not discontinue it until some months after the
last battle was fought, completing fully her four years of service, and
making her name a synonym for active, judicious, earnest work from the
beginning to the end.

Amy M. Bradley is a native of East Vassalboro', Kennebec County, Maine,
where she was born September 12th, 1823, the youngest child of a large
family. At six years of age she met with the saddest of earthly losses,
in the death of her mother. From early life it would appear to have been
her lot to make her way in life by her own active exertions. Her father
ceased to keep house on the marriage of his older daughters, and from
that time until she was fifteen she lived alternately with them. Then
she made her first essay in teaching a small private school.

At sixteen she commenced life as a teacher of public schools, and
continued the same for more than ten years, or until 1850.

To illustrate her determined and persistent spirit during the first four
years of her life as a teacher she taught country schools during the
summer and winter, and during the spring and fall attended the academy
in her native town, working for her board in private families.

At the age of twenty-one, through the influence of Noah Woods, Esq., she
obtained an appointment as principal of one of the Grammar Schools in
Gardiner, Maine, where she remained until the fall of 1847. At the end
of that time she resigned and accepted an appointment as assistant in
the Winthrop Grammar School, Charlestown, Massachusetts, obtained for
her by her cousin, Stacy Baxter, Esq., the principal of the Harvard
Grammar School in the same city. There she remained until the winter of
1849-50, when she applied for a similar situation in the Putnam Grammar
School, East Cambridge (where higher salaries were paid) and was
successful. She remained, however, only until May, when a severe attack
of acute bronchitis so prostrated her strength as to quite unfit her for
her duties during the whole summer. She had previously suffered
repeatedly from pneumonia. Her situation was held for her until the
autumn, when finding her health not materially improved, she resigned
and prepared to spend the winter at the South in the family of a brother
residing at Charleston, South Carolina.

Miss Bradley returned from Charleston the following spring. Her winter
in the South had not benefited her as she had hoped and expected, and
she found herself unable to resume her occupation as a teacher.

During the next two years her active spirit chafed in forced idleness,
and life became almost a burden. In the autumn of 1853, going to
Charlestown and Cambridge to visit friends, she met the physician who
had attended her during the severe illness that terminated her
teacher-life. He examined her lungs, and gave it as his opinion that
only a removal to a warmer climate could preserve her life through
another winter, and that the following months of frost and cold spent in
the North must undoubtedly in her case develop pulmonary consumption.

To her these were words of doom. Not possessed of the means for
travelling, and unable, as she supposed, to obtain a livelihood in a
far off country, she returned to Maine, and resigned herself with what
calmness she might, to the fate in store for her.

But Providence had not yet developed the great work to which she was
appointed, and though sorely tried, and buffeted, she was not to be
permitted to leave this mortal scene until the objects of her life were
fulfilled. Through resignation to death she was, perhaps, best prepared
to live, and even in that season when earth seemed receding from her
view, the wise purposes of the Ruler of all in her behalf were being
worked out in what seemed to be an accidental manner.

In the family of her cousin, Mr. Baxter, at Charlestown, Massachusetts,
there had been living, for two years, three Spanish boys from Costa
Rica, Central America. Mr. Baxter was an instructor of youth and they
were his pupils. About this period their father arrived to fetch home a
daughter who was at school in New York, and to inquire what progress
these boys were making in their studies. He applied to Mr. Baxter to
recommend some lady who would be willing to go to Costa Rica for two or
three years to instruct his daughters in the English language. Mr.
Baxter at once recommended Miss Bradley as a suitable person and as
willing and desirous to undertake the journey. The situation was offered
and accepted, and in November, 1853, she set sail for Costa Rica.

After remaining a short time with the Spanish family, she accepted a
proposition from the American Consul, and accompanied his family to San
Josè, the Capital, among the mountains, some seventy miles from Punta
Arenas, where she opened a school receiving as pupils, English, Spanish,
German, and American children. This was the first English school
established in Central America. For three months she taught from a
blackboard, and at the end of that time received from New York, books,
maps, and all the needful apparatus for a permanent school.

This school she taught with success for three years. At the end of that
time learning that the health of her father, then eighty-three years of
age, was rapidly declining, and that he was unwilling to die without
seeing her, she disposed of the property and "good-will" of her school,
and as soon as possible bade adieu to Costa Rica. She reached home on
the 1st of June, 1857, after an absence of nearly four years. Her
father, however, survived for several months.

Her health which had greatly improved during her stay in the salubrious
climate of San Josè, where the temperature ranges at about 70°
Fahrenheit the entire year, again yielded before the frosty rigors of a
winter in the Pine Tree State, and for a long time she was forced to
lead a very secluded life. She devoted herself to reading, to the study
of the French and German languages, and to teaching the Spanish, of
which she had become mistress during her residence in Costa Rica.

In the spring of 1861, she went to East Cambridge, where she obtained
the situation of translator for the New England Glass Company,
translating commercial letters from English to Spanish, or from Spanish
to English as occasion required.

This she would undoubtedly have found a pleasant and profitable
occupation, but the boom of the first gun fired at Sumter upon the old
flag stirred to a strange restlessness the spirit of the granddaughter
of one who starved to death on board the British Prison Ship Jersey,
during the revolution. She felt the earnest desire, but saw not the way
to personal action, until the first disastrous battle of Bull Run
prompted her to immediate effort.

She wrote to Dr. G. S. Palmer, Surgeon of the Fifth Regiment Maine
Volunteers, an old and valued friend, to offer her services in caring
for the sick and wounded. His reply was quaint and characteristic.
"There is no law at this end of the route, to prevent your coming; but
the law of humanity requires your immediate presence."

As soon as possible she started for the seat of war, and on the 1st of
September, 1861, commenced her services as nurse in the hospital of the
Fifth Maine Regiment.

The regiment had been enlisted to a great extent from the vicinity of
Gardiner, Maine, where, as we have said, she had taught for several
years, and among the soldiers both sick and well were a number of her
old pupils.

The morning after her arrival, Dr. Palmer called at her tent, and
invited her to accompany him through the hospital tents. There were four
of these, filled with fever cases, the result of exposure and hardship
at and after the battle of Bull Run.

In the second tent, were a number of patients delirious from the fever,
whom the surgeon proposed to send to Alexandria, to the General
Hospital. To one of these she spoke kindly, asking if he would like to
have anything; with a wild look, and evidently impressed with the idea
that he was about to be ordered on a long journey, he replied, "I would
like to see my mother and sisters before I go home." Miss Bradley was
much affected by his earnestness, and seeing that his recovery was
improbable, begged Dr. Palmer to let her care for him for his mother and
sisters' sake, until he went to his last home. He consented, and she
soon installed herself as nurse of most of the fever cases, several of
them her old pupils. From morning till night she was constantly employed
in ministering to these poor fellows, and her skill in nursing was often
of more service to them than medicine.

Colonel Oliver O. Howard, the present Major-General and Commissioner of
the Freedmen's Bureau, had been up to the end of September, 1861, in
command of the Fifth Maine Regiment, but at that time was promoted to
the command of a brigade; and Dr. Palmer was advanced to the post of
brigade surgeon, while Dr. Brickett succeeded to the surgeoncy of the
Fifth Regiment.

By dint of energy, tact and management, Miss Bradley had brought the
hospital into fine condition, having received cots from friends in
Maine, and supplies of delicacies and hospital clothing from the
Sanitary Commission. General Slocum, the new brigade commander, early in
October made his first round of inspection of the regimental hospitals
of the brigade. He found Dr. Brickett's far better arranged and supplied
than any of the others, and inquired why it was so. Dr. Brickett
answered that they had a Maine woman who understood the care of the
sick, to take charge of the hospital, and that she had drawn supplies
from the Sanitary Commission. General Slocum declared that he could have
no partiality in his brigade, and proposed to take two large buildings,
the Powell House and the Octagon House, as hospitals, and instal Miss
Bradley as lady superintendent of the Brigade Hospital. This was done
forthwith, and with further aid from the Sanitary Commission, as the
Medical Bureau had not yet made any arrangement for brigade hospitals,
Miss Bradley assisted by the zealous detailed nurses from the brigade
soon gave these two houses a decided "home" appearance. The two
buildings would accommodate about seventy-five patients, and were soon
filled. Miss Bradley took a personal interest in each case, as if they
were her own brothers, and by dint of skilful nursing raised many of
them from the grasp of death.

A journal which she kept of her most serious cases, illustrates very
forcibly her deep interest and regard for all "her dear boys" as she
called them. She would not give them up, even when the surgeon
pronounced their cases hopeless, and though she could not always save
them from death, she undoubtedly prolonged life in many instances by her
assiduous nursing.

On the 10th of March, 1862, Centreville, Virginia, having been evacuated
by the rebels, the brigade to which Miss Bradley was attached were
ordered to occupy it, and five days later the Brigade Hospital was
broken up and the patients distributed, part to Alexandria, and part to
Fairfax Seminary General Hospital. In the early part of April Miss
Bradley moved with the division to Warrenton Junction, and after a
week's stay in and about Manassas the order came to return to Alexandria
and embark for Yorktown. Returning to Washington, she now offered her
services to the Sanitary Commission, and on the 4th of May was summoned
by a telegraphic despatch from Mr. F. L. Olmstead, the energetic and
efficient Secretary of the Commission, to come at once to Yorktown. On
the 6th of May she reached Fortress Monroe, and on the 7th was assigned
to the Ocean Queen as lady superintendent. We shall give some account of
her labors here when we come to speak of the Hospital Transport service.
Suffice it to say, in this place that her services which were very
arduous, were continued either on the hospital ships or on the shore
until the Army of the Potomac left the Peninsula for Acquia Creek and
Alexandria, and that in several instances her kindness to wounded rebel
officers and soldiers, led them to abandon the rebel service and become
hearty, loyal Union men. She accompanied the flag of truce boat three
times, when the Union wounded were exchanged, and witnessed some painful
scenes, though the rebel authorities had not then begun to treat our
prisoners with such cruelty as they did later in the war. Early in
August she accompanied the sick and wounded men on the steamers from
Harrison's Landing to Philadelphia, where they were distributed among
the hospitals. During all this period of hospital transport service, she
had had the assistance of that noble, faithful, worker Miss Annie
Etheridge, the "Gentle Annie" of the Third Michigan regiment, of whom we
shall have more to say in another place. For a few days, after the
transfer of the troops to the vicinity of Washington, Miss Bradley
remained unoccupied, and endeavored by rest and quiet to recover her
health, which had been much impaired by her severe labors.

A place was, however, in preparation for her, which, while it would
bring her less constantly in contact with the fearful wounds and
terrible sufferings of the soldiers in the field, would require more
administrative ability and higher business qualities than she had yet
been called to exercise.

The Sanitary Commission in their desire to do what they could for the
soldier, had planned the establishment of a Home at Washington, where
the private soldier could go and remain for a few days while awaiting
orders, without being the prey of the unprincipled villains who
neglected no opportunity of fleecing every man connected with the army,
whom they could entice into their dens; where those who were recovering
from serious illness or wounds could receive the care and attention they
needed; where their clothing often travel-stained and burdened with the
"Sacred Soil of Virginia," could be exchanged for new, and the old
washed, cleansed and repaired. It was desirable that this Home should be
invested with a "home" aspect; that books, newspapers and music should
be provided, as well as wholesome and attractive food, and that the
presence of woman and her kindly and gentle ministrations, should exert
what influence they might to recall vividly to the soldier the _home_ he
had left in a distant state, and to quicken its power of influencing him
to higher and purer conduct, and more earnest valor, to preserve the
institutions which had made that home what it was.

Rev. F. N. Knapp, the Assistant Secretary of the Commission, on whom
devolved the duty of establishing this Home, had had opportunity of
observing Miss Bradley's executive ability in the Hospital Transport
Service, as well as in the management of a brigade hospital, and he
selected her at once, to take charge of the Home, arrange all its
details, and act as its Matron. She accepted the post, and performed its
duties admirably, accommodating at times a hundred and twenty at once,
and by her neatness, good order and cheerful tact, dispensing happiness
among those who, poor fellows, had hitherto found little to cheer them.

But her active and energetic nature was not satisfied with her work at
the Soldiers' Home. Her leisure hours, (and with her prompt business
habits, she secured some of these every day), were consecrated to
visiting the numerous hospitals in and around Washington, and if she
found the surgeons or assistant surgeons negligent and inattentive, they
were promptly reported to the medical director. The condition of the
hospitals in the city was, however, much better than that of the
hospitals and convalescent camps over the river, in Virginia. A visit
which she made to one of these, significantly named by the soldiers,
"Camp Misery," in September, 1862, revealed to her, wretchedness,
suffering and neglect, such as she had not before witnessed; and she
promptly secured from the Sanitary Commission such supplies as were
needed, and in her frequent visits there for the next three months,
distributed them with her own hands, while she encouraged and promoted
such changes in the management and arrangements of the camp as greatly
improved its condition.

This "Camp Misery" was the original Camp of Distribution, to which were
sent, 1st, men discharged from all the hospitals about Washington, as
well as the regimental, brigade, division and post hospitals, as
convalescent, or as unfit for duty, preparatory to their final discharge
from the army; 2d, stragglers and deserters, recaptured and collected
here preparatory to being forwarded to their regiments; 3d, new recruits
awaiting orders to join regiments in the field. Numerous attempts had
been made to improve the condition of this camp, but owing to the small
number and inefficiency of the officers detailed to the command, it had
constantly grown worse. The convalescents, numbering nine or ten
thousand, were lodged, in the depth of a very severe winter, in wedge
and Sibley tents, without floors, with no fires, or means of making any,
amid deep mud or frozen clods, and were very poorly supplied with
clothing, and many of them without blankets. Under such circumstances,
it was not to be expected that their health could improve. The
stragglers and deserters and the new recruits were even worse off than
the convalescents. The assistant surgeon and his acting assistants, up
to the last of October, 1862, were too inexperienced to be competent for
their duties.

In December, 1862, orders were issued by the Government for the
construction of a new Rendezvous of Distribution, at a point near Fort
Barnard, Virginia, on the Loudon and Hampshire Railroad, the erection of
new and more comfortable barracks, and the removal of the men from the
old camp to it. The barracks for the convalescents were fifty in number
and intended for the accommodation of one hundred men each, and they
were completed in February, 1863, and the new regulations and the
appointment of new and efficient officers, greatly improved the
condition of the Rendezvous.

In December, 1862, while the men were yet in Camp Misery, Miss Bradley
was sent there as the Special Relief Agent of the Sanitary Commission,
and took up her quarters there. As we have said the condition of the men
was deplorable. She arrived on the 17th of December, and after setting
up her tents, and arranging her little hospital, cook-room, store-room,
wash-room, bath-room, and office, so as to be able to serve the men most
effectually, she passed round with the officers, as the men were drawn
up in line for inspection, and supplied seventy-five men with woollen
shirts, giving only to the _very_ needy. In her hospital tents she soon
had forty patients, all of them men who had been discharged from the
hospitals as well; these were washed, supplied with clean clothing,
warmed, fed and nursed. Others had discharge papers awaiting them, but
were too feeble to stand in the cold and wet till their turn came. She
obtained them for them, and sent the poor invalids to the Soldiers' Home
in Washington, _en route_ for their own homes. From May 1st to December
31st, 1863, she conveyed more than two thousand discharged soldiers from
the Rendezvous of Distribution to the Commission's Lodges at Washington;
most of them men suffering from incurable disease, and who but for her
kind ministrations must most of them have perished in the attempt to
reach their homes. In four months after she commenced her work she had
had in her little hospital one hundred and thirty patients, of whom
fifteen died. For these patients as well as for other invalids who were
unable to write she wrote letters to their friends, and to the friends
of the dead she sent full accounts of the last hours of their lost ones.
The discharged men, and many of those who were on record unjustly as
deserters, through some informality in their papers, often found great
difficulty in obtaining their pay, and sometimes could not ascertain
satisfactorily how much was due them, in consequence of errors on the
part of the regimental or company officers. Miss Bradley was
indefatigable in her efforts to secure the correction of these papers,
and the prompt payment of the amounts due to these poor men, many of
whom, but for her exertion, would have suffered on their arrival at
their distant homes. Between May 1st and December 31st, 1863, she
procured the reinstatement of one hundred and fifty soldiers who had
been dropped from their muster rolls unjustly as deserters, and secured
their arrears of pay to them, amounting in all to nearly eight thousand

On the 8th of February, 1864, the convalescents were, by general orders
from the War Department, removed to the general hospitals in and about
Washington, and the name changed from Camp Distribution to Rendezvous of
Distribution, and only stragglers and deserters, and the recruits
awaiting orders, or other men fit for duty were to be allowed there. For
nearly two months Miss Bradley was confined to her quarters by severe
illness. On her recovery she pushed forward an enterprise on which she
had set her heart, of establishing a weekly paper at the Rendezvous, to
be called "The Soldiers' Journal," which should be a medium of
contributions from all the more intelligent soldiers in the camp, and
the profits from which (if any accrued), should be devoted to the relief
of the children of deceased soldiers. On the 17th of February the first
number of "The Soldiers' Journal" appeared, a quarto sheet of eight
pages; it was conducted with considerable ability and was continued till
the breaking up of the Rendezvous and hospital, August 22, 1865, just a
year and a half. The profits of the paper were twenty-one hundred and
fifty-five dollars and seventy-five cents, beside the value of the
printing-press and materials, which amount was held for the benefit of
orphans of soldiers who had been connected with the camp, and was
increased by contributions from other sources. Miss Bradley, though the
proprietor, was not for any considerable period the avowed editor of the
paper, Mr. R. A. Cassidy, and subsequently Mr. Thomas V. Cooper, acting
in that capacity, but she was a large contributor to its columns, and
her poetical contributions which appeared in almost every number,
indicated deep emotional sensibilities, and considerable poetic talent.
Aside from its interesting reading matter, the Journal gave instructions
to the soldiers in relation to the procurement of the pay and clothing
to which they were entitled; the requisites demanded by the government
for the granting of furloughs; and the method of procuring prompt
settlement of their accounts with the government without the
interference of claim agents. During the greater part of 1864, and in
1865, until the hospital was closed, Miss Bradley, in addition to her
other duties, was Superintendent of Special Diet to the Augur General
Hospital, and received and forwarded from the soldiers to their friends,
about forty-nine hundred and twenty-five dollars.

The officers and soldiers of the Rendezvous of Distribution were not
forgetful of the unwearied labors of Miss Bradley for their benefit. On
the 22d of February, 1864, she was presented with an elegant gold watch
and chain, the gift of the officers and private soldiers of Camp
Convalescent, then just broken up. The gift was accompanied with a very
appropriate address from the chaplain of the camp, Rev. William J.
Potter. She succeeded in winning the regard and esteem of all with whom
she was associated. When, in August, 1865, she retired from the service
of The Sanitary Commission, its secretary, John S. Blatchford, Esq.,
addressed her in a letter expressive of the high sense the Commission
entertained of her labors, and the great good she had accomplished, and
the Treasurer of the Commission forwarded her a check as for salary for
so much of the year 1865 as was passed, to enable her to take the rest
and relaxation from continuous labor which she so greatly needed. In
person Miss Bradley is small, erect, and possesses an interesting and
attractive face, thoughtful, and giving evidence in the lines of the
mouth and chin, of executive ability, energy and perseverance. Her
manners are easy, graceful and winning, and she evinces in a marked
degree the possession of that not easily described talent, of which our
record furnishes numerous examples, which the Autocrat of the Breakfast
Table calls "faculty."


A romantic interest encircles the career of this brilliant and estimable
lady, which is saddened by her early doom, and the grief of her young
husband bereaved before Peace had brought him that quiet domestic
felicity for which he doubtless longed.

Arabella Griffith was born in Somerville, New Jersey, but was brought up
and educated under the care of Miss Eliza Wallace of Burlington, New
Jersey, who was a relative upon her father's side. As she grew up she
developed remarkable powers. Those who knew her well, both as relatives
and in the social circle, speak of her warm heart, her untiring energy,
her brilliant conversational powers, and the beauty and delicacy of
thought which marked her contributions to the press. By all who knew her
she was regarded as a remarkable woman.

That she was an ardent patriot, in more than words, who can doubt? She
sealed her devotion to her country's cause by the sublimest sacrifices
of which woman is capable--sacrifices in which she never faltered even
in the presence of death itself.

Arabella Griffith was a young and lovely woman, the brilliant centre of
a large and admiring circle. Francis C. Barlow was a rising young lawyer
with a noble future opening before him. These two were about to unite
their destinies in the marriage relation.

Into the midst of their joyful anticipations, came the echoes of the
first shot fired by rebellion. The country sprang to arms. These ardent
souls were not behind their fellow-countrymen and countrywomen in their
willingness to act and to suffer for the land and the Government they

On the 19th of April, 1861, Mr. Barlow enlisted as a private in the
Twelfth Regiment New York Militia. On the 20th of April they were
married, and on the 21st Mr. Barlow left with his regiment for

In the course of a week Mrs. Barlow followed her husband, and remained
with him at Washington, and at Harper's Ferry, where the Twelfth was
presently ordered to join General Patterson's command, until its return
home, August 1st, 1861.

In November, 1861, Mr. Barlow re-entered the service, as
Lieutenant-Colonel of the Sixty-first New York Volunteers, and Mrs.
Barlow spent the winter with him in camp near Alexandria, Virginia. She
shrank from no hardship which it was his lot to encounter, and was with
him, to help, to sustain, and to cheer him, whenever it was practicable
for her to be so, and neglected no opportunity of doing good to others
which presented itself.

Colonel Barlow made the Peninsular Campaign in the spring and summer of
1862 under McClellan. After the disastrous retreat from before Richmond,
Mrs. Barlow joined the Sanitary Commission, and reached Harrison's
Landing on the 2d of July, 1862.

Exhausted, wounded, sick and dying men were arriving there by scores of
thousands--the remnants of a great army, broken by a series of terrible
battles, disheartened and well-nigh demoralized. Many of the best and
noblest of our American women were there in attendance, ready to do
their utmost amidst all the hideous sights, and fearful sufferings of
the hospitals, for these sick, and maimed, and wounded men. Mrs. Barlow
remained, doing an untold amount of work, and good proportionate, until
the army left in the latter part of August.

Soon after, with short space for rest, she rejoined her husband in the
field during the campaign in Maryland, but was obliged to go north upon
business, and was detained and unable to return until the day following
the battle of Antietam.

She found her husband badly wounded, and of course her first efforts
were for him. She nursed him tenderly and unremittingly, giving such
assistance as was possible in her rare leisure to the other wounded. We
cannot doubt that even then she was very useful, and with her accustomed
energy and activity, made these spare moments of great avail.

General Barlow was unfit for further service until the following spring.
His wife remained in attendance upon him through the winter of 1862-3,
and in the spring accompanied him to the field, and made the campaign
with him from Falmouth to Gettysburg.

At this battle her husband was again severely wounded. He was within the
enemy's lines, and it was only by great effort and exposure that she was
able to have him removed within our own. She remained here, taking care
of him, and of the other wounded, during the dreadful days that
followed, during which the sufferings of the wounded from the intense
heat, and the scarcity of medical and other supplies were almost
incredible, and altogether indescribable. It was after this battle that
the efficient aid, and the generous supplies afforded by the Sanitary
Commission and its agents, were so conspicuous, and the results of this
beneficent organization in the saving of life and suffering perhaps more
distinctly seen than on any other occasion. Mrs. Barlow, aside from her
own special and absorbing interest in her husband's case, found time to
demonstrate that she had imbibed its true spirit.

Again, through a long slow period of convalescence she watched beside
her husband, but the spring of 1864 found her in the field prepared for
the exigencies of Grant's successful campaign of that year.

At times she was with General Barlow in the trenches before Petersburg,
but on the eve of the fearful battles of the Wilderness, and the others
which followed in such awfully bewildering succession, she was to be
found at the place these foreshadowed events told that she was most
needed. At Belle Plain, at Fredericksburg, and at White House, she was
to be found as ever actively working for the sick and wounded. A friend
and fellow-laborer describes her work as peculiar, and fitting admirably
into the more exclusive hospital work of the majority of the women who
had devoted themselves to the care of the soldiers. Her great activity
and inexhaustible energy showed themselves in a sort of roving work, in
seizing upon and gathering up such things as her quick eye saw were
needed. "We called her 'the Raider,'" says this friend, who was also a
warm admirer. "At Fredericksburg she had in some way gained possession
of a wretched-looking pony, and a small cart or farmer's wagon, with
which she was continually on the move, driving about town or country in
search of such provisions or other articles as were needed for the sick
and wounded. The surgeon in charge had on one occasion assigned her the
task of preparing a building, which had been taken for a hospital, for a
large number of wounded who were expected almost immediately. I went
with my daughter to the building. It was empty, containing not the
slightest furniture or preparation for the sufferers, save a large
number of bed-sacks, without straw or other material to fill them.

"On requisition a quantity of straw was obtained, but not nearly enough
for the expected need, and we were standing in a kind of mute despair,
considering if it were indeed possible to secure any comfort for the
poor fellows expected, when Mrs. Barlow came in. 'I'll find some more
straw,' was her cheerful reply, and in another moment she was urging her
tired beast toward another part of the town where she remembered having
seen a bale of the desired article earlier in the day. Half an hour
afterward the straw had been confiscated, loaded upon the little wagon
by willing hands, and brought to the hospital. She then helped to fill
and arrange the sacks, and afterwards drove about the town in search of
articles, which, by the time the ambulances brought in their freight of
misery and pain, had served to furnish the place with some means of

Through all these awful days she labored on unceasingly. Her health
became somewhat impaired, but she paid no heed to the warning. Her
thoughts were not for herself, her cares not for her own sufferings.
Earlier attention to her own condition might perhaps, have arrested the
threatening symptoms, but she was destined to wear the crown of
martyrdom, and lay down the beautiful life upon which so many hopes
clung, her last sacrifice upon the altar of her country. The extracts
which we append describe better the closing scenes of her life than we
can. The first is taken from the _Sanitary Commission Bulletin_, of
August 15, 1864, and we copy also the beautiful tribute to the memory of
the departed contributed by Dr. Francis Lieber, of Columbia College, to
the _New York Evening Post_. The briefer extract is from a letter which
appeared in the columns of the _New York Herald_ of July 31st, 1864.

"Died at Washington, July 27, 1864, Mrs. Arabella Griffith Barlow, wife
of Brigadier-General Francis C. Barlow, of fever contracted while in
attendance upon the hospitals of the Army of the Potomac at the front.

"With the commencement of the present campaign she became attached to
the Sanitary Commission, and entered upon her sphere of active work
during the pressing necessity for willing hands and earnest hearts, at
Fredericksburg. The zeal, the activity, the ardent loyalty and the
scornful indignation for everything disloyal she then displayed, can
never be forgotten by those whose fortune it was to be with her on that
occasion. Ever watchful of the necessities of that trying time, her
mind, fruitful in resources, was always busy in devising means to
alleviate the discomforts of the wounded, attendant upon so vast a
campaign within the enemy's country, and her hand was always ready to
carry out the devices of her mind.

"Many a fractured limb rested upon a mattress improvised from materials
sought out and brought together from no one knew where but the earnest
sympathizing woman who is now no more.

"At Fredericksburg she labored with all her heart and mind. The sound of
battle in which her husband was engaged, floating back from
Chancellorsville, stimulated her to constant exertions. She faltered not
an instant. Remaining till all the wounded had been removed from
Fredericksburg, she left with the last hospital transport for Port
Royal, where she again aided in the care of the wounded, as they were
brought in at that point. From thence she went to White House, on one of
the steamers then in the service of the Commission, and immediately
going to the front, labored there in the hospitals, after the battle of
Cold Harbor. From White House she passed to City Point, and arrived
before the battles in front of Petersburg. Going directly to the front,
she labored there with the same energy and devotion she had shown at
Fredericksburg and White House.

"Of strong constitution, she felt capable of enduring all things for the
cause she loved; but long-continued toil, anxiety and privation prepared
her system for the approach of fever, which eventually seized upon her.

"Yielding to the solicitation of friends she immediately returned to
Washington, where, after a serious illness of several weeks, she, when
apparently convalescing, relapsed, and fell another martyr to a love of

Dr. Lieber says: "Mrs. Barlow, (Arabella Griffith before she married),
was a highly cultivated lady, full of life, spirit, activity and

"General Barlow entered as private one of our New York volunteer
regiments at the beginning of the war. The evening before he left New
York for Washington with his regiment, they were married in the
Episcopal Church in Lafayette Place. Barlow rose, and as
Lieutenant-Colonel, made the Peninsular campaign under General
McClellan. He was twice severely wounded, the last time at Antietam.
Since then we have always read his name most honorably mentioned,
whenever Major-General Hancock's Corps was spoken of. Mrs. Barlow in the
meantime entered the Sanitary service. In the Peninsular campaign she
was one of those ladies who worked hard and nobly, close to the
battle-field, as close indeed as they were permitted to do. When her
husband was wounded she attended, of course, upon him. In the present
campaign of General Grant she has been at Belle Plain, White House, and
everywhere where our good Sanitary Commission has comforted the dying
and rescued the many wounded from the grave, which they would otherwise
have found. The last time I heard of her she was at White House, and now
I am informed that she died of typhus fever in Washington. No doubt she
contracted the malignant disease in performing her hallowed and
self-imposed duty in the field.

"Her friends will mourn at the removal from this life of so noble a
being. All of us are the poorer for her loss; but our history has been
enriched by her death. Let it always be remembered as one of those
details which, like single pearls, make up the precious string of
history, and which a patriot rejoices to contemplate and to transmit
like inherited jewels to the rising generations. Let us remember as
American men and women, that here we behold a young advocate, highly
honored for his talents by all who knew him. He joins the citizen army
of his country as a private, rises to command, is wounded again and
again, and found again and again at the head of his regiment or
division, in the fight where decision centres. And here is his
bride--accomplished, of the fairest features, beloved and sought for in
society--who divests herself of the garments of fashion, and becomes the
assiduous nurse in the hospital and on the field, shrinking from no
sickening sight, and fearing no typhus--that dreadful enemy, which in
war follows the wings of the angel of death, like the fever-bearing
currents of air--until she, too, is laid on the couch of the camp, and
bidden to rest from her weary work, and to let herself be led by the
angel of death to the angel of life. God bless her memory to our women,
our men, our country.

"There are many glories of a righteous war. It is glorious to fight or
fall, to bleed or to conquer, for so great and good a cause as ours; it
is glorious to go to the field in order to help and to heal, to fan the
fevered soldier and to comfort the bleeding brother, and thus helping,
may be to die with him the death for our country. Both these glories
have been vouchsafed to the bridal pair."

The _Herald_ correspondent, writing from Petersburg, July 31, says:

"General Miles is temporarily in command of the First Division during
the absence of General Barlow, who has gone home for a few days for the
purpose of burying his wife. The serious loss which the gallant young
general and an extensive circle of friends in social life have sustained
by the death of Mrs. Barlow, is largely shared by the soldiers of this
army. She smoothed the dying pillow of many patriotic soldiers before
she received the summons to follow them herself; and many a surviving
hero who has languished in army hospitals will tenderly cherish the
memory of her saintly ministrations when they were writhing with the
pain of wounds received in battle or lost in the delirium of consuming

To these we add also the cordial testimony of Dr. W. H. Reed, one of her
associates, at City Point, in his recently published "Hospital Life in
the Army of the Potomac:"

"Of our own more immediate party, Mrs. General Barlow was the only one
who died. Her exhausting work at Fredericksburg, where the largest
powers of administration were displayed, left but a small measure of
vitality with which to encounter the severe exposures of the poisoned
swamps of the Pamunky, and the malarious districts of City Point. Here,
in the open field, she toiled with Mr. Marshall and Miss Gilson, under
the scorching sun, with no shelter from the pouring rains, with no
thought but for those who were suffering and dying all around her. On
the battle-field of Petersburg, hardly out of range of the enemy, and at
night witnessing the blazing lines of fire from right to left, among the
wounded, with her sympathies and powers of both mind and body strained
to the last degree, neither conscious that she was working beyond her
strength, nor realizing the extreme exhaustion of her system, she
fainted at her work, and found, only when it was too late, that the
raging fever was wasting her life away. It was strength of will which
sustained her in this intense activity, when her poor, tired body was
trying to assert its own right to repose. Yet to the last, her sparkling
wit, her brilliant intellect, her unfailing good humor, lighted up our
moments of rest and recreation. So many memories of her beautiful
constancy and self-sacrifice, of her bright and genial companionship, of
her rich and glowing sympathies, of her warm and loving nature, come
back to me, that I feel how inadequate would be any tribute I could pay
to her worth."


The Southwest bore rank weeds of secession and treason, spreading poison
and devastation over that portion of our fair national heritage. But
from the same soil, amidst the ruin and desolation which followed the
breaking out of the rebellion, there sprang up growths of loyalty and
patriotism, which by flowering and fruitage, redeemed the land from the
curse that had fallen upon it.

Among the women of the Southwest have occurred instances of the most
devoted loyalty, the most self-sacrificing patriotism. They have
suffered deeply and worked nobly, and their efforts alone have been
sufficient to show that no part of our fair land was irrecoverably
doomed to fall beneath the ban of a government opposed to freedom,
truth, and progress.

Prominent among these noble women, is Mrs. Nellie Maria Taylor, of New
Orleans, whose sufferings claim our warmest sympathy, and whose work our
highest admiration and gratitude.

Mrs. Taylor, whose maiden name was Dewey, was born in Watertown,
Jefferson county, New York, in the year 1821, of New England parentage.
At an early age she removed with her parents to the West, where, as she
says of herself, she "grew up among the Indians," and perhaps, by her
free life, gained something of the firmness of health and strength of
character and purpose, which have brought her triumphantly through the
trials and labors of the past four years.

  Eng^d. by A.H. Ritchie.]

She married early, and about the year 1847 removed with her husband,
Dr. Taylor, and her two children, to New Orleans, where she has since
resided. Consequently she was there through the entire secession
movement, during which, by her firm and unswerving loyalty, she
contrived to render herself somewhat obnoxious to those surrounding her,
of opposite sentiments.

Mrs. Taylor watched anxiously the progress of the movements which
preceded the outbreak, and fearlessly, though not obtrusively, expressed
her own adverse opinions. At this time her eldest son was nineteen years
of age, a noble and promising youth. He was importuned by his friends
and associates to join some one of the many companies then forming, but
as he was about to graduate in the high school, he and his family made
that an objection. As soon as he graduated a lieutenancy was offered him
in one of the companies, but deferring an answer, he left immediately
for a college in the interior. Two months after the college closed its
doors, and the students, urged by the faculty, almost _en-masse_ entered
the army. Mrs. Taylor, to remove her son, sent him at once to the north,
and rejoiced in the belief that he was safe.

Immediately after this her persecutions commenced. Her husband had been
ill for more than two years, while she supported her family by teaching,
being principal of one of the city public schools. One day she was
called from his bed-side to an interview with one of the Board of
Directors of the schools.

By him she was accused (?) of being a Unionist, and informed that it was
believed that she had sent her son away "to keep him from fighting for
his country." Knowing the gentleman to be a northern man, she answered
freely, saying that the country of herself and son was the whole
country, and for _it_ she was willing he should shed his last drop of
blood, but not to divide and mutilate it, would she consent that he
should ever endanger himself.

The consequence of this freedom of speech was her dismissal from her
situation on the following day. With her husband ill unto death, her
house mortgaged, her means of livelihood taken away, she could only
look upon the future with dark forebodings which nothing but her faith
in God and the justice of her cause could subdue.

A short time after a mob assembled to tear down her house. She stepped
out to remonstrate with them against pulling down the house over the
head of a dying man. The answer was, "Madam, we give you five minutes to
decide whether you are for the South or the North. If at the end of that
time you declare yourself for the South, your house shall remain; if for
the North, it must come down."

Her answer was memorable.

"Sir, I will say to you and your crowd, and to the _world_ if you choose
to summon it--I am, always have been, and ever shall be, for the
_Union_. Tear my house down if you choose!"

Awed perhaps by her firmness, and unshrinking devotion, the spokesman of
the mob looked at her steadily for a moment, then turning to the crowd
muttered something, and they followed him away, leaving her unmolested.
This man was a renegade Boston Yankee.

Such was her love for the national flag that during all this period of
persecution, previous to General Butler's taking possession of the city
she never slept without the banner of the free above her head, although
her house was searched no less than seven times by a mob of chivalrous
gentlemen, varying in number from two or three score to three hundred,
led by a judge who deemed it not beneath his dignity to preside over a
court of justice by day, and to search the premises of a defenseless
woman by night, in the hope of finding the Union flag, in order to have
an excuse for ejecting her from the city, because she was well known to
entertain sentiments inimical to the interests of secession.

Before the South ran mad with treason, Mrs. Taylor and the wife of this
judge were intimate friends, and their intimacy had not entirely ceased
so late as the early months of 1862. It was late in February of that
year that Mrs. Taylor was visiting at the judge's house, and during her
visit the judge's son, a young man of twenty, taunted her with various
epithets, such as a "Lincoln Emissary," "a traitor to her country," "a
friend of Lincoln's hirelings," etc. She listened quietly, and then as
quietly remarked that "he evidently belonged to that very numerous class
of young men in the South who evinced their courage by applying abusive
epithets to women and defenseless persons, but showed a due regard to
their own safety, by running away--as at Donelson--whenever they were
likely to come into contact with "Lincoln's hirelings.""

The same evening, at a late hour, while Mrs. Taylor was standing by the
bed-side of her invalid husband, preparing some medicine for him, she
heard the report of a rifle and felt the wind of a minie bullet as it
passed close to her head and lodged in the wall. In the morning she dug
the ball out of the wall and took it over to the judge's house which was
opposite to her own. When the young man came in Mrs. Taylor handed it to
him, and asked if he knew what it was. He turned pale, but soon
recovered his composure sufficiently to reply that "it looked like a
rifle-ball." "Oh, no," said Mrs. Taylor, "you mistake! It is a piece of
Southern chivalry fired at a defenseless woman, in the middle of the
night, by the son of a judge, whose courage should entitle him to a
commission in the Confederate army."

Still, brave as she was, she could not avoid some feeling, if not of
trepidation, at least of anxiety, at being thus exposed to midnight
assassination, while her life was so necessary to her helpless family.

These are but a few instances out of many, of the trials she had to
endure. Her son hearing of them, through the indiscretion of a
school-friend, hastened home, determined to enlist in the Confederate
army to save his parents from further molestation. He enlisted for
ninety days, hoping thus to shield his family from persecution, but the
Conscription Act, which shortly after went into effect, kept him in the
position for which his opinions so unfitted him. From the spring of
1862, he remained in the Confederate army, gaining rapid promotion, and
distinguished for his bravery, until the close of the war, when he
returned home unchanged in sentiment, and unharmed by shot or shell--in
this last particular more fortunate than thousands of others forced by
conscription into the ranks, and sacrificing their lives for a cause
with which they had no sympathy.

From the time of her son's enlistment Mrs. Taylor was nearly free from
molestation, and devoted herself to the care of her family, until the
occupation of New Orleans by the Union forces. She was then reinstated
in her position as teacher, and after the establishment of Union
hospitals, she spent all her leisure moments in ministering to the wants
of the sick and wounded.

In 1863, we hear of her as employing all her summer vacation, as well as
her entire leisure-time when in school, in visiting the hospitals,
attending the sick and wounded soldiers, and preparing for them such
delicacies and changes of food and other comforts as she could procure
from her own purse, and by the aid of others. From that time forward
until the close of the war, or until the hospitals were closed by order
of the Government, she continued this work, expending her whole salary
upon these suffering men, and never omitting anything by which she might
minister to their comfort.

Thousands of soldiers can bear testimony to her unwearied labors; it is
not wanting, and will be her best reward. One of these writers says, "I
do assure you it affords me the greatest pleasure to be able to add my
testimony for that good, that noble that _blessed_ woman, Mrs. Taylor. I
was wounded at Port Hudson in May, 1863, and lay in the Barracks General
Hospital at New Orleans for over three months, when I had an excellent
opportunity to see and know her work. * * * She worked _every_ day in
the hospital--all her school salary she spent for the soldiers--night
after night she toiled, and long after others were at rest she was busy
for the suffering." And another makes it a matter of personal
thankfulness that he should have been applied to for information in
regard to this "blessed woman," and repeats his thanks "for himself and
hundreds of others," that her services are to be recorded in this book.

Having great facility in the use of her pen, Mrs. Taylor made herself
especially useful in writing letters for the soldiers. During the year
from January 1864 to January 1865, she wrote no less than eleven hundred
and seventy-four letters for these men, and even now, since the close of
the war, her labors in that direction do not end. She is in constant
communication with friends of soldiers in all parts of the country,
collecting for them every item of personal information in her power,
after spending hours in searching hospital records, and all other
available sources for obtaining the desired knowledge.

During the summer of 1864, her duties were more arduous than at any
other time. She distributed several thousands of dollars worth of goods,
for the Cincinnati Branch of the United States Sanitary Commission, and
on the 1st of June, when her vacation commenced, she undertook the
management of the Dietetic Department in the University Hospital, the
largest in New Orleans. From that time till October 1st, she, with her
daughter and four other ladies, devoted like herself to the work, with
their own hands, with the assistance of one servant only, cooked,
prepared, and administered all the extra diet to the patients, numbering
frequently five or six hundred on diet, at one time.

Two of these ladies were constantly at the hospital, Mrs. Taylor
frequently four days in the week, and when not there, in other
hospitals, not allowing herself _one_ day at home during the whole
vacation. When obliged to return to her school, her daughter, Miss Alice
Taylor, took her place, and with the other ladies continued, Mrs. Taylor
giving her assistance on Saturday and Sunday, till January 1st, 1865,
when the hospital was finally closed.

Mrs. Taylor has been greatly aided by her children; her daughter, as
nobly patriotic as herself, in the beginning of the war refusing to
present a Confederate flag to a company unless beneath an arch
ornamented, and with music the same as on occasion of presenting a
banner to a political club the preceding year--_viz_: the arch decorated
with United States flags, and the national airs played. Her son
"Johnnie" is as well known and as beloved by the soldiers as his mother,
and well nigh sacrificed his noble little life to his unwearied efforts
in their behalf.

It is out of the fiery furnace of trial that such nobly devoted persons
as Mrs. Taylor and her family come forth to their mission of
beneficence. Persecuted, compelled to make the most terrible and trying
sacrifices, in dread and danger continually, the work of the loyal women
of the South stands pre-eminent, among the labors of the noble daughters
of America. And of these, Mrs. Taylor and her associates, and of Union
women throughout the South, it may well and truly be said, in the words
of Holy Writ: Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest
them all.


Mrs. Tyler, the subject of the following sketch, is a native of
Massachusetts, and for many years was a resident of Boston, in which
city from her social position and her piety and benevolence she was
widely known. She is a devout member of the Protestant Episcopal Church,
greatly trusted and respected both by clergy and laity.

In 1856, she removed from Boston to Baltimore, Maryland. It was the
desire of Bishop Whittingham of that Diocese to institute there a
Protestant Sisterhood, or Order of Deaconesses, similar to those already
existing in Germany, England, and perhaps other parts of Europe. Mrs.
Tyler, then a widow, was invited to assume the superintendence of this
order--a band of noble and devout women who turning resolutely from the
world and its allurements and pleasures, desired to devote their lives
and talents to works of charity and mercy.

To care for the sick, to relieve all want and suffering so far as lay in
their power, to administer spiritual comfort, to give of their own
substance, and to be the almoners of those pious souls whose duties lay
in other directions, and whose time necessarily absorbed in other cares,
did not allow the same self-devotion--this was the mission which they
undertook, and for years prosecuted with untiring energy, and undoubted

In addition to her general superintendence of the order, Mrs. Tyler
administered the affairs of the Church Home, a charitable Institution
conducted by the Sisterhood, and occupied herself in a variety of pious
and benevolent duties, among which were visiting the sick, and
comforting the afflicted and prisoners. Among other things she devoted
one day in each week to visiting the jail of Baltimore, at that time a
crowded and ill-conducted prison, and the abode of a great amount of
crime and suffering.

Mrs., then known as Sister Tyler, had been five years in Baltimore,
filling up the time with her varied duties and occupations, when the
storm that had so long threatened the land, burst in all the
thunderbolts of its fury. Secession had torn from the Union some of the
fairest portions of its domain, and already stood in hostile attitude
all along the borders of the free North. The President, on the 15th of
April, 1861, issued his first proclamation, announcing the presence of
rebellion, commanding the insurgents to lay down their arms and return
to their allegiance within twenty days, and calling on the militia of
the several loyal States to the number of seventy-five thousand, to
assemble for the defense of their country.

This proclamation, not unexpected at the North, yet sent a thrill of
mingled feeling all through its bounds. The order was promptly obeyed,
and without delay the masses prepared for the struggle which lay before
them, but of which, as yet, no prophetic visions foretold the progress
or result. Immediately regiment after regiment was hurried forward for
the protection of the Capitol, supposed to be the point most menaced.
Among these, and of the very earliest, was the Sixth Regiment
Massachusetts Volunteers, of which the nucleus was the Lowell City

On the memorable and now historical 19th of April, this regiment while
hurrying to the defense of Washington was assailed by a fierce and angry
mob in the streets of Baltimore, and several of its men were murdered;
and this for marching to the defense of their country, to which the
citizens of Baltimore, their assailants, were equally pledged.

This occurred on a Friday, the day as before stated, set apart by Mrs.
Tyler for her weekly visit to the jail. The news of the riot reached
her as she was about setting out upon this errand of mercy, and caused
her to postpone her visit for several hours, as her way lay through some
portion of the disturbed district.

When, at last, she did go, a degree of quiet prevailed, though she saw
wounded men being conveyed to their homes, or to places where they might
be cared for, and it was evident that the public excitement had not
subsided with hostilities. Much troubled concerning the fate of the
Northern men--men, it must be remembered, of her own State--who had been
stricken down, she hastened to conclude as soon as possible her duties
at the jail, and returning homeward despatched a note to a friend asking
him to ascertain and inform her what had become of the wounded soldiers.
The reply soon came, with the tidings that they had been conveyed to one
of the Station Houses by the Police, and were said to have been cared
for, though the writer had not been allowed to enter and satisfy himself
that such was the case.

This roused the spirit of Mrs. Tyler. Here was truly a work of "charity
and mercy," and it was clearly her duty, in pursuance of the objects to
which she had devoted her life, to ensure the necessary care of these
wounded and suffering men who had fallen into the hands of those so
inimical to them.

It was now late in the afternoon. Mrs. Tyler sent for a carriage which
she was in the habit of using whenever need required, and the driver of
which was honest and personally friendly, though probably a
secessionist, and proceeded to the Station House. By this time it was
quite dark, and she was alone. Alighting she asked the driver to give
her whatever aid she might need, and to come to her should he even see
her beckon from a window, and he promised compliance.

She knocked at the door, but on telling her errand was denied
admittance, with the assurance that the worst cases had been sent to the
Infirmary, while those who were in the upper room of the Station House
had been properly cared for, and were in bed for the night. She again
asked to be allowed to see them, adding that the care of the suffering
was her life work, and she would like to assure herself that they needed
nothing. She was again denied more peremptorily than before.

"Very well," she replied, "I am myself a Massachusetts woman, seeking to
do good to the citizens of my own state. If not allowed to do so, I
shall immediately send a telegram to Governor Andrew, informing him that
my request is denied."

This spirited reply produced the desired result, and after a little
consultation among the officials, who probably found the Governor of a
State a much more formidable antagonist than a woman, coming alone on an
errand of mercy, the doors were opened and she was conducted to that
upper room where the fallen patriots lay.

Two were already dead. Two or three were in bed, the rest lay in their
misery upon stretchers, helpless objects of the tongue abuse of the
profane wretches who, "dressed in a little brief authority," walked up
and down, thus pouring out their wrath. All the wounded had been
drugged, and were either partially or entirely insensible to their
miseries. Some eight or ten hours had elapsed since the wounds were
received, but no attention had been paid to them, further than to
staunch the blood by thrusting into them large pieces of cotton cloth.
Even their clothes had not been removed. One of them (Coburn) had been
shot in the hip, another (Sergeant Ames) was wounded in the back of the
neck, just at the base of the brain, apparently by a heavy glass bottle,
for pieces of the glass yet remained in the wound, and lay in bed, still
in his soldier's overcoat, the rough collar of which irritated the
ghastly wound. These two were the most dangerously hurt.

Mrs. Tyler with some difficulty obtained these men, and procuring, by
the aid of her driver, a furniture van, had them laid upon it and
conveyed to her house, the Deaconesses' Home. Here a surgeon was called,
their wounds dressed, and she extended to them the care and kindness of
a mother, until they were so nearly well as to be able to proceed to
their own homes. She during this time refused protection from the
police, and declared that she felt no fears for her own safety while
thus strictly in the line of the duties to which her life was pledged.

This was by no means the last work of this kind performed by Sister
Tyler. Other wounded men were received and cared for by her--one a
German, member of a Pennsylvania Regiment, (who was accidentally shot by
one of his own comrades) whom she nursed to health in her own house.

For her efforts in behalf of the Massachusetts men she received the
personal acknowledgments of the Governor, President of the Senate, and
Speaker of the House of Representatives of that State, and afterwards
resolutions of thanks were passed by the Legislature, or General Court,
which, beautifully engrossed upon parchment, and sealed with the seal of
the Commonwealth, were presented to her.

In all that she did, Mrs. Tyler had the full approval of her Bishop, as
well as of her own conscience, while soon after at the suggestion of
Bishop Whittingham, the Surgeon-General offered, and indeed urged upon
her, the superintendency of the Camden Street Hospital, in the city of
Baltimore. Her experience in the management of the large institution she
had so long superintended, her familiarity with all forms of suffering,
as well as her natural tact and genius, and her high character,
eminently fitted her for this position.

Her duties were of course fulfilled in the most admirable manner, and
save that she sometimes came in contact with the members of some of the
volunteer associations of ladies who, in their commendable anxiety to
minister to the suffering soldiers, occasionally allowed their zeal to
get the better of their discretion, gave satisfaction to all concerned.
She did not live in the Hospital, but spent the greater part of the time
there during the year of her connection with it. Circumstances at last
decided her to leave. Her charge she turned over to Miss Williams, of
Boston, whom she had herself brought thither, and then went northward
to visit her friends.

She had not long been in the city of New York before she was urgently
desired by the Surgeon-General to take charge of a large hospital at
Chester, Pennsylvania, just established and greatly needing the
ministering aid of women. She accepted the appointment, and proceeding
to Boston selected from among her friends, and those who had previously
offered their services, a corps of excellent nurses, who accompanied her
to Chester.

In this hospital there was often from five hundred to one thousand sick
and wounded men, and Mrs. Tyler had use enough for the ample stores of
comforts which, by the kindness of her friends in the east, were
continually arriving. Indeed there was never a time when she was not
amply supplied with these, and with money for the use of her patients.

She remained at Chester a year, and was then transferred to Annapolis,
where she was placed in charge of the Naval School Hospital, remaining
there until the latter part of May, 1864.

This was a part of her service which perhaps drew more heavily than any
other upon the sympathies and heart of Mrs. Tyler. Here, during the
period of her superintendency, the poor wrecks of humanity from the
prison pens of Andersonville and Belle Isle were brought, an assemblage
of such utter misery, such dreadful suffering, that words fail in the
description of it. Here indeed was a "work of charity and mercy," such
as had never before been presented to this devoted woman; such, indeed,
as the world had never seen.

Most careful, tender, and kindly were the ministrations of Mrs. Tyler
and her associates--a noble band of women--to these wretched men. Filth,
disease, and starvation had done their work upon them. Emaciated, till
only the parchment-like skin covered the protruding bones, many of them
too feeble for the least exertion, and their minds scarcely stronger
than their bodies, they were indeed a spectacle to inspire, as they
did, the keenest sympathy, and to call for every effort of kindness.

Mrs. Tyler procured a number of photographs of these wretched men,
representing them in all their squalor and emaciation. These were the
first which were taken, though the Government afterwards caused some to
be made which were widely distributed. With these Mrs. Tyler did much
good. She had a large number of copies printed in Boston, after her
return there, and both in this country and in Europe, which she
afterwards visited, often had occasion to bring them forward as
unimpeachable witnesses of the truth of her own statements. Sun pictures
cannot lie, and the sun's testimony in these brought many a heart
shudderingly to a belief which it had before scouted. In Europe,
particularly, both in England and upon the Continent, these pictures
compelled credence of those tales of the horrors and atrocities of rebel
prison pens, which it had long been the fashion to hold as mere
sensation stories, and libels upon the chivalrous South.

Whenever referring to her work at Annapolis for the returned prisoners,
Mrs. Tyler takes great pleasure in expressing her appreciation of the
valuable and indefatigable services of the late Dr. Vanderkieft, Surgeon
in charge of the Naval School Hospital. In his efforts to resuscitate
the poor victims of starvation and cruelty, he was indefatigable, never
sparing himself, but bestowing upon them his unwearied personal
attention and sympathy. In this he was aided by his wife, herself a true
Sister of Charity.

Mrs. Tyler also gives the highest testimony to the services and personal
worth of her co-workers, Miss Titcomb, Miss Hall, and others, who gave
themselves with earnest zeal to the cause, and feels how inadequate
would have been her utmost efforts amid the multitude of demands, but
for their aid. It is to them chiefly due that so many healthy
recreations, seasons of amusement and religious instruction were given
to the men.

During and subsequent to the superintendency of Mrs. Tyler at Annapolis
a little paper was published weekly at the hospital, under the title of
"The Crutch." This was well supplied with articles, many of them of real
merit, both by officials and patients. Whenever an important movement
took place, or a battle, it was the custom to issue a small extra giving
the telegraphic account; when, if it were a victory, the feeble
sufferers who had sacrificed so much for their country, would spend the
last remnants of their strength, and make the very welkin ring, with
their shouts of gladness.

Exhausted by her labors, and the various calls upon her efforts, Mrs.
Tyler, in the spring of 1864, was at length obliged to send in her
resignation. Her health seemed utterly broken down, and her physicians
and friends saw in an entire change of air and scene the best hope of
her recovery. She had for some time been often indisposed, and her
illness at last terminated in fever and chills. Though well accustomed
during her long residence to the climate of Maryland, she no longer
possessed her youthful powers of restoration and reinvigoration. Her
physicians advised a sea voyage as essential to her recovery, and a tour
to Europe was therefore determined upon.

She left the Naval School Hospital on the 27th of May, 1864, and set
sail from New York on the 15th of June.

The disease did not succumb at once, as was hoped. She endured extreme
illness and lassitude during her voyage, and was completely prostrated
on her arrival in Paris where she lay three weeks ill, before being able
to proceed by railroad to Lucerne, Switzerland, and rejoin her sister
who had been some months in Europe, and who, with her family, were to be
the traveling companions of Mrs. Tyler. Arrived at Lucerne, she was
again prostrated by chills and fever, and only recovered after removal
to the dryer climate of Berlin. The next year she was again ill with the
same disease after a sojourn among the dykes and canals of Holland.

Mrs. Tyler spent about eighteen months in Europe, traveling over various
parts of the Continent, and England, where she remained four or five
months, returning to her native land in November, 1865, to find the
desolating war which had raged here at the time of her departure at an
end. Her health had been by this time entirely re-established, and she
is happy in the belief that long years of usefulness yet remain to her.

Ardent and fearless in her loyalty to her Government, Mrs. Tyler had
ample opportunities, never neglected, to impress the truth in regard to
our country and its great struggle for true liberty, upon the minds of
persons of all classes in Europe. Her letters of introduction from her
friends, from Bishop Whittingham and others, brought her into frequent
contact with people of cultivation and refinement who, like the masses,
yet held the popular belief in regard to the oppression and abuse of the
South by the North, a belief which Mrs. Tyler even at the risk of
offending numerous Southern friends by her championship, was sure to
combat. Like other intelligent loyal Americans she was thus the means of
spreading right views, and accomplishing great good, even while in
feeble health and far from her own country. For her services in this
regard she might well have been named a Missionary of Truth and Liberty.

One instance of her experience in contact with Southern sympathizers
with the Rebellion, we take the liberty to present to the readers of
this sketch. Mrs. Tyler was in London when the terrible tidings of that
last and blackest crime of the Rebellion--the assassination of Abraham
Lincoln was received. She was paying a morning visit to an American
friend, a Southerner and a Christian, when the door was suddenly thrust
open and a fiendish-looking man rushed in, vociferating, "Have you heard
the news? Old Abe is assassinated! Seward too! Johnson escaped. Now if
God will send an earthquake and swallow up the whole North--men, women,
and children, _I_ will say His name be praised!"

All this was uttered as in one breath, and then the restless form, and
fierce inflamed visage as suddenly disappeared, leaving horrid
imprecations upon the ears of the listeners, who never supposed the
fearful tale could be true. Mrs. Tyler's friend offered the only
extenuation possible--the man had "been on board the Alabama and was
very bitter." But in Mrs. Tyler's memory that fearful deed is ever
mingled with that fiendish face and speech.

The next day the Rebel Commissioner Mason, replying to some remarks of
the American Minister, Mr. Adams, in the Times, took occasion most
emphatically to deprecate the insinuation that the South had any
knowledge of, or complicity in this crime.


At the opening of the war Mrs. Holstein was residing in a most pleasant
and delightful country home at Upper Merion, Montgomery County,
Pennsylvania. In the words of one who knows and appreciates her
well--"Mr. and Mrs. Holstein are people of considerable wealth, and
unexceptionable social position, beloved and honored by all who know
them, who voluntarily abandoned their beautiful home to live for years
in camps and hospitals. Their own delicacy and modesty would forbid them
to speak of the work they accomplished, and no one can ever know the
greatness of its results."

As Mrs. Holstein was always accompanied by her husband, and this devoted
pair were united in this great patriotic and kindly work, as in all the
other cases, duties and pleasures of life, it would be almost
impossible, even if it were necessary, to give any separate account of
her services for the army. This is shown in the following extracts from
a letter, probably not intended for publication, but which, in a spirit
far removed from that of self-praise, gives an account of the motives
and feelings which actuated her, and of the opening scenes of her public

"The story of my work, blended as it is, (and should be) so intimately
with that of my husband, in his earnest wish to carry out what we felt
to be simply a matter of duty, is like an 'oft told tale' not worth
repeating. Like all other loyal women in our land, at the first sound
and threatening of war, there sprang up in my heart an uncontrollable
impulse _to do, to act_; for _anything_ but idleness when our country
was in peril and her sons marching to battle.

"It seemed that the only help woman could give was in providing comforts
for the sick and wounded, and to this, for a time, I gave my undivided
attention. I felt sure there was work for _me_ to do in this war; and
when my mother would say 'I hope, my child, it will not be in the
hospitals,'--my response was ever the same--'Wherever or whatever it may
be, it shall be done with all my heart.'

"At length came the battle of Antietam, and from among us six ladies
went to spend ten days in caring for the wounded. But craven-like, I
shrank instinctively from such scenes, and declined to join the party.
But when my husband returned from there, one week after the battle,
relating such unheard of stories of suffering, and of the help that was
needed, I hesitated no longer. In a few days we collected a car load of
boxes, containing comforts and delicacies for the wounded, and had the
satisfaction of taking them promptly to their destination.

"The _first_ wounded and the _first_ hospitals I saw I shall never
forget, for then flashed across my mind, '_This_ is the work God has
given you to do,' and the vow was made, 'While the war lasts we stand
pledged to aid, as far as is in our power, the sick and suffering. _We_
have no _right_ to the comforts of _our_ home, while so many of the
noblest of our land so willingly renounce theirs.' The scenes of
Antietam are graven as with an 'iron pen' upon my mind. The place ever
recalls throngs of horribly wounded men strewn in every direction. So
fearful it all looked to me _then_, that I thought the choking sobs and
blinding tears would never admit of my being of any use. To suppress
them, and to learn to be calm under all circumstances, was one of the
hardest lessons the war taught.

"We gave up our sweet country home, and from that date were 'dwellers
in tents,' occupied usually in field hospitals, choosing that work
because there was the greatest need, and knowing that while many were
willing to work at home, but few could go to the front."

From that time, the early autumn of 1862, until July, 1865, Mrs.
Holstein was constantly devoted to the work, not only in camps and
hospitals, but in traveling from place to place and enlisting the more
energetic aid of the people by lecturing and special appeals.

At Antietam Mrs. Holstein found the men she had come to care for, those
brave, suffering men, lying scattered all over the field, in barns and
sheds, under the shelter of trees and fences, in need of every comfort,
but bearing their discomforts and pain without complaint or murmuring,
and full of gratitude to those who had it in their power to do anything,
ever so little, for their relief.

Here she encountered the most trying scenes--a boy of seventeen crying
always for his mother to come to him, or to be permitted to go to her,
till the great stillness of death fell upon him; agonized wives seeking
the remains of the lost, sorrowing relatives, of all degrees, some
confirmed in their worst fears, some reassured and grateful--a constant
succession of bewildering emotions, of hope, fear, sadness and joy.

The six ladies from her own town, were still for a long time busy in
their work of mercy distributing freely, as they had been given, the
supplies with which they had been provided. This was eminently a work of
faith. Often the stores, of one, or of many kinds, would be exhausted,
but in no instance did Providence fail to immediately replenish those
most needed.

During the stay of Mr. and Mrs. Holstein in Sharpsburg, an ambulance was
daily placed at their disposal, and they were continually going about
with it and finding additional cases in need of every comfort. Supplies
were continually sent from friends at home, and they remained until the
wounded had all left save a few who were retained at Smoketown and
Locust Spring Hospitals.

While the army rested in the vicinity of Sharpsburg, scores of fever
patients came pouring in, making a fearful addition to the hospital
patients, and greatly adding to the mortality.

The party, consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Holstein and a friend of theirs, a
lady, remained until their services were no longer required, and then,
about the 1st of December, returned home. Busied in arrangement for the
collection and forwarding of stores, and in making trips to Antietam,
Harper's Ferry, and Frederick City, on similar business, the days wore
away until the battle of Fredericksburg. Soon after this they went to
Virginia, and entered the Second Corps Hospital near Falmouth. There in
a Sibley tent whose only floor was of the branches of the pines--in that
little Hospital on the bleak hill-side, the winter wore slowly away. The
needful army movements had rendered the muddy roads impassable. No
chaplain came to the camp until these roads were again in good order.
Men sickened and died with no other religious services performed in
their hearing than the simple reading of Scripture and prayers which
Mrs. Holstein was in the habit of using for them, and which were always
gladly listened to.

Just previous to the battle of Chancellorsville, Mrs. Holstein returned
home for a few days, and was detained on coming back to her post by the
difficulty of getting within the lines. She found the hospital moved
some two miles from its former location, and that many of her former
patients had died, or suffered much in the change. After the battle
there was of course a great accession of wounded men. Some had lain long
upon the field--one group for eleven days, with wounds undressed, and
almost without food. The rebels, finding they did not die, reluctantly
fed them with some of their miserable corn bread, and afterwards sent
them within the Union lines.

The site of the hospital where Mrs. Holstein was now stationed, was very
beautiful. The surgeon in charge had covered the sloping hill-side with
a flourishing garden. The convalescents had slowly and painfully planted
flower seeds, and built rustic arbors. All things had begun to assume
the aspect of a beautiful home.

But suddenly, on the 13th of June, 1863, while at dinner, the order was
received to break up the hospital. In two hours the wounded men, so
great was their excitement at the thought of going toward _home_, were
on their way to Washington.

All was excitement, in fact. The army was all in motion as soon as
possible. Through the afternoon the work of destruction went on. As
little as possible was left for the enemy, and when Mrs. Holstein awoke
the following morning, the plain below was covered by a living mass, and
the bayonets were gleaming in the brilliant sunlight, as the long lines
were put in motion, and the Army of the Potomac began its northern

Mr. and Mrs. Holstein accompanied it, bearing all its dangers and
discomforts in company with the men with whom they had for the time cast
their lot. The heat, dust, and fatigue were dreadful, and danger from
the enemy was often imminent. At Sangster's Station, the breaking down
of a bridge delayed the crossing of the infantry, and the order was
given to reduce the officers' baggage to twenty pounds.

Then came many of the officers to beg leave to entrust to the care of
Mr. and Mrs. Holstein, money and valuables. They received both in large
amounts, and had the satisfaction of carrying all safely, and having
them delivered at last to their rightful owners.

At Union Mills a battle was considered imminent, and Mrs. Holstein's
tent in the rear of the Union army, was within bugle call of the rebel
lines. In the morning it was deemed best for them to proceed by railroad
to Alexandria and Washington, whence they could readily return whenever

At Washington, Mr. Holstein was threatened by an attack of malarious
fever, and they returned at once to their home. While there, and he
still unable to move, the battle of Gettysburg was fought. In less than
a week he left his bed, and the devoted pair proceeded thither to renew
their services, where they were then so greatly needed.

Mrs. Holstein's first night in this town was passed upon the parlor
floor of a hotel, with only a satchel for a pillow, where fatigue made
her sleep soundly. The morning saw them at the Field Hospital of the
Second Corps, where they were enthusiastically welcomed by their old
friends. Here, side by side, just as they had been brought in from the
field, lay friends and enemies.

Experience had taught Mr. and Mrs. Holstein how and what to do. Very
soon their tent was completed, their "Diet Kitchen" arranged, the
valuable supplies they had brought with them ready for distribution, and
their work moving on smoothly and beneficially amid all the horrors of
this terrible field.

"There," reports Mrs. Holstein, "as in all places where I have known our
brave Union soldiers, they bore their sufferings bravely, I might almost
say _exultingly_, because they were for 'The Flag' and our country."

The scenes of horror and of sadness enacted there, have left their
impress upon the mind of Mrs. Holstein in unfading characters. And yet,
amidst these there were some almost ludicrous, as for instance, that of
the soldier, White, of the Twentieth Massachusetts, who, supposed to be
dead, was borne, with two of his comrades, to the grave side, but
revived under the rude shock with which the stretcher was set down, and
looking down into the open grave in which lay a brave lieutenant of his
own regiment, declared, with grim fun, that he would not be "buried by
that raw recruit," and ordered the men to "carry him back." This man,
though fearfully wounded in the throat, actually lived and recovered.

The government was now well equipped with stores and supplies, but Mrs.
Holstein writes her testimony, with that of all others, to the most
valuable supplementary aid of the Sanitary and Christian Commissions,
in caring for the vast army of wounded and suffering upon this dreadful

By the 7th of August all had been removed who were able to bear
transportation, to other hospitals. Three thousand remained, who were
placed in the United States General Hospital on York Turnpike. The
Second Corps Hospital was merged in this, and Mrs. Holstein remained as
its matron until its close, and was fully occupied until the removal of
the hospital and the dedication of the National Cemetery.

She then returned home, but after rest she was requested by the Sanitary
Commission to commence a tour among the Aid Societies of the State, for
the purpose of telling the ladies all that her experience had taught her
of the soldier's needs, and the best way of preparing and forwarding
clothing, delicacies and supplies of all kinds. She felt it impossible
to be idle, and however disagreeable this task, she would not shrink
from it. The earnestness with which she was listened to, and the
consciousness of the good to result from her labors, sustained her all
through the arduous winter's work, during which she often met two or
three audiences for an "hour and a half talk," in the course of the day.
Her husband as usual accompanied her, and in the spring, with the
commencement of Grant's campaign over the Rapidan, they both went
forward as agents of the Sanitary Commission.

Through all this dread campaign they worked devotedly. They could not
rest to be appalled by its horrors. They could not think of the grandeur
of its conceptions or the greatness of its victories--they could only
work and wait for leisure to grasp the wonder of the passing events. As
Mrs. Holstein herself says: "While living amidst so much excitement--in
the times which form history--we were unconscious of it all--it was our
daily life!"

Of that long period, Mrs. Holstein records two grand experiences as
conspicuous--the salute which followed the news of the completion of
Sherman's "March to the Sea," and the explosion of the mine at City

With the first, one battery followed another with continuous
reverberation, till all the air was filled with the roar of artillery.
The other was more awful. The explosion was fearful. The smoke rose in
form like a gigantic umbrella, and from its midst radiated every kind of
murderous missile--shells were thrown and burst in all directions,
muskets and every kind of arms fell like a shower around. Comparatively
few were killed--many of the men were providentially out of the way.
Until the revelations upon the trial of Wirz, it was supposed to have
been caused by an accident, but then men learned that it was part of a
fiendish plot to destroy lives and Government property.

The summer of 1864 was noted for its intense heat and dust, but Mr. and
Mrs. Holstein remained with the army, absorbed in their work, till
November, when Mr. Holstein's health again failed and they went home for
rest. It was not thought prudent for them to return, and Mrs. Holstein,
still accompanied by him, resumed her travels and spent some time in
"talking" to the women and children of the State. She had the
satisfaction of establishing several societies which worked vigorously
during the remainder of the war.

In January, 1865, they went to Annapolis to do what they could for the
returned Andersonville prisoners, and to learn their actual condition
and sufferings that Mrs. Holstein might have a better hold upon the
minds of the people, to whom she talked. Let us give these brief
allusions to her experiences here, in her own words.

"All of horror I had seen, or known, throughout the war, faded into
insignificance when contrasted with the results of this heinous _sin_--a
systematic course of starvation of brave men, made captive by the
chances of war. * * * My note-book is filled with fearful records of
suffering, and hardships unparalleled, written just as I took the
statements from the fleshless lips of these living skeletons. In
appearance they reminded me more of the bodies I had seen washed out
upon Antietam, and other battle-fields, than of anything else--only
_they_ had ceased to suffer and were at rest,--_these_ were still
living, breathing, helpless _skeletons_.

    'In treason's prison-hold
      Their martyred spirits grew
    To stature like the saints of old,
    While, amid agonies untold,
      They _starved_ for _me_--and _you_.'

"We remained at Annapolis from January to July, when, the war being
closed, the men were mustered out of service. The few remaining were
sent to Baltimore, and the hospitals were vacated and restored to their
former uses.

"Much of the summer was occupied in unfinished hospital work, and in
looking after some special cases of great interest. The final close of
the war brought with it, for the first time in all these long years,
_perfect rest_ to overtasked mind and wearied body."


The State of Wisconsin is justly proud of a name, which, while standing
for what is noble and true in man, has received an added lustre in being
made to express also, the sympathy, the goodness, and the power of
woman. The death of the honored husband, and the public labors of the
heroic wife, in the same cause--the great cause that has absorbed the
attention and the resources of the country for four years--have given
each to the other a peculiar and thrilling interest to every loyal
American heart.

It will be remembered that shortly after the battle of Shiloh, Governor
Harvey proceeded to the front with supplies and medical aid to assist in
caring for the wounded among the soldiers from his State, after
rendering great service in alleviating their sufferings by the aid and
comfort he brought with him, and reviving their spirits by his presence.
As he was about to embark at Savannah for home, in passing from one boat
to another, he fell into the river and was drowned. This was on the 19th
of April, 1862, a day made memorable by some of the most important
events in our country's history. Two days before he wrote to Mrs. Harvey
the last sacred letter as follows:

    "PITTSBURG LANDING, _April 17, 1862_.

     "DEAR WIFE:--Yesterday was _the day_ of my life. Thank God for the
     impulse that brought me here. I am well and have done more good by
     coming than I can well tell you. In haste,


[Illustration: MRS. CORDELIA A. P. HARVEY.
  Eng^d. by A.H. Ritchie.]

With these words ringing in her ears as from beyond the tomb, the
conviction forced itself upon her mind that the path of duty for her lay
in the direction he had so faithfully pointed out. But for a while
womanly feeling overcame all else, and she gave way beneath the shock of
her affliction, coming so suddenly and taking away at once the pride,
the hope, and the joy of life. For many weeks it seemed that the tie
that bound her to the departed was stronger than that which held her to
the earth, and her friends almost despaired of seeing her again herself.

Hers was indeed a severe affliction. A husband, beloved and honored by
all, without a stain upon his fair fame, with a bright future and hope
of long life before him, had fallen--suddenly as by a bullet--at the
front, where his great heart had led him to look after the wants of his
own brave troops--fallen to be remembered with the long list of heroes
who have died that their country might live, and in making themselves
immortal, have made a people great. Nor was this sacrifice without its
fruit. It was this that put it into her heart to work for the soldiers,
and from the grave of HARVEY have sprung those flowers of Love and Mercy
whose fragrance has filled the land.

Looking back now, it is easy to see how much this bereavement had to do
in fitting Mrs. Harvey for her work. It is the experience of sorrow that
prepares us to minister to others in distress. At home none could say
they had given more for their country than she, few could feel a sorrow
she had not known or with which she could not sympathize, out of
something in her own experience. In the army, in camps and hospitals,
who so fit to speak in the place of wife or mother to the sick and dying
soldier, as she, in whom the tenderest feelings of the heart had been
touched by the hand of Death?

With the intention of devoting herself to this work, she asked of the
Governor permission to visit hospitals in the Western Department, as
agent for the State, which was cordially granted, and early in the
autumn of 1862, set out for St. Louis to commence her new work.

To a lady who had seen nothing of military life, of course, all was
strange. The experiment she was making was one in which very many
kind-hearted women have utterly failed--rushing to hospitals from the
impulse of a tender sympathy, only to make themselves obnoxious to the
surgeons by their impertinent zeal, and, by their inexperience and
indiscretion, useless, and sometimes detrimental, to the patients. With
the wisdom that has marked her course throughout, she at once
comprehended the delicacy of the situation, and was not long in
perceiving what she could best do, and wherein she could accomplish the
most good. The facility with which she brought, not only her own best
powers, but the influence universally accorded to her position, to bear
for the benefit of the suffering soldiers, is subject of remark and
wonder among all who have witnessed her labors.

At that time St. Louis was the theater of active military operations,
and the hospitals were crowded with sick and wounded from the camps and
battle-fields of Missouri and Tennessee. The army was not then composed
of the hardy veterans whose prowess has since carried victory into every
rebellious State, but of boys and young men unused to hardship, who, in
the flush of enthusiasm, had entered the army. Time had not then brought
to its present perfection the work of the Medical Department, and but
for the spontaneous generosity of the people in sending forward
assistance and supplies for the sick and wounded, the army could
scarcely have existed. Such was the condition of things when Mrs. Harvey
commenced her work of mercy in visiting the hospitals of that city,
filled with the victims of battle and disease. How from morning till
night for many a weary week she waited by the cots of these poor
fellows, attending to their little wants, and speaking words of cheer
and comfort, those who knew her then all well remember. The work at once
became delightful and profitable to her, calling her mind away from its
own sorrows to the physical suffering of those around her. In her
eagerness to soothe their woes, she half forgot her own, and came to
them always with a joyous smile and words of cheerful consolation.
During her stay in St. Louis her home was at the hospitable mansion of
George Partridge, Esq., an esteemed member of the Western Sanitary
Commission, whose household seem to have vied with each other in
attention and kindness to their guest.

Hearing of great suffering at Cape Girardeau, she went there about the
1st of August, just as the First Wisconsin Cavalry were returning from
their terrible expedition through the swamps of Arkansas. She had last
seen them in all their pride and manly beauty, reviewed by her husband,
the Governor, before they left their State. Now how changed! The
strongest, they that could stand, just tottering about, the very shadows
of their former selves. The building taken as a temporary hospital, was
filled to overflowing, and the surgeons were without hospital supplies,
the men subsisting on the common army ration alone. The heat was
oppressive, and the diseases of the most fearfully contagious character.
The surgeons themselves were appalled, and the attendants shrank from
the care of the sick and the removal of the dead. In one room she found
a corpse which had evidently lain for many hours, the nurses fearing to
go near and see if the man was dead. With her own hands she bound up the
face, and emboldened by her coolness, the burial party were induced to
coffin the body and remove it from the house. Here was a field for
self-forgetfulness and heroic devotion to a holy cause; and here the
light of woman's sympathy shone brightly when all else was fear and
gloom. Patients dying with the noxious camp fever breathed into her ear
their last messages to loved ones at home, as she passed from cot to
cot, undaunted by the bolts of death which fell around her thick as on
the battle-field. She set herself to work procuring furloughs for such
as were able to travel, and discharges for the permanently disabled, to
get them away from a place of death. To this end she brought all the
art of woman to work. Once convinced that the object she sought was just
and right, she left no honorable means untried to secure it. Surgeons
were flattered and coaxed, whenever coaxing and flattering availed; or,
failing in this, she knew when to administer a gentle threat, or an
intimation that a report might go up to a higher official. One resource
failing she always had another, and never attempted anything without
carrying it out.

Mrs. Harvey relates many touching incidents of her experience at this
place which want of space forbids us to repeat. One of her first acts
was to telegraph Mr. Yeatman, President of the Western Sanitary
Commission, at St. Louis, for hospital stores, and in two days, by his
promptness and liberality, she received an abundant supply.

After several weeks' stay at Cape Girardeau, during which time the
condition of the hospital greatly improved, Mrs. Harvey continued her
tour of visitation which was to embrace all the general hospitals on the
Mississippi river, as well as the regimental hospitals of the troops of
her own State. Her face, cheerful with all the heart's burden of grief,
gladdened every ward where lay a Union soldier, from Keokuk as far down
as the sturdy legions of GRANT had regained possession of the Father of

At Memphis she was able to do great service in procuring furloughs for
men who would else have died. Often has the writer heard brave men
declare, with tearful eyes, their gratitude to her for favors of this
kind. Many came to have a strange and almost superstitious reverence for
a person exercising so powerful an influence, and using it altogether
for the good of the common soldier. The estimate formed of her authority
by some of the more ignorant class, often exhibited itself in an
extremely ludicrous manner. She would sometimes receive letters from
homesick men begging her to give them a furlough to visit their
families! and often, from deserters and others confined in military
prisons, asking to be set at liberty, and promising faithful service

The spring of 1863 found General Grant making his approaches upon the
last formidable position held by the rebels on the Mississippi. Young's
Point, across the river from Vicksburg, the limit of uninterrupted
navigation at that time, will be remembered by many as a place of great
suffering to our brave boys. The high water covering the low lands on
which they were encamped during the famous canal experiment, induced
much sickness. Intent to be where her kind offices were most needed,
Mrs. Harvey proceeded thither about the first of April. After a few
weeks' labor, she, herself, overcome by the terrible miasma, was taken
seriously ill, and was obliged to return homeward. Months of rest, and a
visit to the sea-side, were required to bring back a measure of her
wonted strength, and so for the summer her services were lost to the

But though for a while withheld from her chosen work, Mrs. Harvey never
forgot the sick soldier. Her observation while with the army, convinced
her of the necessity of establishing general hospitals in the Northern
States, where soldiers suffering from diseases incurable in the South,
might be sent with prospect of recovery. Her own personal experience
deepened her conviction, and, although the plan found little favor then
among high officials, she at once gave her heart to its accomplishment.
Although repeated efforts had been made in vain to lead the Government
into this policy, Mrs. Harvey determined to go to Washington and make
her plea in person to the president.

As the result of her interview with Mr. Lincoln, which was of the most
cordial character, a General Hospital was granted to the State of
Wisconsin; and none who visit the city of Madison can fail to observe,
with patriotic pride, the noble structure known as Harvey Hospital. As
proof of the service it has done, and as fully verifying the arguments
urged by Mrs. Harvey to secure its establishment, the reader is
referred to the reports of the surgeon in charge of the hospital.

Her mission at Washington accomplished, Mrs. Harvey returned immediately
home, where she soon received official intelligence that the hospital
would be located at Madison and be prepared for the reception of
patients at the earliest possible moment. Upon this, she went
immediately to Memphis, Tennessee, where she was informed by the medical
director of the Sixteenth Army Corps, that there were over one hundred
men in Fort Pickering (used as a Convalescent Camp) who had been
vacillating between camp and hospital for a year, and who would surely
die unless removed North. At his suggestion, she accompanied these sick
men up the river, to get them, if possible, north of St. Louis. She
landed at Cairo, and proceeded to St. Louis by rail, and, on the arrival
of the transport, had transportation to Madison ready for the men. As
they were needy, and had not been paid, she procured of the Western
Sanitary Commission a change of clothing for every one. Out of the whole
number, only seven died, and only five were discharged. The remainder
returned, strong and healthy, to the service.

Returning South, she visited all points on the river down to New
Orleans, coming back to make her home for the time at Vicksburg, as the
place nearest the centre of her field of labor. The Superintendent and
Matrons of the Soldiers' Home extended to her a hearty welcome, happy to
have their institution honored by her presence, and receive her
sympathizing and kindly aid. So substantial was the reputation she had
won among the army, that her presence alone, at a military post in the
West, was a power for good. Officers and attendants in charge of
hospitals knew how quick she was to apprehend and bring to light any
delinquency in the performance of their duties, and profited by this
knowledge to the mutual advantage of themselves and those thrown upon
their care.

During the summer of 1864, the garrison of Vicksburg suffered much from
diseases incident to the season in that latitude. Perhaps in no regiment
was the mortality greater than in the Second Wisconsin Cavalry. Strong
men sickened and died within a few days, and others lingered on for
weeks, wasting by degrees, till only skin and bone were left. The
survivors, in evidence of their appreciation of her sympathy and
exertions for them in their need, presented her an elegant enameled gold
watch, beautifully set with diamonds. The presentation was an occasion
on which she could not well avoid a public appearance, and those who
were present, must have wondered that one of such power in private
conversation should have so little control, even of her own feelings,
before an assembly. Mrs. Harvey has never distinguished herself as a
_public_ speaker. Resolute, impetuous, confident to a degree bordering
on the imperious, with power of denunciation to equip an orator, she yet
shrinks from the gaze of a multitude with a woman's modesty, and the
humility of a child. She does not underestimate the worth of true
womanhood by attempting to act a distinctively manly part.

Although known as the agent of the State of Wisconsin, Mrs. Harvey has
paid little regard to state lines, and has done a truly national work.
Throughout the time of her stay with the army, applications for her aid
came as often from the soldiers of other states as from those of her
own, and no one was ever refused relief if to obtain it was in her
power. Acting in the character of a friend to every Union soldier, from
whatever state, she has had the entire confidence of the great Sanitary
Commissions, and rendered to their agents invaluable aid in the
distribution of goods. The success that has everywhere attended Mrs.
Harvey's efforts, directly or indirectly, to benefit the soldier, has
given to her life an unusual charm, and established for her a national

In years to come, the war-scarred veteran will recount to listening
children around the domestic hearth, along with many a thrilling deed of
valor performed by his own right arm, the angel visits of this lady to
his cot, when languishing with disease, or how, when ready to die, her
intercessions secured him a furlough, and sent him home to feel the
curative power of his native air and receive the care of loving hands
and hearts. Not a few unfortunates will remember, if they do not tell,
how her care reached them, not only in hospital but in prison as well,
bringing clothing and comfort to them when shivering in their rags;
while others, again, will not be ashamed to relate, as we have heard
them, with tears, their gratitude for release from unjust imprisonment,
secured by her faithful exertions.

The close of the war has brought Mrs. Harvey back to her home, and
closed her work for the soldiers. Her attention now is turned in the
direction of soothing the sorrows the war has caused among the
households of her State. Many a soldier who has died for his country,
has left his little ones to the charity of the world. Through her
exertions the State of Wisconsin now has a Soldiers' Orphan Asylum,
where all these children of our dead heroes shall be gathered in. By a
visit to Washington she has recently obtained from the United States
Government, the donation of its interest in Harvey Hospital, and has
turned it into an institution of this kind, and has set her hand and
heart to the work of securing from the people a liberal endowment for

Happy indeed has she been in her truly Christian work, begun in sadness
and opening into the joy that crowns every good work. The benedictions
of thousands of the brave and victorious rest upon her, and the purest
spirits of the martyred ones have her in their gentle care! May America
be blest with many more like her to teach us by example the nature and
practice of a true Christian heroism.


Our northern women have won the highest meed of praise for their
devotion and self-sacrifice in the cause of their country, but great as
their labors and sacrifices have been, they are certainly inferior to
those of some of the loyal women of the South, who for the love they
bore to their country and its flag, braved all the contempt, obloquy and
scorn which Southern women could heap upon them--who lived for years in
utter isolation from the society of relatives, friends, and neighbors,
because they would render such aid and succor as was in their power to
the defenders of the national cause, in prison, in sorrow and in
suffering. Often were the lives of those brave women in danger, and the
calmness with which they met those who thirsted for their blood gave
evidence of their position of a spirit as undaunted and lofty as any
which ever faced the cannon's mouth or sought death in the high places
of the field. Among these heroines none deserves a higher place in the
records of womanly patriotism and courage than Mrs. Sarah R. Johnston.

At the breaking out of the war Mrs. Johnston was teaching a school at
Salisbury, North Carolina, where she was born and always resided. When
the first prisoners were brought into that place, the Southern women
turned out in their carriages and with a band escorted them through the
town, and when they filed past saluted them with contemptuous epithets.
From that time Mrs. Johnston determined to devote herself to the
amelioration of the condition of the prisoners; and the testimony of
thousands of the Union soldiers confined there proved how nobly she
performed the duties she undertook. It was no easy task, for she was
entirely alone, being the only woman who openly advocated Union
sentiments and attempted to administer to the wants of the prisoners.
For fifteen months none of the women of Salisbury spoke to her or called
upon her, and every possible indignity was heaped on her as a "Yankee
sympathizer." Her scholars were withdrawn from her school, and it was
broken up, and her means were very limited; nevertheless, she
accomplished more by systematic arrangements than many would have done
with a large outlay of money.

When the first exchange of prisoners was made, she went to the depot to
arrange some pallets for some of the sick who were leaving, when she
stumbled in the crowd, and looking down she found a young Federal
soldier who had fainted and fallen, and was in danger of being trodden
to death. She raised him up and called for water, but none of the people
would get a drop to save a "Yankee's" life. Some of the soldiers who
were in the cars threw their canteens to her, and she succeeded in
reviving him; during this time the crowd heaped upon her every insulting
epithet they could think of, and her life even was in danger. But she
braved all, and succeeded in obtaining permission from Colonel Godwin,
then in command of the post, who was a kind-hearted man, to let her
remove him to her own house, promising to take care of him as if he were
her own son, and if he died to give him Christian burial. He was in the
last stages of consumption, and she felt sure he would die if taken to
the prison hospital. None of the citizens of the place would even assist
in carrying him, and after a time two gentlemen from Richmond stepped
forward and helped convey him to her house. There she watched over him
for hours, as he was in a terrible state from neglect, having had
blisters applied to his chest which had never been dressed and were full
of vermin.

The poor boy, whose name was Hugh Berry, from Ohio, only lived a few
days, and she had a grave dug for him in her garden in the night, for
burial had been refused in the public graveyard, and she had been
threatened that if she had him interred decently his body should be dug
up and buried in the street. They even attempted to take his body from
the house for that purpose, but she stood at her door, pistol in hand,
and said to them that the first man who dared to cross her threshold for
such a purpose should be shot like a dog. They did not attempt it, and
she performed her promise to the letter.

During the first two years she was enabled to do a great many acts of
kindness for the prisoners, but after that time she was watched very
closely as a Yankee sympathizer, and the rules of the prison were
stricter, and what she could do was done by strategy.

Her means were now much reduced, but she still continued in her good
work, cutting up her carpets and spare blankets to make into moccasins,
and when new squads of prisoners arrived, supplied them with bread and
water as they halted in front of her house, which they were compelled to
do for hours, waiting the routine of being mustered into the prison.
They were not allowed to leave their ranks, and she would turn an
old-fashioned windlass herself for hours, raising water from her well;
for the prisoners were often twenty-four to forty-eight hours on the
railroad without rations or water.

Generally the officer in command would grant her request, but once a
sergeant told her, in reply, if she gave any of them a drop of water or
a piece of bread, or dared to come outside her gate for that purpose, he
would pin her to the earth with his bayonet. She defied him, and taking
her pail of water in one hand, and a basket of bread in the other, she
walked directly past him on her errand of mercy; he followed her,
placing his bayonet between her shoulders, just so that she could feel
the cold steel. She turned and coolly asked him why he did not pin her
to the earth, as he had threatened to do, but got no reply. Then some
of the rebels said, "Sergeant, you can't make anything on that woman,
you had better let her alone," and she performed her work unmolested.

Not content with these labors, she visited the burial-place where the
deceased Union prisoners of that loathsome prison-pen at Salisbury were
buried, and transcribed with a loving fidelity every inscription which
could be found there, to let the sorrowing friends of those martyrs to
their country know where their beloved ones are laid. The number of
these marked graves is small, only thirty-one in all, for the greater
part of the four or five thousand dead starved and tortured there till
they relinquished their feeble hold on life, were buried in trenches
four or five deep, and no record of their place of burial was permitted.
Mrs. Johnston also copied from the rebel registers at Salisbury after
the place was captured the statistics of the Union prisoners, admitted,
died, and remaining on hand in each month from October, 1864, to April,
1865. The aggregates in these six months were four thousand and
fifty-four admitted, of whom two thousand three hundred and ninety-seven
died, and one thousand six hundred and fifty-seven remained.

Mrs. Johnston came North in the summer of 1865, to visit her daughter,
who had been placed at a school in Connecticut by the kindness of some
of the officers she had befriended in prison; transportation having been
given her by Generals Schofield and Carter, who testified to the
services she had rendered our prisoners, and that she was entitled to
the gratitude of the Government and all loyal citizens.

[Illustration: MISS EMILY E. PARSONS.
  Eng^d. by John Sartain.]


Among the honorable and heroic women of New England whose hearts were
immediately enlisted in the cause of their country, in its recent
struggle against the rebellion of the slave States, and who prepared
themselves to do useful service in the hospitals as nurses, was Miss
Emily E. Parsons, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, a daughter of Professor
Theophilus Parsons, of the Cambridge Law School, and granddaughter of
the late Chief Justice Parsons, of Massachusetts.

Miss Parsons was born in Taunton, Massachusetts, was educated in Boston,
and resided at Cambridge at the beginning of the war. She at once
foresaw that there would be need of the same heroic work on the part of
the women of the country as that performed by Florence Nightingale and
her army of women nurses in the Crimea, and with her father's approval
she consulted with Dr. Wyman, of Cambridge, how she could acquire the
necessary instruction and training to perform the duties of a skilful
nurse in the hospitals. Through his influence with Dr. Shaw, the
superintendent of the Massachusetts General Hospital, she was received
into that institution as a pupil in the work of caring for the sick, in
the dressing of wounds, in the preparation of diet for invalids, and in
all that pertains to a well regulated hospital. She was thoroughly and
carefully instructed by the surgeons of the hospital, all of whom took
great interest in fitting her for the important duties she proposed to
undertake, and gave her every opportunity to practice, with her own
hands, the labors of a good hospital nurse. Dr. Warren and Dr.
Townshend, two distinguished surgeons, took special pains to give her
all necessary information and the most thorough instruction. At the end
of one year and a half of combined teaching and practice, she was
recommended by Dr. Townshend to Fort Schuyler Hospital, on Long Island
Sound, where she went in October, 1862, and for two months performed the
duties of hospital nurse, in the most faithful and satisfactory manner,
when she left by her father's wishes, on account of the too great
exposure to the sea, and went to New York.

While in New York Miss Parsons wrote to Miss Dix, the agent of the
Government for the employment of women nurses, offering her services
wherever they might be needed, and received an answer full of
encouragement and sympathy with her wishes. At the same time she also
made the acquaintance of Mrs. John C. Fremont, who wrote to the Western
Sanitary Commission at St. Louis, of her qualifications and desire of
usefulness in the hospital service, and she was immediately telegraphed
to come on at once to St. Louis.

At this time, January, 1863, every available building in St. Louis was
converted into a hospital, and the sick and wounded were brought from
Vicksburg, and Arkansas Post, and Helena up the river to be cared for at
St. Louis and other military posts. At Memphis and Mound City, (near
Cairo) at Quincy, Illinois, and the cities on the Ohio River, the
hospitals were in equally crowded condition. Miss Parsons went
immediately to St. Louis and was assigned by Mr. James E. Yeatman, (the
President of the Western Sanitary Commission, and agent for Miss Dix),
to the Lawson Hospital. In a few weeks, however, she was needed for a
still more important service, and was placed as head nurse on the
hospital steamer "City of Alton," Surgeon Turner in charge. A large
supply of sanitary stores were entrusted to her care by the Western
Sanitary Commission, and the steamer proceeded to Vicksburg, where she
was loaded with about four hundred invalid soldiers, many of them sick
past recovery, and returned as far as Memphis. On this trip the strength
and endurance of Miss Parsons were tried to the utmost, and the
ministrations of herself and her associates to the poor, helpless and
suffering men, several of whom died on the passage up the river, were
constant and unremitting. At Memphis, after transferring the sick to the
hospitals, an order was received from General Grant to load the boat
with troops and return immediately to Vicksburg, an order prompted by
some military exigency, and Miss Parsons and the other female nurses
were obliged to return to St. Louis.

For a few weeks after her return she suffered from an attack of
malarious fever, and on her recovery was assigned to duty as
superintendent of female nurses at the Benton Barracks Hospital, the
largest of all the hospitals in St. Louis, built out of the amphitheatre
and other buildings in the fair grounds of the St. Louis Agricultural
Society, and placed in charge of Surgeon Ira Russell, an excellent
physician from Natick, Mass. In this large hospital there were often two
thousand patients, and besides the male nurses detailed from the army,
the corps of female nurses consisted of one to each of the fifteen or
twenty wards, whose duty it was to attend to the special diet of the
feebler patients, to see that the wards were kept in order, the beds
properly made, the dressing of wounds properly done, to minister to the
wants of the patients, and to give them words of good cheer, both by
reading and conversation--softening the rougher treatment and manners of
the male nurses, by their presence, and performing the more delicate
offices of kindness that are natural to woman.

In this important and useful service these women nurses, many of them
having but little experience, needed one of their own number of superior
knowledge, judgment and experience, to supervise their work, counsel and
advise with them, instruct them in their duties, secure obedience to
every necessary regulation, and good order in the general administration
of this important branch of hospital service. For this position Miss
Parsons was most admirably fitted, and discharged its duties with great
fidelity and success for many months, as long as Dr. Russell continued
in charge of the hospital. The whole work of female nursing was reduced
to a perfect system, and the nurses under Miss Parsons' influence became
a sisterhood of noble women, performing a great and loving service to
the maimed and suffering defenders of their country. In the organization
of this system and the framing of wise rules for carrying it into effect
Dr. Russell and Mr. Yeatman lent their counsel and assistance, and Dr.
Russell, as the chief surgeon, entertained those enlightened and liberal
views which gave the system a full chance to accomplish the best
results. Under his administration, and Miss Parsons' superintendence of
the nursing, the Benton Barracks Hospital became famous for its
excellence, and for the rapid recovery of the patients.

It was not often that the army surgeons could be induced to give so fair
a trial to female nursing in the hospitals. Too often they allowed their
prejudices to interfere, and used their authority to thwart instead of
aid the best plans for making the services of women all that was needed
in the hospitals. But in the case of Dr. Russell, enlightened judgment
and humane sympathies combined to make him friendly to the highest
exertions of woman, in this holy service of humanity. And the result
entirely justified the most sanguine expectations.

Having served six months in this capacity, Miss Parsons went to her home
at Cambridge, on a furlough from the Sanitary Commission, to recruit her
health. After a short period of rest she returned to St. Louis and
resumed her position at Benton Barracks, in which she continued till
August, 1864, when in consequence of illness, caused by malaria, she
returned to her home in Cambridge a second time. On her recovery she
concluded to enter upon the same work in the eastern department, but the
return of peace, and the disbanding of a large portion of the army
rendered her services in the hospitals no longer necessary.

From this time she devoted herself at home to working for the freedmen
and refugees, collecting clothing and garden seeds for them, many boxes
of which she shipped to the Western Sanitary Commission, at St. Louis,
to be distributed in the Mississippi Valley, where they were greatly
needed, and were received as a blessing from the Lord by the poor
refugees and freedmen, who in many instances were without the means to
help themselves, or to buy seed for the next year's planting.

In the spring of 1865, she took a great interest in the Sanitary Fair
held at Chicago, collected many valuable gifts for it, and was sent for
by the Committee of Arrangements to go out as one of the managers of the
department furnished by the New Jerusalem Church--the different churches
having separate departments in the Fair. This duty she fulfilled, with
great pleasure and success, and the general results of the Fair were all
that could be desired.

Returning home from the Chicago Fair, and the war being ended, Miss
Parsons conceived a plan of establishing in her own city of Cambridge, a
Charity Hospital for poor women and children. For this most praiseworthy
object she has already collected a portion of the necessary funds, which
she has placed in the hand of a gentleman who consents to act as
Treasurer, and is entirely confident of the ultimate success of her
enterprise. There is no doubt but that she possesses the character, good
judgment, Christian motive and perseverance to carry it through, and she
has the encouragement, sympathies and prayers of many friends to sustain
her in the noble endeavor.

In concluding this sketch of the labors of Miss Parsons in the care and
nursing of our sick and wounded soldiers, and in the Sanitary and other
benevolent enterprises called forth by the war, it is but just to say
that in every position she occupied she performed her part with judgment
and fidelity, and always brought to her work a spirit animated by the
highest motives, and strengthened by communion with the Infinite Spirit,
from whom all love and wisdom come to aid and bless the children of
men. Everywhere she went among the sick and suffering she brought the
sunshine of a cheerful and loving heart, beaming from a countenance
expressive of kindness, and good will and sympathy to all. Her presence
in the hospital was always a blessing, and cheered and comforted many a
despondent heart, and compensated in some degree, for the absence of the
loved ones at home. Her gentle ministrations so faithful and cheering,
might well have received the reverent worship bestowed on the shadow of
Florence Nightingale, so admirably described by Longfellow in his Saint

    "And slow, as in a dream of bliss
    The speechless sufferer turned to kiss
    Her shadow as it falls
    Upon the darkening walls."


Mrs. Fales, it is believed, was the first woman in America who performed
any work directly tending to the aid and comfort of the soldiers of the
nation in the late war. In truth, her labors commenced before any overt
acts of hostility had taken place, even so long before as December,
1860. Hostility enough there undoubtedly was in feeling, but the fires
of secession as yet only smouldered, not bursting into the lurid flames
of war until the following spring.

Yet Mrs. Fales, from her home in Washington, was a keen observer of the
"signs of the times," and read aright the portents of rebellion. In her
position, unobserved herself, she saw and heard much, which probably
would have remained unseen and unheard by loyal eyes and ears, had the
haughty conspirators against the nation's life dreamed of any danger
arising from the knowledge of their projects, obtained by this humble

So keen was the prescience founded on these things that, as has been
said, she, as early as December, 1860, scarcely a month after the
election of Abraham Lincoln, gave a pretext for secession which its
leaders were eager to avail themselves of, "began to prepare lint and
hospital stores for the soldiers of the Union, not one of whom had then
been called to take up arms."

Of course, she was derided for this act. Inured to peace, seemingly more
eager for the opening of new territory, the spread of commerce, the gain
of wealth and power than even for the highest national honor, the North
would not believe in the possibility of war until the boom of the guns
of Sumter, reverberating from the waves of the broad Atlantic, and
waking the echoes all along its shores, burst upon their ears to tell in
awful tones that it had indeed commenced.

But there was one--a woman in humble life, yet of wonderful benevolence,
of indomitable energy, unflagging perseverance, and unwavering purpose,
who foresaw its inevitable coming and was prepared for it.

Almira Fales was no longer young. She had spent a life in doing good,
and was ready to commence another. Her husband had employment under the
government in some department of the civil service, her sons entered the
army, and she, too,--a soldier, in one sense, as truly as they--since
she helped and cheered on the fight.

From that December day that commenced the work, until long after the war
closed, she gave herself to it, heart and soul--mind and body. No one,
perhaps, can tell her story of work and hardship in detail, not even
herself, for she acts rather than talks or writes. "Such women, always
doing, never think of pausing to tell their own stories, which, indeed,
can never be told; yet the hint of them can be given, to stir in the
hearts of other women a purer emulation, and to prove to them that the
surest way to happiness is to serve others and forget yourself."

In detail we have only this brief record of what she has done, yet what
volumes it contains, what a history of labor and of self-sacrifice!

"After a life spent in benevolence, it was in December, 1860, that
Almira Fales began to prepare lint and hospital stores for the soldiers
of the Union, not one of whom had then been called to take up arms.
People laughed, of course; thought it a 'freak;' said that none of these
things would ever be needed. Just as the venerable Dr. Mott said, at the
women's meeting in Cooper Institute, after Sumter had been fired: 'Go
on, ladies! Get your lint ready, if it will do your dear hearts any
good, though I don't believe myself that it will ever be needed.' Since
that December Mrs. Fales has emptied over seven thousand boxes of
hospital stores, and distributed with her own hands over one hundred and
fifty thousand dollars worth of comforts to sick and wounded soldiers.
Besides, she supplied personally between sixty and seventy forts with
reading matter. She was months at sea--the only woman on hospital ships
nursing the wounded and dying men. She was at Corinth, and at Pittsburg
Landing, serving our men in storm and darkness. She was at Fair Oaks.
She was under fire through the seven days' fight on the Peninsula, with
almost breaking heart ministering on those bloody fields to 'the saddest
creatures that she ever saw.'

"Through all those years, _every day_, she gave her life, her strength,
her nursing, her mother-love to our soldiers. For her to be a soldier's
nurse meant something very different from wearing a white apron, a white
cap, sitting by a moaning soldier's bed, looking pretty. It meant days
and nights of untiring toil; it meant the lowliest office, the most
menial service; it meant the renouncing of all personal comfort, the
sharing of her last possession with the soldier of her country; it meant
patience, and watching, and unalterable love. A mother, every boy who
fought for his country was _her_ boy; and if she had nursed him in
infancy, she could not have cared for him with a tenderer care. Journey
after journey this woman has performed to every part of the land,
carrying with her some wounded, convalescing soldier, bearing him to
some strange cottage that she never saw before, to the pale, weeping
woman within, saying to her with smiling face, 'I have brought back
_your_ boy. Wipe your eyes, and take care of him.' Then, with a
fantastic motion, tripping away as if she were not tired at all, and had
done nothing more than run across the street. Thousands of heroes on
earth and in heaven gratefully remember this woman's loving care to them
in the extremity of anguish. The war ended, her work does not cease.
Every day you may find her, with her heavily-laden basket, in hovels of
white and black, which dainty and delicate ladies would not dare to
enter. No wounds are so loathsome, no disease so contagious, no human
being so abject, that she shrinks from contact; if she can minister to
their necessity."

During the Peninsular campaign Mrs. Fales was engaged on board the
Hospital Transports, during most of the trying season of 1862. She was
at Harrison's Landing in care of the wounded and wearied men worn down
by the incessant battles and hard marches which attended the "change of
base" from the Chickahominy to the James. She spent a considerable time
in the hospitals at Fortress Monroe; and was active in her ministrations
upon the fields in the battles of Centreville, Chantilly, and the second
battle of Bull Run, indeed most of those of Pope's campaign in Virginia
in the autumn of 1862.

At the battle of Chancellorsville, or rather at the assault upon Marye's
Heights, in that fierce assault of Sedgwick's gallant Sixth Corps on the
works which had on the preceding December defied the repeated charges of
Burnside's best troops, Mrs. Fales lost a son. About one-third of the
attacking force were killed or badly wounded in the assault, and among
the rest the son of this devoted mother, who at that very hour might
have been ministering to the wounded and dying son of some other mother.
This loss was to her but a stimulus to further efforts and sacrifices.
She mourned as deeply as any mother, but not as selfishly, as some might
have done. In this, as in all her ways of life, she but carried out its
ruling principle which was self-devotion, and deeds not words.

Mrs. Fales may not, perhaps, be held up as an example of harmonious
development, but she has surely shown herself great in self-forgetfulness
and heroic devotion to the cause of her country. In person she is tall,
plain in dress, and with few of the fashionable and stereotyped graces
of manner. No longer young, her face still bears ample traces of former
beauty, and her large blue eyes still beam with the clear brightness of
youth. But her hands tell the story of hardship and sacrifice.

"Poor hands! darkened and hardened by work, they never shirked any task,
never turned from any drudgery, that could lighten the load of another.
Dear hands! how many blood-stained faces they have washed, how many
wounds they have bound up, how many eyes they have closed in dying, how
many bodies they have sadly yielded to the darkness of death!"

She is full of a quaint humor, and in all her visits to hospitals her
aim seemed to be to awake smiles, and arouse the cheerfulness of the
patients; and she was generally successful in this, being everywhere a
great favorite. One more quotation from the written testimony of a lady
who knew her well and we have done.

"An electric temperament, a nervous organization, with a brain crowded
with a variety of memories and incidents that could only come to one in
a million--all combine to give her a pleasant abruptness of motion and
of speech, which I have heard some very fine ladies term insanity. 'Now
don't you think she is crazy, to spend all her time in such ways?' said
one. When we remember how rare a thing utter unselfishness and
self-forgetfulness is, we must conclude that she is crazy. If the
listless and idle lives which we live ourselves are perfectly sane, then
Almira Fales must be the maddest of mortals. But would it not be better
for the world, and for us all, if we were each of us a little crazier in
the same direction?"


Among the most zealous and untiring of the women who ministered to the
wounded men "at the front," in the long and terrible campaign of the
Army of the Potomac in 1864-5, was Miss Cornelia Hancock, of
Philadelphia. Of this lady's early history or her previous labors in the
war, we have been unable to obtain any very satisfactory information.
She had, we are told, been active in the United States General Hospitals
in Philadelphia, and had there learned what wounded men need in the way
of food and attention. She had also rendered efficient services at
Gettysburg. Of her work among the wounded men at Belle Plain and
Fredericksburg, Mr. John Vassar, one of the most efficient agents of the
Christian Commission, writes as follows:

"Miss Cornelia Hancock was the first lady who arrived at Fredericksburg
to aid in the care of the wounded. As one of the many interesting
episodes of the war, it has seemed that her good deeds should not be
unheralded. She was also among the very first to arrive at Gettysburg
after the fearful struggle, and for days and weeks ministered
unceasingly to the suffering. During the past winter she remained
constantly with the army in winter quarters, connecting herself with the
Second Division of the Second Corps. So attached were the soldiers, and
so grateful for her ministration in sickness, that they built a house
for her, in which she remained until the general order for all to leave
was given.

"When the news of Grant's battles reached the North, Miss Hancock left
Philadelphia at once for Washington. Several applications were made by
Members of Congress at the War Department for a permit for her to go to
the wounded. It was each time declined, as being unfeasible and
improper. With a woman's tact, she made application to go with one of
the surgeons then arriving, as assistant, as each surgeon was entitled
to one. The plan succeeded, and I well remember the mental ejaculation
made when I saw her at such a time on the boat. I lost sight of her at
Belle Plain, and had almost forgotten the circumstance, when, shortly
before our arrival at Fredericksburg, she passed in an ambulance. On
being assigned to a hospital of the Second Corps, I found she had
preceded me, and was earnestly at work. It was no fictitious effort, but
she had already prepared soup and farina, and was dispensing it to the
crowds of poor fellows lying thickly about.

"All day she worked, paying little attention to others, only assiduous
in her sphere. When, the next morning, I opened a new hospital at the
Methodist Church, I invited her to accompany me; she did so; and if
success and amelioration of suffering attended the effort, it was in no
small degree owing to her indefatigable labors. Within an hour from the
time one hundred and twenty had been placed in the building, she had
seen that good beef soup and coffee was administered to each, and during
the period I was there, no delicacy or nutriment attainable was wanting
to the men.

"Were any dying, she sat by to soothe their last moments, to receive the
dying message to friends at home, and when it was over to convey by
letter the sad intelligence. Let me rise ever so early, she had already
preceded me at work, and during the many long hours of the day, she
never seemed to weary or flag; in the evening, when all in her own
hospital had been fully cared for, she would go about the town with
delicacies to administer to officers who were so situated they could not
procure them. At night she sought a garret (and it was literally one)
for her rest.

"One can but feebly portray the ministrations of such a person. She
belonged to no association--had no compensation. She commanded respect,
for she was lady-like and well educated; so quiet and undemonstrative,
that her presence was hardly noticed, except by the smiling faces of the
wounded as she passed. While she supervised the cooking of the meats and
soups and coffee, all nice things were made and distributed by herself.
How the men watched for the dessert of farina and condensed milk, and
those more severely wounded for the draughts of milk punch!

"Often would she make visits to the offices of the Sanitary and
Christian Commissions, and when delicacies arrived, her men were among
the first to taste them. Oranges, lemons, pickles, soft bread and
butter, and even apple-sauce, were one or the other daily distributed.
Such unwearied attention is the more appreciated, when one remembers the
number of females who subsequently arrived, and the desultory and fitful
labor performed. Passing from one hospital to another, and bestowing
general sympathy, with small works, is not what wounded men want. It was
very soon perceptible how the men in that hospital appreciated the solid
worth of the one and the tinsel of the other.

"This imperfect recognition is but a slight testimonial to the lady-like
deportment and the untiring labors in behalf of sick and wounded
soldiers of Miss Hancock."

  Eng. by John Sartain.]


There are some noble souls whose devotion to duty, to the welfare of the
suffering and sorrowing, and to the work which God has set before them,
is so complete that it leaves them no time to think of themselves, and
no consciousness that what they have done or are doing, is in any way
remarkable. To them it seems the most natural thing in the world to
undergo severe hardships and privations, to suffer the want of all
things, to peril health and even life itself, to endure the most intense
fatigue and loss of rest, if by so doing they may relieve another's pain
or soothe the burdened and aching heart; and with the utmost
ingenuousness, they will avow that they have done nothing worthy of
mention; that it is the poor soldier who has been the sufferer, and has
made the only sacrifices worthy of the name.

The worthy and excellent lady who is the subject of this sketch, is one
of the representative women of this class. Few, if any, have passed
through more positive hardships to serve the soldiers than she; but few
have as little consciousness of them.

Mrs. Mary Morris Husband, is a granddaughter of Robert Morris, the great
financier of our Revolutionary War, to whose abilities and patriotism it
was owing that we had a republic at all. She is, in her earnest
patriotism, well worthy of her ancestry. Her husband, a well-known and
highly respectable member of the Philadelphia bar, her two sons and
herself constituted her household at the commencement of the war, and
her quiet home in the Quaker City, was one of the pleasantest of the
many delightful homes in that city. The patriotic instincts were strong
in the family; the two sons enlisted in the army at the very beginning
of the conflict, one of them leaving his medical studies to do so; and
the mother, as soon as there was any hospital work to do was fully
prepared to take her part in it. She had been in poor health for some
years, but in her anxiety to render aid to the suffering, her own
ailings were forgotten. She was an admirable nurse and a skilful
housewife and cook, and her first efforts for the sick and wounded
soldiers in Philadelphia, were directed to the preparation of suitable
and palatable food for them, and the rendering of those attentions which
should relieve the irksomeness and discomforts of sickness in a
hospital. The hospital on Twenty-second and Wood streets, Philadelphia,
was the principal scene of these labors.

But the time had come for other and more engrossing labors for the sick
and wounded, and she was to be inducted into them by the avenue of
personal anxiety for one of her sons. In that fearful "change of base"
which resulted in the seven days' battle on the peninsula, when from the
combined influence of marsh malaria, want of food, overmarching, the
heat and fatigue of constant fighting, and the depression of spirits
incident to the unexpected retreat, more of our men fell down with
mortal sickness than were slain or wounded in the battles, one of Mrs.
Husband's sons was among the sufferers from disease, and word was sent
to her that he was at the point of death. She hastened to nurse him, and
after a great struggle and frequent relapses, he rallied and began to
recover. Meantime she had not been so wholly engrossed with her care for
him as to be neglectful of the hundreds and thousands around, who, like
him, were suffering from the deadly influences of that pestilential
climate and soil, or of the wounded who were wearing out their lives in
agony, with but scant attention or care; and every moment that could be
spared from her sick boy, was given to the other sufferers around her.

It was in this period of her work that she rendered the service to a
young soldier, now a physician of Brooklyn, New York, so graphically
described in the following extract from a letter addressed to the writer
of this sketch:

"I was prostrated by a severe attack of camp dysentery, stagnant water
and _unctuous_ bean soup not being exactly the diet for a sick person to
thrive on. I got "no better" very rapidly, till at length, one
afternoon, I lay in a kind of stupor, conscious that I was somewhere,
though where, for the life of me I could not say. As I lay in this
state, I imagined I heard my name spoken, and opening my eyes with
considerable effort, I saw bending over me a female form. I think the
astonishment restored me to perfect consciousness (though some liquor
poured into my mouth at the same time, may have been a useful adjunct).
As soon as I could collect myself sufficiently, I discovered the lady to
be a Mrs. Husband, who, with a few other ladies, had just arrived on one
of the hospital boats. Having lost my own mother when a mere child, you
may imagine the effect her tender nursing had upon me, and when she laid
her hand upon my forehead, all pain seemed to depart. I sank into a
sweet sleep, and awoke the next morning refreshed and strengthened in
mind and in body. From that moment my recovery was rapid, and in ten
days I returned to my duty."

As her son began to recover, she resolved, in her thankfulness for this
mercy, to devote herself to the care of the sick and wounded of the
army. She was on one of the hospital transports off Harrison's Landing,
when the rebels bombarded it, and though it was her first experience
"under fire," she stood her ground like a veteran, manifesting no
trepidation, but pursuing her work of caring for the sick as calmly as
if in perfect safety. Finding that she was desirous of rendering
assistance in the care of the disabled soldiers, she was assigned, we
believe, by the Sanitary Commission, to the position of Lady
Superintendent of one of the hospital transports which bore the wounded
and sick to New York. She made four trips on these vessels, and her
faithful attention to the sick, her skilful nursing, and her entire
forgetfulness of self, won for her the hearty esteem and regard of all
on board. The troops being all transferred to Acquia Creek and
Alexandria, Mrs. Husband went to Washington, and endeavored to obtain a
pass and transportation for supplies to Pope's army, then falling back,
foot by foot, in stern but unavailing resistance to Lee's strong and
triumphant force. These she was denied, but Miss Dix requested her to
take charge temporarily of the Camden Street Hospital, at Baltimore, the
matron of which had been stricken down with illness. After a few weeks'
stay here, she relinquished her position, and repaired to Antietam,
where the smoke of the great battle was just rolling off over the
heights of South Mountain. Here, at the Smoketown Hospital, where the
wounded from French's and some other divisions were gathered, she found
abundant employment, and at the request of that able surgeon and
excellent man, Dr. Vanderkieft, she remained in charge two months. Mrs.
Harris was with her here for a short time, and Miss Maria M. C. Hall,
during her entire stay. Her presence at this hospital brought perpetual
sunshine. Arduous as were her labors, for there were very many
desperately wounded, and quite as many dangerously sick, she never
manifested weariness or impatience, and even the sick and wounded men,
usually exacting, because forgetful of the great amount of labor which
their condition imposes upon the nurses, wondered that she never
manifested fatigue, and that she was able to accomplish so much as she
did. Often did they express their anxiety lest she should be compelled
from weariness and illness to leave them, but her smiling, cheerful face
reassured them. She and Miss Hall occupied for themselves and their
stores, a double hospital tent, and let the weather be what it might,
she was always at her post in the hospitals promptly at her hours, and
dispensed with a liberal hand to those who needed, the delicacies, the
stimulants, and medicines they required. She had made a flag for her
tent by sewing upon a breadth of calico a figure of a bottle cut out of
red flannel, and the bottle-flag flew to the wind at all times,
indicative of the medicines which were dispensed from the tent below. We
have endeavored to give a view of this tent, from which came daily such
quantities of delicacies, such excellent milk-punch to nourish and
support the patients whose condition was most critical, such finely
flavored flaxseed tea for the army of patients suffering from pulmonic
diseases ("_her_ flaxseed tea," says one of her boys, "was _never_
insipid"), lemonades for the feverish, and something for every needy
patient. See her as she comes out of her tent for her round of hospital
duties, a substantial comely figure, with a most benevolent and motherly
face, her hands filled with the good things she is bearing to some of
the sufferers in the hospital; she has discarded hoops, believing with
Florence Nightingale, that they are utterly incompatible with the duties
of the hospital; she has a stout serviceable apron nearly covering her
dress, and that apron is a miracle of pockets; pockets before, behind,
and on each side; deep, wide pockets, all stored full of something which
will benefit or amuse her "boys;" an apple, an orange, an interesting
book, a set of chess-men, checkers, dominoes, or puzzles, newspapers,
magazines, everything desired, comes out of those capacious pockets. As
she enters a ward, the whisper passes from one cot to another, that
"mother" is coming, and faces, weary with pain, brighten at her
approach, and sad hearts grow glad as she gives a cheerful smile to one,
says a kind word to another, administers a glass of her punch or
lemonade to a third, hands out an apple or an orange to a fourth, or a
book or game to a fifth, and relieves the hospital of the gloom which
seemed brooding over it. But not in these ways alone does she bring
comfort and happiness to these poor wounded and fever-stricken men. She
encourages them to confide to her their sorrows and troubles, and the
heart that, like the caged bird, has been bruising itself against the
bars of its cage, from grief for the suffering or sorrow of the loved
ones at home or oftener still, the soul that finds itself on the
confines of an unknown hereafter, and is filled with distress at the
thought of the world to come, pours into her attentive ear, the story of
its sorrows, and finds in her a wise and kind counsellor and friend, and
learns from her gentle teachings to trust and hope.

Hers was a truly heroic spirit. Darkness, storm, or contagion, had no
terrors for her, when there was suffering to be alleviated, or anguish
to be soothed. Amid the raging storms of the severe winter of 1862-3,
she often left her tent two or three times in the night and went round
to the beds of those who were apparently near death, from the fear that
the nurses might neglect something which needed to be done for them.
When diphtheria raged in the hospital, and the nurses fearing its
contagious character, fled from the bed-sides of those suffering from
it, Mrs. Husband devoted herself to them night and day, fearless of the
exposure, and where they died of the terrible disease received and
forwarded to their friends the messages of the dying.

It is no matter of surprise that when the time came for her to leave
this hospital, where she had manifested such faithful and
self-sacrificing care and tenderness for those whom she knew only as the
defenders of her country, those whom she left, albeit unused to the
melting mood, should have wept at losing such a friend. "There were no
dry eyes in that hospital," says one who was himself one of its inmates;
"all, from the strong man ready again to enter the ranks to the poor
wreck of humanity lying on his death-bed gave evidence of their love for
her, and sorrow at her departure in copious tears." On her way home she
stopped for an hour or two at camps A and B in Frederick, Maryland,
where a considerable number of the convalescents from Antietam had been
sent, and these on discovering her, surrounded her ambulance and greeted
her most heartily, seeming almost wild with joy at seeing their kind
friend once more. After a brief stay at Philadelphia, during which she
visited the hospitals almost constantly, she hastened again to the
front, and at Falmouth early in 1863, after that fearful and disastrous
battle of Fredericksburg she found ample employment for her active and
energetic nature. As matron of Humphreys' Division Hospital (Fifth
Corps) she was constantly engaged in ministering to the comfort of the
wounded, and her solicitude for the welfare and prosperity of the men
did not end with their discharge from the hospital. The informalities or
blunders by which they too often lost their pay and were sometimes set
down as deserters attracted her attention, and so far as possible she
always procured the correction of those errors. Early in April, 1863,
she made a flying visit to Philadelphia, and thus details in a letter to
a friend, at the time the kind and amount of labor which almost always
filled up every hour of those journeys. "Left Monday evening for home,
took two discharged soldiers with me; heard that I could not get a pass
to return; so instead of going directly through, stayed in Washington
twenty-four hours, and fought a battle for a pass. I came off conqueror
of course, but not until wearied almost to death--my boys in the
meantime had gotten their pay--so I took them from the Commission Lodge
(where I had taken them on arriving) to the cars, and off for Baltimore.
There I placed them in the care of one of the gentlemen of the Relief
Associations, and arrived home at 1.30 A. M. I carried money home for
some of the boys, and had business of my own to attend to, keeping me
constantly going on Wednesday and Thursday; left at midnight (Thursday
night) for Washington, took the morning boat and arrived here this
afternoon." This record of five days of severe labor such as few men
could have gone through without utter prostration, is narrated in her
letter to her friend evidently without a thought that there was anything
extraordinary in it; yet it was in a constant succession of labors as
wearing as this that she lived for full three years of her army life.

Immediately after the battles of Chancellorsville she went to United
States Ford, but was not allowed to cross, and joined two Maine ladies
at the hospital on the north side of the Rappahannock, where they
dressed wounds until dark, slept in an ambulance, and early in the
morning went to work again, but were soon warned to leave, as it was
supposed that the house used as a hospital would be shelled. They left,
and about half a mile farther on found the hospital of the Third and
Eleventh Corps. Here the surgeon in charge urged Mrs. Husband to remain
and assist him, promising her transportation. She accordingly left her
ambulance and dressed wounds until midnight. By this time the army was
in full retreat and passing the hospital. The surgeon forgot his
promise, and taking care of himself, left her to get away as best she
could. It was pitch dark and the rain pouring in torrents. She was
finally offered a part of the front seat of an army (medicine) wagon,
and after riding two or three miles on the horrible roads the tongue of
the wagon broke, and she was compelled to sit in the drenching rain for
two or three hours till the guide could bring up an ambulance, in which
she reached Falmouth the next day.

The hospital of which she was lady matron was broken up at the time of
this battle, but she was immediately installed in the same position in
the hospital of the Third Division of the Third Corps, then filled to
overflowing with the Chancellorsville wounded. Here she remained until
compelled to move North with the army by Lee's raid into Pennsylvania in
June and July, 1863.

On the 3d of July, the day of the last and fiercest of the Gettysburg
battles, Mrs. Husband, who had been, from inability to get permission to
go to the front, passing a few anxious days at Philadelphia, started for
Gettysburg, determined to go to the aid and relief of the soldier boys,
who, she well knew, needed her services. She reached the battle-field on
the morning of the 4th by way of Westminster, in General Meade's
mail-wagon. She made her way at first to the hospital of the Third
Corps, and labored there till that as well as the other field hospitals
were broken up, when she devoted herself to the wounded in Camp
Letterman. Here she was attacked with miasmatic fever, but struggled
against it with all the energy of her nature, remaining for three weeks
ill in her tent. She was at length carried home, but as soon as she was
convalescent, went to Camp Parole at Annapolis, as agent of the Sanitary
Commission, to fill the place of Miss Clara Davis, (now Mrs. Edward
Abbott), who was prostrated by severe illness induced by her severe and
continued labors.

In December, 1863, she accepted the position of matron to her old
hospital, (Third Division of the Third Corps), then located at Brandy
Station, where she remained till General Grant's order issued on the
15th of April caused the removal of all civilians from the army.

A month had not elapsed, before the terrible slaughter of the
"Wilderness" and "Spottsylvania," had made that part of Virginia a field
of blood, and Mrs. Husband hastened to Fredericksburg where no official
now barred her progress with his "red tape" prohibitions; here she
remained till the first of June, toiling incessantly, and then moving on
to Port Royal and White House, where the same sad scenes were repeated,
and where, amid so much suffering and horror, it was difficult to banish
the feeling of depression. At White House, she took charge of the low
diet kitchen for the whole Sixth Corps, to which her division had been
transferred. The number of wounded was very large, this corps having
suffered severely in the battle of Cold Harbor, and her duties were
arduous, but she made no complaint, her heart being at rest, if she
could only do something for her brave soldier boys.

When the base was transferred to City Point, she made her way to the
Third Division, Sixth Corps' Hospital at the front, where she remained
until the Sixth Corps were ordered to the Shenandoah Valley, when she
took charge of the low diet kitchen of the Second Corps' Hospital at
City Point, and remained there until the end. Her labors among the men
in this hospital were constant and severe, but she won all hearts by
her tenderness, cheerfulness, and thoughtful consideration of the needs
of every particular ease. Each one of those under her care felt that she
was specially _his_ friend, and interesting and sometimes amusing were
the confidences imparted to her, by the poor fellows. The one bright
event of the day to all was the visit of "Mother" Husband to their ward.
The apron, with its huge pockets, always bore some welcome gift for
each, and however trifling it might be in itself, it was precious as
coming from her hands. Her friends in Philadelphia, by their constant
supplies, enabled her to dispense many articles of comfort and luxury to
the sick and wounded, which could not otherwise have been furnished.

On the 6th of May, 1865, Mrs. Husband was gratified by the sight of our
gallant army marching through Richmond. As they passed, in long array,
they recognized her, and from hundreds of the soldiers of the Second,
Third, and Sixth Corps, rang out the loud and hearty "Hurrah for Mother
Husband!" while their looks expressed their gratitude to one who had
been their firm and faithful friend in the hour of suffering and danger.

Mrs. Husband felt that she must do something more for her "boys" before
they separated and returned to their distant homes; she therefore left
Richmond immediately, and traveling with her accustomed celerity, soon
reached Philadelphia, and gathering up from her liberal friends and her
own moderate means, a sufficient sum to procure the necessary stores,
she returned with an ample supply, met the soldiers of the corps to
which she had been attached at Bailey's Cross Roads, and there spent six
or seven days in distributing to them the clothing and comforts which
they needed. Her last opportunity of seeing them was a few days later at
the grand review in Washington.

There was one class of services which Mrs. Husband rendered to the
soldiers, which we have not mentioned, and in which we believe she had
no competitor. In the autumn of 1863, her attention was called to the
injustice of the finding and sentence of a court martial, which had
tried a private soldier for some alleged offence and sentenced him to be
shot. She investigated the case and, with some difficulty, succeeded in
procuring his pardon from the President.

She began from this time to take an interest in these cases of trial by
summary court martial, and having a turn for legal investigation, to
which her early training and her husband's profession had inclined her,
and a clear judicial mind, she made each one her study, and though she
found that there were some cases in which summary punishment was
merited, yet the majority were deserving of the interposition of
executive clemency, and she became their advocate with the patient and
kind-hearted Lincoln. In scores of instances she secured, not without
much difficulty, and some abuse from officials "dressed in a little
brief authority," who disliked her keen and thorough investigation of
their proceedings, the pardon or the commutation of punishment of those
sentenced to death. Rarely, if ever, did the President turn a deaf ear
to her pleadings; for he knew that they were prompted by no sinister
motive, or simple humane impulse. Every case which she presented had
been thoroughly and carefully examined, and her knowledge of it was so
complete, that he felt he might safely trust her.

Through all these multifarious labors and toils, Mrs. Husband has
received no compensation from the Government or the Sanitary Commission.
She entered the service as a volunteer, and her necessities have been
met from her own means, and she has also given freely to the soldiers
and to their families from her not over-full purse. Her reward is in the
sublime consciousness of having been able to accomplish an amount of
good which few could equal. All over the land, in hundreds of homes, in
thousands of hearts, her name is a household word, and as the mother
looks upon her son, the wife upon her husband, the child upon its
father, blessings are breathed forth upon her through whose skilful care
and watchful nursing these loved ones are spared to be a joy and
support. The contributions and mementoes presented by her soldier boys
form a large and very interesting museum in her home. There are rings
almost numberless, carved from animal bones, shells, stone, vulcanite,
etc., miniature tablets, books, harps, etc., inlaid from trees or houses
of historic memory, minie bullets, which have traversed bone and flesh
of patient sufferers, and shot and shell which have done their part in
destroying the fortresses of the rebellion. Each memento has its
history, and all are precious in the eyes of the recipient, as a token
of the love of those whom she has watched and nursed.

Her home is the Mecca of the soldiers of the Army of the Potomac, and if
any of them are sick or in distress in Philadelphia, Mother Husband
hastens at once to their relief. Late may she return to the skies; and
when at last in the glory of a ripe and beautiful old age, she lies down
to rest, a grateful people shall inscribe on her monument, "Here lies
all that was mortal of one whom all delighted to honor."


Among the deeds which entitle the United States Sanitary Commission to
the lasting gratitude of the American people, was the organization and
maintenance of the "Hospital Transport Service" in the Spring and Summer
of 1862. When the Army of the Potomac removed from the high lands about
Washington, to the low marshy and miasmatic region of the Peninsula, it
required but little discernment to predict that extensive sickness would
prevail among the troops; this, and the certainty of sanguinary battles
soon to ensue, which would multiply the wounded beyond all previous
precedents, were felt, by the officers of the Sanitary Commission, as
affording sufficient justification, if any were needed for making an
effort to supplement the provision of the Medical Bureau, which could
not fail to be inadequate for the coming emergency. Accordingly early in
April, 1862, Mr. F. L. Olmstead, the Secretary of the Commission, having
previously secured the sanction of the Medical Bureau, made application
to the Quartermaster-General to allow the Commission to take in hand
some of the transport steamboats of his department, of which a large
number were at that time lying idle, to fit them up and furnish them in
all respects suitable for the reception and care of sick and wounded
men, providing surgeons and other necessary attendance without cost to
Government. After tedious delays and disappointments of various
kinds--one fine large boat having been assigned, partially furnished by
the Commission, and then withdrawn--an order was at length received,
authorizing the Commission to take possession of any of the Government
transports, not in actual use, which might at that time be lying at
Alexandria. Under this authorization the Daniel Webster was assigned to
the Commission on the 25th of April, and having been fitted up, the
stores shipped, and the hospital corps for it assembled, it reached York
River on the 30th of April.

Other boats were subsequently, (several of them, very soon) assigned to
the Commission, and were successively fitted up, and after receiving
their freights of sick and wounded, sent to Washington, Philadelphia,
New York and other points with their precious cargoes, which were to be
transferred to the general hospitals. Among these vessels were the
"Ocean Queen," the "S. R. Spaulding," the "Elm City," the "Daniel
Webster," No. 2, the "Knickerbocker," the clipper ships Euterpe and St.
Mark, and the Commission chartered the "Wilson Small," and the
"Elizabeth," two small steamers, as tender and supply boats. The
Government were vacillating in their management in regard to these
vessels, often taking them from the Commission just when partially or
wholly fitted up, on the plea of requiring them for some purpose and
assigning another vessel, often poorly adapted to their service, on
board of which the labor of fitting and supplying must be again
undergone, when that too would be withdrawn.

To each of these hospital transports several ladies were assigned by the
Commission to take charge of the diet of the patients, assist in
dressing their wounds, and generally to care for their comfort and
welfare. Mr. Olmstead, and Mr. Knapp, the Assistant Secretary, had also
in their company, or as they pleasantly called them, members of their
staff, four ladies, who remained in the service, not leaving the
vicinity of the Peninsula, until the transfer of the troops to Acquia
Creek and Alexandria late in August. These ladies remained for the most
part on board the Daniel Webster, or the Wilson Small, or wherever the
headquarters of the Commission in the field might be. Their duties
consisted in nursing, preparing food for the sick and wounded, dressing
wounds, in connexion with the surgeons and medical students, and in
general, making themselves useful to the great numbers of wounded and
sick who were placed temporarily under their charge. Often they provided
them with clean beds and hospital clothing, and suitable food in
preparation for their voyage to Washington, Philadelphia, or New York.
These four ladies were Miss Katherine P. Wormeley, of Newport, R. I.,
Mrs. William P. Griffin, of New York, one of the executive board of the
Woman's Central Association of Relief, Mrs. Eliza W. Howland, wife of
Colonel (afterward General) Joseph Howland, and her sister, Miss
Georgiana Woolsey, both of New York.

Among those who were in charge of the Hospital Transports for one or
more of their trips to the cities we have named, and by their tenderness
and gentleness comforted and cheered the poor sufferers, and often by
their skilful nursing rescued them from the jaws of death, were Mrs.
George T. Strong, the wife of the Treasurer of the Commission, who made
four or five trips; Miss Harriet Douglas Whetten, who served throughout
the Peninsular Campaign as head of the Women's Department on the S. R.
Spaulding; Mrs. Laura Trotter, (now Mrs. Charles Parker) of Boston, who
occupied a similar position on the Daniel Webster; Mrs. Bailey, at the
head of the Women's Department on the Elm City; Mrs. Charlotte Bradford,
a Massachusetts lady who made several trips on the Elm City and
Knickerbocker; Miss Amy M. Bradley, whose faithful services are
elsewhere recorded; Mrs. Annie Etheridge, of the Fifth Michigan, Miss
Bradley's faithful and zealous co-worker; Miss Helen L. Gilson, who here
as well as everywhere else proved herself one of the most eminently
useful women in the service; Miss M. Gardiner, who was on several of the
steamers; Mrs. Balustier, of New York, one of the most faithful and
self-sacrificing of the ladies of the Hospital Transport service; Mrs.
Mary Morris Husband, of Philadelphia, who made four voyages, and whose
valuable services are elsewhere recited; Mrs. Bellows, the wife of the
President of the Commission, who made one voyage; Mrs. Merritt, and
several other ladies.

But let us return to the ladies who remained permanently at the
Commission's headquarters in the Peninsula. Their position and duties
were in many respects more trying and arduous than those who accompanied
the sick and wounded to the hospitals of the cities. The Daniel Webster,
which, as we have said, reached York River April 30, discharged her
stores except what would be needed for her trip to New York, and having
placed them in a store-house on shore, began to supply the sick in camp
and hospital, and to receive such patients on board as it was deemed
expedient to send to New York. These were washed, their clothing
changed, they were fed and put in good clean beds, and presently sent
off to their destination. The staff then commenced putting the Ocean
Queen, which had just been sent to them, into a similar condition of
fitness for receiving the sick and wounded. She had not, on her arrival,
a single bunk or any stores on board; and before any preparation could
be made, the regimental and brigade surgeons on shore (who never would
wait) began to send their sick and wounded on board; remonstrance was
useless, and the whole party worked with all their might to make what
provision was possible. One of the party went on shore, found a rebel
cow at pasture, shot her, skinned her with his pocket-knife, and brought
off the beef. A barrel of Indian meal, forgotten in discharging the
freight of the vessel, was discovered in the hold and made into gruel
almost by magic, and cups of it were ladled out to the poor fellows as
they tottered in, with their faces flushed with typhoid fever; by dint
of constant hard work, bunks were got up, stores brought on board, two
draught oxen left behind by Franklin's Division found and slaughtered,
and nine hundred patients having been taken on board, the vessel's
anchors were weighed and she went out to sea. This was very much the
experience of the party during their stay in the Peninsula. Hard,
constant, and hurrying work were the rule, a day of comparative rest was
the exception. Dividing themselves into small parties of two or three,
they boarded and supplied with the stores of the Commission, the boats
which the Medical officers of the army had pressed into the service
filled with wounded and sent without comfort, food or attendance, on
their way to the hospitals in the vicinity of Fortress Monroe;
superintended the shipping of patients on the steamers which returned
from the North; took account of the stores needed by these boats and saw
that they were sent on board; fitted up the new boats furnished to the
Commission by the Quartermaster's orders; received, sorted and
distributed the patients brought to the landing on freight-cars,
according to orders; fed, cleansed, and gave medical aid and nursing to
all of them, and selected nurses for those to be sent North; and when
any great emergency came did their utmost to meet it.

The amount of work actually performed was very great; but it was
performed in such a cheerful triumphant spirit, a spirit that rejoiced
so heartily in doing something to aid the nation's defenders, in
sacrificing everything that they might be saved, that it was robbed of
half its irksomeness and gloom, and most of the zealous workers retained
their health and vigor even in the miasmatic air of the bay and its
estuaries. Miss Wormeley, one of the transport corps, has supplied,
partly from her own pen, and partly from that of Miss Georgiana Woolsey,
one of her co-workers, some vivid pictures of their daily life, which,
with her permission, we here reproduce from her volume on the "United
States Sanitary Commission," published in 1863.

"The last hundred patients were brought on board" (imagine any of the
ships, it does not matter which) "late last night. Though these
night-scenes are part of our daily living, a fresh eye would find them
dramatic. We are awakened in the dead of night by a sharp steam-whistle,
and soon after feel ourselves clawed by little tugs on either side of
our big ship, bringing off the sick and wounded from the shore. And, at
once, the process of taking on hundreds of men--many of them crazed with
fever--begins. There is the bringing of the stretchers up the
side-ladder between the two boats; the stopping at the head of it, where
the names and home addresses of all who can speak are written down, and
their knapsacks and little treasures numbered and stacked; then the
placing of the stretchers on the platform; the row of anxious faces
above and below deck; the lantern held over the hold; the word given to
'Lower;' the slow-moving ropes and pulleys; the arrival at the bottom;
the turning down of the anxious faces; the lifting out of the sick man,
and the lifting him into his bed; and then the sudden change from cold,
hunger and friendlessness, into positive comfort and satisfaction,
winding up with his invariable verdict, if he can speak,--'This is just
like home!'

"We have put 'The Elm City' in order, and she began to fill up last
night. I wish you could hear the men after they are put into bed. Those
who _can_ speak, speak with a will; the others grunt, or murmur their
satisfaction. 'Well, this bed is most _too_ soft; I don't know as I
shall sleep, for thinking of it,' 'What have you got there?' 'That is
bread; wait till I put butter on it.' 'Butter, on _soft_ bread!' he
slowly ejaculates, as if not sure that he isn't Aladdin with a genie at
work upon him. Instances of such high unselfishness happen daily, that,
though I forget them daily, I feel myself strengthened in my trust in
human nature, without making any reflections about it. Last night, a man
comfortably put to bed in a middle berth (there were three tiers, and
the middle one incomparably the best) seeing me point to the upper berth
as the place to put the man on an approaching stretcher, cried out:
'Stop! put me up there. Guess I can stand h'isting better'n _him_.' It
was agony to both.

"I have a long history to tell you, one of these days, of the
gratefulness of the men. I often wish,--as I give a comfort to some poor
fellow, and see the sense of rest it gives him, and hear the favorite
speech: 'O, that's good, it's just as if mother was here,'--that the man
or woman who supplied that comfort were by to see how blessed it is.
Believe me, you may all give and work in the earnest hope that you
alleviate suffering, but none of you realize what you do; perhaps you
can't conceive of it, unless you could see your gifts _in use_. * * * *

"We are now on board 'The Knickerbocker,' unpacking and arranging
stores, and getting pantries and closets in order. I am writing on the
floor, interrupted constantly to join in a laugh. Miss ---- is sorting
socks, and pulling out the funny little balls of yarn, and big
darning-needles stuck in the toes, with which she is making a fringe
across my back. _Do_ spare us the darning-needles! Reflect upon us,
rushing in haste to the linen closet, and plunging our hands into the
bale of stockings! I certainly will make a collection of sanitary
clothing. I solemnly aver that yesterday I found a pair of drawers made
for a case of amputation at the thigh. And the slippers! Only fit for
pontoon bridges!"

This routine of fitting up the ships as they arrived, and of receiving
the men on board as they came from the front, was accompanied by
constant hard work in meeting requisitions from regiments, with
ceaseless battlings for transportation to get supplies to the front for
camps and hospitals; and was diversified by short excursions, which we
will call "special relief;" such, for instance, as the following:--

"At midnight two steamers came alongside 'The Elm City,' each with a
hundred sick, bringing word that 'The Daniel Webster No. 2' (a sidewheel
vessel, not a Commission boat) was aground at a little distance, with
two hundred more, having no one in charge of them, and nothing to eat.
Of course they had to be attended to. So, amidst the wildest and most
beautiful storm of thunder and lightning, four of us pulled off to her
in a little boat, with tea, bread, brandy, and beef-essence. (No one can
tell how it tries my nerves to go toppling round at night in little
boats, and clambering up ships' sides on little ladders). We fed
them,--the usual process. Poor fellows! they were so crazy!--And then
'The Wissahickon' came alongside to transfer them to 'The Elm City.'
Only a part of them could go in the first load. Dr. Ware, with his
constant thoughtfulness, made me go in her, to escape returning in the
small boat. Just as we pushed off, the steam gave out, and we drifted
end on to the shore. Then a boat had to put off from 'The Elm City,'
with a line to tow us up. All this time the thunder was incessant, the
rain falling in torrents, whilst every second the beautiful crimson
lightning flashed the whole scene open to us. Add to this, that there
were three men alarmingly ill, and (thinking to be but a minute in
reaching the other ship) I had not even a drop of brandy for them. Do
you wonder, therefore, that I forgot your letters?"

Or, again, the following:--

"Sixty men were heard of as lying upon the railroad without food, and no
one to look after them. Some of us got at once into the stern-wheeler
'Wissahickon,' which is the Commission's carriage, and, with provisions,
basins, towels, soap, blankets, etc., went up to the railroad bridge,
cooking tea and spreading bread and butter as we went. A tremendous
thunder-storm came up, in the midst of which the men were found, put on
freight-cars, and pushed to the landing;--fed, washed, and taken on the
tug to 'The Elm City.' Dr. Ware, in his hard working on shore, had found
fifteen other sick men without food or shelter,--there being 'no room'
in the tent-hospital. He had studied the neighborhood extensively for
shanties; found one, and put his men in it for the night. In the morning
we ran up on the tug, cooking breakfast for them as we ran, scrambling
eggs in a wash-basin over a spirit-lamp:--and such eggs! nine in ten
addled! It must be understood that wash-basins in the rear of an army
are made of _tin_."

And here is one more such story: "We were called to go on board 'The
Wissahickon,' from thence to 'The Sea-shore' and run down in the latter
to West Point, to bring off twenty-five men said to be lying there sick
and destitute. Two doctors went with us. After hunting an hour for 'The
Sea-shore' in vain, and having got as low as Cumberland, we decided
(_we_ being Mrs. Howland and I, for the doctors were new and docile, and
glad to leave the responsibility upon us women) to push on in the tug,
rather than leave the men another night on the ground, as a heavy storm
of wind and rain had been going on all the day. The pilot remonstrated,
but the captain approved; and, if the firemen had not suddenly let out
the fires, and detained us two hours, we might have got our men on
board, and returned, comfortably, soon after dark. But the delay lost us
the precious daylight. It was night before the last man was got on
board. There were fifty-six of them, ten _very_ sick ones. The boat had
a little shelter-cabin. As we were laying mattresses on the floor,
whilst the doctors were finding the men, the captain stopped us,
refusing to let us put typhoid fever below the deck, on account of the
crew, he said, and threatening to push off, at once, from the shore.
Mrs. Howland and I looked at him! I did the terrible, and she the
pathetic,--and he abandoned the contest. The return passage was rather
an anxious one. The river is much obstructed with sunken ships and
trees; the night was dark, and we had to feel our way, slackening speed
every ten minutes. If we had been alone it wouldn't have mattered; but
to have fifty men unable to move upon our hands, was too heavy a
responsibility not to make us anxious. The captain and pilot said the
boat was leaking, and remarked awfully that 'the water was six fathoms
deep about there;' but we saw their motive and were not scared. We were
safe alongside 'The Spaulding' by midnight; but Mr. Olmstead's tone of
voice, as he said, 'You don't know how glad I am to see you,' showed how
much he had been worried. And yet it was the best thing we could have
done, for three, perhaps five, of the men would have been dead before
morning. To-day (Sunday) they are living and likely to live. _Is_ this
Sunday? What days our Sundays have been! I think of you all at rest,
and the sound of church bells in your ears, with a strange, distant

This was the general state of things at the time when the battle of Fair
Oaks was fought, June 1, 1862. All the vessels of the Commission except
"The Spaulding"--and she was hourly expected--were on the spot, and
ready. "The Elm City" happened to be full of fever cases. A vague rumor
of a battle prevailed, soon made certain by the sound of the
cannonading; and she left at once (4 A. M.) to discharge her sick at
Yorktown, and performed the great feat of getting back to White House,
cleaned, and with her beds made, before sunset of the same day. By that
time the wounded were arriving. The boats of the Commission filled up
calmly. The young men had a system by which they shipped their men; and
there was neither hurry nor confusion, as the vessels, one by one,--"The
Elm City," "The Knickerbocker," "The Daniel Webster,"--filled up and
left the landing. After them, other boats, detailed by the Government
for hospital service, came up. These boats were not under the control of
the Commission. There was no one specially appointed to take charge of
them; no one to receive the wounded at the station; no one to see that
the boats were supplied with proper stores. A frightful scene of
confusion and misery ensued. The Commission came forward to do what it
could; but it had no power, only the right of charity. It could not
control, scarcely check, the fearful confusion that prevailed, as train
after train came in, and the wounded were brought and thrust upon the
various boats. But it did nobly what it could. Night and day its members
worked: not, it must be remembered, in its own well-organized service,
but in the hard duty of making the best of a bad case. Not the smallest
preparation was found, on at least three of the boats, for the common
food of the men; and, as for sick-food, stimulants, drinks, there was
nothing of the kind on any one of the boats, and not a pail nor a cup to
distribute food, had there been any.

No one, it is believed, can tell the story, _as it occurred_, of the
next three days;--no one can tell distinctly what boats they were, on
which they lived and worked through those days and nights. They remember
scenes and sounds, but they remember nothing as a whole; and, to this
day, if they are feverish and weary, comes back the sight of men in
every condition of horror, borne, shattered and shrieking, by
thoughtless hands, who banged the stretchers against pillars and posts,
dumped them anywhere, and walked over the men without compassion.
Imagine an immense river-steamboat filled on every deck: every berth,
every square inch of room, covered with wounded men,--even the stairs
and gangways and guards filled with those who were less badly wounded;
and then imagine fifty well men, on every kind of errand, hurried and
impatient, rushing to and fro, every touch bringing agony to the poor
fellows, whilst stretcher after stretcher comes along, hoping to find an
empty place; and then imagine what it was for these people of the
Commission to keep calm themselves, and make sure that each man, on such
a boat as that, was properly refreshed and fed. Sometimes two or even
three such boats were lying side by side, full of suffering and horrors.

This was the condition of things with the subordinates. With the chiefs
it was aggravated by a wild confusion of conflicting orders from
headquarters, and conflicting authority upon the ground, until the
wonder is that _any_ method could have been obtained. But an earnest
purpose can do almost everything, and out of the struggle came daylight
at last. The first gleam of it was from a hospital tent and kitchen,
which, by the goodness and thoughtfulness of Captain (now Colonel)
Sawtelle, Assistant-Quartermaster, was pitched for the Commission, just
at the head of the wharf, and near the spot where the men arrived in the
cars. This tent (Dr. Ware gave to its preparation the only hour when he
might have rested through that long nightmare) became the strength and
the comfort of the Commission people. As the men passed it, from cars to
boat, they could be refreshed and stimulated, and from it meals were
sent to all the boats at the landing. During that dreadful battle-week,
three thousand men were fed from that tent. It was not the Vale of
Cashmere, but many dear associations cluster round it.

After the pressure was over, the Commission went back to its old
routine, but upon a new principle. A member of the Commission came down
to White House for a day or two, and afterward wrote a few words about
that work. As he saw it with a fresh eye, his letter will be given here.
He says:--

"I wish you could have been with me at White House during my late visit,
to see how much is being done by our agents there to alleviate the
sufferings of the sick and wounded soldiers. I have seen a good deal of
suffering among our volunteers, and observed the marvellous variety and
energy of the beneficence bestowed by the patriotic and philanthropic in
camp, in hospital, and on transports for the sick; but nothing has ever
impressed me so deeply as this. Perhaps I can better illustrate my
meaning by sketching a few of the daily labors of the agents of the
Commission as I saw them. The sick and wounded were usually sent down
from the front by rail, a distance of about twenty miles, over a rough
road, and in the common freight-cars. A train generally arrived at White
House at nine P. M., and another at two A. M. In order to prepare for
the reception of the sick and wounded, Mr. Olmstead, with Drs. Jenkins
and Ware, had pitched, by the side of the railway, at White House, a
large number of tents, to shelter and feed the convalescent. These tents
were their only shelter while waiting to be shipped. Among them was one
used as a kitchen and work-room, or pantry, by the ladies in our
service, who prepared beef-tea, milk-punch, and other food and comforts,
in anticipation of the arrival of the trains. By the terminus of the
railway the large Commission steamboat 'Knickerbocker' lay in the
Pamunkey, in readiness for the reception of four hundred and fifty
patients, provided with comfortable beds and a corps of devoted
surgeons, dressers, nurses, and litter-bearers. Just outside of this
vessel lay 'The Elizabeth,' a steam-barge, loaded with the hospital
stores of the Commission, and in charge of a store-keeper, always ready
to issue supplies. Outside of this again lay 'The Wilson Small,' the
headquarters of our Commission. As soon as a train arrived, the
moderately sick were selected and placed in the tents near the railroad
and fed; those more ill were carried to the upper saloon of 'The
Knickerbocker,' while the seriously ill, or badly wounded, were placed
in the lower saloon, and immediately served by the surgeons and
dressers. During the three nights that I observed the working of the
system, about seven hundred sick and wounded were provided with quarters
and ministered to in all their wants with a tender solicitude and skill
that excited my deepest admiration. To see Drs. Ware and Jenkins,
lantern in hand, passing through the trains, selecting the sick with
reference to their necessities, and the ladies following to assuage the
thirst, or arouse, by judiciously administered stimulants, the failing
strength of the brave and uncomplaining sufferers, was a spectacle of
the most touching character. If you had experienced the debilitating
influence of the Pamunkey climate, you would be filled with wonder at
the mere physical endurance of our corps, who certainly could not have
been sustained in the performance of duties, involving labor by day and
through sleepless nights, without a strong sense of their usefulness and

"At Savage's Station, too, the Commission had a valuable depot, where
comfort and assistance was dispensed to the sick when changing from the
ambulances to the cars. I wish I could do justice to the subject of my
hasty narrative, or in any due measure convey to your mind the
impressions left on mine in observing, even casually, the operations in
the care of the sick at these two points.

"When we remember what was done by the same noble band of laborers after
the battles of Williamsburg and Fair Oaks, in ministering to the wants
of _thousands of wounded_, I am sure that we shall join with them in
gratitude and thankfulness that they were enabled to be there."

But the end of it all was at hand; the "change of base," of which the
Commission had some private intelligence, came to pass. The sick and
wounded were carefully gathered up from the tents and hospitals, and
sent slowly away down the winding river--"The Wilson Small" lingering as
long as possible, till the telegraph wires had been cut, and the enemy
was announced, by mounted messengers, to be at "Tunstall's;" in fact,
till the roar of the battle came nearer, and we knew that Stoneman with
his cavalry was falling back to Williamsburg, and that the enemy were
about to march into our deserted places.

"All night we sat on the deck of 'The Small' slowly moving away,
watching the constantly increasing cloud and the fire-flashes over the
trees towards the White House; watching the fading out of what had been
to us, through these strange weeks, a sort of home, where all had worked
together and been happy; a place which is sacred to some of us now for
its intense living remembrances, and for the hallowing of them all by
the memory of one who, through months of death and darkness, lived and
worked in self-abnegation, lived in and for the suffering of others, and
finally gave himself a sacrifice for them."[F]

[Footnote F: Dr. Robert Ware.]

"We are coaling here to-night ('Wilson Small,' off Norfolk, June 30th,
1862). We left White House Saturday night, and rendezvoused at West
Point. Captain Sawtelle sent us off early, with despatches for Fortress
Monroe; this gave us the special fun of being the first to come
leisurely into the panic then raging at Yorktown. 'The Small' was
instantly surrounded by terror-stricken boats; the people of the big
'St. Mark' leaned, pale, over their bulwarks, to question us. Nothing
could be more delightful than to be as calm and monosyllabic as we were.
* * * * * We leave at daybreak for Harrison's Bar, James River, where
our gunboats are said to be; we hope to get further up, but General Dix
warns us that it is not safe. What are we about to learn? No one here
can tell. * * * * * (Harrison's Bar, July 2d). We arrived here yesterday
to hear the thunder of the battle,[G] and to find the army just
approaching this landing; last night it was a verdant shore, to-day it
is a dusty plain. * * * * * 'The Spaulding' has passed and gone ahead of
us; her ironsides can carry her safely past the rifle-pits which line
the shore. No one can tell us as yet what work there is for us; the
wounded have not come in." * * * * *

[Footnote G: Malvern Hill.]

"_Hospital Transport 'Spaulding,' July 3d._--Reached Harrison's Bar at
11 A. M., July 1st, and were ordered to go up the James River, as far as
Carter's Landing. To do this we must pass the batteries at City Point.
We were told there was no danger if we should carry a yellow flag;
_yellow flag_ we had none, so we trusted to the _red_ Sanitary
Commission, and prepared to run it. 'The Galena' hailed us to keep
below, as we passed the battery. Shortly after, we came up with 'The
Monitor,' and the little captain, with his East India hat, trumpet in
hand, repeated the advice of 'The Galena,' and added, that if he heard
firing, he would follow us. Our cannon pointed its black muzzle at the
shore, and on we went. As we left 'The Monitor,' the captain came to me,
with his grim smile, and said, 'I'll take those mattresses you spoke
of.' We had joked, as people will, about our danger, and I had suggested
mattresses round the wheel-house, never thinking that he would try it.
But the captain was in earnest; when was he anything else? So the
contrabands brought up the mattresses, and piled them against the
wheel-house, and the pilot stood against the mast, with a mattress slung
in the rigging to protect him. In an hour we had passed the danger and
reached Carter's Landing, and there was the army, 'all that was left of
it.' * * * Over all the bank, on the lawns of that lovely spot, under
the shade of the large trees that fringed the outer park, lay hundreds
of our poor boys, brought from the battle-fields of six days. It seemed
a hopeless task even to feed them. We went first into the hospital, and
gave them refreshment all round. One man, burnt up with fever, burst
into tears when I spoke to him. I held his hand silently, and at last he
sobbed out, 'You are so kind,--I--am so weak.' We were ordered by the
surgeon in charge to station ourselves on the lawn, and wait the arrival
of the ambulances, so as to give something (we had beef-tea, soup,
brandy, etc., etc.) to the poor fellows as they arrived. * * * * * Late
that night came peremptory orders from the Quartermaster, for 'The
Spaulding' to drop down to Harrison's Landing. We took some of the
wounded with us; others went by land or ambulances, and some--it seems
incredible--walked the distance. Others were left behind and taken
prisoners; for the enemy reached Carter's Landing as we left it."

The work of the Commission upon the hospital transports was about to

But before it was all over, the various vessels had made several trips
in the service of the Commission, and one voyage of "The Spaulding" must
not pass unrecorded.

"We were ordered up to City Point, under a flag of truce, to receive our
wounded men who were prisoners in Richmond. * * * * * At last the
whistle sounded and the train came in sight. The poor fellows set up a
weak cheer at the sight of the old flag, and those who had the strength
hobbled and tumbled off the train almost before it stopped. We took four
hundred and one on board. Two other vessels which accompanied us took
each two hundred more. The rebel soldiers had been kind to our men,--so
they said,--but the citizens had taken pains to insult them. One man
burst into tears as he was telling me of their misery: 'May God defend
me from such again.' God took him to Himself, poor suffering soul! He
died the next morning,--died because he would not let them take off his
arm. 'I wasn't going to let them have it in Richmond; I said I _would_
take it back to old Massachusetts.' Of course we had a hard voyage with
our poor fellows in such a condition, but, at least, they were cleaned
and well fed."


Most of the ladies connected with this Hospital Transport service,
distinguished themselves in other departments of philanthropic labor for
the soldiers, often not less arduous, and sometimes not cheered by so
pleasant companionship. Miss BRADLEY, as we have seen accomplished a
noble work in connection with the Soldiers' Home at Washington, and the
Rendezvous of Distribution; Miss GILSON and Mrs. HUSBAND were active in
every good word and work; Mrs. CHARLOTTE BRADFORD succeeded Miss Bradley
in the charge of the Soldiers' Home at Washington, where she
accomplished a world of good. Mrs. W. P. GRIFFIN, though compelled by
illness contracted during her services on the Peninsula, returned with
quickened zeal and more fervid patriotism to her work in connection with
the "Woman's Central Association of Relief," in New York, of which she
was up to the close of the war one of the most active and untiring
managers. Miss HARRIET DOUGLAS WHETTEN, who after two or three voyages
back and forth in different vessels, was finally placed in charge of the
Woman's Department on board of the Spaulding, where she remained until
that vessel was given up by the Commission, and indeed continued on
board for two or three voyages after the vessel became a Government
hospital transport. Her management on board the Spaulding was admirable,
eliciting the praise of all who saw it. When the Portsmouth Grove
General Hospital in Rhode Island was opened, under the charge of Miss
Wormeley, as Lady Superintendent, that lady invited her to become her
assistant; she accepted the invitation and remained there a year, when
she was invited to become Lady Superintendent of the Carver General
Hospital, at Washington, D. C., a position of great responsibility,
which she filled with the greatest credit and success, retaining it to
the close of the war.

An intimate friend, who was long associated with her, says of her, "Miss
Whetten's absolute and untiring devotion to the sick men was beyond all
praise. She is a _born nurse_. She was perhaps less energetic and rapid
than others, but no one could quite come up to her in tender care, and
in that close watching and sympathetic knowledge about a patient which
belongs only to a true nurse. And when I say that she was less energetic
than some, I am in fact saying something to her honor. Her nature was
calmer and less energetic, but she worked as hard and for a longer time
together than any of us, and this was directly in opposition to her
habits and disposition, and was in fact a triumph over herself. She did
more than any one personally for the men--the rest of us worked more
generally--when a man's sufferings or necessities were relieved, we
thought no more about him--but she took a warm personal interest in the
individual. In the end this strain upon her feelings wore down her
spirits, but it was a feature of her success, and there must be many a
poor fellow, who if he heard her name 'would rise up and call her

       *       *       *       *       *

Three or four of the ladies especially connected with the headquarters
of the Commission in the Hospital Transport Service, from their
important services elsewhere, are entitled to a fuller notice. Among
these we must include the accomplished historian of the earlier work of
the Commission.


Among the many of our countrywomen who have been active and ardent in
the soldier's cause, some may have devoted themselves to the service for
a longer period, but few with more earnestness and greater ability than
the lady whose name stands at the head of this sketch, and few have
entered into a greater variety of details in the prosecution of the

Katherine Prescott Wormeley was born in England. Her father though
holding the rank of a Rear-Admiral in the British Navy, was a native of
Virginia. Her mother is a native of Boston, Massachusetts. Miss Wormeley
may therefore be said to be alien to her birth-place, and to be an
American in fact as in feelings. She now resides with her mother at
Newport, Rhode Island.

Miss Wormeley was among the earliest to engage in the work of procuring
supplies and aid for the volunteer soldiery. The work began in Newport
early in July, 1861. The first meeting of women was held informally at
the house of Miss Wormeley's mother. An organization was obtained, rooms
secured (being lent for the purpose), and about two thousand dollars
subscribed. The Society, which assumed the name of the "Woman's Union
Aid Society" immediately commenced the work with vigor, and shortly
forwarded to the Sanitary Commission at Washington their first cases of
clothing and supplies. Miss Wormeley remained at the head of this
society until April, 1862. It was kept in funds by private gifts, and
by the united efforts of all the churches of Newport, and the United
States Naval Academy which was removed thither from Annapolis, Maryland,
in the spring of 1861.

During the summer of 1861 several ladies (summer residents of Newport),
were in the habit of sending to Miss Wormeley many poor women, with the
request that she would furnish them with steady employment upon hospital
clothing, the ladies paying for the work. After they left, the poor
women whom they had thus benefited, felt the loss severely, and the
thought occurred to Miss Wormeley that the outfitting of a great army
must furnish much suitable work for them could it be reached.

After revolving the subject in her own mind, she wrote to
Quartermaster-General Meigs at Washington, making inquiries, and was by
him referred to the Department Quartermaster-General, Colonel D. H.
Vinton, United States Army, office of army clothing and equipage, New
York. Colonel Vinton replied in the kindest manner, stating the
difficulties of the matter, but expressing his willingness to give Miss
Wormeley a contract if she thought she could surmount them.

Miss Wormeley found her courage equal to the attempt, and succeeded far
more easily than she had expected in carrying out her plans. She engaged
rooms at a low rent, and found plenty of volunteer assistance on all
sides. Ladies labored unweariedly in cutting and distributing the work
to the applicants. Gentlemen packed the cases, and attended to the
shipments. During the winter of 1861-2 about fifty thousand army shirts
were thus made, not one of which was returned as imperfect, and she was
thus enabled to circulate in about one hundred families, a sum equal to
six thousand dollars, which helped them well through the winter.

Colonel Vinton, as was the case with other officers very generally
throughout the war, showed great kindness and appreciation of these
efforts of women. And though this contract must have given him far more
trouble than contracts with regular clothing establishments, his
goodness, which was purely benevolent, never flagged.

During all this time the work of the Women's Union Aid Society was also
carried on at Miss Wormeley's rooms, and a large number of cases were
packed and forwarded thence, either to New York or directly to
Washington. Miss Wormeley, herself, still superintended this matter, and
though an Associate Manager of the New England Women's Branch of the
Sanitary Commission, preferred this direct transmission as a saving both
of time and expense.

The Society was earnest and indefatigable in its exertions, acting
always with great promptness and energy while under the direction of
Miss Wormeley. On one occasion, as an instance, a telegraphic message
from Washington brought at night an urgent call for a supply of
bed-sacks. Early in the morning all the material in Newport was bought
up, as many sewing-machines as possible obtained, and seventy-five
bed-sacks finished and sent off that day, and as many more the following

Miss Wormeley was just closing up her contract when, in April, 1862, the
"Hospital Transport Service" was organized, principally by the efforts
of Mr. Frederick Law Olmstead, the General Secretary of the Sanitary
Commission. The sudden transfer of the scene of active war from the high
grounds bordering the Potomac to a low and swampy region intersected by
a network of creeks and rivers, made necessary appliances for the care
of the sick and wounded, which the Government was not at that time
prepared to furnish. Hence arose the arrangement by which certain large
steamers, chartered, but then unemployed by the Government, were
transferred to the Sanitary Commission to be fitted up as Hospital
Transports for the reception and conveyance of the sick and wounded. To
the superintendence of this work, care of the sick, and other duties of
this special service, a number of agents of the Commission, with
volunteers of both sexes, were appointed, and after protracted and
vexatious delays in procuring the first transports assembled at
Alexandria, Virginia, on the 25th of April, and embarked on the Daniel
Webster for York River, which they reached on the 30th of April.

Miss Wormeley was one of the first to become connected with this branch
of the service, and proceeded at once to her field of duty. She remained
in this employment until August of the same year, and passed through all
the horrors of the Peninsula campaign. By this, of course, is not
understood the _battles_ of the campaign, nor the army movements, but
the reception, washing, feeding, and ministering to the sick and the
wounded--scenes which are too full of horror for tongue to tell, or pen
to describe, but which must always remain indelibly impressed upon the
minds and hearts of those who were actors in them.

The ladies, it may be observed, who were attached to the Hospital
Transport Corps at the headquarters of the Commission, were all from the
higher walks of society, women of the greatest culture and refinement,
and unaccustomed to toil or exhausting care. Yet not one of them shrank
from hardship, or revolted at any labor or exertion which could serve to
bring comfort to the sufferers under their charge.

Active and endowed with extraordinary executive ability, Miss Wormeley
was distinguished for her great usefulness during this time of fierce
trial, when the malaria of the Chickahominy swamps was prostrating its
thousands of brave men, and the battles of Williamsburg, White House,
and Fair Oaks, and the disastrous retreat to Harrison's Landing were
marked by an almost unexampled carnage.

While the necessity of exertion continued, Miss Wormeley and her
associates bore up bravely, but no sooner was this ended than nearly all
succumbed to fever, or the exhaustion of excessive and protracted
fatigue. Nevertheless, within a few days after Miss Wormeley's return
home, the Surgeon-General, passing through Newport, came to call upon
her and personally solicit her to take charge of the Woman's Department
of the Lowell General Hospital, then being organized at Portsmouth
Grove, R. I. After a brief hesitation, on account of her health, Miss
Wormeley assented to the proposal, and on the 1st of September, 1862,
went to the hospital. She was called, officially, the "Lady
Superintendent," and her duties were general; they consisted less of
actual nursing, than the organization and superintendence of her
department. Under her charge were the Female Nurses, the Diet Kitchens,
and Special diet, the Linen Department, and the Laundry, where she had a
steam Washing Machine, which was capable of washing and mangling four
thousand pieces a day.

The hospital had beds for two thousand five hundred patients. Four
friends of Miss Wormeley joined her here, and were her Assistant
Superintendents--Misses G. M. and J. S. Woolsey, Miss Harriet D.
Whetten, of New York, and Miss Sarah C. Woolsey, of New Haven. Each of
these had charge of seven Wards, and was responsible to the surgeons for
the nursing and diet of the sick men. To the exceedingly valuable
co-operation of these ladies, Miss Wormeley has, on all occasions,
attributed in a great measure the success which attended and rewarded
her services in this department of labor, as also to the kindness of the
Surgeon in charge, Dr. Lewis A. Edwards, and of his Assistants.

She remained at Portsmouth Grove a little more than a year, carrying on
the arrangements of her department with great ability and perfect
success. On holidays, through the influence of herself and her
assistants, the inmates received ample donations for the feasts
appropriate to the occasions, and at all times liberal gifts of books,
games, &c., for their instruction and entertainment. But in September,
1863, partly from family reasons, and partly because her health gave
way, she was forced to resign and return home.

From that time her labors in hospital ceased. But, in the following
December, at the suggestion of Mr. and Mrs. George Ticknor, of Boston,
and of other friends, she prepared for the Boston Sanitary Fair, a
charming volume entitled, "The United States Sanitary Commission; A
Sketch of its Purposes and its Work."

This book, owing to unavoidable hindrances, was not commenced till so
late that but eleven days were allowed for its completion. But, with her
accustomed energy, having most of her materials at hand, Miss Wormeley
commenced and finished the book within the specified time, without other
assistance than that volunteered by friends in copying and arranging
papers. Graceful in style, direct in detail, plain in statement and
logical in argument, it shows, however, no traces of hasty writing. It
met with great and deserved success, and netted some hundreds of dollars
to the fair.

Miss Wormeley attributes much of the success of her work, in all
departments, to the liberality of her friends. During the war she
received from the community of Newport, alone, over seventeen thousand
dollars, beside, large donations of brandy, wine, flannel, etc., for the
Commission and hospital use. The Newport Aid Society, which she assisted
in organizing, worked well and faithfully to the end, and rendered
valuable services to the Sanitary Commission. Since the completion of
her book, her health has not permitted her to engage in active service.


We are not aware of any other instance among the women who have devoted
themselves to works of philanthropy and patriotism during the recent
war, in which four sisters have together consecrated their services to
the cause of the nation. In social position, culture, refinement, and
all that could make life pleasant, Misses Georgiana and Jane C. Woolsey,
and their married sisters, Mrs. Joseph and Mrs. Robert Howland, were
blessed above most women; and if there were any who might have deemed
themselves excused from entering upon the drudgery, the almost menial
service incident to the Hospital Transport service, to the position of
Assistant Superintendent of a crowded hospital, of nurse in field
hospitals after a great battle, or of instructors and superintendents of
freedmen and freedwomen; these ladies might have pleaded an apology for
some natural shrinking from the work, from its dissimilarity to all
their previous pursuits. But to the call of duty and patriotism, they
had no such objections to urge.

Mrs. Joseph Howland was the wife of a Colonel in the Union army, and
felt it a privilege to do something for the brave men with whom her
husband's interests were identified, and accompanying him to the camp
whenever this was permitted, she ministered to the sick or wounded men
of his command with a tenderness and gentleness which won all hearts.
When the invitation was given to her and her sister to unite with others
in the Hospital Transport service, she rejoiced at the opportunity for
wider usefulness in the cause she loved; how faithfully, earnestly, and
persistently she toiled is partially revealed in the little work
published by some of her associates, under the title of "Hospital
Transports," but was fully known only by those who shared in her labors,
and those who were the recipients of her kind attentions. One of these,
a private in the Sixteenth New York Regiment (her husband's regiment),
and who had been under her care on one of the Commission's transports at
White House, expressed his gratitude in the following graceful lines

    "From old St. Paul till now
    Of honorable women, not a few
    Have left their golden ease, in love to do
    The saintly work which Christ-like hearts pursue.

    "And such an one art thou? God's fair apostle,
    Bearing his love in war's horrific train;
    Thy blessed feet follow its ghastly pain,
    And misery and death without disdain.

    "To one borne from the sullen battle's roar,
    Dearer the greeting of thy gentle eyes
    When he, a-weary, torn, and bleeding lies,
    Than all the glory that the victors prize.

    "When peace shall come and homes shall smile again,
    A thousand soldier hearts, in northern climes,
    Shall tell their little children in their rhymes
    Of the sweet saints who blessed the old war times."

        _On the Chickahominy, June 12th, 1862._

Impaired health, the result of the excessive labors of that battle
summer, prevented Mrs. Howland from further active service in the field;
but whenever her health permitted, she visited and labored in the
hospitals around Washington, and her thoughtful attention and words of
encouragement to the women nurses appointed by Miss Dix, and receiving a
paltry stipend from the Government, were most gratefully appreciated by
those self-denying, hard-working, and often sorely-tried women--many of
them the peers in culture, refinement and intellect of any lady in the
land, but treated with harshness and discourtesy by boy-surgeons, who
lacked the breeding or instincts of the gentleman. Her genuine modesty
and humility have led her, as well as her sisters, to deprecate any
notoriety or public notice of their work, which they persist in
regarding as unworthy of record; but so will it not be regarded by the
soldiers who have been rescued from inevitable death by their persistent
toil, nor by a nation grateful for the services rendered to its brave

Mrs. Robert S. Howland was the wife of a clergyman, and an earnest
worker in the hospitals and in the Metropolitan Sanitary Fair, and her
friends believed that her over-exertion in the preparation and
attendance upon that fair, contributed to shorten a life as precious and
beautiful as was ever offered upon the altar of patriotism. Mrs. Howland
possessed rare poetic genius, and some of her effusions, suggested by
incidents of army or hospital life, are worthy of preservation as among
the choicest gems of poetry elicited by the war. "A Rainy Day in Camp,"
"A Message from the Army," etc., are poems which many of our readers
will recall with interest and pleasure. A shorter one of equal merit and
popularity, we copy not only for its brevity, but because it expresses
so fully the perfect peace which filled her heart as completely as it
did that of the subject of the poem:

                           IN THE HOSPITAL.

     "S. S----, a Massachusetts Sergeant, worn out with heavy marches,
     wounds and camp disease, died in ---- General Hospital, in
     November, 1863, in 'perfect peace.' Some who witnessed daily his
     wonderful sweet patience and content, through great languor and
     weariness, fancied sometimes they 'could already see the brilliant
     particles of a halo in the air about his head.'

    "I lay me down to sleep,
      With little thought or care.
    Whether my waking find
      Me here--or THERE!

    "A bowing, burdened head,
      That only asks to rest,
    Unquestioning, upon
      A loving Breast.

    "My good right-hand forgets
      Its cunning now--
    To march the weary march
      I know not how.

    "I am not eager, bold,
      Nor strong--all that is past:
    I am ready NOT TO DO
      At last--at last!

    "My half-day's work is done,
      And this is all my part;
    I give a patient God
      My patient heart.

    "And grasp his banner still,
      Though all its blue be dim;
    These stripes, no less than stars.
      Lead after Him."

Mrs. Howland died in the summer of 1864.

Miss Georgiana M. Woolsey, was one of the most efficient ladies
connected with the Hospital Transport service, where her constant
cheerfulness, her ready wit, her never failing resources of contrivance
and management in any emergency, made the severe labor seem light, and
by keeping up the spirits of the entire party, prevented the scenes of
suffering constantly presented from rendering them morbid or depressed.
She took the position of assistant superintendent of the Portsmouth
Grove General Hospital, in September, 1862, when her friend, Miss
Wormeley, became superintendent, and remained there till the spring of
1863, was actively engaged in the care of the wounded at Falmouth after
the battle of Chancellorsville, was on the field soon after the battle
of Gettysburg, and wrote that charming and graphic account of the labors
of herself and a friend at Gettysburg in the service of the Sanitary
Commission which was so widely circulated, and several times reprinted
in English reviews and journals. We cannot refrain from introducing it
as one of those narratives of actual philanthropic work of which we have
altogether too few.

                    THREE WEEKS AT GETTYSBURG.

"_July, 1863._

"DEAR ----: _What we did at Gettysburg_, for the three weeks we were
there, you will want to know. 'We,' are Mrs.[H] ---- and I, who,
happening to be on hand at the right moment, gladly fell in with the
proposition to do what we could at the Sanitary Commission Lodge after
the battle. There were, of course, the agents of the Commission, already
on the field, distributing supplies to the hospitals, and working night
and day among the wounded. I cannot pretend to tell you what was done by
all the big wheels of the concern, but only how two of the smallest ones
went round, and what turned up in the going.

[Footnote H: Her mother, Mrs. Woolsey.]

"Twenty-four hours we were in making the journey between Baltimore and
Gettysburg, places only four hours apart in ordinary running time; and
this will give you some idea of the difficulty there was in bringing up
supplies when the fighting was over, and of the delays in transporting
wounded. Coming toward the town at this crawling rate, we passed some
fields where the fences were down and the ground slightly tossed up:
'That's where Kilpatrick's Cavalry-men fought the rebels,' some one
said; 'and close by that barn a rebel soldier was found day before
yesterday, sitting dead'--no one to help, poor soul,--'near the whole
city full.' The railroad bridge broken up by the enemy, Government had
not rebuilt as yet, and we stopped two miles from the town, to find
that, as usual, just where the Government had left off the Commission
came in. There stood their temporary lodge and kitchen, and here,
hobbling out of their tents, came the wounded men who had made their
way down from the corps-hospitals, expecting to leave at once in the

"This is the way the thing was managed at first: The surgeons left in
care of the wounded three or four miles out from the town, went up and
down among the men in the morning, and said, 'Any of you boys who can
make your way to the cars can go to Baltimore.' So off start all who
think they feel well enough; anything better than the 'hospitals,' so
called, for the first few days after a battle. Once the men have the
surgeons' permission to go, they are off; and there may be an interval
of a day, or two days, should any of them be too weak to reach the train
in time, during which these poor fellows belong to no one,--the hospital
at one end, the railroad at the other,--with far more than a chance of
falling through between the two. The Sanitary Commission knew this would
be so of necessity, and, coming in, made a connecting link between these
two ends.

"For the first few days the worst cases only came down in ambulances
from the hospitals; hundreds of fellows hobbled along as best they could
in heat and dust, for hours, slowly toiling; and many hired farmers'
wagons, as hard as the farmers' fists themselves, and were jolted down
to the railroad, at three or four dollars the man. Think of the
disappointment of a soldier, sick, body and heart, to find, at the end
of this miserable journey, that his effort to get away, into which he
had put all his remaining stock of strength, was useless; that 'the cars
had gone,' or 'the cars were full;' that while he was coming others had
stepped down before him, and that he must turn all the weary way back
again, or sleep on the road-side till the next train 'to-morrow!' Think
what this _would_ have been, and you are ready to appreciate the relief
and comfort that _was_. No men were turned back. You fed and you
sheltered them just when no one else could have done so; and out of the
boxes and barrels of good and nourishing things, which you people at
home had supplied, we took all that was needed. Some of you sent a stove
(that is, the money to get it), some of you the beef-stock, some of you
the milk and fresh bread; and all of you would have been thankful that
you had done so, could you have seen the refreshment and comfort
received through these things.

"As soon as the men hobbled up to the tents, good hot soup was given all
round; and that over, their wounds were dressed,--for the gentlemen of
the Commission are cooks or surgeons, as occasion demands,--and,
finally, with their blankets spread over the straw, the men stretched
themselves out and were happy and contented till morning, and the next

"On the day that the railroad bridge was repaired, we moved up to the
depot, close by the town, and had things in perfect order; a first-rate
camping-ground, in a large field directly by the track, with unlimited
supply of delicious cool water. Here we set up two stoves, with four
large boilers, always kept full of soup and coffee, watched by four or
five black men, who did the cooking, under our direction, and sang (not
under our direction) at the top of their voices all day,--

    'Oh darkies, hab you seen my Massa?'
    'When this _cruel_ war is _over_.'

Then we had three large hospital tents, holding about thirty-five each,
a large camp-meeting supply tent, where barrels of goods were stored,
and our own smaller tent, fitted up with tables, where jelly-pots, and
bottles of all kinds of good syrups, blackberry and black currant, stood
in rows. Barrels were ranged round the tent-walls; shirts, drawers,
dressing-gowns, socks, and slippers (I wish we had had more of the
latter), rags and bandages, each in its own place on one side; on the
other, boxes of tea, coffee, soft crackers, tamarinds, cherry brandy,
etc. Over the kitchen, and over this small supply-tent, we women rather
reigned, and filled up our wants by requisition on the Commission's
depot. By this time there had arrived a 'delegation' of just the right
kind from Canandaigua, New York, with surgeons' dressers and
attendants, bringing a first-rate supply of necessities and comforts for
the wounded, which they handed over to the Commission.

"Twice a day the trains left for Baltimore or Harrisburg, and twice a
day we fed all the wounded who arrived for them. Things were
systematized now, and the men came down in long ambulance trains to the
cars; baggage-cars they were, filled with straw for the wounded to lie
on, and broken open at either end to let in the air. A Government
surgeon was always present to attend to the careful lifting of the
soldiers from ambulance to car. Many of the men could get along very
nicely, holding one foot up, and taking great jumps on their crutches.
The latter were a great comfort; we had a nice supply at the Lodge; and
they traveled up and down from the tents to the cars daily. Only
occasionally did we dare let a pair go on with some very lame soldier,
who begged for them; we needed them to help the new arrivals each day,
and trusted to the men being supplied at the hospitals at the journey's
end. Pads and crutches are a standing want,--pads particularly. We
manufactured them out of the rags we had, stuffed with sawdust from
brandy-boxes; and with half a sheet and some soft straw, Mrs. ---- made
a poor dying boy as easy as his sufferings would permit. Poor young
fellow, he was so grateful to her for washing and feeding and comforting
him. He was too ill to bear the journey, and went from our tent to the
church hospital, and from the church to his grave, which would have been
coffinless but for the care of ----; for the Quartermaster's Department
was overtaxed, and for many days our dead were simply wrapped in their
blankets and put into the earth. It is a soldierly way, after all, of
lying wrapped in the old war-worn blanket,--the little dust returned to

"When the surgeons had the wounded all placed, with as much comfort as
seemed possible under the circumstances, on board the train, our detail
of men would go from car to car, with soup made of beef-stock or fresh
meat, full of potatoes, turnips, cabbage, and rice, with fresh bread
and coffee, and, when stimulants were needed, with ale, milk-punch, or
brandy. Water-pails were in great demand for use in the cars on the
journey, and also empty bottles to take the place of canteens. All our
whisky and brandy bottles were washed and filled up at the spring, and
the boys went off carefully hugging their extemporized canteens, from
which they would wet their wounds, or refresh themselves till the
journey ended. I do not think that a man of the sixteen thousand who
were transported during our stay, went from Gettysburg without a good
meal. Rebels and Unionists together, they all had it, and were pleased
and satisfied. 'Have you friends in the army, madam?' a rebel soldier,
lying on the floor of the car, said to me, as I gave him some milk.
'Yes, my brother is on ----'s staff,' 'I thought so, ma'am. You can
always tell; when people are good to soldiers they are sure to have
friends in the army,' 'We are rebels, you know, ma'am,' another said.
'Do you treat rebels _so_?' It was strange to see the good brotherly
feeling come over the soldiers, our own and the rebels, when side by
side they lay in our tents. 'Hullo, boys! this is the pleasantest way to
meet, isn't it? We are better friends when we are as close as this than
a little farther off.' And then they would go over the battles together,
'We were here,' and 'you were there,' in the friendliest way.

"After each train of cars daily, for the three weeks we were in
Gettysburg, trains of ambulances arrived too late--men who must spend
the day with us until the five P. M. cars went, and men too late for the
five P. M. train, who must spend the night till the ten A. M. cars went.
All the men who came in this way, under our own immediate and particular
attention, were given the best we had of care and food. The surgeon in
charge of our camp, with his most faithful dresser and attendants,
looked after all their wounds, which were often in a shocking state,
particularly among the rebels. Every evening and morning they were
dressed. Often the men would say, 'That feels good. I haven't had my
wound so well dressed since I was hurt. Something cool to drink is the
first thing asked for after the long, dusty drive; and pailfuls of
tamarinds and water, 'a beautiful drink,' the men used to say,
disappeared rapidly among them.

"After the men's wounds were attended to, we went round giving them
clean clothes; had basins and soap and towels, and followed these with
socks, slippers, shirts, drawers, and those coveted dressing-gowns. Such
pride as they felt in them! comparing colors, and smiling all over as
they lay in clean and comfortable rows, ready for supper,--'on dress
parade,' they used to say. And then the milk, particularly if it were
boiled and had a little whisky and sugar, and the bread, with _butter_
on it, and _jelly_ on the butter: how good it all was, and how lucky we
felt ourselves in having the immense satisfaction of distributing these
things, which all of you, hard at work in villages and cities, were
getting ready and sending off, in faith.

"Canandaigua sent cologne with its other supplies, which went right to
the noses and hearts of the men. 'That is good, now;'--'I'll take some
of that;'--'worth a penny a sniff;' 'that kinder gives one life;'--and
so on, all round the tents, as we tipped the bottles up on the clean
handkerchiefs some one had sent, and when they were gone, over squares
of cotton, on which the perfume took the place of hem,--'just as good,
ma'am.' We varied our dinners with custard and baked rice puddings,
scrambled eggs, codfish hash, corn-starch, and always as much soft
bread, tea, coffee, or milk as they wanted. Two Massachusetts boys I
especially remember for the satisfaction with which they ate their
pudding. I carried a second plateful up to the cars, after they had been
put in, and fed one of them till he was sure he had had enough. Young
fellows they were, lying side by side, one with a right and one with a
left arm gone.

"The Gettysburg women were kind and faithful to the wounded and their
friends, and the town was full to overflowing of both. The first day,
when Mrs. ---- and I reached the place, we literally begged our bread
from door to door; but the kind woman who at last gave us dinner would
take no pay for it. 'No, ma'am, I shouldn't wish to have that sin on my
soul when the war is over.' She, as well as others, had fed the
strangers flocking into town daily, sometimes over fifty of them for
each meal, and all for love and nothing for reward; and one night we
forced a reluctant confession from our hostess that she was meaning to
sleep on the floor that we might have a bed, her whole house being full.
Of course we couldn't allow this self-sacrifice, and hunted up some
other place to stay in. We did her no good, however, for we afterwards
found that the bed was given up that night to some other stranger who
arrived late and tired: 'An old lady, you know; and I couldn't let an
old lady sleep on the floor.' Such acts of kindness and self-denial were
almost entirely confined to the women.

"Few good things can be said of the Gettysburg farmers, and I only use
Scripture language in calling them 'evil beasts.' One of this kind came
creeping into our camp three weeks after the battle. He lived five miles
only from the town, and had 'never seen a rebel.' He heard we had some
of them, and had come down to see them. 'Boys,' we said,--marching him
into the tent which happened to be full of rebels that day, waiting for
the train,--'Boys, here's a man who never saw a rebel in his life, and
wants to look at you;' and there he stood with his mouth wide open, and
there they lay in rows, laughing at him, stupid old Dutchman. 'And why
haven't you seen a rebel?' Mrs. ---- said; 'why didn't you take your gun
and help to drive them out of your town?' 'A feller might'er got
hit!'--which reply was quite too much for the rebels; they roared with
laughter at him, up and down the tent.

"One woman we saw, who was by no means Dutch, and whose pluck helped to
redeem the other sex. She lived in a little house close up by the field
where the hardest fighting was done,--a red-cheeked, strong, country
girl. 'Were you frightened when the shells began flying?' 'Well, no.
You see we was all a-baking bread around here for the soldiers, and had
our dough a-rising. The neighbors they ran into their cellars, but I
couldn't leave my bread. When the first shell came in at the window and
crashed through the room, an officer came and said, 'You had better get
out of this;' but I told him I _could not_ leave my bread; and I stood
working it till the third shell came through, and then I went down
cellar; but' (triumphantly) 'I left my bread in the oven.' 'And why
didn't you go before?' 'Oh, you see, if I had, the rebels would 'a' come
in and daubed the dough all over the place.' And here she had stood, at
the risk of unwelcome plums in her loaves, while great holes (which we
saw) were made by shot and shell through and through the room in which
she was working.

"The streets of Gettysburg were filled with the battle. People thought
and talked of nothing else; even the children showed their little spites
by calling to each other, 'Here, you rebel;' and mere scraps of boys
amused themselves with percussion-caps and hammers. Hundreds of old
muskets were piled on the pavements, the men who shouldered them a week
before, lying underground now, or helping to fill the long trains of
ambulances on their way from the field. The private houses of the town
were, many of them, hospitals; the little red flags hung from the upper
windows. Beside our own men at the Lodge, we all had soldiers scattered
about whom we could help from our supplies; and nice little puddings and
jellies, or an occasional chicken, were a great treat to men condemned
by their wounds to stay in Gettysburg, and obliged to live on what the
empty town could provide. There was a colonel in a shoe-shop, a captain
just up the street, and a private round the corner whose young sister
had possessed herself of him, overcoming the military rules in some way,
and carrying him off to a little room, all by himself, where I found her
doing her best with very little. She came afterward to our tent and got
for him clean clothes, and good food, and all he wanted, and was
perfectly happy in being his cook, washerwoman, medical cadet, and
nurse. Besides such as these, we occasionally carried from our supplies
something to the churches, which were filled with sick and wounded, and
where men were dying,--men whose strong patience it was very hard to
bear,--dying with thoughts of the old home far away, saying, as last
words, for the women watching there and waiting with a patience equal in
its strength, 'Tell her I love her.'

"Late one afternoon, too late for the cars, a train of ambulances
arrived at our Lodge with over one hundred wounded rebels, to be cared
for through the night. Only one among them seemed too weak and faint to
take anything. He was badly hurt, and failing. I went to him after his
wound was dressed, and found him lying on his blanket stretched over the
straw,--a fair-haired, blue-eyed young lieutenant, with a face innocent
enough for one of our own New England boys. I could not think of him as
a rebel; he was too near heaven for that. He wanted nothing,--had not
been willing to eat for days, his comrades said; but I coaxed him to try
a little milk gruel, made nicely with lemon and brandy; and one of the
satisfactions of our three weeks is the remembrance of the empty cup I
took away afterward, and his perfect enjoyment of that supper. 'It was
_so_ good, the best thing he had had since he was wounded,'--and he
thanked me so much, and talked about his 'good supper' for hours. Poor
fellow, he had had no care, and it was a surprise and pleasure to find
himself thought of; so, in a pleased, childlike way, he talked about it
till midnight, the attendant told me, as long as he spoke of anything;
for at midnight the change came, and from that time he only thought of
the old days before he was a soldier, when he sang hymns in his father's
church. He sang them now again in a clear, sweet voice. 'Lord, have
mercy upon me;' and then songs without words--a sort of low intoning.
His father was a Lutheran clergyman in South Carolina, one of the rebels
told us in the morning, when we went into the tent, to find him sliding
out of our care. All day long we watched him,--sometimes fighting his
battles over, often singing his Lutheran chants, till, in at the
tent-door, close to which he lay, looked a rebel soldier, just arrived
with other prisoners. He started when he saw the lieutenant, and quickly
kneeling down by him, called, 'Henry! Henry!' But Henry was looking at
some one a great way off, and could not hear him. 'Do you know this
soldier?' we said. 'Oh, yes, ma'am; and his brother is wounded and a
prisoner, too, in the cars, now.' Two or three men started after him,
found him, and half carried him from the cars to our tent. 'Henry' did
not know him, though; and he threw himself down by his side on the
straw, and for the rest of the day lay in a sort of apathy, without
speaking, except to assure himself that he could stay with his brother,
without the risk of being separated from his fellow-prisoners. And there
the brothers lay, and there we strangers sat watching and listening to
the strong, clear voice, singing, 'Lord, have mercy upon me.' The Lord
_had_ mercy; and at sunset I put my hand on the lieutenant's heart, to
find it still. All night the brother lay close against the coffin, and
in the morning went away with his comrades, leaving us to bury Henry,
having 'confidence;' but first thanking us for what we had done, and
giving us all that he had to show his gratitude,--the palmetto ornament
from his brother's cap and a button from his coat. Dr. W. read the
burial service that morning at the grave, and ---- wrote his name on the
little head-board: 'Lieutenant Rauch, Fourteenth Regiment South Carolina

"In the field where we buried him, a number of colored freedmen, working
for Government on the railroad, had their camp, and every night they
took their recreation, after the heavy work of the day was over, in
prayer-meetings. Such an 'inferior race,' you know! We went over one
night and listened for an hour, while they sang, collected under the fly
of a tent, a table in the middle where the leader sat, and benches all
round the sides for the congregation--men only,--all very black and very
earnest. They prayed with all their souls, as only black men and slaves
can; for themselves and for the dear, white people who had come over to
the meeting; and for 'Massa Lincoln,' for whom they seemed to have a
reverential affection,--some of them a sort of worship, which confused
Father Abraham and Massa Abraham in one general cry for blessings.
Whatever else they asked for, they must have strength, and comfort, and
blessing for 'Massa Lincoln.' Very little care was taken of these poor
men. Those who were ill during our stay were looked after by one of the
officers of the Commission. They were grateful for every little thing.
Mrs. ---- went into the town and hunted up several dozen bright
handkerchiefs, hemmed them, and sent them over to be distributed the
next night after meeting. They were put on the table in the tent, and
one by one, the men came up to get them. Purple, and blue, and yellow
the handkerchiefs were, and the desire of every man's heart fastened
itself on a yellow one; they politely made way for each other,
though,--one man standing back to let another pass up first, although he
ran the risk of seeing the particular pumpkin-color that riveted his
eyes taken from before them. When the distribution is over, each man
tied his head up in his handkerchief, and they sang one more hymn,
keeping time all round, with blue and purple and yellow nods, and
thanking and blessing the white people in 'their basket and in their
store,' as much as if the cotton handkerchiefs had all been gold leaf.
One man came over to our tent next day, to say, 'Missus, was it you who
sent me that present? I never had anything so beautiful in all my life
before;' and he only had a blue one, too.

"Among our wounded soldiers one night, came an elderly man, sick,
wounded, and crazy, singing and talking about home. We did what we could
for him, and pleased him greatly with a present of a red flannel shirt,
drawers, and red calico dressing-gown, all of which he needed, and in
which he dressed himself up, and then wrote a letter to his wife, made
it into a little book with gingham covers, and gave it to one of the
gentlemen to mail for him. The next morning he was sent on with the
company from the Lodge; and that evening two tired women came into our
camp--his wife and sister, who hurried on from their home to meet him,
arriving just too late. Fortunately we had the queer little gingham book
to identify him by, and when some one said, 'It is the man, you know,
who screamed so,' the poor wife was certain about him. He had been crazy
before the war, but not for two years, now, she said. He had been
fretting for home since he was hurt; and when the doctor told him there
was no chance of his being sent there, he lost heart, and wrote to his
wife to come and carry him away. It seemed almost hopeless for two lone
women, who had never been out of their own little town, to succeed in
finding a soldier among so many, sent in so many different directions;
but we helped them as we could, and started them on their journey the
next morning, back on their track, to use their common sense and Yankee
privilege of questioning.

"A week after, Mrs. ---- had a letter full of gratitude, and saying that
the husband was found and secured for _home_. That same night we had had
in our tents two fathers, with their wounded sons, and a nice old German
mother with her boy. She had come in from Wisconsin, and brought with
her a patchwork bed-quilt for her son, thinking he might have lost his
blanket; and there he laid all covered up in his quilt, looking so
homelike, and feeling so, too, no doubt, with his good old mother close
at his side. She seemed bright and happy,--had three sons in the
Army,--one had been killed,--this one wounded; yet she was so pleased
with the tents, and the care she saw taken there of the soldiers, that,
while taking her tea from a barrel-head as table, she said, 'Indeed, if
_she_ was a man, she'd be a soldier too, right off.'

"For this temporary sheltering and feeding of all these wounded men,
Government could make no provision. There was nothing for them, if too
late for the cars, except the open field and hunger, in preparation for
their fatiguing journey. It is expected when the cars are ready that the
men will be promptly sent to meet them, and Government cannot provide
for mistakes and delays; so that, but for the Sanitary Commission's
Lodge and comfortable supplies, for which the wounded are indebted to
the hard workers at home, men badly hurt must have suffered night and
day, while waiting for the 'next train.' We had on an average sixty of
such men each night for three weeks under our care,--sometimes one
hundred, sometimes only thirty; and with the 'delegation,' and the help
of other gentlemen volunteers, who all worked devotedly for the men, the
whole thing was a great success, and you and all of us can't help being
thankful that we had a share, however small, in making it so. Sixteen
thousand good meals were given; hundreds of men kept through the day,
and twelve hundred sheltered at night, their wounds dressed, their
supper and breakfast secured--rebels and all. You will not, I am sure,
regret that these most wretched men, these 'enemies,' 'sick and in
prison,' were helped and cared for through your supplies, though,
certainly, they were not in your minds when you packed your barrels and
boxes. The clothing we reserved for our own men, except now and then
when a shivering rebel needed it; but in feeding them we could make no

"Our three weeks were coming to an end; the work of transporting the
wounded was nearly over; twice daily we had filled and emptied our
tents, and twice fed the trains before the long journey. The men came in
slowly at the last,--a lieutenant, all the way from Oregon, being among
the very latest. He came down from the corps hospitals (now greatly
improved), having lost one foot, poor fellow, dressed in a full suit of
the Commission's cotton clothes, just as bright and as cheerful as the
first man, and all the men that we received had been. We never heard a
complaint. 'Would he like a little rice soup?' 'Well, no, thank you,
ma'am;' hesitating and polite. 'You have a long ride before you, and had
better take a little; I'll just bring it and you can try.' So the good,
thick soup came. He took a very little in the spoon to please me, and
afterwards the whole cupful to please himself. He 'did not think it was
this kind of soup I meant. He had some in camp, and did not think he
cared for any more; his "cook" was a very small boy, though, who just
put some meat in a little water and stirred it round.' 'Would you like a
handkerchief?' and I produced our last one, with a hem and cologne too.
'Oh, yes; that is what I need; I have lost mine, and was just borrowing
this gentleman's.' So the lieutenant, the last man, was made
comfortable, thanks to all of you, though he had but one foot to carry
him on his long journey home.

"Four thousand soldiers, too badly hurt to be moved, were still left in
Gettysburg, cared for kindly and well at the large, new Government
hospital, with a Sanitary Commission attachment.

"Our work was over, our tents were struck, and we came away after a
flourish of trumpets from two military bands who filed down to our door,
and gave us a farewell 'Red, white, and blue.'"

One who knows Miss Woolsey well says of her, "Her sense, energy,
lightness, and quickness of action; her thorough knowledge of the work,
her amazing yet simple resources, her shy humility which made her regard
her own work with impatience, almost with contempt--all this and much
else make her memory a source of strength and tenderness which nothing
can take away." Elsewhere, the same writer adds, "Strength and
sweetness, sound practical sense, deep humility, merriment, playfulness,
a most ready wit, an educated intelligence--were among her
characteristics. Her _work_ I consider to have been better than any
which I saw in the service. It was thorough, but accomplished rapidly.
She saw a need before others saw it, and she supplied it often by some
ingenious contrivance which answered every purpose, though no one but
Georgy would ever have dreamt of it. Her pity for the sufferings of the
men was something pathetic in itself, but it was never morbid, never
unwise, never derived from her own shock at the sight, always practical
and healthy." Miss Woolsey remained in the service through the war, a
part of the time in charge of hospitals, but during Grant's great
campaign of the spring, summer, and autumn of 1864, she was most
effectively engaged at the front, or rather at the great depots for the
wounded, at Belle Plain, Port Royal, Fredericksburg, White House, and
City Point. Miss Jane S. Woolsey, also served in general hospitals as
lady superintendent until the close of the war, and afterward
transferred her efforts to the work among the Freedmen at Richmond,

A cousin of these ladies, Miss Sarah C. Woolsey, daughter of President
Woolsey of Yale College, was also engaged during the greater part of the
war in hospital and other philanthropic labors for the soldiers. She was
for ten months assistant superintendent of the Portsmouth Grove General
Hospital, and her winning manners, her tender and skilful care of the
patients, and her unwearied efforts to do them good, made her a general


Anna Maria Ross, the subject of this sketch, was a native of
Philadelphia, in which city the greater part of her life was spent, and
in which, on the 22d of December, 1863, she passed to her eternal rest.

It was a very beautiful life of which we have now to speak--a life of
earnest activity in every work of benevolence and Christian kindness.
She had gathered about her, in her native city, scores of devoted
friends, who loved her in life, and mourned her in death with the
sentiments of a true bereavement.

Miss Ross was patriotic by inheritance, as well as through personal
loyalty. Her maternal relatives were largely identified with the war of
American Independence. Her mother's uncle, Jacob Root, held a captain's
commission in the Continental army, and it is related of her great
grandmother that she served voluntarily as a moulder in an establishment
where bullets were manufactured to be used in the cause of freedom.

Her mother's name was Mary Root, a native of Chester County,
Pennsylvania. Her father was William Ross, who emigrated early in life
from the county of Derry, Ireland. There may have been nothing in her
early manifestations of character to foreshow the noble womanhood into
which she grew. There remains, at any rate, a small record of her
earliest years. The wonderful powers which she developed in mature
womanhood possess a greater interest for those who know her chiefly in
connection with the labors which gave her so just a claim to the title
of "The Soldier's Friend."

Endowed by nature with great vigor of mind and uncommon activity and
energy, of striking and commanding personal appearance and pleasing
address, she had been, before the war, remarkably successful in the
prosecution of those works of charity and benevolence which made her
life a blessing to mankind. Well-known to the public-spirited and humane
of her native city, her claims to attention were fully recognized, and
her appeals in behalf of the needy and suffering were never allowed to
pass unheeded.

"I have little hope of success," she said once to her companion, in
going upon an errand of mercy: "yet we may get one hundred dollars. The
lady we are about to visit is not liberal, though wealthy. Let us pray
that her heart may be opened to us. Many of my most earnest prayers have
been made while hurrying along the street on such errands as this." The
lady gave her three hundred dollars.

On one occasion she was at the house of a friend, when a family was
incidentally mentioned as being in great poverty and affliction. The
father had been attacked with what is known as "black small pox," and
was quite destitute of the comforts and attentions which his situation
required, some of the members of his own family having left the house
from fear of the infection. The quick sympathies of Miss Ross readily
responded to this tale of want and neglect. "While God gives me health
and strength," she earnestly exclaimed, "no man shall thus suffer!" With
no more delay than was required to place in a basket articles of
necessity and comfort she hastened to the miserable dwelling; nor did
she leave the poor sufferer until he was beyond the reach of human aid
forever. And her thoughtful care ceased not even here. From her own
friends she sought and obtained the means of giving him a respectable

The lady to whom the writer is indebted for the above incident, relates
that on the day when all that was mortal of Anna Maria Ross was
consigned to its kindred dust, as she was entering a street-car, the
conductor remarked, "I suppose you have been to see the last of Miss
Ross." Upon her replying in the affirmative, he added, while tears
flowed down his cheeks, "I did not know her, but she watched over my
wife for four weeks when she had a terrible sickness. She was almost an
entire stranger to her when she came and offered her assistance."

Her work for the soldier was chiefly performed in connection with the
institution known as the Cooper Shop Hospital, a branch of the famous
Cooper Shop Refreshment Saloon, for Soldiers. Miss Ross was appointed
Lady Principal of this Institution, and devoted herself to it with an
energy that never wearied. Day and night she was at her post--watching
while others slept, dressing with her own hands the most loathsome
wounds; winning the love and admiration of all with whom she was
associated. Her tasks were arduous, her sympathies were drawn upon to
the utmost, her responsibilities were great.

One who knew her well, and often saw her within the walls of the "Cooper
Shop," thus gives us some incidents of her work there. The benevolence
expressed in her glowing countenance, and the words of hearty welcome
with which she greeted a humble coadjutor in her loving labors, will
never be forgotten. It was impossible not to be impressed at once by the
tender earnestness with which she engaged in her self-imposed duties,
and her active interest in everything which concerned the well-being of
those committed to her charge. When they were about to leave her
watchful care forever, a sister's thoughtfulness was exhibited in her
preparations for their comfort and convenience. The wardrobe of the
departing soldier was carefully inspected, and everything needful was
supplied. It was her custom also to furnish to each one who left, a sum
of money, "that he might have something of his own" to meet any
unexpected necessity by the way. And if the donation-box at the entrance
of the hospital chanced to be empty, her own purse made good the
deficiency. The writer well remembers the anxious countenance with
which she was met one morning by Miss Ross, when about taking her place
for the day's duty. "I am so sorry!" was her exclamation. "When
C---- left for Virginia last night I forgot, in the confusion, to give
him money; and I am afraid that he has nothing of his own, for he had
not received his pay. I thought of it after I was in bed, and it
disturbed my sleep."

The tenderness of Miss Ross's nature was never more touchingly exhibited
than in the case of Lieutenant B----, of Saratoga, New York. He was
brought to the hospital by his father for a few days' rest before
proceeding to his home. Mortally wounded, he failed so rapidly that he
could not be removed. During two days and nights of agonizing suffering
Miss Ross scarcely left his side, and while she bathed his burning brow
and moistened his parched lips she mingled with these tender offices
words of Christian hope and consolation. "Call me Anna," she said, "and
tell me all which your heart prompts you to say." And as life ebbed away
he poured into her sympathizing ear the confidences which his mother,
alas! could not receive. With tearful eyes and sorrowing heart this
new-found friend watched by him to the last--then closed the heavy eyes,
and smoothed the raven locks, and sent the quiet form, lovely even in
death, to her who waited its arrival in bitter anguish.

To those who best knew the subject of this sketch, it seems a hopeless
task to enumerate the instances of unselfish devotion to the good of
others with which that noble life was filled. It was the same tale again
and again repeated. Alike the pain, the anxiety, the care; alike the
support, the encouragement, the consolation. No marvel was it that the
sinking soldier, far from home and friends, mistook the gentle ministry
for that which marks earth's strongest tie, and at her approach,
whispered "mother."

It would be impossible to enumerate a tithe of the special instances of
her kindly ministrations, but there are some that so vividly illustrate
prominent points in her character that we cannot refrain from the
record. One of these marked traits was her perseverance in the
accomplishment of any plan for the good of her charges, and may well be
mentioned here.

For a long time an Eastern soldier, named D----, was an inmate of her
hospital, and as, though improving, his recovery was slow, and it seemed
unlikely that he would soon be fit for service in the ranks, she got him
the appointment of hospital steward, and he remained where he could
still have care.

After the battle of Gettysburg he relapsed, and from over-work and
over-wrought feeling, sank into almost hopeless depression. The death of
a beloved child, and an intense passionate longing to revisit his home
and family, aided this deep grief, and gave it a force and power that
threatened to deprive him of life or reason. It was at this crisis that
with her accustomed energy Miss Ross directed all her efforts toward
restoring him to his family. After the preliminary steps had been taken
she applied to the captain of a Boston steamer, but he refused to
receive a sick passenger on account of the want of suitable
accommodations. The case was urgent. He must go or die. "There is no
room," repeated the captain.

"Give him a place upon the floor," was the rejoinder, "and I will
furnish everything needful." "But a sick man cannot have proper
attendance under such circumstances," persisted the captain. "I will go
with him if necessary," she replied, "and will take the entire charge of
his comfort." "Miss Ross, I am sorry to refuse you, but I cannot comply
with your request. This answer must be final."

What was to be done? The unsuccessful pleader covered her face with her
hands for a few moments; then raising her head said, slowly and sadly,
"Captain ----, I have had many letters from the friends of New England
soldiers, thanking me with overflowing hearts for restoring to them the
dearly loved husband, son, or brother while yet alive. From D.'s wife I
shall receive no such message. This is his only chance of life. He
cannot bear the journey by land. He must go by water or die. He will die
here--far from friends and home." This appeal could not be resisted. "I
_will_ take him, Miss Ross," was the answer; "but it must be only upon
the condition that you will promise not to ask such a favor of me again
whatever the case may be." "Never!" was the quick reply, "never will I
bind myself by such a promise while an Eastern soldier needs a friend or
a passage to his home! You are the first man to whom I should apply."
"Then let him come without a promise. You have conquered; I will do for
him all that can be done."

Could such friendship fail to win the hearts of those to whom this
inestimable woman gave the cheerful service of her life's best days? "Do
you want to see Florence Nightingale?" said one, who had not yet left
the nursing care which brought him back to life and hope, to a companion
whom he met. "If you do, just come to our hospital and see Miss Ross."

This was the only reward she craved--a word of thoughtful gratitude from
those she sought to serve; and in this was lost all remembrance of days
of toil and nights of weariness. So from week to week and from month to
month the self-consecration grew more complete--the self-forgetfulness
more perfect. But the life spent in the service of others was drawing
near its end. The busy hands were soon to be folded, the heavy eyelids
forever closed, the weary feet were hastening to their rest.

The spring of 1863 found Miss Ross still occupied in the weary round of
her labors at the hospital. She had most remarkable strength and vigor
of constitution, and that, with every other gift and talent she
possessed was unsparingly used for the promotion of any good cause to
which she was devoted. During this spring, in addition to all her other
and engrossing labors, she was very busy in promoting the interests of a
large fair for the purpose of aiding in the establishment of a permanent
Home for discharged soldiers, who were incapacitated for active labor.
She canvassed the city of Philadelphia, and also traveled in different
parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey in order to obtain assistance in
this important undertaking. "Is it not wrong," a friend once asked,
"that you should do so much, while so many are doing nothing?" "Oh,
there are hundreds who would gladly work as I do," was her reply, "but
they have not my powers of endurance."

The fair in which she was so actively interested took place in June, and
a large sum was added to the fund previously obtained for the benefit of
the "Soldiers' Home." The work now progressed rapidly, and the personal
aid and influence of Miss Ross were exerted to forward it in every
possible way. Yet while deeply absorbed in the promotion of this object,
which was very near to her heart, she found time to brighten, with
characteristic tenderness and devotion, the last hours of the Rev. Dr.
Clay, the aged and revered minister of the ancient church, in which the
marriage of her parents had taken place so many years before. With his
own family she watched beside his bed, and with them received his
parting blessing.

The waning year found the noble undertaking, the object of so many
prayers and the goal of such ardent desire, near a prosperous
completion. A suitable building had been obtained, and many busy days
were occupied in the delightful task of furnishing it. At the close of a
day spent in this manner, the friend who had been Miss Ross's companion
proposed that the remaining purchases should be deferred to another
time, urging, in addition to her extreme fatigue, that many of the
stores were closed. "Come to South Street with me," she replied. "They
keep open there until twelve o'clock, and we may find exactly what we
want." The long walk was taken, and when the desired articles were
secured she yielded to her friend's entreaties, and at a late hour
sought her home. As she pursued her solitary way came there no
foreshadowing of what was to be? no whisper of the hastening summons? no
token of the quick release? Wearily were the steps ascended, which
echoed for the last time the familiar tread. Slowly the door closed
through which she should pass on angelic mission nevermore. Was there no

"I am tired," she said, "and so cold that I feel as if I never could be
warm again." It was an unusual complaint for her to whom fatigue had
seemed almost unknown before. But it was very natural that exhaustion
should follow a day of such excessive labor, and she would soon be
refreshed. So thought those who loved her, unconscious of the
threatening danger. The heavy chill retained its grasp, the resistless
torpor of paralysis crept slowly on, and then complete insensibility. In
this utter helplessness, which baffled every effort of human skill,
night wore away, and morning dawned. There was no change and days passed
before the veil was lifted.

She could not believe that her work was all done on earth and death
near, "but," she said, "God has willed it--His will be done." There was
no apparent mental struggle. Well she knew that she had done her
uttermost, and that God was capable of placing in the field other
laborers, and perhaps better ones than she; and she uttered no
meaningless words when, without a murmur, she resigned herself to His

A few words of fond farewell, she calmly spoke to the weeping friends
about her. Then with fainter and fainter breathing, life fled so gently
that they knew not when the shadowy vale was passed. So, silently and
peacefully the Death-angel had visited her, and upon her features lay
the calm loveliness of perfect rest.

On the 22d of December, 1863, the friends, and sharers of her labors
were assembled at the dedication of the Soldiers' Home. It was the
crowning work of her life, and it was completed; and thus, at the same
hour, this earthly crown was laid upon her dying brow, and the freed
soul put on the crown of a glorious immortality.

Her funeral was attended by a sorrowing multitude, all of whom had
known, and many, yea, most of whom, had been blest by her labors. For
even they are blest to whom it has happened to know and appreciate a
character like hers.

They made her a tomb, in the beautiful Monument Cemetery, beneath the
shadow of a stately cedar. Nature itself, in the desolation of advancing
winter, seemed to join in the lament that such loveliness and worth was
lost to earth.

But with returning summer, the branches of her overshadowing cedar are
melodious with the song of birds, while roses and many flowering plants
scatter fragrance to every passing breeze as their petals falling hide
the dark soil beneath. The hands of friends have planted these--an
odorous tribute to the memory of her they loved and mourn, and have
raised beside, in the enduring marble, a more lasting testimony of her

The tomb is of pure white marble, surmounted by a tablet of the same,
which in alto relievo, represents a female figure ministering to a
soldier, who lies upon a couch. Beneath, is this inscription:


         IN MEMORY OF
         ANNA M. ROSS,
    DIED, DECEMBER 22, 1863.

Her piety was fruitful of good works. The friendless child, the fugitive
slave, and the victim of intemperance were ever objects of her tenderest

When civil war disclosed its horrors, she dedicated her life to the sick
and wounded soldiers of her country, and died a martyr to Humanity and

So closes the brief and imperfect record of a beautiful life; but the
light of its lovely example yet remains.


Among the large number of the ladies of New York city who distinguished
themselves for their devotion to the welfare of the soldiers of our
army, of whom so many in all forms of suffering were brought there
during the war, it seems almost invidious to select any individual. But
it is perhaps less so in the case of the subject of this sketch, than of
many others, since from the very beginning of the war till long after
its close, she quietly sacrificed the ease and luxury of her life to
devote herself untiringly, and almost without respite, to the duties
thus voluntarily assumed and faithfully performed.

Mrs. Davis is the wife of Colonel G. T. M. Davis, who served with great
distinction in the Mexican war, but who, having entered into commercial
pursuits, is not at present connected with the army. Her maiden name was
Pomeroy, and she is a native of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Her brother,
Robert Pomeroy, Esq., of that town, a wealthy manufacturer, was noted
for his liberal benefactions during the war, and with all his family
omitted no occasion of showing his devotion to his country and to its
wounded and suffering defenders. His daughter, near the close of the
war, became the wife of one of the most distinguished young officers in
the service, General Bartlett.

General Bartlett, at twenty-two, and fresh from the classic precincts of
Harvard, entered the service as a private. He rose rapidly through the
genius and force of his commanding character. He lost a leg, we believe
at the siege of Yorktown, left the service, until partially recovered,
when he again re-entered it as the Colonel of the Forty-ninth
Massachusetts Regiment, which was raised in Berkshire County. For months
he rode at the head of his regiment with his crutch attached to the back
of his saddle. It was after his return from the South-west, (where the
gallant Forty-ninth distinguished itself at Port Hudson, Plain's Stone,
and other hard-won fields), with a maimed arm, that he was rewarded with
the hand of one of Berkshire's fairest daughters, a member of this
patriotic family. Several other young men, members of the same family,
have also greatly distinguished themselves in the service of their

At the very outset of the war, or as soon as the sick among the
volunteers who were pouring into New York, demanded relief, Mrs. Davis
began to devote time and care to them. Daily leaving her elegant home,
she sought out and ministered to her country's suffering defenders, at
the various temporary barracks erected for their accommodation.

When the Park Barracks Ladies' Association was formed, she became its
Secretary, and so continued for a long period, most faithful and
energetic in her ministrations. This association included in its work
the Hospital on Bedloe's Island, and Mrs. Davis was one of the first who
commenced making regular visits there.

Most of the men brought to Bedloe's Island in the earlier part of the
war, were sick with the various diseases consequent upon the
unaccustomed climate and the unwonted exposure they had encountered.
They needed a very careful and regular diet, one which the army rations,
though perhaps suitable and sufficient for men in health, were unable to
supply. It was but natural that these ladies, full of the warm sympathy
which prompted them to the unusual tasks they had undertaken, should
shrink from seeing a half-convalescent fever patient fed with hard-bread
and salt pork, or the greasy soups of which pork was the basis. They
brought delicacies, often prepared by their own hands or in their own
kitchens, and were undoubtedly injudicious, sometimes, in their
administration. Out of this arose the newspaper controversy between the
public and the surgeons in charge, at Bedloe's Island, which is probably
yet fresh in many minds. It was characterized by a good deal of

Mrs. Davis avers that neither she nor her friends gave food to the
patients without the consent of the physicians. The affair terminated,
as is well-known, by the removal of the surgeon in charge.

The Ladies Park Barracks' Association was, as a body, opposed to
extending its benefactions beyond New York and its immediate vicinity.
Mrs. Davis was of a different opinion, and was, beside, not altogether
pleased with the management of the association. She therefore, after a
time, relinquished her official connection with it, though never for one
instant relaxing her efforts for the same general object.

For a long series of months Mrs. Davis repaired almost daily to the
large General Hospital at David's Island, where thousands of sick and
wounded men were sometimes congregated. Here she and her chief
associates, Mrs. Chapman, and Miss Morris, established the most amicable
relations with the surgeon in charge, Dr. McDougall, and were welcomed
by him, as valued coadjutors.

On the opening of the Soldiers' Rest, in Howard Street, an association
of ladies was formed to aid in administering to the comfort of the poor
fellows who tarried there during their transit through the city, or were
received in the well-conducted hospital connected with the institution.
Of this association Mrs. Davis was the Secretary, during the whole term
of its existence.

This association, as well as the institution itself, was admirably
conducted, and perhaps performed as much real and beneficial work as any
other in the vicinity of New York. It was continued in existence till
several months after the close of the war.

Besides her visits at David's Island and Howard Street, which were most
assiduous, Mrs. Davis as often as possible visited the Central Park, or
Mount St. Vincent Hospital, the Ladies' Home Hospital, at the corner of
Lexington Avenue and Fifty-first Street, and the New England Rooms in
Broadway. At all of these she was welcomed, and her efforts most
gratefully received. Seldom indeed did a day pass, during the long four
years of the war, and for months after the suspension of hostilities,
that her kind face was not seen in one or more of the hospitals.

Her social position, as well as her genuine dignity of manners enforced
the respect of all the officials, and won their regard. Her untiring
devotion and kindness earned her the almost worshipping affection of the
thousands of sufferers to whom she ministered.

Letters still reach her, at intervals, from the men who owe, perhaps
life, certainly relief and comfort to her cherishing care. Ignorant men,
they may be, little accustomed to the amenities of life, capable only of
composing the strangely-worded, ill-spelled letters they send, but the
gratitude they express is so abundant and so genuine, that one overlooks
the uncouthness of manner, and the unattractive appearance of the
epistles. And seldom does she travel but at the most unexpected points
scarred and maimed veterans present themselves before her, and with the
deepest respect beg the privilege of once more offering their thanks.
She may have forgotten the faces, that in the great procession of
suffering flitted briefly before her, but they will never forget the
face that bent above their couch of pain.

The native county of Mrs. Davis, Berkshire, Massachusetts, was famous
for the abundance and excellence of the supplies it continually sent
forward to the sick and suffering soldiers. The appeals of Mrs. Davis to
the women of Berkshire, were numerous and always effective. Her letters
were exceedingly graphic and spirited, and were published frequently in
the county papers, reaching not only the villages in the teeming valleys
but the scattered farm-houses among the hills; and they continually
gave impulse and direction to the noble charities of those women, who,
in their quiet homes, had already sent forth their dearest and best to
the service of the country.

Mrs. Davis for herself disclaims all merit, but has no word of praise
too much for these. They made the real sacrifices, these women who from
their small means gave so much, who rose before the sun, alike in the
cold of winter and the heat of summer, who performed the most menial
tasks and the hardest toil that they might save for the soldiers, that
they might gain time to work for the soldiers. It was they who gave
much, not the lady who laid aside only the soft pleasures of a luxurious
life, whose well-trained servants left no task unfinished during her
absence, whose bath, and dress, and dinner were always ready on her
return from the tour of visiting, who gave only what was not missed from
her abundance, and made no sacrifice but that of her personal ease. So
speaks Mrs. Davis, in noble self-depreciation of herself and her class.
There is a variety of gifts. God and her country will decide whose work
was most worthy.

[Illustration: MISS MARY J. SAFFORD.
  Eng. by John Sartain.]


Miss Mary J. Safford, is a native of New England, having been born in
Vermont, though her parents, very worthy people, early emigrated to the
West, and settled in Northern Illinois, in which State she has since
resided, making her home most of the time in Crete, Joliet, Shawneetown
and Cairo; the last named place is her present home.

Miss Safford, early in life, evinced an unusual thirst for knowledge,
and gave evidence of an intellect of a superior order; and, with an
energy and zeal seldom known, she devoted every moment to the attainment
of an education, the cultivation of her mind--and the gaining of such
information as the means at hand afforded. Her love of the beautiful and
good was at once marked, and every opportunity made use of to satisfy
her desires in these directions.

Her good deeds date from the days of her childhood, and the remarkably
high sense of duty of which she is possessed, makes her continually in
search of some object of charity upon which to exert her beneficence and
kindly care.

The commencement of the late rebellion, found her a resident of Cairo,
Illinois, and immediately upon the arrival of the Union soldiers there,
she set about organizing and establishing temporary hospitals throughout
the different regiments, in order that the sick might have immediate and
proper care and attention until better and more permanent arrangements
could be effected. Every day found her a visitor and a laborer among
these sick soldiers, scores of whom now bear fresh in their memories the
_petite_ form, and gentle and loving face of that good angel of mercy to
whom they are indebted, through her kind and watchful care and nursing,
for the lives they are now enjoying.

The morning after the battle of Belmont, found her,--the only
lady--early on the field, fearlessly penetrating far into the enemies'
lines, with her handkerchief tied upon a little stick, and waving above
her head as a flag of truce,--ministering to the wounded, which our army
had been compelled to leave behind, to some extent--and many a Union
soldier owes his life to her almost superhuman efforts on that occasion.
She continued her labors with the wounded after their removal to the
hospitals, supplying every want in her power, and giving words of
comfort and cheer to every heart.

As soon as the news of the terrible battle of Pittsburg Landing reached
her, she gathered together a supply of lints and bandages, and provided
herself with such stimulants and other supplies as might be required,
not forgetting a good share of delicacies, and hastened to the scene of
suffering and carnage, where she toiled incessantly day and night in her
pilgrimage of love and mission of mercy for more than three weeks, and
then only returned with a steamboat-load of the wounded on their way to
the general hospitals. She continued her labors among the hospitals at
Cairo and the neighborhood, constantly visiting from one to the other.
Any day she could be seen on her errands of mercy passing along the
streets with her little basket loaded with delicacies, or
reading-matter, or accompanied with an attendant carrying ample supplies
to those who had made known to her their desire for some favorite dish
or relish. On Christmas day, 1861, there were some twenty-five regiments
stationed at Cairo, and on that day she visited all the camps, and
presented to every sick soldier some little useful present or token. The
number of sad hearts that she made glad that day no one will ever know
save He who knoweth all things. Her zeal and energy in this good work
was so far in excess of her physical abilities, that she labored beyond
her endurance, and her health finally became so much impaired that she
was induced to leave the work and make a tour in Europe, where at this
writing she still is, though an invalid. Her good deeds even followed
her in her travels in a foreign land, and no sooner had the German
States become involved in war, than she was called upon and consulted as
to the establishment of hospital regulations and appointments there--and
even urged to take charge of and establish and direct the whole system.

Mrs. Mary A. Livermore, of the Northwestern Sanitary Commission, who has
known as much of Miss Safford's work, as any one connected with the
service, writes thus of her:

"Miss Safford commenced her labors immediately, when Cairo was occupied.
I think she was the _very first woman_ who went into the camps and
hospitals, in the country; I know she was in the West. There was no
system, no organization, nothing to do with. She systematized everything
in Cairo, furnished necessaries with her own means, or rather with her
brother's, who is wealthy; went daily to the work, and though surgeons
and authorities everywhere were opposed to her efforts, she disarmed all
opposition by her sweetness and grace and beauty. _She did just what she
pleased._ At Pittsburg Landing, where she was found in advance of other
women, she was hailed by dying soldiers, who did not know her name, but
had seen her at Cairo, as the 'Cairo Angel.' She came up with boat-load
after boat-load of sick and wounded soldiers who were taken to hospitals
at Cairo, Paducah, St. Louis, etc., cooking all the while for them,
dressing wounds, singing to them, and praying with them. She did not
undress on the way up from Pittsburg Landing, but worked incessantly.

"She was very frail, as _petite_ as a girl of twelve summers, and
utterly unaccustomed to hardships. Sleeping in hospital tents, working
on pestilential boats, giving up everything to this life, carrying the
sorrows of the country, and the burdens of the soldier on her heart like
personal griefs, with none of the aids in the work that came afterwards,
she broke down at the end of the first eighteen months, and will never
again be well. Her brother sent her immediately to Paris, where she
underwent the severest treatment for the cure of the injury to the
spine, occasioned by her life in the army and hospitals. The physicians
subsequently prescribed travel, and she has been since that time in
Europe. She is highly educated, speaks French and German as well as
English, and some Italian. She is the most indomitable little creature
living, heroic, uncomplaining, self-forgetful, and will yet 'die in
harness.' When the war broke out in Italy, she was in Florence, and at
Madame Mario's invitation, immediately went to work to assist the
Italian ladies in preparing for the sick and wounded of their soldiers.
In Norway, she was devising ways and means to assist poor girls to
emigrate to America, where they had relatives--and so everywhere. She
must be counted among those who have given up health, and ultimately
life for the country."

We add also the following extracts from a letter from Cairo, published
in one of the Chicago papers, early in the war.

                          AN ANGEL AT CAIRO.

     "I cannot close this letter from Cairo without a passing word of
     one whose name is mentioned by thousands of our soldiers with
     gratitude and blessing. Miss Mary Safford is a resident of this
     town, whose life since the beginning of the war, has been devoted
     to the amelioration of the soldier's lot, and his comfort in the
     hospitals. She is a young lady, _petite_ in figure, unpretending,
     but highly cultivated, by no means officious, and so wholly
     unconscious of her excellencies, and the great work she is
     achieving, that I fear this public allusion to her may pain her
     modest nature. Her sweet, young face, full of benevolence, pleasant
     voice, and winning manner instate her in every one's heart
     directly; and the more one sees her, the more he admires her great
     soul and her noble nature. Not a day elapses but she is found in
     the hospitals, unless indeed she is absent on an errand of mercy up
     the Tennessee, or to the hospitals in Kentucky.

     "Every sick and wounded soldier in Cairo knows and loves her; and
     as she enters the ward, every pale face brightens at her approach.
     As she passes along, she inquires of each one how he has passed the
     night, if he is well supplied with reading matter, and if there is
     anything she can do for him. All tell her their story frankly--the
     man old enough to be her father, and the boy of fifteen, who should
     be out of the army, and home with his mother. One thinks he would
     like a baked apple if the doctor will allow it--another a rice
     pudding, such as she can make--a third a tumbler of buttermilk--a
     fourth wishes nothing, is discouraged, thinks he shall die, and
     breaks down utterly, in tears, and him she soothes and encourages,
     till he resolves for her sake, to keep up a good heart, and hold on
     to life a little longer--a fifth wants her to write to his wife--a
     sixth is afraid to die, and with him, and for him, her devout
     spirit wrestles, till light shines through the dark valley--a
     seventh desires her to sit by him and read, and so on. Every
     request is attended to, be it ever so trivial, and when she goes
     again, if the doctor has sanctioned the gratification of the sick
     man's wish, the buttermilk, baked apple, rice pudding, etc., are
     carried along. Doctors, nurses, medical directors, and army
     officers, are all her true friends; and so judicious and
     trustworthy is she, that the Chicago Sanitary Commission have given
     her _carte blanche_ to draw on their stores at Cairo for anything
     she may need in her errands of mercy. She is performing a noble
     work, and that too in the quietest and most unconscious manner.
     Said a sick soldier from the back woods, in the splendid hospital
     at Mound City, who was transferred thither from one of the
     miserable regimental hospitals at Cairo, 'I'm taken care of here a
     heap better than I was at Cairo; but I'd rather be there than here,
     for the sake of seeing that little gal that used to come in every
     day to see us. I tell you what, she's an angel, if there is any.'
     To this latter assertion we say amen! most heartily."

Miss Safford is the sister of A. B. Safford, Esq., a well-known and
highly respected banker at Cairo, Illinois, and of Hon. A. P. K. Safford
of Nevada.


At the outbreak of hostilities Mrs. Parrish was residing at Media,
Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. Her husband, Dr. Joseph Parrish, had
charge of an institution established there for idiots, or those of
feeble mental capacity, and it cannot be doubted that Mrs. Parrish, with
her kindly and benevolent instincts, and desire for usefulness, found
there an ample sphere for her efforts, and a welcome occupation.

But as in the case of thousands of others, all over the country, Mrs.
Parrish found the current of her life and its occupations marvellously
changed, by the war. There was a new call for the efforts of woman, such
an one as in our country, or in the world, had never been made. English
women had set the example of sacrifice and work for their countrymen in
arms, but their efforts were on a limited scale, and bore but a very
small proportion to the great uprising of loyal women in our country,
and their varied, grand persistent labors during the late civil war in
America. Not a class, or grade, or rank, of our countrywomen, but was
represented in this work. The humble dweller in the fishing cabins on
the bleak and desolate coast, the woman of the prairie, and of the
cities, the wife and daughter of the mechanic, and the farmer, of the
merchant, and the professional man, the lady from the mansion of wealth,
proud perhaps of her old name, of her culture and refinement--all met
and labored together, bound by one common bond of patriotism and of

Mrs. Parrish was one of the first to lay her talents and her efforts
upon the altar of her country. In 1861, and almost as soon as the need
of woman's self-sacrificing labors became apparent, she volunteered her
services in behalf of the sick and wounded soldiers of the Union.

She visited Washington while the army was yet at the capital and in its
vicinity. Her husband, Dr. Parrish, had become connected with the newly
organized Sanitary Commission, and in company with him and other
gentlemen similarly connected, she examined the different forts,
barracks, camps, and hospitals then occupied by our troops, for the
purpose of ascertaining their condition, and selecting a suitable sphere
for the work in which she intended to engage.

On the first day of 1862, she commenced her hospital labors, selecting
for that purpose the Georgetown Seminary Hospital. She wrote letters for
the patients, read to them, and gave to them all the aid and comfort in
her power; and she was thus enabled to learn their real wants, and to
seek the means of supplying them. Their needs were many, and awakened
all her sympathies and incited her to ever-renewed effort. After one
day's trial of these new scenes, she wrote thus in her journal, January
2, 1862: "My heart is so oppressed with the sight of suffering I see
around me that I am almost unfitted for usefulness; such sights are new
to me. I feel the need of some resource, where I may apply for
delicacies and comforts, which are positively necessary. The Sanitary
Commission is rapidly becoming the sinew of strength for the sick and
wounded, and I will go to their store-rooms." Application was made to
the Commission, and readily and promptly responded to. She was
authorized to draw from their stores, and was promised aid and
protection from the organization.

Both camps and hospitals were rapidly filling up; the weather was
inclement and the roads bad, but at the solicitation of other earnest
workers, she made occasional visits to camps in the country, and
distributed clothing, books and comforts of various kinds. The "Berdan
Sharp-shooters" were encamped a few miles from the city, and needed
immediate assistance. She was requested by the Secretary of the
Commission to "visit the camps, make observations, inquire into their
needs, and report to the Commission." She reached the camp through
almost impassable roads, and was received by the officers with respect
and consideration, upon announcing the object of her visit. She made
calls upon the men in hospitals and quarters, returned to Washington,
reported "two hundred sick, tents and streets needing police, small pox
breaking out, men discouraged, and officers unable to procure the
necessary aid, that she had distributed a few jellies to the sick,
checker boards to a few of the tents, and made a requisition for
supplies to meet the pressing want." This little effort was the means of
affording speedy relief to many suffering men. She did not however feel
at liberty to abandon her hospital service, as we learn from a note in
her diary, that "this outside work does not seem to be my mission. I
have become thoroughly interested in my daily rounds at the city
hospitals, particularly at Georgetown Seminary, where my heart and
energies are fully enlisted." She passed several weeks in this service,
going from bed to bed with her little stores, which she dispensed under
instructions from the surgeon, without being known by name to the many
recipients of her attention and care.

The stores of the Commission were not then as ample as they afterward
became, when its noble aims had become more fully understood, and its
grand mission of benevolence more widely known, and the sick and wounded
were in need of many things not obtainable from either this source or
the Government supplies. Mrs. Parrish determined, therefore, to return
to her northern home and endeavor to interest the people of her
neighborhood in the cause she had so much at heart. She found the people
ready to respond liberally to her appeals, and soon returned to
Washington well satisfied with the success of her efforts.

She felt now that her time, and if need be her life, must be
consecrated to this work, and as her diary expresses it, she "could not
remain at home," and that if she could be of service in her new sphere
of labor she "must return."

After her brief absence, she re-entered the Georgetown Seminary
Hospital. Death had removed some of her former patients, others had
returned to duty, but others whom she left there welcomed her with
enthusiasm as the "orange lady," a title she had unconsciously earned
from the fact that she had been in the habit of distributing oranges
freely to such of the patients as were allowed to have them.

The experience of life often shows us the importance of little acts
which so frequently have an entirely disproportionate result. Mrs.
Parrish found this true in her hospital ministrations. Little gifts and
attentions often opened the way to the closed hearts of those to whom
she ministered, and enabled her to reach the innermost concealed
thought-life of her patients.

A soldier sat in his chair, wrapped in his blanket, forlorn, haggard
from disease, sullen, selfish in expression, and shrinking from her
notice as she passed him. To her morning salutation, he would return
only a cold recognition. He seemed to be bristling with defenses against
encroachment. And thus it remained till one day a small gift penetrated
to the very citadel of his fortress.

"Shall I read to you?" she commenced, kindly, to which he replied,
surlily, "Don't want reading." "Shall I write to any of your friends?"
she continued. "I hav'n't any friends," he said in the sourest tone.
Repulsed, but not baffled, she presently, and in the same kind manner,
took an orange from her basket, and gently asked him if he would accept
it. There was a perceptible brightening of his face, but he only
answered, in the same surly tone, as he held forth his hand, "Don't care
if I do."

And yet, in a little time, his sullen spirit yielded--he spread all his
troubles before the friend he had so long repulsed, and opening his
heart, showed that what had seemed so selfish and moody in him, arose
from a deep sense of loneliness and discouragement, which disappeared
the moment the orange had unlocked his heart, and admitted her to his
confidence and affection.

About six weeks she spent thus in alternate visits to the various
hospitals in the vicinity of Washington, though her labors were
principally confined to the Georgetown Hospital, where they commenced,
and where her last visit was made.

As her home duties called her at that time, she returned thither,
briefly. Soon after she reached home, she received a letter from one of
her former patients to whom she had given her address, requesting her to
call at the Broad and Cherry Street Hospital, in Philadelphia. She did
so, and on entering the building found herself surrounded by familiar
faces. Her old Washington friends had just arrived, and welcomed her
with cordial greetings. The stronger ones approached her with
outstretched hands--some, too feeble to rise, covered their faces and
wept with joy--she was the only person known to them in all the great
lonely city. The surgeon-in-charge, observing this scene, urged her to
visit the hospital often, where her presence was sure to do the men
great good.

During her stay at home she assisted in organizing a Ladies' Aid Society
at Chester. She was appointed Directress for the township where she
resided, and as the hospital was about to be located near Chester, she,
with others, directed her attention to preparing and furnishing it.
Sewing-circles were formed, and as a result of the efforts made, by the
time the soldiers arrived, a plentiful supply of nice clothing,
delicacies, etc., etc., was ready for them.

Mrs. Parrish united with other women of the vicinity in organizing a
corps of volunteer nurses, who continued to perform their duties with
regularity and faithfulness until some time after, a new order dispensed
with their services.

Her labors during the summer and autumn of 1862 visibly affected her
health, and were the cause of a severe illness which continued for
several weeks.

Her health being at length restored, she went to Washington, spent a few
days in visiting the hospitals there, and then, with a pass sent her by
Major-General Sumner, from Falmouth, she joined Mrs. Dr. Harris and
started, January 17th, 1863, for Falmouth via Acquia Creek.

The army was in motion and much confusion existed, but they found
comfortable quarters at the Lacy House, where they were under the
protection of the General and his staff.

Here Mrs. Parrish found much to do, there being a great deal of sickness
among the troops. The weather was stormy, and the movement of the army
was impeded; and though she underwent much privation for want of
suitable food, and on account of the inclement season she continued
faithful at her post and accomplished much good.

In December of the same year she accompanied her husband, with the
Medical Director of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina, on a
tour of inspection to the hospitals of Yorktown, Fortress Monroe,
Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Newbern, North Carolina. While at Old Point she
learned that there was about to be an exchange of prisoners, and
desiring to render some services in this direction obtained permission
from General Butler to proceed, in company with a friend, Miss L. C. on
the flag-of-truce boat to City Point, witness the exchange, and render
such aid as was possible to our men on their return passage.

There were five hundred Confederate prisoners on board, who, as her
journal records, "sang our National airs, and seemed to be a jolly and
happy healthy company."

Our men were in a very different condition--"sick and weary," and
needing the Sanitary Commission supplies, which had been brought for
them, yet shouting with feeble voices their gladness at being once more
under the old flag, and in freedom. Mrs. Parrish fed and comforted
these poor men as best she could, till the steamer anchored off Old
Point again.

It had been intended to continue the exchange much further, but a
dispute arising concerning the treatment of negro prisoners, the
operations of the cartel were arrested, and the exchange suspended. She
found, therefore, no further need of her services in this direction, and
so returned home.

For many months to come, as one of the managers of the women's branch of
the United States Sanitary Commission, she found ample employment in
preparation for the great Philadelphia Fair, in which arduous service
she continued until its close, in July, 1864. The exhausting labors of
these months, and the heat of the weather during the continuance of the
Fair, made it necessary for her to have a respite for the remainder of
the summer.

It was in the early winter of this year that she accompanied her husband
on a tour of inspection to the hospitals of Annapolis, and became so
interested in the condition of the returned prisoners, who needed so
much done for them in the way of personal care, that she gladly
consented, at the solicitation of the medical officers and agent of the
Commission, to serve there for a season.

Of the usefulness of her work among the prisoners, testimony is
abundant. What she saw, and what she did, is most touchingly set forth
in the following letters from her pen, extracted from the Bulletin of
the United States Sanitary Commission:

        ANNAPOLIS, _December 1, 1864_.

     "The steamer _Constitution_ arrived this morning with seven hundred
     and six men, one hundred and twenty-five of whom were sent
     immediately to hospitals, being too ill to enjoy more than the
     sight of their 'promised land.' Many indeed, were in a dying
     condition. Some had died a short time before the arrival of the
     boat. Those who were able, proceeded to the high ground above the
     landing, and after being divided into battalions, each was
     conducted in turn to the Government store-house, under charge of
     Captain Davis, who furnished each man with a new suit of clothes
     recorded his name, regiment and company. They then passed out to
     another building near by, where warm water, soap, towels, brushes
     and combs awaited them.

     "After their ablutions they returned to the open space in front of
     the building, to look around and enjoy the realities of their new
     life. Here they were furnished with paper, envelopes, sharpened
     pencils, hymn-books and tracts from the Sanitary Commission, and
     sat down to communicate the glad news of their freedom to friends
     at home. In about two hours most of the men who were able, had
     sealed their letters and deposited them in a large mail bag which
     was furnished, and they were soon sent on their way to hundreds of
     anxious kindred and friends.

     "Captain Davis very kindly invited me to accompany him to another
     building, to witness the administration of the food. Several
     cauldrons containing nice coffee, piles of new white bread, and
     stands covered with meat, met the eye. Three dealers were in
     attendance. The first gave to each soldier a loaf of bread, the
     second a slice of boiled meat, the third, dipping the new tin-cup
     from the hand of each, into the coffee cauldron, dealt out hot
     coffee; and how it was all received I am unable to describe. The
     feeble ones reached out their emaciated hands to receive gladly,
     that which they were scarcely able to carry, and with brightening
     faces and grateful expressions went on their way. The stouter ones
     of the party, however, must have their jokes, and such expressions
     as the following passed freely among them: 'No stockade about this
     bread,' 'This is no confederate dodge,' etc. One fellow, whose skin
     was nearly black from exposure, said, 'That's more bread than I've
     seen for two months.' Another, 'That settles a man's plate.' A
     bright-eyed boy of eighteen, whose young spirit had not been
     completely crushed out in rebeldom, could not refrain from a
     hurrah, and cried out, 'Hurrah for Uncle Sam, hurrah! No
     Confederacy about this bread.' One poor feeble fellow, almost too
     faint to hold his loaded plate, muttered out, 'Why, this looks as
     if we were going to live, there's no grains of corn for a man to
     swallow whole in this loaf.' Thus the words of cheer and hope came
     from almost every tongue, as they received their rations and walked
     away, each with his 'thank you, thank you;' and sat down upon the
     ground, which forcibly reminded me of the Scripture account where
     the multitude sat down in companies, 'and did eat and were filled.'

     "Ambulances came afterwards to take those who were unable to walk
     to Camp Parole, which is two miles distant. One poor man, who was
     making his way behind all the rest to reach the ambulance, thought
     it would leave him, and with a most anxious and pitiful expression,
     cried out, 'Oh, wait for me!' I think I shall never forget his look
     of distress. When he reached the wagon he was too feeble to step
     in, but Captain Davis, and Rev. J. A. Whitaker, Sanitary Commission
     agent, assisted him till he was placed by the side of his
     companions, who were not in much better condition than himself.
     When he was seated, he was so thankful, that he wept like a child,
     and those who stood by to aid him could do no less. Soldiers--brave
     soldiers, officers and all, were moved to tears. That must be a sad
     discipline which not only wastes the manly form till the sign of
     humanity is nearly obliterated, but breaks the manly spirit till it
     is as tender as a child's."

        "_December 6, 1864._

     "The St. John's College Hospital, is under the management of Dr.
     Palmer, surgeon-in-charge, and his executive officer, Dr. Tremaine.
     These gentlemen are worthy of praise for the systematic arrangement
     of its cleanly apartments, and for the very kind attention they
     bestow on their seven hundred patients. I visited the hospital a
     day or two ago, and, from what I saw there, can assure the
     relatives at home, that the sufferers are well provided for. If
     they could only be seen, how comfortable they look in their neat
     white-spread beds, much pain would be spared them. One of the
     surgeons informed me that all the appliances are bestowed either by
     the Government or the Sanitary Commission.

     "As I passed through the different wards, I noticed that each one
     was well supplied with rocking-chairs, and alluding to the great
     comfort they must be to the invalids, the surgeon replied: 'Yes,
     this is one of the rich gifts made to us by the Sanitary
     Commission.' An invalid took up the words and remarked: 'I think
     it's likely that all about me is from the Sanitary, for I see my
     flannel shirt, this wrapper, and pretty much all I've got on, has
     the stamp of the United States Sanitary Commission on it.'

     "The diet kitchen is under the care of Miss Rich, who, with her
     assistants, was busy preparing delicacies of various kinds, for two
     hundred patients who were not able to go to the convalescent's
     table. The whole atmosphere was filled with the odor of savory
     viands. On the stove I counted mutton-chops, beef-steaks, oysters,
     chicken, milk, tea, and other very palatable articles cooking. A
     man stood by a table, buttering nicely toasted bread; before him
     were eight to ten rows of the staff of life, rising up like pillars
     of strength to support the inner man. The chief cook in this
     department, informed me that he buttered twelve hundred slices of
     bread, or toast daily, for the diet patients, and prepared
     eighty-six different dishes at each meal. While in conversation
     with this good-natured person, the butcher brought in a supply of
     meat, amounting, he informed me, to one hundred pounds per day for
     the so-called diet kitchen, though this did not sound much like it.
     Before we left this attractively clean place the oysterman was met
     emptying his cans. Upon inquiring how many oysters he had, he
     replied, 'Six gallons is my every day deposit here;' and oh! they
     were so inexpressibly fine-looking, I could not resist robbing some
     poor fellow of one large bivalve to ascertain their quality. Next
     we were shown the store-room, where there was a good supply of
     Sanitary stores, pads, pillows, shirts, drawers, arm-slings, stock
     of crutches, fans, and other comforts, which, the doctor said, had
     been deposited by the United States Sanitary Commission Agent.
     These were useful articles that were not furnished by the

     "The executive officer having given us permission to find our way
     among the patients, we passed several hours most profitably and
     interestingly, conversing with those who had none to cheer them for
     many months, and writing letters for those who were too feeble to
     use the pen. When the day closed our labors we felt like the
     disciple of old, who said, 'Master, it is good to be here,' and
     wished that we might set up our tabernacle and glorify the Lord by
     doing good to the sick, the lame, and those who had been in

        "_December 8, 1864._

     "No human tongue or pen can ever describe the horrible suffering we
     have witnessed this day.

     "I was early at the landing, eight and a-half o'clock in the
     morning, before the boat threw out her ropes for security. The
     first one brought two hundred bad cases, which the Naval surgeon
     told me should properly go to the hospital near by, were it not
     that others were coming, every one of whom was in the most wretched
     condition imaginable. They were, therefore, sent in ambulances to
     Camp Parole hospital, distant two miles, after being washed and fed
     at the barracks.

     "In a short time another boat-load drew near, and oh! such a scene
     of suffering humanity I desire never to behold again. The whole
     deck was a bed of straw for our exhausted, starved, emaciated,
     dying fellow-creatures. Of the five hundred and fifty that left
     Savannah, the surgeon informed me not over two hundred would
     survive; fifty had died on the passage; three died while the boat
     was coming to the land. I saw five men dying as they were carried
     on stretchers from the boat to the Naval Hospital. The
     stretcher-bearers were ordered by Surgeon D. Vanderkieft to pause a
     moment that the names of the dying men might be obtained. To the
     credit of the officers and their assistants it should be known that
     everything was done in the most systematic and careful manner. Each
     stretcher had four attendants, who stood in line and came up
     promptly, one after the other, to receive the sufferers as they
     were carried off the boat. There was no confusion, no noise; all
     acted with perfect military order. Ah! it was a solemn funeral
     service to many a brave soldier, that was thus being performed by
     kind hearts and hands.

     "Some had become insane; their wild gaze, and clenched teeth
     convinced the observer that reason had fled; others were idiotic; a
     few lying in spasms; perhaps the realization of the hope long
     cherished, yet oft deferred, or the welcome sound of the music,
     sent forth by the military band, was more than their exhausted
     nature could bear. When blankets were thrown over them, no one
     would have supposed that a human form lay beneath, save for the
     small prominences which the bony head and feet indicated. Oh! God
     of justice, what retribution awaits the perpetrators of such slow
     and awful murder.

     "The hair of some was matted together, like beasts of the stall
     which lie down in their own filth. Vermin are over them in
     abundance. Nearly every man was darkened by scurvy, or black with
     rough scales, and with scorbutic sores. One in particular was
     reduced to the merest skeleton; his face, neck, and feet covered
     with thick, green mould. A number who had Government clothes given
     them on the boat were too feeble to put them on, and were carried
     ashore partially dressed, hugging their clothing with a death-grasp
     that they could not be persuaded to yield. It was not unfrequent to
     hear a man feebly call, as he was laid on a stretcher, "Don't take
     my clothes;" "Oh, save my new shoes;" "Don't let my socks go back
     to Andersonville." In their wild death-struggle, with bony arms and
     hands extended, they would hold up their new socks, that could not
     be put on because of their swollen limbs, saying 'Save 'em till I
     get home.' In a little while, however, the souls of many were
     released from their worn-out frames, and borne to that higher home
     where all things are registered for a great day of account.

     "Let our friends at home have open purses and willing hands to keep
     up the supplies for the great demand that must necessarily be made
     upon them. Much more must yet be done.

     "Thousands now languish in Southern prisons, that may yet be
     brought thus far toward home. Let every Aid Society be more
     diligent, that the stores of the Sanitary Commission may not fail
     in this great work."

Her services at Annapolis were cut short, and prematurely discontinued;
for returning to her home for a short stay, to make preparations for a
longer sojourn at Annapolis, she was again attacked by illness, which
rendered it impossible for her to go thither again.

On her recovery, knowing that an immense amount of ignorance existed
among officers and men concerning the operations of the Sanitary
Commission, she compiled a somewhat elaborate, yet carefully condensed
statement of its plans and workings, together with a great amount of
useful information in relation to the facilities embraced in its system
of special relief, giving a list of all Homes and Lodges, and telling
how to secure back pay for soldiers, on furlough or discharged,
bounties, pensions, etc., etc. Bound up with this, is a choice
collection of hymns, adapted to the soldier's use, the whole forming a
neat little volume of convenient size for the pocket.

The manuscript was submitted to the committee, accepted, and one hundred
thousand copies ordered to be printed for gratuitous distribution in all
the hospitals and camps. The "Soldiers' Friend," as it was called, was
soon distributed in the different departments and posts of the army, and
was even found in the Southern hospitals and prisons, while it was the
pocket companion of men in the trenches, as well as of those in quarters
and hospital. Many thousands were instructed by this little directory,
where to find the lodges, homes and pension offices of the Commission,
and were guarded against imposture and loss. So urgent was the demand
for it, and so useful was it, that the committee ordered a second

Perhaps no work published by the Sanitary Commission has been of more
real and practical use than this little volume, or has had so large a
circulation. It was the last public work performed for the Commission by
Mrs. Parrish. At the close of the war her labors did not end; but
transferring her efforts to the amelioration of the condition of the
freedmen, she still found herself actively engaged in a work growing
directly out of the war.


Mrs. Annie Wittenmeyer, who, during the early part of the war was widely
known as the State Sanitary Agent of Iowa, and afterward as the
originator of the Diet Kitchens, which being attached to hospitals
proved of the greatest benefit as an adjunct of the medical treatment,
was at the outbreak of the rebellion, residing in quiet seclusion at
Keokuk. With the menace of armed treason to the safety of her country's
institutions, she felt all her patriotic instincts and sentiments
arousing to activity. She laid aside her favorite intellectual pursuits,
and prepared herself to do what a woman might in the emergency which
called into existence a great army, and taxed the Government far beyond
its immediate ability in the matter of Hospital Supplies and the proper
provision for, and care of the sick and wounded.

Early in 1861 rumors of the sufferings of the volunteer soldiery, called
so suddenly to the field, and from healthy northern climates to
encounter the unwholesome and miasmatic exhalations of more southern
regions, as well as the pain of badly-dressed wounds, began to thrill
and grieve the hearts which had willingly though sadly sent them forth
in their country's defense. Mrs. Wittenmeyer saw at once that a field of
usefulness opened before her. Her first movement was to write letters to
every town in her State urging patriotic women in every locality to
organize themselves into Aid Societies, and commence systematically the
work of supplying the imperative needs of the suffering soldiers. These
appeals, and the intense sympathy and patriotism that inspired the
hearts of the women of the North, proved quite sufficient. In Iowa the
earlier Reports were addressed to her, and societies throughout the
State forwarded their goods to the Keokuk Aid Society with which she was
connected. As the agent of this society Mrs. Wittenmeyer went to the
field and distributed these supplies.

Thus her work had its inception--and being still the chosen agent of
distribution, she gave herself no rest. In fact, from the summer of 1861
until the close of the war, she was continually and actively employed in
some department of labor for the soldiers, and did not allow herself so
much as one week for rest.

From June, 1861, to April 1st, 1862, she had received and distributed
goods to the value of $6,000. From that to July 1st, $12,564, and from
that until September 25th, 1862, $2,000, making a total of $20,564
received before her appointment of that date by the Legislature as State
Agent. From that time until her resignation of the office, January 13th,
1864, she received $115,876.93. Thus, in about two years and a half, she
received and distributed more than $136,000 worth of goods and sanitary
stores contributed for the benefit of suffering soldiers.

But while laboring so constantly in the army, Mrs. Wittenmeyer did not
overlook the needs of the destitute at home. In October, 1863, a number
of benevolent individuals, of whom she was one, called a Convention of
Aid Societies, which had for its foremost object to take some steps
toward providing for the wants of the orphans of soldiers. That
Convention led to the establishment of the Iowa Soldiers' Orphans' Home,
an Institution of which the State is now justly proud, and which is
bestowing upon hundreds of children bountiful care and protection.

While laboring in the hospitals at Chattanooga in the winter of 1863-4,
Mrs. Wittenmeyer matured her long-cherished plan for supplying food for
the lowest class of hospital patients, and this led to the establishment
of Diet Kitchens. Believing her idea could be better carried out by the
Christian Commission, than under any other auspices, she soon after
resigned her position as State agent, and became connected with that

From a little work entitled "Christ in the Army," composed of sketches
by different individuals, and published by the Christian Commission, and
from the Fourth Report of the Maryland Branch of the Christian
Commission, we make the following extracts, relative to Mrs.
Wittenmeyer's labors in this sphere of effort:

"The sick and wounded suffer greatly from the imperfect cooking of the
soldier nurses. To remedy this evil, a number of ladies have offered
themselves as delegates of the Christian Commission, and arrangements
have been made with the medical authorities to establish Diet Kitchens,
where suitable food may be prepared by ladies' hands for our sick
soldiers,--the Government furnishing the staple articles, and the
Christian Commission providing the ladies and the delicacies and
cordials. One of these at Knoxville is thus described by a correspondent
of _The Lutheran_:--

"There have been several large hospitals in this city, but recently they
have been all consolidated into one. In connection with this hospital is
a 'Special Diet Kitchen.' Many of our readers will doubtless wonder what
these 'Special Diet Kitchens' are. They have been originated by Mrs.
Annie Wittenmeyer, of Keokuk, formerly State Sanitary Agent of Iowa. In
her arduous labors in the Army of the Cumberland, she met with a large
number of patients who suffered for want of suitably prepared, delicate
and nutritious food. None of the benevolent institutions in connection
with the army have been able to reach this class of persons. She says,
in her report to the General Assembly of the State: 'This matter has
given me serious and anxious thought for the past year, but I have
recently submitted to the Christian Commission a plan by which I believe
this class of patients may be reached and relieved. The plan proposed,
is the establishment of "Special Diet Kitchens," in connection with that
Commission, to be superintended by earnest, prudent Christian women,
who will secure the distribution of proper food to this class of
patients--taking such delicate articles of food as our good people
supply _to the very bed-sides_ of the poor languishing soldiers, and
administering, with words of encouragement and sympathy, to their
pressing wants; such persons to co-operate with the surgeons in all
their efforts for the sick.' This plan of operations has been sanctioned
and adopted by the United States Christian Commission. There is one in
successful operation at Nashville, under the direction, I believe, of a
daughter of the Honorable J. K. Moorehead, of Pittsburg. The one here is
under the direction of Mrs. R. E. Conrad, of Keokuk, Iowa, and her two
sisters. They are doing a great and good work now in Knoxville. From
three to five hundred patients are thus daily supplied with delicate
food, who would otherwise have scarcely anything to eat. The success of
their labors has demonstrated beyond a doubt the practicability of the
plan of Mrs. Wittenmeyer. The good resulting from their arduous labor
proves that much can be done by these special efforts to rescue those
who are laid upon languishing beds of sickness and pain, and have passed
almost beyond the reach of ordinary means. The great need we have in
connection with these 'Diet Kitchens,' is the want of canned fruits,
jellies, preserves, etc. If our good people, who have already done so
much, will provide these necessary means, they will be distributed to
the most needy, and in such a way as to accomplish the most good."

The War Department is so well satisfied with the value of these Diet
Kitchens, in saving the lives of thousands of invalids, that it has
issued the following special Order:--

        SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 362.

            WASHINGTON, D. C., _October 24, 1864_.

     * * * * 56. Permission to visit the United States General
     Hospitals, within the lines of the several Military Departments of
     the United States, for the purpose of superintending the
     preparation of food in the Special Diet Kitchens of the same, is
     hereby granted Mrs. Annie Wittenmeyer, Special Agent United States
     Christian Commission, and such ladies as she may deem proper to
     employ, by request of the United States surgeons. The
     Quartermaster's Department will furnish the necessary

        E. D. TOWNSEND,
        _Assistant Adjutant-General._

                        DIET KITCHENS.

Mrs. Annie Wittenmeyer suggested and introduced the use of the Diet
Kitchen into the hospitals. The Kitchen was used extensively among the
Branch Offices of the West. The design of the Kitchen was, to have
prepared for the men who were under treatment, such articles of food and
delicacies as are grateful to the sick, and at the same time may be
allowed with safety. The ladies who were engaged in this department
performed their labors under the direction of the surgeons, who
appointed their stations and approved their preparations. The process
was very much like that of the house in which the surgeon directs, and
the family provides, the nourishing food that is needed for the patient.

Mrs. Wittenmeyer had the Diet Kitchens under her supervision. She was
the agent of the Commission for the purpose. She operated under
regulations which were approved by the Commission and by the War
Department. These regulations were printed and circulated among the
managers of the Kitchens. So effective were the orders under which the
department was conducted, that not the least difficulty or
misunderstanding occurred, notwithstanding the responsible relations of
the co-operators, part being officials of the army and part under the
direction of a voluntary service. Each of the managers was furnished
with a copy of the rules, which, with the endorsement of the branch
office with which the service was connected, constituted the commission
of the manager.

The Special Diet Kitchens, were first adopted in the Department of the
Cumberland, and in that of the Mississippi, and with results so
unexpectedly beneficial, that Mrs. Wittenmeyer was earnestly solicited
to extend the work to the Army of the Potomac. This she did in the
winter of 1864, and it continued until the close of the war with great

Much of this success was undoubtedly owing to the class of ladies
engaged in the work. Many of them were from the highest circles of
society, educated, refined and accomplished, and each was required to
maintain the life and character of an earnest Christian. They thus
commanded the respect of officers and men, and proved a powerful
instrument of good. As we have seen, the Christian Commission has borne
ample testimony to the value of the efforts of Mrs. Wittenmeyer, and her
associates in this department of hospital service.

Mrs. Wittenmeyer continued actively engaged in the service of the
Christian Commission, in the organizing of Diet Kitchens, and similar
labors, until the close of the war, and the disbanding of that
organization, when she returned to her home in Keokuk, to resume the
quiet life she had abandoned, and to gain needed repose, after her four
years' effort in behalf of our suffering defenders.


Among the heroic and devoted women who have labored for the soldiers of
the Union in the late war, and endured all the dangers and privations of
hospital life, is Miss Melcenia Elliott, of Iowa. Born in Indiana, and
reared in the Northern part of Iowa, she grew to womanhood amid the
scenes and associations of country life, with an artless, impulsive and
generous nature, superior physical health, and a heart warm with the
love of country and humanity. Her father is a prosperous farmer, and
gave three of his sons to the struggle for the Union, who served
honorably to the end of their enlistment, and one of them re-enlisted as
a veteran, performing oftentimes the perilous duties of a spy, that he
might obtain valuable information to guide the movements of our forces.
The daughter, at the breaking out of the war, was pursuing her studies
at Washington College, in Iowa, an institution open to both sexes, and
under the patronage of the United Presbyterian Church. But the sound of
fife and drum, the organization of regiments composed of her friends and
neighbors, and the enlistment of her brothers in the grand army of the
Union fired her ardent soul with patriotism, and an intense desire to
help on the cause in which the soldiers had taken up the implements of

For many months her thoughts were far more with the soldiers in the
field than on the course of study in the college, and as soon as there
began to be a demand for female nurses in the hospitals, she was prompt
to offer her services and was accepted.

The summer and autumn of 1862, found her in the hospitals in Tennessee,
ready on all occasions for the most difficult posts of service,
ministering at the bed-side of the sick and desponding, cheering them
with her warm words of encouragement and sympathy, and her pleasant
smile and ready mirthfulness, the very best antidote to the depression
of spirits and home-sickness of the worn and tired soldier. In all
hospital work, in the offices of nursing and watching, and giving of
medicines, in the preparation of special diet, in the care and attention
necessary to have the hospital beds clean and comfortable, and the wards
in proper order, she was untiring and never gave way to weariness or
failed in strength. It was pleasant to see with what ease and
satisfaction she could lift up a sick soldier's head, smooth and arrange
his pillow, lift him into an easier position, dress his wounds, and make
him feel that somebody cared for him.

During the winter of 1862-3, she was a nurse in one of the hospitals at
Memphis, and rendered most useful and excellent service. An example of
her heroism and fortitude occurred here, that is worthy of being
mentioned. In one of the hospitals there was a sick soldier who came
from her father's neighborhood in Iowa, whom she had known, and for
whose family she felt a friendly interest. She often visited him in the
sick ward where he was, and did what she could to alleviate his
sufferings, and comfort him in his illness. But gradually he became
worse, and at a time when he needed her sympathy and kind attention more
than ever, the Surgeon in charge of the hospital, issued an order that
excluded all visitors from the wards, during those portions of the day
when she could leave the hospital where she was on duty, to make these
visits to her sick neighbor and friend. The front entrance of the
hospital being guarded, she could not gain admission; but she had too
much resolution, energy and courage, and too much kindness of heart, to
be thwarted in her good intentions by red tape. Finding that by scaling
a high fence in the rear of the hospital, she could enter without being
obstructed by guards, and being aided in her purpose by the nurses on
duty in the ward, she made her visits in the evening to the sick man's
bed-side till he died. As it was his dying wish that his remains might
be carried home to his family, none of whom were present, she herself
undertook the difficult and responsible task. Getting leave of absence
from her own duties, without the requisite funds for the purpose, she
was able, by her frank and open address, her self-reliance, intelligence
and courage to accomplish the task, and made the journey alone, with the
body in charge; all the way from Memphis to Washington, Iowa, overcoming
all difficulties of procuring transportation, and reaching her
destination successfully. By this act of heroism, she won the gratitude
of many hearts, and gave comfort and satisfaction to the friends and
relatives of the departed soldier.

Returning as far as St. Louis, she was transferred to the large military
hospital at Benton Barracks and did not return to Memphis. Here for many
months, during the spring, summer and autumn of 1863, she served most
faithfully, and was considered one of the most efficient and capable
nurses in the hospital. At this place she was associated with a band of
noble young women, under the supervision of that excellent lady, Miss
Emily Parsons, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, who came out from her
pleasant New England home to be at the head of the nursing department of
this hospital, (then in charge of Surgeon Ira Russell, United States
Volunteers), and to do her part towards taking care of the sick and
wounded men who had perilled their lives for their country. A warm
friendship grew up between these noble women, and Miss Parsons never
ceased to regard with deep interest, the tall, heroic, determined girl,
who never allowed any obstacle to stand between her and any useful
service she could render to the defenders of her country.

Another incident of her fearless and undaunted bravery will illustrate
her character, and especially the self-sacrificing spirit by which she
was animated. During the summer of 1863, it became necessary to
establish a ward for cases of erysipelas, a disease generating an
unhealthy atmosphere and propagating itself by that means. The surgeon
in charge, instead of assigning a female nurse of his own selection to
this ward, called for a _volunteer_, among the women nurses of the
hospital. There was naturally some hesitancy about taking so trying and
dangerous a position, and, seeing this reluctance on the part of others,
Miss Elliott promptly offered herself for the place. For several months
she performed her duties in the erysipelas ward with the same constancy
and regard for the welfare of the patients that had characterized her in
other positions. It was here the writer of this sketch first became
acquainted with her, and noticed the cheerful and cordial manner in
which she waited upon the sufferers under her care, going from one to
another to perform some office of kindness, always with words of genuine
sympathy, pleasantry and good will.

Late in the fall of 1863, Miss Elliott yielded to the wishes of the
Western Sanitary Commission, and became matron of the Refugee Home of
St. Louis--a charitable institution made necessary by the events of the
war, and designed to give shelter and assistance to poor families of
refugees, mostly widows and children, who were constantly arriving from
the exposed and desolated portions of Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee,
Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, sent North often by military authority
as deck passengers on Government boats to get them away from the
military posts in our possession further South. For one year Miss
Elliott managed the internal affairs of this institution with great
efficiency and good judgment, under circumstances that were very trying
to her patience and fortitude. Many of the refugees were of the class
called "the poor white trash" of the South, filthy, ragged, proud,
indolent, ill-mannered, given to the smoking and chewing of tobacco,
often diseased, inefficient, and either unwilling or unable to conform
to the necessary regulations of the Home, or to do their own proper
share of the work of the household, and the keeping of their apartments
in a state of cleanliness and order.

It was a great trial of her Christian patience to see families of
children of all ages, dirty, ragged, and ill-mannered, lounging in the
halls and at the front door, and their mothers doing little better
themselves, getting into disputes with each other, or hovering round a
stove, chewing or smoking tobacco, and leaving the necessary work
allotted to them neglected and undone. But out of this material and this
confusion Miss Elliott, by her efficiency and force of character,
brought a good degree of cleanliness and order. Among other things she
established a school in the Home, gathered the children into it in the
evening, taught them to spell, read and sing, and inspired them with a
desire for knowledge.

At the end of a year of this kind of work Miss Elliott was called to the
position of matron of the Soldiers' Orphans' Home, at Farmington, Iowa,
which she accepted and filled for several months, with her usual
efficiency and success, when, after long and arduous service for the
soldiers, for the refugees and for the orphans of our country's
defenders, she returned to the home of her family, and to the society
and occupations for which she was preparing herself before the war.


To one who was accustomed to visit the military hospitals of St. Louis,
during the first years of the war, the meeting with Mary Dwight Pettes
in her ministry to the sick and wounded soldiers must always return as a
pleasant and sacred memory. And such an one will not fail to recall how
she carried to the men pleasant reading, how she sat by their bed-sides
speaking words of cheer and sympathy, and singing songs of country,
home, and heaven, with a voice of angelic sweetness. Nor, how after
having by her own exertions procured melodeons for the hospital chapels,
she would play for the soldiers in their Sabbath worship, and bring her
friends to make a choir to assist in their religious services.

Slender in form, her countenance radiant with intelligence, and her dark
eyes beaming with sympathy and kindness, it was indeed a pleasant
surprise to see one so young and delicate, going about from hospital to
hospital to find opportunities of doing good to the wan and suffering,
and crippled heroes, who had been brought from hard-fought battle-fields
to be cared for at the North.

But no one of the true Sisters of Mercy, who gave themselves to this
service during the war, felt more intense and genuine satisfaction in
her labors than she, and not one is more worthy of our grateful
remembrance, now that she has passed away from the scene of her joys and
her labors forever.

Mary Dwight Pettes was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in the year 1841,
and belonged to a family who were eminent for their intelligence, and
religious and moral worth. The circumstances of her early life and
education are unknown to the writer of this sketch, but must have been
such as to develop that purity of mind and manners, that sweetness and
amiability of temper, that ready sympathy and disinterestedness of
purpose and conduct, which, together with rare conversational and
musical powers, she possessed in so high a degree.

Having an uncle and his family resident in St. Louis, the first year of
the war found her in that city, engaged in the work of ministering to
the soldiers in the hospitals with her whole heart and soul. During the
first winter of the great rebellion (1862) St. Louis was filled with
troops, and there were thirteen hospitals thronged with the sick and
wounded from the early battle-fields of the war. On the 30th of January
of that year she thus wrote to the Boston _Transcript_, over her own
initials, some account of her labors and observations at that time.
Speaking of the hospitals she said, "It is here that the evils and
horrors of the war become very apparent. Here stout hearts are broken.
You see great numbers of the brave young men of the Western States, who
have left their homes to fight for their country. They were willing to
be wounded, shot, to die, if need be, but after months of inaction they
find themselves conquered by dysentery or fever. Some fifty or sixty
each week are borne to their long home. This may have been unavoidable,
but it is hard to bear. * * * * Last night I returned home in the
evening. It was dark, rainy, cold and muddy. I passed an ambulance in
the street. The two horses had each a leader walking beside them, which
indicated that a very sick soldier was within. It was a sad sight; and
yet this poor man could not be moved, when he arrived at the
hospital-door, until his papers were examined to see if they conformed
to 'Army Regulations,' I protest against the coldness with which the
Regulations treat the sick and wounded soldiers."

No doubt her sympathetic heart protested against all delays and all
seeming indifference to the welfare of the poor fellows on whose
bravery and devotion the salvation of the country depended.

In her devotion to the sick and wounded in the hospitals, and her labors
of love among them, she sacrificed many of her own comforts and
pleasures. Notwithstanding the delicacy of her own health she _would_ go
about among them doing them good.

She took great interest in seeing the soldiers engaged in religious
worship, and in assisting to conduct the exercises of praise and
thanksgiving. When these services were ended she used to go from ward to
ward, and passing to the bed-side of those who were too weak to join the
worship in the chapel would read to them the blessed words of comfort
contained in the Book of Life, and sing to them the sweet hymn, "Jesus,
I love thy charming name."

In one of her papers she has left this record. "For a year I have
visited the hospitals constantly, and during that time they have been
crowded with sick and wounded soldiers. I never had any idea what
suffering was until I had been in the wards after the battles of Fort
Donelson, Pittsburg Landing, and Pea Ridge. The poor fellows are so
patient too, and so grateful for any little service or attention."

In another letter, speaking of the great civil war in which we were then
engaged, she wrote, "Still I have hope, trusting in the justice of God.
Being a constant visitor to the hospitals in and about this city, I have
taken great pleasure in relieving the physical as well as the spiritual
wants of the sick and wounded, as far as it has been in my power,
proving to them that they have sympathizing friends near them, although
their home-friends may be far away. I have encouraged them to be
cheerful, and bear their sufferings with heroic fortitude, trusting in
God, and a happier and better future. It has seemed to me that I do them
some good when I find them watching for my coming, and that every face
brightens as I enter the ward, while many say to me, 'We are always glad
to see you come. It cheers and comforts us mightily to have you come so
bright and smiling, asking us how we do, and saying always some pleasant
word, and giving us something good to read. Then we love to hear you
sing to us. Sometimes it makes the tears come in our eyes, but it kind
o' lifts us up, and makes us feel better. We sometimes wonder you come
here so much among us poor fellows, but we have come to the conclusion
that your heart is in the cause for which we are fighting, and that you
want to help and cheer us so that we may get well and go back to our
regiments, and finish up the work of putting down this infernal

"One day as I lifted up the head of a poor boy, who was languidly
drooping, and smoothed and fixed his pillow, he said, 'Thank you; that's
nice. You are so gentle and good to me that I almost fancy I am at home,
and that sister Mary is waiting upon me.'"

"Such expressions of their interest and gratitude," she adds, "encourage
me in this work, and I keep on, though often my strength almost fails
me, and my heart is filled with sadness, as I see one after another of
the poor fellows wasting away, and in a few days their cots are empty
and they sleep the sleep that knows no waking this side of the grave."

Thus she labored on in her work of self-sacrificing love and devotion,
with no compensation but the satisfaction that she was doing good, until
late in the month of December, 1862, she was attacked with the typhoid
fever, which she, no doubt, had contracted in the infected air of the
hospitals, and died on the 14th of January, 1863. During her five weeks
of illness her thoughts were constantly with the soldiers, and in her
delirium she would imagine she was among them in their sick wards, and
would often speak to them words of consolation and sympathy.

In a letter of Rev. Dr. Eliot, the Unitarian Pastor, of St. Louis,
published in the _Christian Register_ on the following May, he gives the
impression she had left upon those with whom she had been sometimes
associated in her labors. Miss Pettes was a Unitarian in her religious
faith, and this fact was known to one of the excellent Chaplains who
regularly officiated in the hospitals at St. Louis, and who belonged to
the Old School Presbyterian Church. He had, however, been very glad of
her co-operation and assistance in his work, and in conducting religious
worship in the hospitals, and thus spoke of her to Dr. Eliot, some
months after her death. "Chaplain P. said to me to-day, 'Can you not
send me some one to take the place of Mary Pettes, who died literally a
martyr to the cause six months ago?' 'I don't think,' said he, 'that you
can find another as good as she, for her whole heart was in it, and she
was like sunshine to the hospital. But,' he added, 'all your people [the
Unitarians] work as if they really cared for the soldiers and loved the
cause, and I want more of them.'"

Such was the impression of her goodness and worth, and moral beauty left
by this New England girl upon the minds of those who saw her going about
in the hospitals of St. Louis, during the first year and a-half of the
war, trying to do her part in the great work given us to do as a nation,
and falling a martyr, quite as much as those who fell on the field of
battle, to the cause of her country and liberty:--such the brief record
of a true and spotless life given, in its virgin purity and loveliness,
as a sacrifice well pleasing to God.


During the winter of 1863, while stationed at Helena, Arkansas, the
writer was greatly impressed with the heroic devotion to the welfare of
the sick soldier, of a lady whom he often met in the hospitals, where
she was constantly engaged in services of kindness to the suffering
inmates, attending to their wants, and alleviating their distress. He
soon learned that her name was Louisa Maertz, of Quincy, Illinois, who
had come from her home all the way to Helena--at a time when the
navigation of the river was rendered dangerous by the firing of
guerrillas from the shore upon the passing steamers--that she might
devote herself to the work of a hospital nurse. At a later period, when
he learned that she had left a pleasant home for this arduous service,
and saw how bravely she endured the discomforts of hospital life in
Helena, where there was not a single well-ordered and well-provided
hospital; how she went from one building to another through the filthy
and muddy town, to carry the delicacies she had obtained from the
Sanitary Commission, and dispense them to the sick, with her own hands,
he was still more impressed with these evidences of her "good, heroic
womanhood," and her disinterested benevolence. Recently he has procured
a few particulars of her history, which will serve for a brief sketch.

Miss Maertz was born in Quincy, Illinois, in 1838. Her parents were of
German birth, and among the early settlers of the place. From infancy
she was of a delicate constitution, and suffered much from ill health;
and at the age of eighteen years she was sent to Europe in the hope that
she might derive benefit from the mineral springs of Germany and from
travel and change of climate. Two years in Germany, Switzerland and
Italy were spent in traveling and in the society of her relatives, some
of whom were the personal friends of the Monods of Paris, Guizot, the
Gurneys of England, Merle D'Aubigne, of Geneva, and other literary
people of Europe, with several of whom she became acquainted. From this
visit abroad she received much benefit, and her general health was
greatly improved.

From an early period she had cherished two strong aspirations, the
desire of knowledge, and the wish to devote herself to works of charity.
Her heart was always ready to sympathize with the sufferings and sorrows
of humanity; and the cause of the orphan, the slave, the poor and the
helpless excited a deep interest in her mind, and a desire to devote
herself in some way to their relief. After her return from Europe it
became an absorbing aspiration and the subject of earnest prayer that
God would show her some way in which she could be useful to humanity.

As she was thus becoming prepared for the work upon which she afterwards
entered, the great rebellion, which involved the country in the late
civil war, broke forth; the early battles in Missouri, and at Fort
Donelson and Belmont led to the establishment of hospitals in St. Louis,
at Mound City, and at Quincy, Illinois; and the opportunity came to Miss
Maertz, which she had so long desired, to undertake some work of charity
and benevolence. During the months of October and November, 1861, she
commenced the daily visitation of the hospitals in Quincy, carried with
her delicacies for the sick and distributed them, procured the redress
of any grievances they suffered, read the Scriptures and conversed with
them, wrote letters for them to their friends, dressed their wounds, and
furnished them books, papers, and sources of amusement. Although her
physical strength at this period was very moderate, she seemed, on
entering the hospital, and witnessing the sufferings of brave men, who
had dared everything for their country, to be infused with a new and
strange vigor that sustained her through every exertion.

In particular cases of tedious convalescence, retarded by inferior
hospital accommodations, she--with her parents' consent--obtained
permission to take them home, and nurse them till they were restored to
health. Thus she labored on through the fall and winter of 1861-2 till
the battles of Shiloh and Pea Ridge filled the hospitals with wounded
men, at St. Louis and Mound City, and at Louisville and Evansville and
Paducah, and she began to feel that she must go where her services were
more needed, and give herself wholly to this work of caring for and
nursing the wounded patriots of the war.

After waiting some time for an opportunity to go she wrote to Mr. James
E. Yeatman, at St. Louis, the agent of Miss Dorothea L. Dix for the
appointment of women nurses in the hospitals of the Western Department,
and was accepted. On reporting herself at St. Louis she was commissioned
as a nurse, and in the fall of 1862 proceeded to Helena, where the army
of the Southwest had encamped the previous July, under Major-General
Curtis, and where every church and several private buildings had to be
converted into hospitals to accommodate the sick of his army.

It was here, during the winter of 1863, that the writer of this sketch
first met with Miss Maertz, engaged in the work of a hospital nurse,
enduring with rare heroism sacrifices and discomforts, labors and
watchings in the service of the sick soldiers that won the reverence and
admiration of all who saw this gentle woman thus nobly employed. It was
of her the following paragraph was written in the History of the Western
Sanitary Commission.

"Another one we also know whose name is likewise in this simple record,
who, at Helena, Arkansas, in the fall and winter of 1862-3, was almost
the only female nurse in the hospitals there, going from one building to
another, in which the sick were quartered, when the streets were almost
impassable with mud, administering sanitary stores and making delicate
preparations of food, spending her own money in procuring milk and other
articles that were scarce and difficult to obtain, and doing an amount
of work which few persons could sustain, living without the pleasant
society to which she had been accustomed at home, never murmuring,
always cheerful and kind, preserving in the midst of a military camp
such gentleness, strength and purity of character that all rudeness of
speech ceased in her presence, and as she went from room to room she was
received with silent benedictions, or an audible 'God bless you, dear
lady,' from some poor sufferer's heart."

The last time I saw Miss Maertz, while engaged in her hospital work, was
at the grave of a soldier, who was buried at Helena in the spring of
1863. He was one of the persecuted Union men of Arkansas, who had
enlisted in the Union army on the march of General Curtis through
Arkansas, and had fallen sick at Helena. For several weeks Miss Maertz
had nursed and cared for him with all a woman's tenderness and delicacy,
and perceiving that he must die had succeeded in sending a message to
his wife, who lived sixty miles in the interior of Arkansas, within the
enemy's lines. On the afternoon of his death and but a few hours before
it she arrived, having walked the whole distance on foot with great
difficulty, because she was partially blind; but had the satisfaction of
receiving the parting words of her husband and attending his burial.
Miss Maertz sent word to me, asking me to perform the burial service,
and the next day I met her leading the half-blind widow, in her poverty
and sorrow, to the grave. Some months later this poor soldier's widow
came to the Refugee Home, at St. Louis, and was cared for, and being
recognized and the scene of the lonely burial referred to, she related
with tears of gratitude the kindness she received from the good lady,
who nursed her husband in his last illness at Helena.

At a later period in the service, Miss Maertz was transferred to the
hospitals at Vicksburg, where she continued her work of benevolence till
she was obliged to return home to restore her own exhausted energies. At
this time her parents urged her to go with them to Europe, wishing to
take her away from scenes of suffering, and prostrating disease, but she
declined to go, and, on regaining a measure of health, entered the
service again and continued in it at New Orleans to the end of the war.

In real devotion to the welfare of the soldiers of the Union; in high
religious and patriotic motives; in the self-sacrificing spirit with
which she performed her labors; in the heroism with which she endured
hardship for the sake of doing good; in the readiness with which she
gave up her own interests and the offer of personal advantages and
pleasure to serve the cause of patriotism and humanity, she had few


This lady whose services merit all the praise which has been bestowed
upon them, is a resident of Michigan City, Indiana, the still youthful
widow of a near relative of the Honorable Schuyler Colfax, the present
Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Her father, during her youth, was long an invalid, and his enforced
seclusion from all business pursuits was spent in bestowing instruction
upon his children. His conversations with his children, and the lessons
in history which he gave them were made the means of instilling great
moral ideas, and amidst all others an ardent love of their native
country and its institutions. At the same period of the life of Mrs.
Colfax, she was blest with a mother whose large and active benevolence
led her to spend much time in visiting and ministering to the sick. Her
daughter often accompanied her, and as often was sent alone upon like
errands. Thus she learned the practice of the sentiments which caused
her, in the hour of her country's trial, to lend such energetic and
cheerful aid to its wounded defenders.

Previous to the commencement of the war Mrs. Colfax had lost her husband
and her father. Her mother remained to advise and guide the young widow
and her fatherless children, and it was to her that she turned for
counsel, when, on the announcement of the need of female nurses in the
hospitals that were so soon filled with sick and wounded, Mrs. Colfax
felt herself impelled to devote herself to this service and ministry.

Her mother and other friends disapproved of her going, and said all
they could in opposition. She listened, and delayed, but finally felt
that she must yield to the impulse. The opposition was withdrawn, and on
the last of October, 1861, she started for St. Louis to enter the
hospitals there.

Her heart was very desolate as she entered this strange city alone, at
ten o'clock at night. Mr. Yeatman, with whom communication had been
opened relative to her coming, had neglected to give her definite
directions how to proceed. But she heard some surgeons talking of the
hospitals, and learned that they belonged to them. From them she
obtained the address of Mr. Yeatman. A gentleman, as she left the cars,
stepped forward and kindly and respectfully placed her in the omnibus
which was to take her across the river. She turned to thank him, but he
was gone. Yet these occurrences, small as they were, had given her
renewed courage--she no longer felt quite friendless, but went
cheerfully upon her way.

She proceeded to the Fifth Street Hospital, where Mr. Yeatman had his
quarters, and was admitted by the use of his name. The night nurse, Mrs.
Gibson, took kind charge of her for that night, and in the morning she
was introduced to the matron, Mrs. Plummer, and to Mr. Yeatman. She had
her first sight of wounded men on the night of her arrival, and the
thought of their sufferings, and of how much could be done to alleviate
them, made her forget herself, an obliviousness from which she did not
for weeks recover.

She was assigned to the first ward in which there had been till then no
female nurse, and soon found full employment for hands, mind and heart.
The reception room for patients was on the same floor with her ward, and
the sufferers had to be taken through it to reach the others, so that
she was forced to witness every imaginable phase of suffering and
misery, and her sympathies never became blunted. Many of these men lived
but a short time after being brought in, and one man standing with his
knapsack on to have his name and regiment noted down, fell to the floor
as it was supposed in a swoon, but was found to be dead.

For some time when men were dying all around with typhus fever and
wounds, no clergyman of any denomination visited them. Mrs. Colfax and
other ladies would often at their request offer up prayers, but they
felt that regular religious ministrations were needed. After a time
through the intercession of a lady, a resident of St. Louis, the Rev.
Dr. Schuyler came often to supply this want, giving great comfort to the

About this time, the ward surgeon was removed, and another substituted
in his place, Dr. Paddock. This gentleman thus speaks of the services
and character of Mrs. Colfax:

        ST. LOUIS, _March_ 2d, 1866.

     "Among the many patriotic and benevolent Christian ladies who
     volunteered their services to aid, comfort, and alleviate the
     suffering of the sick and wounded soldiers of the Union Army in the
     late wicked and woful Rebellion, I know of none more deserving of
     honorable mention and memory, than Mrs. Harriet R. Colfax. I first
     met her in the Fifth Street General Hospital of this city, where I
     was employed in the spring of 1862; and subsequently in the General
     Hospital, at Jefferson Barracks, in 1863. In both these hospitals
     she was employed in the wards under my care, and subject to my
     immediate orders and observation. In both, she was uniformly the
     same industrious, indefatigable, attentive, kind, and sympathizing
     nurse and friend of the sick and wounded soldier. She prepared
     delicacies and cordials, and often obtained them to prepare from
     her friends abroad, in addition to such as were furnished by the
     Sanitary Commission. She administered them with her own hands in
     such a manner as only a sympathizing and loving woman can; and thus
     won the heartfelt gratitude and affection of every soldier to whom
     it was her duty and her delight to administer. No female nurse in
     either of the hospitals above named, and there was a large number
     in each of them, was more universally beloved and respected, than
     was Mrs. Colfax. I had not the opportunity to witness her services
     and privations, and vexations on hospital steamers, or elsewhere
     than in the two places named above; but I know that they were
     considerable; and that everywhere and under all circumstances, she
     was alike active and honored."

In Dr. Paddock, Mrs. Colfax truly found a friend, and she was able to
accomplish a greater amount of good under his kind directions. The Ward
was crowded. The wounded arrived from Fort Donelson in a miserable
condition. From exposure, many were dangerously ill with pneumonia, and
died very soon; few recovered, but the wounded did much better than the
sick, and were so patient and cheerful, that even those suffering from
the worst wounds, or amputations, would hardly have been known not to be
well, save by their pale faces and weak voices. Many would not give way
till the last moment, but with strong courage, and brave cheerfulness,
would close their eyes on things of earth, and pass silently into the
unseen world.

In the spring, Mrs. Colfax, finding herself much worn by severe work and
frequent colds, gladly availed herself of the change offered by a trip
on the Hospital-boat, Louisiana, then just fitted up by the Sanitary

At Cairo, they received orders to proceed to Island No. 10, and there
unexpectedly found themselves in the well-known battle which took place
at that point on the 16th, 17th, and 18th of March, 1862.

The Batteries of the enemy, on the banks and Island, were engaged with
the Union gunboats. The firing was incessant and protracted, but not
very disastrous. At last the firing from one of the gunboats resulted in
the killing and wounding of a number of the enemy, which last were
brought on board the Louisiana for care. After remaining there ten days,
the Louisiana returned to Cairo, and receiving on board the wounded from
Mound City Hospital, carried them to Cincinnati. Mrs. Colfax and her
friends were very busy in the care of these poor men, many of them very
low, giving unceasing attentions to them, and even then feeling that
they had not done half enough.

Immediately after their return to Cairo, they left for Savannah and
Pittsburg Landing, on the Tennessee River. They took from the latter
place two hundred and fifty men, leaving again before the battle of
Shiloh. This took place immediately after they left, and they ran up to
St. Louis, landed their freight of wounded, and returned immediately for
another load.

Two hundred and seventy-five desperately wounded men from the battle of
Shiloh, formed this load. They quickly made their way Northward with
their freight of misery and suffering. This was beyond the power of the
imagination to conceive, and the nurses were too busy in their cares to
sleep or eat. The sorrowful labor was at last performed, the wounded
were transferred to the hospitals at St. Louis, and Mrs. Colfax returned
to her duties there.

After remaining some time in the Fifth Street Hospital, and making
occasional trips on the Hospital-boats, Mrs. Colfax was sent to the
Hospital at Jefferson Barracks, where she remained a long time, and
where her services, so eminently kind, efficient and womanly, met the
success they so much deserved.

She remained in the service as a hospital nurse two years and a half.
Except while on the hospital boats, and during brief stays at the
various hospitals of the South-west, while attached to the Transport
Service, she spent the entire time at Fifth Street Hospital, St. Louis,
and at Jefferson Barracks. In each and every place her services were
alike meritorious, and though she encountered many annoyances, and
unpleasant incidents, she does not now regret the time and labor she
bestowed in doing her share of the woman's work of the war.

Like all earnest, unselfish workers, in this eminently unselfish
service, Mrs. Colfax delights to bear testimony to the efficient labors
of others.

All who worked with her were her friends, and she has the fullest
appreciation of their best qualities, and their earnest efforts. Among
those she names thus feelingly, are Mrs. Plummer, the matron of the
Fifth Street Hospital, St. Louis, Miss Addie E. Johnson, Mrs. Gibson,
and others, her fellow-workers there.

Early in 1864, quite worn out with her protracted labors, Mrs. Colfax
returned to her home in Michigan City, where she still resides, honored,
beloved and respected, as her character and services demand.


This lady, now the wife of the Rev. Edward Abbott, of Cambridgeport,
Massachusetts, was one of the earliest, most indefatigable and useful of
the laborers for Union soldiers during the war. Her labors commenced
early in the winter of 1861-62, in the hospitals of Philadelphia, in
which city she was then residing.

Her visits were at first confined to the Broad and Cherry Street
Hospital, and her purpose at first was to minister entirely to the
religious wants of the sick, wounded and dying soldiers. Her interest in
the inmates of that institution was never permitted to die out.

It was not patriotism,--for Miss Davis was not a native of this
country--but rather a profound sympathy with the cause in which they
were engaged which led her, in company with the late Rev. Dr. Vaughan of
Philadelphia (of whose family she was an inmate) to visit this place and
aid him in his philanthropic and official duties. The necessity of the
case led her to labor regularly and assiduously to supply the lack of
many comforts which was felt here, and the need of woman's nursing and
comforting ways. By the month of May, ensuing, she was giving up her
whole time to these ministrations, and this at a considerable sacrifice,
and extending her efforts so as to alleviate the temporal condition of
the sufferers, as well as to minister to their spiritual ones.

In the early part of this summer, memorable as the season of the
Peninsula Campaign, she, in company with Mrs. M. M. Husband, of
Philadelphia, entered upon the transport service on the James and
Potomac Rivers, principally on board the steamer "John Brooks"--passing
to and fro with the sick and wounded between Harrison's Landing,
Fortress Monroe and Philadelphia. This joint campaign ended with a
sojourn of two months at Mile Creek Hospital, Fortress Monroe.

Her friend, Mrs. H. thus speaks of her. "A more lovely Christian
character, a more unselfishly devoted person, than Miss Davis, I have
never known. Her happy manner of approaching the soldiers, especially
upon religious subjects, was unequalled; the greatest scoffer would
listen to her with respect and attention, while the majority followed
her with a glance of veneration as if she were a being of a superior
order. I heard one say, 'there must be wings hidden beneath her cloak.'"

After leaving Fortress Monroe, Miss Davis returned to Philadelphia, and
recruited her supplies for the use of the soldiers. She was anxious to
be permitted to serve in the field hospitals, but owing to unusual
strictness of regulation at that time, she was not permitted to do so.
Later in the season she accompanied Mrs. Husband to Frederick City,
Harper's Ferry and Antietam, at which latter place, by the invitation of
Surgeon Vanderkieft, and Miss Hall, she remained several weeks doing
very acceptable service.

During the winter of 1863 she renewed her efforts to gain permission to
serve in the field hospitals of the army, then in winter quarters
between Falmouth and Acquia Creek, but was again repulsed. In the spring
she once more renewed her efforts, but without success. Again visiting
Washington, she was requested to become the agent of the Sanitary
Commission, at Camp Parole, Annapolis, Maryland.

She commenced her laborious duties at Camp Parole about the 1st of May,
1863. She made numerous friends here, among all classes with whom she
came in contact, and did a most admirable work among the returned
prisoners. She remained here the whole summer, never allowing herself
one day's absence, until October. She suffered from ague, and her labors
were far too great for her strength. Camp, or typhoid fever, seized her,
and after long striving against weakness and pain, she was obliged to
return to her home to recruit. She made great efforts to again take up
her work where she had been obliged to leave it, but her strength would
not admit.

She did not recover from this illness until the following February, nor
even then could she be said to have fully recovered. As soon as the
state of her health permitted, indeed before her physician gave his
consent, she resumed her labors at Camp Parole, but in a few weeks the
fever set in again, and further service was rendered impossible. Thus
closed the ministrations in field and hospital, of one, of whom a friend
who knew her well, and appreciated her fully, simply says, "Her deeds
were beyond praise."

Her health was so undermined by her labors, that it has never been fully
recovered, and she still suffers, as she perhaps will to the end of her
life, from the weakness and diseases induced, by her unwonted exertions,
and the fevers which so greatly prostrated her.

Nearly two years, as we have seen, she gave to her labors in camp and
hospital, labors which, as we have seen, were principally directed to
the relief of physical sufferings, though she never forgot to mingle
with them the spiritual ministrations which were the peculiar feature of
her usefulness.

The interest of Miss Davis was not limited to soldiers in hospitals, any
more than were her labors confined to efforts for their relief. From her
numerous friends, and from societies, she was in constant receipt of
money, delicacies, reading matter, and many other things, both valuable
and useful to the soldiers, and not embraced in the government supplies,
nor sold by sutlers. These she distributed among both sick and well, as
their needs required.

"She corresponded largely with the friends of sick soldiers; she
represented their needs to those who had the means to relieve them; she
used her influence in obtaining furloughs for the convalescents, and
discharges for the incurables; she importuned tape-bound officials for
passes, that the remains of the poor unpaid soldier might be buried
beside his parents; she erected head-boards at every soldier's grave at
that time in the cemetery at West Philadelphia, as a temporary memorial
and record."

In the heat of Virginian summers, and the inclement winters, it was with
her the same steady unchanged work, till sickness put an end to her
labors. Till the last her intercourse with the soldiers was always both
pleasant, and in the highest sense profitable.


Of all the band of noble women who during the war gave their time and
best labors with devotedness and singleness of purpose to the care of
the suffering defenders of their country, few, perhaps, have been as
efficient and useful in their chosen sphere as Mrs. Spencer.

That she left a home of quiet ease and comfort, and gave herself, with
her whole soul, to the cause she loved, is not more than very many
others have done, but she incited her husband to offer himself to his
country, and gladly accompanied him, sharing all his privations, and
creating for him, amid the rudest surroundings, home with all its
comforts and enjoyments.

At the commencement of the war, Mrs. Spencer was living at Oswego, New
York, which had been her residence for many years. Her husband, Captain
R. H. Spencer, had been formerly commander of several of the finest
vessels which sail from that port in the trade upon the upper lakes. But
for some years he had remained on shore, and devoted himself to the
occupation of teaching, in which he had a very fine reputation. Mrs.
Spencer was also a teacher, and both were connected with the public
schools for which that city is celebrated.

Mr. Spencer was a member of that wing of the Democratic party which
opposed the war, and his age already exempted him from military duty.

[Illustration: MRS. R. H. SPENCER.
  Eng^d. by A.B. Walter.]

When, therefore, immediately after the battle of Antietam he announced
to Mrs. Spencer that he had resolved to enlist in the Regiment then
rapidly forming in that city, she knew well, as did all who knew him,
that only an imperative sense of personal duty had led to the decision.

Oswego had to mourn the most irreparable losses in that battle. The
flower of her young men had been cut down, and many homes made desolate.
Mr. Spencer, like many others, felt impelled to add himself to the
patriot ranks, and help to fill the gaps left by the fallen.

Mrs. Spencer, whose name and person had long been familiar to the sick
and suffering at home, had often longed for the power of ministering to
those who had taken their lives in their hands, and gone forth in the
service of their country. And she now not only gave her husband to the
work, but resolved to aid him in it. She might not stand by his side, in
the armed ranks, but there was, for her, service as arduous and
important, for which she was peculiarly fitted, not only by the extreme
kindness and benevolence of her nature, but by experience in the care of
the sick.

When her husband had enlisted and was sworn into the service, she, too,
took the oath to faithfully serve her country, and her place by his

The regiment (one hundred and forty-seventh New York) left Oswego the
27th of September, 1862, and arrived in Washington the 1st of October.
Mrs. Spencer, fatigued and ill, overcome with the excitement of
preparation, perhaps, and the grief of parting with her friends, found
herself thus in a strange city and upon the threshold of a strange new
life. She obtained a little sleep upon a bench outside the Soldiers'
Rest, and though scarcely refreshed commenced her duties early on the
following morning by feeding from her own stores six wounded men from
the battle of Antietam, who had arrived during the night. After making
tea for them, and doing all she could for their comfort, she was obliged
to leave, as the regiment was _en route_ for Arlington Heights.

Mrs. Spencer remained in the neighborhood of Washington until the middle
of the December following. The regiment had gone forward some time
previously, leaving herself and husband in charge of the hospital
stores. Her husband was ward-master of the hospital, and she was matron
and nurse.

When the hospital tents and stores were sent to Acquia Creek, to the
regiment, Mr. and Mrs. Spencer remained for a time to care for the sick
and wounded in Washington, and volunteered to take care of the wounded
from the first battle of Fredericksburg, who were brought to the Patent

On the 12th of January Mr. Spencer went to join the regiment at
Falmouth, while Mrs. Spencer proceeded to New York for supplies, and on
the 17th returned and joined the regiment at Belle Plain, proceeding
almost immediately to Wind Mill Point, in company with the sick and
wounded removed thither. Here she remained six months, engaged in her
arduous duties as matron in the hospital of the First Corps, to which
her husband was also attached.

From this place they were transferred to Belle Plain, and after a short
stay from thence to Acquia Creek, where they remained attached to the
hospital until the 13th of June, when they were ordered to report to
their regiment, then lying near Falmouth.

Mrs. Spencer had by this time, by much practice, become an expert
horse-woman, often foraging on her own account for supplies for the sick
and wounded under her care. By the order of Dr. Hurd, the Medical
Director of the First Corps, she took with her the horse she had been
accustomed to ride, and a few days afterwards commenced on horseback the
march to Gettysburg--now become historical.

Nearly two weeks were consumed in this march, one of which was spent in
an encampment on Broad Run.

Mrs. Spencer's horse carried, besides herself, her bedding, sundry
utensils for cooking, and a scanty supply of clothing, about three
hundred and fifty pounds of supplies for the sick. In addition to this
she often took charge of huge piles of coats belonging to the weary men,
which otherwise they would have thrown away as superfluous during the
intense heat of midday, to miss them sorely afterward amid the twilight
dews, or the drenching rains.

The battle had already commenced as the long slow-moving train, to which
they were attached, approached Gettysburg, and the awful roar of cannon
and the scattering rattle of musketry reached their ears.

The day previous an ammunition-wagon in their train had exploded, and
Mrs. Spencer had torn up the thick comforter which usually formed her
bed, that the driver of the wagon, who was fearfully burned, might be
wrapped in the cotton and bandaged by the calico of which it was made.
Mr. Spencer remained to care for the man, and at night--a dark and rainy
night--she found herself for the first time separated from her husband,
and unprotected by any friend. But the respectful and chivalric
instincts of American soldiers proved sufficient for her defense against
any evil that might have menaced her. They spread their rubber blankets
upon the muddy ground, and made a sort of tent with others, into which
she crept and slept guarded and secure through the long dark hours. At
morning they vied with each other in preparing her breakfast, and
waiting upon her with every possible respect and attention, and she went
on her way, rested and refreshed.

In the course of the morning Mr. Spencer rejoined her. After the firing
was heard, telling the tale of the awful conflict that was progressing,
she felt that she could no longer remain with the halting train, but
must press on to some point where her work of mercy might commence.

This was found in an unoccupied barn, not far from the field, where, by
the assistance of her husband, she got a fire and soon had her
camp-kettles filled with fragrant coffee, which she distributed to
every weary and wounded man who applied for the refreshing beverage.

Wounded in considerable numbers from the Eleventh Corps were placed in
this barn to gain which they crossed the fields between two rows of
artillery, stationed there. Mrs. Spencer had two knapsacks and two
haversacks suspended from her saddle, and supplied with materials for
making tea, coffee and beef-tea--with these and crackers, she contrived
to provide refreshment. Meanwhile the balls and shells were falling fast
around the barn, and orders came to move further back.

But this brave woman with her husband chose to move forward rather, in
search of her own regiment, though the enemy were then gaining upon the
Union troops. As they went on toward the battle, they found their
regiment stationed on a hill above them, and halting they made a fire
and prepared refreshments which they gave to all they could reach.

While working here the Surgeon of the First Division came hurrying past,
and peremptorily called on Mrs. Spencer to go and help form a hospital.
When she and Mr. Spencer found that many men of their own regiment were
in the train of ambulances which was going slowly past with the
sufferers, they followed.

They crossed to the White Church, on the Baltimore turnpike, about four
miles from Gettysburg, and reached there after dark. They had sixty
wounded undergoing every variety of suffering and torture. The church
was small, having but one aisle, and the narrow seats were fixtures. A
small building adjoining provided boards which were laid on the tops of
the seats, and covered with straw, and on these the wounded were laid.

The supply train had been sent back fourteen miles. A number of surgeons
were there, but none had instruments, and could do very little for the
wounded, and Mrs. Spencer found the stores contained in her knapsacks
and haversacks most useful in refreshing these sufferers.

In the course of a few days the confusion subsided. The hospital was
thoroughly organized. The Sanitary and Christian Commissions and the
people came and aided them, and order came out of the chaos that
followed this awful battle.

On the 5th of July, the buildings and tents which formed this hospital
contained over six hundred Union troops, and more than one hundred
wounded prisoners, and Mrs. Spencer found herself constantly and fully
employed, nursing the wounded, and daily riding into town for supplies.

It was here that she gained, and very justly as it would seem, the
credit of saving the life of a wounded soldier, a townsman of her own.
The man was shot in the mouth and throat, a huge gaping orifice on the
side of his neck showing where the ball found exit. The surgeons gave
him but a few days to live, as he could swallow nothing, the liquids
which were all he even could attempt to take, passing out by the wound.
Tearfully he besought Mrs. Spencer's aid. Young and strong, and full of
life, he could not contemplate a death of slow starvation. Mrs. Spencer
went to the surgeons and besought their aid. None of them could give
hope, for none conceived the strength of will in nurse or patient.

"Do as I tell you ----, and you shall not die," said Mrs. Spencer. "Can
you bear to go without food a week?"

Gratefully the man signed "yes," and with the tough unyielding patience
of a hero, he bore the pains of wound and hunger. In the meantime the
chief appliance was the basin of pure cold water from which he was
directed to keep his wound continually wet, that horrid wound which it
seemed no human skill could heal.

In a few days the inflammation began to subside, even the surgeons
decided the symptoms good, and began to watch the case with interest.
The ragged edges of the wound, when the swelling subsided, could be
closed up. Then, by direction of his kind nurse, he plunged his face
into a basin of broth, and supped from it strength, since it did not
all escape from the still unhealed wound. Every day witnessed an
improvement. In a little time he took his food like a human being; each
day witnessed new strength and healing, and then he was saved, and the
nurse proved wiser, for once, than the doctor!

For three weeks Mrs. Spencer remained in the White Church Hospital. She
then accompanied some wounded to New York City, and took a brief respite
from her duties, and the awful scenes she had witnessed.

On her return to Gettysburg, she received as a mark of the esteem felt
for her by those who had witnessed her labors and devotion to the work,
and the confidence reposed in her, the appointment of Agent of the State
of New York, in the care of its sick and wounded soldiers in the field.
Large discretionary powers, both as to the purchase and the distribution
of supplies, were granted her; and every effort was made to have this
appointment distinguished as a mark of the high appreciation and esteem
which she had won in the discharge of her duties.

As her husband was detailed as clerk in the Medical Purveyor's Office,
at Gettysburg, she remained there in the active performance of her
duties for a considerable time.

Beside the supplies furnished by the State of New York, a large amount
were entrusted to her, by various Ladies' Aid Societies, and kindred

After leaving Gettysburg, Mrs. Spencer was variously but usefully
employed at various places, and in various ways, but always making her
duties as State agent for the New York troops prominent, and of the
first importance. She was for some time at Brandy Station. While there
her husband received his discharge from the Volunteer Service, but
immediately entered the regular service, as Hospital Steward, and was
attached to the Medical Purveyor's Department.

From Brandy Station, Mrs. Spencer went to Alexandria, and remained there
until after the battle of the Wilderness, when she was ordered by the
Surgeon-General to repair to Rappahannock Station, with needful supplies
for the wounded. On arriving there, no wounded were found, and it was
rumored that the ambulances containing them had been intercepted by the
enemy, and turned another way.

The party therefore returned to Alexandria, and there received orders to
repair with stores to Belle Plain. The Steamer on which Mrs. Spencer
was, arrived at day-break at its destination, but she could not for some
time get on shore. As soon as possible she landed, anxious to let her
services be of some avail to the many wounded who stood in immediate
need of assistance, and thinking she might at least make coffee or tea
for some of them.

After distributing what supplies she had, she found in another part of
the field several Theological Students, delegates of the Sanitary
Commission, who were making coffee in camp kettles for the wounded. Her
services were thankfully accepted by them. All the day, and far into the
night they worked, standing inches deep in the tenacious Virginia mud,
till thousands had been served.

All the afternoon the wounded were arriving. Thousands were laid upon
the ground, upon the hill-side, perhaps under the shelter of a bush,
perhaps with only the sky above them, from which the rain poured in

All with scarcely an exception were patient, cheerful, and
thoughtful--when asked as to their own condition, seeming more troubled
by the risk she ran in taking cold, than of their own sufferings.

Late in the night, she remembered that she was alone, and must rest
somewhere. A wagon driver willingly gave her his place in the wagon, and
thoroughly drenched with rain, and covered with mud, she there rested
for the first time in many hours. Her sad and anxious thoughts with her
physical discomforts prevented sleep, but with the dawn she had rested
so much, as to be able to resume her labors.

Another, and another day passed. The wounded from those fearful battles
continued to arrive, and to be cared for, as well as was possible under
the circumstances. The workers were shortly afterward made as
comfortable as was possible. For two weeks Mrs. Spencer remained, and
labored at Belle Plain, remained till her clothing of which, not
expecting to remain, she had brought no change, was nearly worn out. The
need was so pressing, of care for the wounded, that she scarcely thought
of herself.

In the latter part of May, she left Belle Plain, and went to Port Royal,
where similar scenes were enacted, save that there a shelter was
provided. She had joined forces with the Sanitary Commission, and the
facilities were now good and the workers numerous, yet it was barely
possible, with all these, and with Government and Commission supplies,
and private contributions, to feed the applicants.

The Medical Purveyor's boat with her husband on board, having arrived,
Mrs. Spencer proceeded on that boat to White House, where she was placed
in Superintendence of the Government Cooking Barge, continuing at the
same time her supervision of the wants of the New York soldiery.

Here they fed the first wounded who arrived from the field, and here
Mrs. Spencer continued many days directing the feeding of thousands
more, ever remembering the regiments from her own State, as her special
charge, and assisted by many volunteers and others in her arduous task.

On the 18th of June, 1864, Mrs. Spencer arrived at City Point. The
wounded were still arriving, and there was enough for all to do. A
Hospital was here established, a mile from the landing. The Government
kitchen was kept up, till the hospitals and their kitchens were in full
operation, when it was discontinued, and Mrs. Spencer relieved from her
double task.

From that time, Mrs. Spencer confined herself mostly to the duties of
her agency, and continued to make City Point her headquarters and base
of operations until the close of the war closed the agency, and left
her free once again to seek the welcome seclusion of her home.

She occasionally visited the General Hospitals to distribute supplies to
her New York soldiers and others, but these being now well organized,
did not, owing to the plenty of attendants greatly need her services,
and they were mostly confined to visits to soldiers in the field, at the
Front, Field Hospitals, and in the Rifle Pits.[I]

[Footnote I: Every facility was furnished her by the various officers in
command, and a special and permanent pass by General Grant.]

Her equestrian skill now often came in use. Often a ride of from twenty
to forty miles in the day would enable her to visit some outlying
regiment or picket station, or even to reach the Rifle Pits that
honeycombed plain and hill-side all about Petersburg and Richmond, and
return the same day. On these occasions she was warmly and
enthusiastically welcomed by the soldiers, not only for what she
brought, but for the comfort and solace of her presence.

She was often in positions of great peril from whizzing shot and
bursting shell, but was never harmed during these dangerous visits. On
one occasion, she was probably by reason of her black hat and feather,
mistaken for an officer, as she for a moment carelessly showed the upper
part of her person, from a slight eminence near the rifle pits, and was
fired at by one of the enemy's sharp-shooters. The ball lodged in a
tree, close by her side, from which she deliberately dug it out with her
penknife, retaining it as a memento of her escape.

Few of us whose days have been passed in the serene quietude of home,
can imagine the comfort and joy her presence and cheering words brought
to the "boys" undergoing the privations and discomforts of their station
at the "Front," in those days of peril and siege. As she approached, her
name would be heard passing from man to man, with electric swiftness,
and often the shouts that accompanied it, would receive from the enemy
a warlike response in the strange music of the whistling shot, or the
bursting shell.

Through all this she seemed to bear a charmed life. "I never believed I
should be harmed by shot or shell," she says, and her simple faith was

She even escaped nearly unharmed the fearful peril of the great
explosion at City Point, when, as it is now supposed, by rebel
treachery, the ammunition barge was fired, and hundreds of human beings
without an instant's warning, were hurried into eternity.

When this event occurred, she was on horseback near the landing, and in
turning to flee was struck, probably by a piece of shell, in the side.
Almost as by a miracle she escaped with only a terrible and extensive
bruise, and a temporary paralysis of the lower limbs. The elastic steel
wires of her crinoline, had resisted the deadly force of the blow, which
otherwise would undoubtedly have killed her. A smaller missile, nearly
cut away the string of her hat, which was found next day covered by the
ghastly smear of human blood and flesh, which also sprinkled all her

After the surrender of Richmond, Mrs. Spencer, with a party of friends,
visited that city, and she records that she experienced a very human
sense of satisfaction, as she saw some rebel prisoners marching into
that terrible Libby Prison, to take the place of the Union prisoners who
had there endured such fearful and nameless sufferings.

On the 8th of April the President came to visit the hospitals at City
Point, shaking hands with the convalescents, who were drawn up to
receive him, and speaking cheering words to all. A week later he had
fallen the victim of that atrocious plot which led to his assassination.

Mrs. Spencer remained at City Point, engaged in her duties, till all the
wounded had been removed, and the hospitals broken up. On the 31st of
May, she went on the medical supply boat to Washington. She there
offered her services to aid in any way in care of the wounded, while she
remained, which she did for several days. About the middle of June she
once more found herself an inmate of her own home, and, after the long
season of busy and perilous days, gladly retired to the freedom and
quiet of private life. She remained in the service about three years,
and the entire time, with only the briefest intervals of rest, was well
and profitably occupied in her duties, a strong will and an excellent
constitution having enabled her to endure fatigues which would soon have
broken down a person less fitted, in these respects, for the work.

Mrs. Spencer has received from soldiers, (who are all her grateful
friends) from loyal people in various parts of the country, and from
personal friends and neighbors, many tokens of appreciation, which she
enumerates with just pride and gratitude. Not the least of these is her
house and its furniture, a horse, a sewing machine, silver ware, and
expensive books; beside smaller articles whose chief value arises from
the feeling that caused the gifts. Her health has suffered in
consequence of her labors but she now hopes for permanent recovery.


Among the many heroic women who gave their services to their country in
our recent warfare, few deserve more grateful mention than Mrs. Harriet
Foote Hawley, wife of Brevet Major-General Hawley, the present Governor
of Connecticut.

Mrs. Hawley is of a fragile and delicate constitution, and one always
regarded by her friends as peculiarly unfitted to have part in labors or
hardships of any kind. But from the beginning to the end of the war, she
was an exemplification of how much may be done by one "strong of
spirit," even with the most delicate physical frame.

She went alone to Beaufort, South Carolina, in November, 1862, to engage
in teaching the colored people. While there she regularly visited the
army hospitals, and interested herself in the practical details of
nursing, to which she afterwards more particularly devoted herself, and
that spring and summer did the same at Fernandina and St. Augustine.

In November, 1863, she rejoined her husband on St. Helena Island, to
which he had returned with his regiment from the siege of Charleston.
She visited the Beaufort and Hilton Head General Hospitals, as well as
the post hospital at St. Helena frequently during the winter, especially
after the severe battle of Olustee, in February, 1864. When the Tenth
Corps went to Fortress Monroe, to join General Butler's army, Mrs.
Hawley went with them, and failing to find work in the Chesapeake
Hospital, went to Washington and was assigned the charge of a ward in
the Armory Square Hospital, on the very morning when the wounded began
to arrive from the battles of the Wilderness.

Her ward was one of the two in the armory itself, which for a
considerable time contained more patients than any other in that
hospital. "Armory Square" being near the Potomac, usually received the
most desperate cases, which could with difficulty be moved far. There
could be no operating room connected with this ward, and the operations,
however painful or dreadful, were of necessity performed in the ward
itself. The scenes presented were enough to appal the stoutest nerves.
The men exhausted by marching and by a long journey after their wounds,
died with great rapidity--in one day forty-eight were carried out
dead--many reaching the hospital only in time to die.

Among scenes like these Mrs. Hawley took up her abode, and labored with
an untiring zeal over four months in the hottest of the summer
weather--never herself strong--often suffering to a degree that would
have confined others to the bed of an invalid. She was ever at her post,
a guiding, directing, and comforting presence, until worn-out nature
required a temporary rest. After two months of repose she again returned
to the same ward, and continued her labors from November to the last of
March, 1865.

About the first of March, directly after its capture, her husband had
been assigned to the command of Wilmington, North Carolina.

She arrived at Wilmington, directly after nine thousand Union prisoners
had been delivered there, of whom more than three thousand needed
hospital treatment.

The army was entirely unprovided with any means of meeting this
exigency. The horrible condition of the prisoners, and the crowds of
half-fed whites and blacks collected in the town, bred a pestilence.
Typhus or jail fever appeared in its most dreadful form, and the deaths
were terribly frequent. The medical officers tried all their energies to
get supplies.

The garrison, the loyal citizens, and all good people gave their spare
clothing, and all delicacies of food within reach, to alleviate the
suffering. At one time nearly four thousand sick soldiers, together with
some wounded from the main army, were scattered through the dwellings
and churches of the town, and a considerable time elapsed before one
clean garment could be found for each sufferer. The principal surgeon,
Dr. Buzzell, of New Hampshire, died of over exertion and typhoid fever.
Of five northern ladies, professional nurses, three were taken sick and
two died. Chaplain Eaton died of the fever, and other chaplains were
severely sick. To the detailed soldiers the fever and climate proved a
greater danger than a battle-field. Through all these scenes of trial
and danger Mrs. Hawley exerted herself to the utmost, in the hospitals,
and among the poor of the town, avoiding no danger of contagion, not
even that of small-pox.

Gradually supplies arrived, better hospitals were provided, the town was
cleansed, and by the latter part of June--though the city was still
unhealthy--but few cases remained in the hospitals.

Mrs. Hawley accompanied her husband to Richmond about the 1st of July,
where he had been appointed chief of staff to General Terry. In October,
while returning from the battle-ground of Five Forks, where she had been
with an uncle to find the grave of his son (Captain Parmerlee, First
Connecticut Cavalry) she received an injury on the head by the upsetting
of the ambulance, through which unfortunately she remains still an

Her name and memory must be dear to hundreds whose sufferings she has
shared and relieved, and she will be followed in her retirement by the
prayers of grateful hearts.

Although it does not perhaps belong to the purpose of this book, it
seems not inappropriate to make mention of the labors of Mrs. Hawley in
the education of the freedmen and their families. Both she and her
sister, Miss Kate Foote, labored in this sphere long and assiduously.

Governor Hawley was one of the speakers at the Boston anniversaries, in
May, 1866. Colonel Higginson, in alluding to his personal services, said
he would tell of his better half. When Colonel Hawley went as commander
of the Seventh Connecticut to Port Royal, to do his share of conquering
and to conquer, he took with him a thousand bayonets on one side, and a
Connecticut woman with her school-books on the other (applause). Where
he planted the standard of the Union, she planted its institutions; and
where he waved the sword, she waved the primer.


This lady, better known among those to whom she ministered as "Nellie
Mitchell," was at the opening of the late war a resident of Montrose,
Pennsylvania, where, surrounded by friends, the inmate of a pleasant
home, amiable, highly educated and accomplished, her early youth had
been spent. Her family was one of that standing often named as "our
first families," and her position one every way desirable.

Perhaps her own words extracted from a letter to the writer of this
sketch will give the best statement of her views and motives.

"I only did my duty, did what I could, and did it because it would have
been a great act of self-denial not to have done it.

"I have ever felt that those who cheerfully gave their loved ones to
their country's cause, made greater sacrifices, manifested more heroism,
were worthy of more honor by far, than those of us who labored in the
hospitals or on the fields. I had not these 'dear ones' to give, so gave
heartily what I could, myself to the cause, with sincere gratitude, I
trust, to God, for the privilege of thus doing."

Miss Mitchell left her home in Montrose early in May, 1861, and
proceeded to New York city, where she went through a course of
instruction in surgical nursing at Bellevue Hospital, preparatory to
assuming the duties of an army nurse. The unwonted labors, the terrible
sights, and close attendance so impaired her health that after six weeks
she concluded to go to Woodbury, Connecticut, where she remained with
friends while awaiting orders, and in consequence did not join the army
as soon as she otherwise would. Being absent from New York, one or two
opportunities were lost, and it was not until September that her labors
in the military hospitals commenced.

She had intended to give her services to her country, but after
witnessing the frequent destitution of comforts among those to whom she
ministered, she decided to receive the regular pay of a nurse from the
Government, and appropriated it entirely to the benefit of the suffering
ones around her.

Luxuries sent by her friends for her own use she applied in the same
manner. The four years of her service were filled with self-sacrifice
and faithful devoted labor.

Miss Mitchell spent the first three months in Elmore Hotel Hospital,
Georgetown, District of Columbia. Around this place cluster some of the
pleasantest, as well as the saddest memories of her life. The want of a
well-arranged, systematic plan of action in this hospital, made the
tasks of the nurses peculiarly arduous and trying. Yet Miss Mitchell
records that she never found more delight in her labors, and never
received warmer expressions of gratitude from her "boys." On being
brought for the first time to a place associated in their minds only
with gloom and suffering the joyful surprise of these poor fellows at
finding kind hearts and willing hands ready to minister to their wants
with almost motherly, or sisterly affection, exceeded words and called
forth such manifestations of gratitude as amply rewarded those who thus
watched over them for all their toils. Often as they saw these kindly
women engaged in their busy tasks of mercy, their eyes would glisten as
they followed them with the most intense earnestness, and their lips
would unconsciously utter remarks like these, so homely and spontaneous
as to leave no doubt of their sincerity. "How good! how home-like to
see women moving around! We did not expect anything like this!"

But much as she loved her work and had become attached to her charges,
circumstances of a very painful nature soon compelled Miss Mitchell to
resign her post in this hospital. Very unworthy hands sometimes assume a
ministry of kindness. There were associations here so utterly repugnant
to Miss Mitchell, that with a sorrowful heart she at last forced herself
to turn her back upon the suffering, in order to be free from them.

But Providence soon opened the way to another engagement. In less than
two weeks she entered St. Elizabeth's Hospital. This was situated in
Washington across the Eastern branch of the Potomac in an unfinished
wing of the Insane Retreat.

Her initiation here was a sad, lonely night-watch, by the bed-side of a
dying nurse, who about ten o'clock the following day, with none but
strangers to witness her dying conflicts, passed from this scene of pain
and struggle.

It was about the last of December that she entered here, and in February
she was compelled to relinquish the care of her ward by a severe and
dangerous illness which lasted seven weeks. Her greatest joy in
returning health consisted in her restoration to the duties in which she
had learned to delight.

During this illness Miss Mitchell was constantly attended and nursed by
Miss Jessie Home, a young woman of Scottish birth, of whom mention is
made in another place, a most excellent and self-sacrificing woman who
afterwards lost her life in the cause of her adopted country.

This kindly care and the assiduous and skilful attentions of Dr.
Stevens, who was the surgeon of the hospital were, as she gratefully
believes, the means of preserving her life.

Miss Mitchell had scarcely recovered from this illness when she was
unexpectedly summoned home to stand by the death-bed of a beloved
mother. After a month's absence, sadly occupied in this watch of
affection, she again returned to Washington, whence she was sent
directly to Point Lookout, in Maryland, at the entrance of the Potomac
into Chesapeake Bay, where a hospital had recently been established.

She remained about two months at Point Lookout, and was surrounded there
with great suffering in all its phases, besides meeting with peculiar
trials, which rendered her stay at this hospital the most unsatisfactory
part of her "soldier life."

Her next station was at the Ware House Hospital, Georgetown, District of
Columbia, where she was employed in the care of the wounded from the
second battle of Bull Run. Most of these poor men were suffering from
broken limbs, had lain several days uncared for upon the field, and were
consequently greatly reduced in strength. They had besides suffered so
much from their removal in the jolting ambulances, that many of them
expressed a wish that they had been left to die on the field, rather
than to have endured such torment. Miss Mitchell found here a sphere
decidedly fitted to her peculiar powers, for she was always best pleased
to labor in the surgical wards, and would dress and care for wounds with
almost the skill, and more than the tenderness of a practiced surgeon.

After some time this hospital being very open, became untenantable, and
in February was closed, and Miss Mitchell was transferred to Union Hotel
Hospital, where five of the nurses being at that time laid up by
illness, her duties became unusually arduous.

Since her former labors here the hospital had been closed, refitted, and
reopened under every way improved auspices. The "boys" found themselves
in every respect so kindly cared for, and so surrounded by home-like
experience that it was with great regret they saw the hospital broken
up, in March.

Miss Mitchell's inclination would then, as often before, have led her to
the front, but she was forced to obey orders, "soldier-like," and found
herself transferred to Knight Hospital, New Haven, as the next scene of
her labors. Here she remained three months actively and usefully
employed, but at the end of that time she had become so worn out with
her long continued and arduous services, as to feel compelled to resign
her position as army nurse. She soon after accepted a desirable
situation in the Treasury Department, upon the duties of which she
entered in July, 1863.

Miss Mitchell has never quite reconciled her conscience to this act,
which she fears was too much tinged with selfishness and induced by
interested motives. Feeling thus, she again enlisted as army nurse after
a few months, resolving never again to abandon the service, while the
war continued and strength was given her to labor.

This was in the beginning of May, 1864, and she was immediately sent to
Fredericksburg to assist in caring for the wounded from the battle of
the Wilderness. The scenes and labors of that terrible period are beyond
description. Miss Mitchell was amidst them all, and like an angel of
mercy made herself everywhere useful to the crowds of ghastly sufferers
from those fields of awful carnage, which marked the onward march of
Grant to victory, and the suppression of the rebellion.

When our army left Fredericksburg, most of the wounded were transferred
to Washington, Miss Mitchell would again have preferred to go to the
front, but obeyed orders, and went instead to Judiciary Square Hospital,
Washington, where she found many of her former patients. After she had
spent one day there, she would not willingly have left those poor men
whom she found so greatly needing a woman's care. For weeks the
mortality was fearful, and she found herself surrounded by the dead and
dying, but gradually this was lessened, and she became engaged in the
more delightful duty of superintending the improvement of convalescents,
and watching the return to health of many a brave hero who had perhaps
sacrificed limbs, and well-nigh life, in the service of his country.
Here she remained, with ever-increasing satisfaction in her labors,
until the final closing of the Hospital in June, 1865.

Here also ended her army services, with the occasion for them. She had
rendered them joyfully, and she resigned them with regret and sadness at
parting with those who had so long been her charge, and whom she would
probably see no more forever. But in all joy or sadness, in all her
life, she will not cease to remember with delight and gratitude how she
was enabled to minister to the suffering, and thus perform a woman's
part in the great struggle which redeemed our country from slavery, and
made us truly a free people.

Few have done better service, for few have been so peculiarly adapted to
their work. In all she gratefully acknowledges the aid and sustaining
sympathy of her friends in New Milford, Pa., and elsewhere, to which she
was so greatly indebted for the ability to minister with comforts to the
sufferers under her charge.

As these lines are written some letters from a soldier who was long
under her kind care in Washington, lie upon the writer's table with
their appreciative mention of this excellent woman; which coming from
one who knew and experienced her goodness, may well be regarded as the
highest testimony of it. Here is one brief extract therefrom.

"As for Miss Mitchell herself--she has a cheerful courage, faith and
patience which take hold of the duties of this place with a will that
grasps the few amenities and pleasures found here, and works them all up
into sunshine; and looks over and beyond the fatiguing work, and
unavoidable brutalities of the present. Do we not call this happiness?
Happiness is not to be pitied--nor is she!"

In another place he speaks of her unswerving, calm devotion--her entire
self-abnegation, as beyond all he has seen of the like traits elsewhere.
And still there were many devoted women--perhaps many Ellen Mitchells!
Again he compares the hospital work of Miss Mitchell and her
fellow-laborers with that of the sisters of charity, in whose care he
had previously been--the one human, alert, sympathizing--not loving sin,
nor sinful men, but laboring for them, sacrificing for them, pardoning
them as Christ does--the other working with machine-like accuracy, but
with as little apparent emotion, showing none in fact beyond a prudish
shrinking from these sufferers from the outer world, of which they know
nothing but have only heard of its wickedness. The contrast is powerful,
and shows Miss Mitchell and her friends in fairest colors.


Jessie Home was a native of Scotland. No ties bound her to this, her
adopted land. No relative of hers, resided upon its soil. She was
alone--far from kindred and the friends of her early youth. But the
country of her adoption had become dear to her. She loved it with the
ardor and earnestness which were a part of her nature, and she was
willing, nay anxious, to devote herself to its service.

At the commencement of the war Miss Home was engaged in a pleasant and
lucrative pursuit, which she abandoned that she might devote herself to
the arduous and ill-paid duties of a hospital nurse.

She entered the service early in the war, and became one of the corps of
Government nurses attached to the hospitals in the vicinity of
Washington. Like others, regularly enlisted, and under orders from Miss
Dix, the Government Superintendent of nurses, she was transferred from
point to point and from hospital to hospital, as the exigencies of the
service required. But she had only to be known to be appreciated, and
her companions, her patients, and the surgeons under whom she worked,
were equally attached to her, and loud in her praises. She entered into
her work with her whole soul--untiring, faithful, of a buoyant
temperament, she possessed a peculiar power of winning the love and
confidence of all with whom she came in contact.

She was quite dependent upon her own resources, and in giving herself to
the cause yielded up a profitable employment and with it her means of
livelihood. Yet she denied herself all luxuries, everything but the
merest necessities, that out of the pittance of pay received from the
Government, out of the forty cents per day with which her labors were
_rewarded_, she might save something for the wants of the suffering ones
under her care.

And be it remembered always, that in this work it was not alone the
well-born and the wealthy who made sacrifices, and gave grand gifts. Not
from the sacrifice of gauds and frippery did the humble charities of
these hired nurses come, but from the yielding up of a thousand needed
comforts for themselves, and the forgetfulness of their own wants, in
supplying the mightier wants of the suffering. It is impossible to
mention them with words of praise beyond their merit.

For about two years Miss Home labored thus untiringly and faithfully,
always alert, cheerful, active. During this time she had drawn to
herself hosts of attached friends.

At the end of that period she fell a martyr to her exertions in the
cause to which she had so nobly devoted herself.

When attacked with illness, she must have felt all the horrors of
desolation--for she was without means or home. But Providence did not
desert her in this last dread hour of trial. Miss Rebecca Bergen of
Brooklyn, N. Y., who had learned her worth by a few months' hospital
association, deemed it a privilege to receive the sufferer at her own
home, and to watch over the last hours of this noble life as it drew to
a close, ministering to her sufferings with all the kindness and
affection of a sister, and smoothing her passage to the grave.

Thus, those, who without thought for themselves, devote their lives and
energies to the welfare of others, are often unexpectedly cared for in
the hour of their own extremity, and find friends springing up to
protect them, and to supply their wants in the day of their need. Far
from kindred and her native land, this devoted woman thus found friends
and kindly care, and the stranger hands that laid her in an alien grave
were warm with the emotion of loving hearts.


Miss Mary Vance is a Pennsylvanian. Before the War, she was teaching
among the Indians of Kansas or Nebraska, but it becoming unsafe there,
she was forced to leave. She came to Miss Dix, who sent her to a
Baltimore Hospital, in which she rendered efficient service, as she
afterward did in Washington and Alexandria. In September, 1863, she went
to the General Hospital, Gettysburg, where she was placed in charge of
six wards, and no more indefatigable, faithful and judicious nurse was
to be found on those grounds. She labored on continuously, going from
point to point, as our army progressed towards Richmond, at
Fredericksburg, suffering much from want of strengthening and proper
food, but never murmuring, doing a vast amount of work, in such a quiet
and unpretending manner, as to attract the attention from the
lookers-on. Few, but the recipients of her kindness, knew her worth. At
City Point, she was stationed in the Second Corps Hospital, where she,
as usual, won the respect and esteem of the Surgeons and all connected
with her.

Miss Vance labored the whole term of the War, with but three weeks'
furlough, in all that time. A record, that no other woman can give, and
but few soldiers.

Miss Blackmar, one of Michigan's worthy daughters, was one of the
youngest of the band of Hospital nurses. She, for ten months, labored
unceasingly at City Point. More than usually skilful in wound dressing,
she rendered efficient service to her Surgeons, as well as in saving
many poor boys much suffering from the rough handling of inexperienced
soldier-nurses. A lad was brought to her Wards, with a wound in the
temple, which, in the course of time, ate into the artery. This she had
feared, and was always especially careful in watching and attending to
him. But, in her absence, a hemorrhage took place, the nurse endeavored
to staunch the blood, but at last, becoming frightened, sent for a
Surgeon. When she came back to the Ward, there lay her boy pale and
exhausted, life almost gone. But she persevered in her efforts, and at
last had the satisfaction of witnessing his recovery.

At City Point, Miss Vance and Miss Blackmar were tent-mates, and
intimate friends--both noted for their untiring devotion to their work,
their prudent and Christian deportment. As an instance of the wearying
effects of the labors of a Hospital nurse, Mrs. Husband, who was the
firm friend, and at City Point, the associate of these two young ladies,
relates the following; these two ladies, wearied as usual, retired one
very cold night, Miss Blackmar taking a hot brick with her, for her
feet. They slept the sound sleep of exhaustion for some time, when Miss
Vance struggled into consciousness, with a sensation of smothering, and
found that the tent was filled with smoke. After repeatedly calling her
companion, she was forced to rise and shake her, telling her that she
must be on fire. This at last aroused Miss Blackmar, who found that the
brick had burned through the cloth in which it was wrapped, the
straw-bed and two army blankets. By the application of water, the fire
was quenched, and after airing the tent, they were soon sleeping as
soundly as ever. But, in the morning, Miss Blackmar, to her
consternation, found that her feet and ankles were badly burned, covered
with blisters and very painful, though her sleep had been too sound to
feel it before.

[Illustration: MISS HATTIE A. DADA.
  Eng^d. by A.H. Ritchie.]


Miss Hattie A. Dada and Miss Susan E. Hall, were among the most earnest
and persistent workers in a field which presented so many opportunities
for labor and sacrifice. Both offered themselves to the Women's Central
Association of Relief, New York, immediately on the formation of that
useful organization for any service, or in any capacity, where their aid
could be made available. Both had formerly been employed by one of the
Missionary Societies, in mission labors among the Indians of the
Southwest, and were eminently fitted for any sphere of usefulness which
the existing condition of our country could present to woman.

They were received by the Association, and requested to join the class
of women who, with similar motives and intentions, were attending the
series of lectures and surgical instructions which was to prepare them
for the duties of nurses in the army hospitals.

On Sunday, July 21st, 1861, a memorable day, the first battle of Bull
Run took place. On the following day, the 22d, the disastrous tidings of
defeat and rout was received in New York, and the country was thrilled
with pain and horror.

At noon, on Monday, the 22d, Miss Dada and Miss Hall received
instructions to prepare for their journey to the scene of their future
labors, and at six P.M. they took the train for Washington, with orders
to report to Miss Dix. Tuesday morning found them amidst all the
terrible excitement which reigned in that city. The only question Miss
Dix asked, was, "Are you ready to work?" and added, "You are needed in

And toward Alexandria they were shortly proceeding. There were
apprehensions that the enemy might pursue our retreating troops, of whom
they met many as they crossed the Long Bridge, and passed the
fortifications all filled with soldiers watching for the coming foe who
might then so easily have invaded the Federal City.

In some cabins by the road-side they first saw some wounded men, to whom
they paused to administer words of cheer, and a "cup of cold water."
They were in great apprehension that the road might not be safe, and a
trip to Richmond, in the capacity of prisoners was by no means to be

At last they reached Alexandria, and in a dark stone building on
Washington Street, formerly a seminary, found their hospital. They were
denied admittance by the sentinel, but the surgeon in charge was called,
and welcomed them to their new duties.

There they lay, the wounded, some on beds, many on mattresses spread
upon the floor, covered with the blood from their wounds, and the dust
of that burning summer battle-field, many of them still in their
uniforms. The retreat was so unexpected, the wounded so numerous, and
the helpers so few, that all were at once extremely busy in bringing
order and comfort to that scene of suffering.

Their labors here were exceedingly arduous. No soldiers were detailed as
attendants for the first few weeks, and even the most menial duties fell
upon these ladies. Sometimes a contraband was assigned them as
assistant, but he soon tired of steady employment and left. They had
little sleep and food that was neither tempting nor sufficient. So busy
were they that two weeks elapsed before Miss Dada, whose letters furnish
most of the material for this sketch, found time to write home, and
inform her anxious friends "where she was."

A busy month passed thus, and then the numbers in the hospital began to
decrease, many of the convalescent being sent North, or having
furloughs, till only the worst cases remained.

As the winter approached typhus fever began to prevail among the troops,
and many distressing cases, some of which despite all their efforts
proved mortal, came under the care of these ladies.

About the beginning of April, 1862, soon after the battle of Winchester,
and the defeat of Stonewall Jackson by General Shields, Miss Dada and
Miss Hall were ordered thither to care for the wounded. Here they were
transferred from one hospital to another, without time to become more
than vaguely interested in the individual welfare of their patients. At
length at the third, the Court-House Hospital, they were permitted to
remain for several weeks. Here many interesting cases were found, and
they became much attached to some of the sufferers under their care, and
found great pleasure in their duties.

On the 22d of May they were ordered to Strasburg, and proceeded thither
to the care of several hundred sick, entirely unsuspicious of personal
danger, not dreaming that it could be met with beside the headquarters
of General Banks. But on the following day troops were observed leaving
the town on the Front Royal road, and the same night the memorable
retreat was ordered.

It was indeed a sad sight which met their eyes in the gray of early
dawn. Ambulances and army wagons filled the streets. Soldiers from the
hospitals, scarcely able to walk, crawled slowly and painfully along,
while the sick were crowded into the overfilled ambulances.

Pressing forward they arrived at Winchester at noon, but the ambulances
did not arrive till many hours later, with their dismal freight. The
fright and suffering had overpowered many, and many died as they were
carried into the hospitals. A little later the wounded began to come in,
and the faithful, hard-worked surgeons and nurses had their hands full.
The retreating Union forces came pouring through the town, the rebels in
close pursuit. The shouts of the combatants, and the continued firing,
created great confusion. Fear was in every heart, pallor on every cheek,
anxiety in every eye, for they knew not what would be their fate, but
had heard that the wounded had been bayonetted at Front Royal the
previous day. Many dying men, in their fright and delirium, leaped from
their beds, and when laid down soon ceased to breathe.

Soon the rebels had possession of the town, and the ladies found
themselves prisoners with a rebel guard placed about their hospital.

Their supplies were now quite reduced, and it was not until personal
application had been made by the nurses to the rebel authorities, that
suitable food was furnished.

When the army left Winchester, enough men were ordered to remain to
guard the hospitals, and an order was read to all the inmates, that any
of them seen in the streets would be shot.

Miss Dada and her friend remained at this place until the months of June
and July were passed. In August they were assigned to Armory Square
Hospital, Washington.

Previous to the second battle of Bull Run, all the convalescent men were
sent further North, and empty beds were in readiness for the wounded,
who on the evening after the battle were brought in, in great numbers,
covered with the dust and gore of the field of conflict. Here the
ministering care of these ladies was most needed. They hastened with
basins and sponges, cold water and clean clothes, and soon the sufferers
felt the benefits of cleanliness, and were laid, as comfortably as their
wounds would admit, in those long rows of white beds that awaited them.
All were cheerful, and few regretted the sacrifices they had made. But
in a few days many of these heroes succumbed before the mighty
Conqueror. Their earthly homes they were never to see, but, one by one,
they passed silently to their last home of silence and peace, where the
war of battle and the pain of wounds never disturb. One poor fellow, a
Michigan soldier, wounded in the throat, could take no nourishment, nor
scarcely breathe. His sufferings were intense, and his restlessness kept
him constantly in motion as long as the strength for a movement
remained. But at last, he silently turned his face to the wall, and so
died. Another, a victim of lockjaw, only yielded to the influence of
chloroform. Another, whom the surgeons could only reach the second day,
had his arm amputated, but too late. Even while he believed himself on
the road to recovery, bad symptoms had intervened; and while with
grateful voice he was planning how he would assist Miss Dada as soon as
he was well enough, in the care of other patients, the hand of death was
laid upon him, and he soon passed away.

Such are a few of the heart-rending scenes and incidents through which
these devoted ladies passed.

The month of November found Miss Dada at Harper's Ferry. Miss Hall had
been at Antietam, but the friends had decided to be no longer separated.

They found that the Medical Director of the Twelfth Army Corps was just
opening a hospital there, and the next day the sick and wounded from the
regimental hospitals were brought in. They had suffered for lack of
care, but though the new hospital was very scantily furnished, they
found that cause of trouble removed. Many of them had long been ill, and
want of cleanliness and vermin had helped to reduce them to extreme
emaciation. Their filthy clothes were replaced by clean ones, and burned
or thrown into the river, their heads shaven, and their revolting
appearance removed. But many a youth whom sickness and suffering had
given the appearance of old age, succumbed to disease and suffering, and
joined the long procession to the tomb.

These were sad days, the men were dying rapidly. One day a middle-aged
woman came in inquiring for her son. Miss Dada took from her pocket a
slip of paper containing the name of one who had died a day or two
previously--it was the name of the son of this mother. She sought the
surgeon, and together they undertook the painful task of conveying to
the mother the tidings that her visit was in vain. Poor mother! How
many, like her, returned desolate to broken homes, from such a quest!

May and June, 1863, Miss Dada and Miss Hall spent at Acquia Creek, in
care of the wounded from the battle of Chancellorsville, and the 8th of
July found them at Gettysburg--Miss Dada at the hospital of the Twelfth
Army Corps, at a little distance from the town, and Miss Hall at that of
the First Army Corps, which was within the town. The hospital of the
Twelfth Army Corps was at a farm-house. The house and barns were filled
with wounded, and tents were all around, crowded with sufferers, among
whom were many wounded rebel prisoners, who were almost overwhelmed with
astonishment and gratitude to find that northern ladies would extend to
them the same care as to the soldiers of their own army.

The story of Gettysburg, and the tragical days that followed, has been
too often told to need repetition. The history of the devotion of
Northern women to their country's defenders, and of their sacrifices and
labors was illustrated in brightest characters there. Miss Hall and Miss
Dada remained there as long as their services could be made available.

In December, 1863, they were ordered to Murfreesboro', Tennessee, once a
flourishing town, but showing everywhere the devastations of war. Two
Seminaries, and a College, large blocks of stores, and a hotel, had been
taken for hospitals, and were now filled with sick and wounded men. A
year had passed since the awful battle of Stone River,--the field of
which, now a wide waste lay near the town--but the hospitals had never
been empty.

When they arrived, they reported to the medical director, who "did not
care whether they stayed or not," but, "if they remained wished them to
attend exclusively to the preparation of the Special Diet." They
received only discouraging words from all they met. They found shelter
for the night at the house of a rebel woman, and were next day
assigned--Miss Hall to No. 1 Hospital, Miss Dada to No. 3.

When they reported, the surgeon of No. 1 Hospital, for their
encouragement, informed them that the chaplain thought they had better
not remain. Miss Dada also was coldly received, and it was evident that
the Surgeons and chaplains were very comfortable, and desired no outside
interference. They believed, however, that there was a work for them to
do, and decided to remain.

Miss Dada found in the wards more than one familiar face from the
Twelfth Army Corps, and the glad enthusiasm of her welcome by the
patients, contrasted with the chilling reception of the officers.

Most of these men had been wounded at Lookout Mountain, a few days
before, but many others had been suffering ever since the bloody battle
of Chickamauga.

Miss Hall was able to commence her work at once, but Miss Dada was often
exhorted to patience, while waiting three long weeks for a stove, before
she could do more than, by the favor of the head cook of the full diet
kitchen, occasionally prepare at his stove, some small dishes for the
worst cases.

Here the winter wore away. Many a sad tale of the desolations of war was
poured into their ears, by the suffering Union women who had lost their
husbands, fathers, sons, in the wild warfare of the country in which
they lived. And many a scene of sorrow and suffering they witnessed.

In January, they had a pleasant call from Dr. M----, one of the friends
they had known at Gettysburg. This gentleman, in conversation with the
medical director, told him he knew two of the ladies there. The reply
illustrates the peculiar position in which they were placed. "Ladies!"
he answered with a sneer, "We have no ladies here! A hospital is no
place for a lady. We have some women here, who are cooks!"

But they remembered that one has said--"The lowest post of service is
the highest place of honor," and that Christ had humiliated himself to
wash the feet of his disciples.

In the latter part of the ensuing May, they went to Chattanooga. They
were most kindly received by the surgeons, and found much to be done.
Car-loads of wounded were daily coming from the front, all who could
bear removal were sent further north, and only the worst cases retained
at Chattanooga. They were all in good spirits, however, and rejoicing at
Sherman's successful advance--even those upon whom death had set his
dark seal.

Miss Dada often rejoiced, while here, in the kindness of her friends at
home, which enabled her to procure for the sick those small, but at that
place, costly luxuries which their condition demanded.

As the season advanced to glowing summer, the mortality became dreadful.
In her hospital alone, not a large one, and containing but seven hundred
beds, there were two hundred and sixty-one deaths in the month of June,
and there were from five to twenty daily. These were costly sacrifices,
often of the best, noblest, most promising,--for Miss Dada
records--"Daily I see devoted Christian youths dying on the altar of our

With the beginning of November came busy times, as the cars daily came
laden with their freight of suffering from Atlanta. On the 26th, Miss
Dada records, "One year to-day since Hooker's men fought above the
clouds on Lookout. To-day as I look upon the grand old mountain the sun
shines brightly on the graves of those who fell there, and all is

Again, after the gloomy winter had passed, she writes, in March, 1865,
"Many cases of measles are being brought in, mostly new soldiers, many
conscripts, and so down-spirited if they get sick. It was a strange
expression a poor fellow made the other day, 'You are the
_God-blessedest_ woman I ever saw.' He only lived a few days after being
brought to the hospital."

Their work of mercy was now well-nigh over, as the necessity for it
seemed nearly ended. Patients were in May being mustered out of the
service, and the hospitals thinning. Miss Dada and Miss Hall thought
they could be spared, and started eastward. But when in Illinois, word
reached them that all the ladies but one had left, and help was needed,
and Miss Dada returned to Chattanooga. Here she was soon busy, for,
though the war was over, there were still many sick, and death often
claimed a victim.

Miss Dada remained till the middle of September, engaged in her duties,
when, having given more than four years to the service of her country,
she at last took her leave of hospital-life, and returned to home and
its peaceful pleasures.

Before leaving she visited the historical places of the vicinity--saw a
storm rise over Mission Ridge, and heard the thunders of heaven's
artillery where once a hundred guns belched forth their fires and swept
our brave boys to destruction. She climbed Lookout, amidst its vail of
clouds, and visited "Picket Rock," where is the spring at which our
troops obtained water the night after the battle, and the "Point" where,
in the early morn, the Stars and Stripes proclaimed to the watching
hosts below, that they were victors.


Mrs. Edson is a native of Fleming, Cayuga County, New York, where her
earlier youth was passed. At ten years of age she removed with her
parents to Ohio, but after a few years again returned to her native
place. Her father died while she was yet young, and her childhood and
youth were clouded by many sorrows.

Gifted with a warm imagination, and great sensitiveness of feeling, at
an early age she learned to express her thoughts in written words. Her
childhood was not a happy one, and she thus found relief for a thousand
woes. At length some of her writings found their way into print.

She spent several years as a teacher, and was married and removed to
Pontiac, Michigan, in 1845. During her married life she resided in
several States, but principally in Maysville, Kentucky.

Here she became well known as a writer, but her productions, both in
prose and poetry, were usually written under various _nommes de plume_,
and met very general acceptance.

She at various times edited journals devoted to temperance and general
literature in the Western States, and became known as possessing a
keenly observing and philosophic mind. This experience, perhaps,
prepared and eminently fitted her for the service into which she entered
at the breaking out of the war, and enabled her to comprehend and
provide for the necessities and emergencies of "the situation."

Mrs. Edson arrived in Washington November 1st, 1861, and commenced
service as nurse in Columbia College Hospital. She remained there
serving with great acceptance until early in March when the army was
about to move and a battle was in anticipation, when by arrangement with
the Division Surgeon, Dr. Palmer, she joined Sumner's Division at Camp
California, Virginia, where she was to remain and follow to render her
services in case the anticipation was verified. The enemy, however, had
stolen away, and "Quaker" guns being the only armament encountered, her
services were not needed.

She soon after received an appointment from Surgeon-General Finley to
proceed to Winchester, Virginia, to assist in the care of the wounded
from General Banks' army. She found the hospital there in a most
deplorable condition. Gangrene was in all the wards, the filth and
foulness of the atmosphere were fearful. Men were being swept off by
scores, and all things were in such a state as must ever result from
inexperience, and perhaps incompetence, on the part of those in charge.
Appliances and stores were scanty, and many of the surgeons and persons
in charge, though doing the least that was possible, were totally unfit
for their posts through want of experience and training.

The Union Hotel Hospital was placed in charge of Mrs. Edson, and the
nurses who accompanied her were assigned to duty there. It was to be
thoroughly cleansed and rendered as wholesome as possible.

The gratitude of the men for their changed condition, in a few days
amply attested the value of the services of herself and associates, and
demonstrated the fact that women have an important place in a war like

Mrs. Edson next proceeded to join the army before Yorktown, about the
1st of May, 1862, and was attached to the Hospital of General Sumner's
corps. She arrived the day following the battle of Williamsburg, and
learning that her son was among the wounded left in a hospital several
miles from Yorktown, she at once started on foot to find him. After a
walk of twelve miles she discovered him apparently in a dying state, he
and his comrades imperatively demanding care. Here she spent four
sleepless days and nights of terrible anxiety, literally flying from hut
to hut of the rebel-built hospitals, to care for other sick and wounded
men, whenever she could leave her son.

She remained thus till imperative orders were received to break up this
hospital and go to Yorktown. The men were laid in army wagons and
transported over the rough roads from nine in the morning till six in
the evening. Arriving exhausted by their terrible sufferings, they found
no provision made for their reception. That was a dreadful day, and to
an inexperienced eye and a sympathetic heart the suffering seemed

The 21st of May, Mrs. Edson went to Fortress Monroe, to care for her son
and others, remaining a week. From thence she proceeded to White House
and the "front." Arriving here the enemy were expected, and it was
forbidden to land. At daylight the "only woman on board" was anxiously
inquiring if there was any suffering to relieve. Learning that some
wounded had just been brought in, she left the boat notwithstanding the
prohibition, and found over three hundred bleeding and starved heroes
lying upon the ground. The Sanitary Commission boats had gone, and no
supplies were left but coffee and a little rice. As she stepped ashore,
a soldier with a shattered arm came up to her, almost timidly, and with
white trembling lips asked her if she could give them something to
eat--they had lost everything three days before, and had been without
food since. What an appeal to the sympathy of a warm heart!

It was feared that no food could be obtained, but after great search a
barrel of cans of beef was found. Some camp kettles were gathered up,
and a fire kindled. In the shortest possible time beef soup and coffee
were passing round among these delighted men. Their gratitude was beyond
words. At four o'clock, that afternoon, the last man was put on board
the ship which was to convey them within reach of supplies and care.

Mrs. Edson was left alone. One steamer only of the quartermaster's
department remained. The quartermaster had no authority to admit her on
board. But in view of the momently expected arrival of the enemy he told
her to go on board and remain, promising not to interfere with her until
she reached Harrison's Landing. And this was all that could be gained by
her who was so busily working for the soldier--this the alternative of
being left to the tender mercy of the enemy.

She remained at Harrison's Landing until the 12th of August, and passed
through all the terrible and trying scenes that attended the arrival of
the defeated, demoralized, and depressed troops of McClellan's army.
These baffle description. Enough, that hands and heart were full--full
of work, and full of sympathy, with so much frightful suffering all
around her! She was here greatly aided and sustained by the presence and
help of that excellent man, Chaplain Arthur B. Fuller, who passed away
to his reward long ere the close of the struggle, into which he had
entered with so true an appreciation and devotion. Again, here as
everywhere, gratitude for kindness, and cheerfulness in suffering marked
the conduct of the poor men under her care.

When the army left she repaired again to Fortress Monroe, and was on
duty there at Hygeia Hospital during the transit of the army.

She returned to Alexandria the 30th of August, and almost immediately
heard rumors of the fighting going on at the front. She applied for
permission to proceed to the field, but was informed that the army was
retreating. The next tidings was of the second battle of Bull Run, and
the other disastrous conflicts of Pope's campaign. As she could not go
to the front to give aid and comfort to that small but heroic army in
its retreat she did what she could for the relief of any sufferers who
came under her notice, until the news of the conflict at Antietam was
received, with rumors of its dreadful slaughter. Her heart was fired
with anxiety to proceed thither, but permission was again denied her,
the surgeon-general replying that she was evidently worn out and must
rest for a time. He was right, for on the ensuing day she was seized
with a severe illness which prevented any further exertion for many

During the slow hours of convalescence from this illness she revolved a
plan for systematizing the female branch of the relief service. Her idea
was to provide a home for volunteer nurses, where they could be
patiently educated and instructed in the necessities of the work they
were to assume, and where they could retire for rest when needed, or in
the brief intervals of their labors.

Her first labor on recovery was to proceed to Warrenton with supplies,
but she found the army moving and the sick already on board the cars.
She did what was possible for them under the circumstances. The trains
moved off and she was left to wait for one that was to convey her back
to Alexandria. This, however, was cut off by the rebels, and she found
herself with no resource but to proceed with the army to Acquia Creek.
She records that she reached Acquia, after several days, and a new and
interesting experience, which was kindness and courtesy from all with
whom she came in contact.

Immediately after her return to Washington, Mrs. Edson attempted to
systematize her plan for a home and training school for nurses. A
society was formed, and Mrs. Caleb B. Smith at first (but soon after in
consequence of her resignation) Mrs. B. F. Wade, was appointed
President, and Mrs. Edson, Secretary.

Many meetings were held. The attention of commanding and medical
officers was drawn to the plan. Almost unanimously they expressed
approval of it.

Mrs. Edson was the soul of the work, hers was the guiding brain, the
active hand, and as is usual in similar cases most of the labor fell
upon her. She visited the army at Fredericksburg, and carefully
examined the hospitals to ascertain their needs in this respect. This
with other journeys of the same kind occupied a considerable portion of
the winter.

State Relief Societies had been consulted and approved the plan. Mrs.
Edson visited the Sanitary Commission and laid the plan before them, but
while they admitted the necessity of a home and place of rest for
nurses, which they soon after established, they regarded a training
school for them unnecessary, believing that those who were adapted to
their work would best acquire the needed skill in it in the hospital
itself, and that their imperative need of attendants in the hospitals
and in the departments of special and field relief, did not admit of the
delay required to educate nurses for the service.

The surgeon-general, though at first favorably impressed with the idea,
on more mature consideration discouraged it, and withheld his approval
before the Senate Committee, who had a bill before them for the
establishment of such an institution. Thus thwarted in the prosecution
of the plan on which she had set her heart, Mrs. Edson did not give up
in despair, nor did she suffer her sympathy and zeal in its prosecution
to prevent her from engaging in what she rightly regarded as the
paramount work of every loyal woman who could enter upon it, the care of
the sick and wounded after the great battles. The fearfully disastrous
battle of Fredericksburg in December, 1862, called her to the front, and
she was for several weeks at Falmouth caring tenderly for the wounded
heroes there. This good work accomplished she returned to Washington,
and thence visited New York city, and made earnest endeavors to enlist
the aid of the wealthy and patriotic in this movement. She was familiar
with Masonic literature and with the spirit of Masonry. Her husband had
been an advanced member of the Order, and she had herself taken all the
"Adoptive Degrees." These reasons induced her to seek the aid of the
Order, and she was pleased to find that she met with much encouragement.
The "Army Nurses' Association" was formed in New York, and commenced
work under the auspices of the Masons. In the spring of 1864, when
Grant's campaign commenced with the terrible battles of the Wilderness,
Mrs. Edson hastened to the "front." Almost immediately the surgeons
requested her to send for ten of the nurses then receiving instruction
as part of her class at Clinton Hall, New York.

She did so. They were received, transportation found, and rations and
pay granted. And they were found to be valuable workers, Mrs. Edson
receiving from the Surgeons in charge, the highest testimonials of their
usefulness. She had at first mentioned it to the Surgeons as an
experiment, and said that funds and nurses would not be wanting if it
proved a success. The day on which the order for the evacuation of
Fredericksburg was issued, she was told that her "experiment was more
than a success--it was a triumph." And this by one of the highest
officials of the Medical department.

Eighty more nurses were at once ordered.

The interest taken by the Masons in this movement, led to the formation
of the "Masonic Mission," with a strong "Advisory Board," composed of
leading and wealthy Masons.

Mrs. Edson, with unquestioning confidence in the integrity of Masons,
and in the honor of the gentlemen who had given the movement the great
strength of their names, continued ardently carrying out her plan. More
nurses were sent out, and all received the promise of support by the
"Mission." Much good--how much none may say, was performed by these
women. They suffered and labored, and sacrificed much. They gave their
best efforts and cares. Many of them were poor women, unable to give
their time and labor without remuneration. But, alas! the purposes and
promises of the Masonic Mission, were never fulfilled. Many of the women
received no remuneration, and great suffering and dissatisfaction was
the result. The good to the suffering of the army was perhaps the same.

Amidst all her sorrows and disappointments, Mrs. Edson continued her
labors till the end of the war. Nothing could keep her from the
fulfilment of what she regarded as an imperative duty, and nobly she
achieved her purpose, so far as her individual efforts were concerned.

A lady, herself ardently engaged in the work of relief, and supply for
the soldiers, visited the Army of the Potomac in company with Mrs.
Edson, in the winter of 1865, not long before the close of the war. She
describes the reception of Mrs. Edson, among these brave men to whom she
had ministered during the terrific campaign of the preceding summer, as
a complete ovation. The enthusiasm was overwhelming to the quiet woman
who had come among them, not looking nor hoping for more than the
privilege of a pleasant greeting from those endeared to her by the very
self-sacrificing efforts by which she had brought them relief, and
perhaps been the means of saving their lives.

Irrepressible shouts, cheers, tears and thanks saluted her on every
side, and she passed on humbled rather than elated by the excess of this
enthusiastic gratitude.


Although the Federal City, Washington, was at the outbreak of the war
more intensely Southern in sentiment than many of the Southern cities,
at least so far as its native, or long resident inhabitants could make
it so, yet there were even in that Sardis, a few choice spirits, reared
under the shadow of the Capitol, whose patriotism was as lofty, earnest
and enduring as that of any of the citizens of any Northern or Western

Among these, none have given better evidence of their intense love of
their country and its institutions, than Miss Hall. Born and reared in
the Capital, highly educated, and of pleasing manners and address, she
was well fitted to grace any circle, and to shine amid the gayeties of
that fashionable and frivolous city. But the religion of the
compassionate and merciful Jesus had made a deep lodgment in her heart,
and in imitation of his example, she was ready to forsake the halls of
gayety and fashion, if she might but minister to the sick, the suffering
and the sorrowing. Surrounded by Secessionists, her father too far
advanced in years to bear arms for the country he loved, with no brother
old enough to be enrolled among the nation's defenders, her patriotism
was as fervid as that of any soldier of the Republic, and she resolved
to consecrate herself to the service of the nation, by ministrations to
the sick and wounded. Her first opportunity of entering upon this duty
was by the reception into her father's house of one of the sick soldiers
before the first battle of Bull Run, who by her kindly care was
restored to health. When the Indiana Hospital was established in the
Patent Office building on the 1st of August, 1861, Miss Hall sought a
position there as nurse; but Miss Dix had already issued her circular
announcing that no nurses under thirty-five years of age would be
accepted; and in vain might she plead her willingness and ability to
undergo hardships and the uncomfortable duties pertaining to the nurse's
position. She therefore applied to the kind-hearted but eccentric Mrs.
Almira Fales, whose hearty and positive ways had given her the entrée of
the Government hospitals from the first, but she too discouraged her
from the effort, assuring her, in her blunt way, that there was no
poetry in this sort of thing, that the men were very dirty, hungry and
rough, and that they would not appreciate refinement of manner, or be
grateful for the attention bestowed on them by a delicate and educated
lady. Finding that these representations failed to divert Miss Hall, and
her sister who accompanied her, from their purpose, Mrs. Fales threw
open the door of one of the wards, saying as she did so, "Well, girls,
here they are, with everything to be done for them. You will find work

There was, indeed, work enough. The men were very dirty, the "sacred
soil" of Virginia clinging to their clothing and persons in plenty.
Their hair was matted and tangled, and often, not free from vermin, and
they were as Mrs. Fales had said, a rough set. But those apparently
fragile and delicate girls had great energy and resolution, and the
subject of our sketch was not disposed to undertake an enterprise and
then abandon it. She had trials of other kinds, to bear. The surgeons
afforded her few or no facilities for her work; and evidently expected
that her whim of nursing would soon be given over. Then came the general
order for the removal of volunteer nurses from the hospitals; this she
evaded by enrolling herself as nurse, and drawing army pay, which she
distributed to the men. For nearly a year she remained in this position,
without command, with much hard work to do, and no recognition of it
from any official source; but though the situation was not in any
respect agreeable, there was a consciousness of usefulness, of service
of the Master in it to sustain her; and while under her gentle
ministrations cleanliness took the place of filth, order of disorder,
and profanity was banished, because "the lady did not like it," it was
also her privilege occasionally to lead the wanderer from God back to
the Saviour he had deserted, and to point the sinner to the "Lamb of God
that taketh away the sins of the world." In the summer of 1862, Miss
Hall joined the Hospital Transport service, first on the Daniel Webster,
No. 2, a steamer which had been used for the transportation of troops
from Washington. After the sick and wounded of this transport had been
disposed of, Miss Hall was transferred to the Daniel Webster, the
original hospital transport of the Sanitary Commission, where she
labored faithfully for some weeks after the change of base to Harrison's
Landing, when she was associated with Mrs. Almira Fales in caring for
the suffering wounded on shore. They found the poor fellows in a
terrible plight, in rotten and leaky tents, and lying on the damp soil,
sodden with the heavy rains, and poisonous from the malarial
exhalations, in need of clothing, food, medicine, and comfort; and
though but scantily supplied with the needful stores, these ladies
spared no labor or exertion to improve their condition, and they were
successful to a greater extent than would have seemed possible. When the
army returned to Alexandria, Miss Hall visited her home for a short
interval of rest; but the great battle of Antietam called her again to
her chosen work; she went to the battle-field, intending to join Mrs.
Harris, of the Ladies' Aid Society of Philadelphia, who was already at
work there, and had telegraphed for her; but being unable to find her at
first, she entered a hospital of wounded Rebel prisoners, and ministered
to them until Mrs. Harris having ascertained her situation, sent for her
to come to Smoketown General Hospital, where at that time the wounded of
French's Division were gathered, and which ultimately received the
wounded of the different corps who were unable to endure the fatigue of
transportation to Washington, Baltimore or Philadelphia. Dr.
Vanderkieft, an accomplished physician and a man of rare tenderness,
amiability and goodness, was at this time the surgeon of the Smoketown
Hospital, and appreciating Miss Hall's skill and adaptation to her work,
he welcomed her cordially, and did everything in his power to render her
position pleasant. Mrs. Harris was soon called to other scenes, and
after Fredericksburg, went to Falmouth and remained there several
months, but Miss Hall, and Mrs. Husband who was now associated with her
remained at Smoketown; and when Mrs. Husband left, Miss Hall still
continued till May, 1863, when the hospital was broken up, and the
remaining inmates sent to other points.[J]

[Footnote J: The following letter addressed to Miss Hall, by one of the
wounded soldiers under her care at the Smoketown Hospital, a Frenchman
who, while a great sufferer, kept the whole tent full of wounded men
cheerful and bright with his own cheerfulness, singing the Marseillaise
and other patriotic songs, is but one example of thousands, of the
regard felt for her, by the soldiers whose sufferings she had relieved
by her gentle and kindly ministrations.

        "MANCHESTER, MASS. _June 28th_, 1866.

     "Miss M. M. C. Hall:--There are kind deeds received which a _man_
     cannot ever forget, more especially when they are done by one who
     does not expect any rewards for them, but the satisfaction of
     having helped humanity.

     "But as one who first unfortunate, and next fortunate enough to
     come under your kind cares, I come rather late perhaps to pay you a
     tribute of gratitude which should have been done ere this. I say
     pay,--I do not mean that with few lines in a broken English, I
     expect to reward you for your good care of me while I was lying at
     Smoketown--no, words or gold could not repay you for your
     sufferings, privations, the painful hard sights which the angels of
     the battle-field are willing to face,--no, God alone can reward
     you. Yet, please accept, Miss, the assurance of my profound
     respect, and my everlasting gratitude. May the God of Justice,
     Freedom and love, ever protect you, and reward you for your conduct
     on this earth is the wish of

    "Your obedient and respectful servant,
        "JULIUS F. RABARDY."

     The Frenchman who sometimes sang the Marseillaise--formerly of the
     12th Massachusetts Volunteers.]

One feature of this Hospital-life both at Smoketown, and the other
Hospitals with which Miss Hall was connected, a feature to which many of
those under her care revert with great pleasure, was the evening or
family prayers. Those of the convalescent soldiers who cared to do so
were accustomed to assemble every evening at her tent, and engage in
social worship, the chaplain usually being present and taking the lead
of the meeting, and in the event of his absence, one of the soldiers
being the leader. This evening hour was looked for with eagerness, and
to some, we might say, to many, it was the beginning of new hopes and a
new life. Many, after rejoining their regiments, wrote back to their
friends, "We think of you all at the sweet hour of prayer, and know that
you will remember us when you gather in the little tent." The life in
the Hospital, was by this and other means, rendered the vestibule of a
new and holy life, a life of faith and Christian endeavor to many, and
this young Christian woman was enabled to exercise an influence for good
which shall endure through the untold ages of eternity.

After a short period of rest, Miss Hall again reported for duty at the
Naval Academy Hospital, Annapolis, whither considerable numbers of the
wounded from Gettysburg were brought, and where her old friend Dr.
Vanderkieft was the Surgeon-in-charge. After a time, the exchanged
prisoners from Belle Isle and Libby Prison, and subsequently those from
Andersonville, Florence, Salisbury and Wilmington, began to come into
this Hospital, and it was Miss Hall's painful privilege to be permitted
to minister to these poor victims of Rebel cruelty and hate, who amid
the horrors of the charnel houses, had not only lost their health, but
almost their semblance to humanity, and reduced by starvation and
suffering to a condition of fatuity, often could not remember their own
names. In these scenes of horror, with the patience and tenderness born
only of Christianity, she ministered to these poor helpless men,
striving to bring them back to life, and health, and reason, comforting
them in their sufferings, pointing the dying to a suffering Saviour,
and corresponding with their friends as circumstances required.

It was at Dr. Vanderkieft's request, that she came to this Hospital, and
at first she was placed in charge of Section Five, consisting of the
Hospital tents outside of the main building. Mrs. Adaline Tyler, (Sister
Tyler), was at this time lady Superintendent of the entire Hospital, and
administered her duties with great skill and ability. When, in the
spring of 1864, as we have elsewhere recorded, the impaired health of
Mrs. Tyler rendered her further stay in the Hospital impossible. Miss
Hall, though young, was deemed by Dr. Vanderkieft, most eminently
qualified to succeed her in the general superintendency of this great
Hospital, and she remained in charge of it till it was closed in the
summer of 1865. Here she had at times, more than four thousand of these
poor sufferers under her care, and although she had from ten to twenty
assistants, each in charge of a section, yet her own labors were
extremely arduous, and her care and responsibility such as few could
have sustained. The danger, as well as the care, was very much increased
by the prevalence of typhus-fever, in a very malignant form in the
Hospital, brought there by some of the poor victims of rebel barbarity
from Andersonville. Three of her most valued assistants contracted this
fearful disease from the patients whom they had so carefully watched
over and died, martyrs to their philanthropy and patriotism.

During her residence at this Hospital, Miss Hall often contributed to
"THE CRUTCH," a soldier's weekly paper, edited by Miss Titcomb, one of
the assistant superintendents, to which the other ladies, the officers
and some of the patients were also contributors. This paper created much
interest in the hospital.

Our record of the work of this active and devoted Christian woman is but
brief, for though there were almost numberless instances of suffering,
of heroism and triumph passing constantly under her eye, yet the work of
one day was so much like that of every other, that it afforded little of
incident in her own labors to require a longer narrative. Painful as
many of her experiences were, yet she found as did many others who
engaged in it that it was a blessed and delightful work, and in the
retrospect, more than a year after its close, she uttered these words in
regard to it, words to which the hearts of many other patriotic women
will respond, "I mark my Hospital days as my happiest ones, and thank
God for the way in which He led me into the good work, and for the
strength which kept me through it all."


Though the Naval Academy buildings at Annapolis had been used for
hospital purposes, from almost the first months of the war, they did not
acquire celebrity, or accommodate a very large number of patients until
August, 1863, when Surgeon Vanderkieft took charge of it, and it
received great numbers of the wounded men from Gettysburg. As the number
of these was reduced by deaths, convalescence and discharge from the
army, their places were more than supplied by the returning prisoners,
paroled or discharged, from Libby, Belle Isle, Andersonville, Millen,
Salisbury, Florence and Wilmington. These poor fellows under the
horrible cruelties, systematically practiced by the rebel authorities,
with the avowed intention of weakening the Union forces, had been
starved, frozen, maimed and tortured until they had almost lost the
semblance of humanity, and one of the noble women who cared for them so
tenderly, states that she often found herself involuntarily placing her
hand upon her cheek to ascertain whether their flesh was like hers,
human and vitalized. The sunken hollow cheeks, the parchment skin drawn
so tightly over the bones, the great, cavernous, lackluster eyes, the
half idiotic stare, the dreamy condition, the loss of memory even of
their own names, and the wonder with which they regarded the most
ordinary events, so strange to them after their long and fearful
experience, all made them seem more like beings from some other world,
than inhabitants of this. Many of them never recovered fully their
memory or reason; the iron had entered the soul. Others lingered long on
the confines of two worlds, now rallying a little and then falling back,
till finally the flickering life went out suddenly; a few of the
hardiest and toughest survived, and recovered partial though seldom or
never complete health. During a part of the first year of Dr.
Vanderkieft's administration, Mrs. Adaline Tyler ("Sister Tyler") was
Lady Superintendent of the hospital, and the sketch elsewhere given of
her life shows how earnestly and ably she labored to promote the
interest of its inmates. During most of this time Miss Maria M. C. Hall
had charge of section five, consisting of the hospital tents which
occupied a part of the academical campus. Miss Helen M. Noye, a young
lady from Buffalo, a very faithful, enthusiastic and cheerful worker,
was her assistant, and remained for nearly a year in the hospital.

When in the spring of 1864, Miss Hall was appointed Mrs. Tyler's
successor as Lady Superintendent of the hospital, its numerous large
wards required several assistant superintendents who should direct the
preparation of the special diet, and the other delicacies so desirable
for the sick, attend to the condition of the men, ascertain their
circumstances and history, correspond with their friends, and endeavor
so far as possible to cheer, comfort and encourage their patients.

When the number of patients was largest twenty of these assistants were
required, and the illness of some, or their change to other fields,
rendered the list a varying one, over thirty different ladies being
connected with the hospital during the two years from July, 1863, to
July, 1865.

A considerable number of these ladies had accompanied Mrs. Tyler to
Annapolis, having previously been her assistants in the general hospital
at Chester, Pennsylvania. Among these were nine from Maine, viz., Miss
Louise Titcomb, Miss Susan Newhall, Miss Rebecca R. Usher, Miss Almira
Quimby, Miss Emily W. Dana, Miss Adeline Walker, Miss Mary E. Dupee,
Miss Mary Pierson, and Mrs. Eunice D. Merrill, all women of excellent
abilities and culture, and admirably adapted to their work. One of this
band of sisters, Miss Adeline Walker, died on the 28th of April, 1865,
of malignant typhus, contracted in the discharge of her duties in the

Of her Miss Hall wrote in the _Crutch_, "She slept at sunset, sinking
into the stillness of death as peacefully as a melted day into the
darkness of the night. For two years and a half--longer than almost any
other here--she had pursued her labors in this hospital, and with her
ready sympathy with the suffering or wronged, had ministered to many
needy ones the balm of comfort and healing. Her quick wit and keen
repartee has served to brighten up many an hour otherwise dull and
unhomelike in our little circle of workers, gathered in our quarters off

"So long an inmate of this hospital its every part was familiar to her;
its trees and flowers she loved; in all its beauties she rejoiced. We
could almost fancy a hush in nature's music, as we walked behind her
coffin, under the beautiful trees in the bright May sunshine.

"It was a touching thing to see the soldier-boys carrying the coffin of
her who had been to them in hours of pain a minister of good and
comfort. Her loss is keenly felt among them, and tears are on the face
of more than one strong man as he speaks of her. One more veteran
soldier has fallen in the ranks, one more faithful patriot-heart is
stilled. No less to her than to the soldier in the field shall be
awarded the heroic honor.

    'For God metes to each his measure;
      And the woman's patient prayer,
    No less than ball or bayonet
      Brings the victory unaware.'

"Patient prayer and work for the victory to our country was the life of
our sister gone from us; and in the dawning of our brighter days, and
the coming glory of our regenerated country, it is hard to lay her away
in unconsciousness; hard to close her eyes against the bright sunshine
of God's smile upon a ransomed people; hard to send her lifeless form
away from us, alone to the grave in her far off home; hard to realize
that one so familiar in our little band shall go no more in and out
among us. But we say farewell to her not without hope. Her earnest
spirit, ever eager in its questioning of what is truth, was not at rest
with simply earthly things. Her reason was unsatisfied, and she longed
for more than was revealed to her of the Divine. To the land of full
realities she is gone. We trust that in his light she shall see light;
that waking in his likeness, she shall be satisfied, and evermore at
rest. We cannot mourn that she fell at her post. Her warfare is
accomplished, and the oft-expressed thought of her heart is in her death
fulfilled. She has said, 'It is noble to die at one's post, with the
armor on; to fall where the work has been done.'"

One of her associates from her own State thus speaks of her: "Miss
Walker left many friends and a comfortable home in Portland, in the
second year of the war. Her devotion and interest in the work so
congenial to her feelings, increased with every year's experience, until
she found herself bound to it heart and hand. Her large comprehension,
too, of all the circumstances connected with the soldier's experience in
and outside of hospital, quickened her sympathies and adapted her to the
part she was to share, as counsellor and friend. Many a soldier lives,
who can pay her a worthy tribute of gratitude for her care and sympathy
in his hour of need; and in the beyond, of the thousands who died in the
cause of liberty, there are many who may call her 'blessed.'"

Massachusetts was also largely represented among the faithful workers of
the Naval Academy Hospital, at Annapolis. Among these Miss Abbie J.
Howe, of Brookfield; Miss Kate P. Thompson, of Worcester, whose
excessive labors and the serious illness which followed, have probably
rendered her an invalid for life; Miss Eudora Clark, of Boston, Miss
Ruth L. Ellis, of Bridgewater, Miss Sarah Allen, of Wilbraham, Miss
Agnes Gillis, of Lowell, and Miss Maria Josslyn, of Roxbury, were those
who were most laborious and faithful. From New Jersey there came a
faithful and zealous worker, Miss Charlotte Ford, of Morristown. From
New York there were Miss Helen M. Noye, of Buffalo, already named, Mrs.
Guest, also of Buffalo, Miss Emily Gove, of Peru, Miss Mary Cary, of
Albany, Miss Ella Wolcott, of Elmira, and Miss M. A. B. Young, of
Morristown, New York. This lady, one of the most devoted and faithful of
the hospital nurses, was also a martyr to her fidelity and patriotism,
dying of typhus fever contracted in her attendance upon her patients, on
the 12th of January, 1865.

Miss Young left a pleasant home in St. Lawrence County, New York, soon
after the commencement of the war, with her brother, Captain James
Young, of the Sixtieth New York Volunteers, and was an active minister
of good to the sick and wounded of that regiment. She took great pride
in the regiment, wearing its badge and having full faith in its valor.
When the Sixtieth went into active service, she entered a hospital at
Baltimore, but _her_ regiment was never forgotten. She heard from it
almost daily through her soldier-brother, between whom and herself
existed the most tender devotion and earnest sympathy. From Baltimore
she was transferred to Annapolis early in Mrs. Tyler's administration.
In 1864, she suffered from the small-pox, and ever after her recovery
she cared for all who were affected with that disease in the hospital.

Her thorough identity with the soldier's life and entire sacrifice to
the cause, was perhaps most fully and touchingly evidenced by her oft
repeated expression of a desire to be buried among the soldiers. When in
usual health, visiting the graves of those to whom she had ministered in
the hospital, she said, "If I die in hospital, let me buried here among
my boys." This request was sacredly regarded, and she was borne to her
last resting-place by soldiers to whom she had ministered in her own
days of health.

Another of the martyrs in this service of philanthropy, was Miss Rose M.
Billing, of Washington, District of Columbia, a young lady of most
winning manners, and spoken of by Miss Hall as one of the most devoted
and conscientious workers, she ever knew--an earnest Christian, caring
always for the spiritual as well as the physical wants of her men. She
was of delicate, fragile constitution, and a deeply sympathizing nature.
From the commencement of the war, she had been earnestly desirous of
participating in the personal labors of the hospital, and finally
persuaded her mother, (who, knowing her frail health, was reluctant to
have her enter upon such duties), to give her consent. She commenced her
first service with Miss Hall, in the Indiana Hospital, in the Patent
Office building, in the autumn of 1861, and subsequently served in the
Falls Church Hospital, and at Fredericksburg. Early in 1863 she came to
Annapolis, and no one of the nurses was more faithful and devoted in
labors for the soldiers. Twice she had been obliged to leave her chosen
work for a short time in consequence of illness, but she had hastened
back to it with the utmost alacrity, as soon as she could again
undertake her work. She had been eminently successful, in bringing up
some cases of the fever, deemed by the surgeons, hopeless, and though
she herself felt that she was exceeding her strength, or as she
expressed it, "wearing out," she could not and would not leave her
soldier boys while they were so ill; and when the disease fastened upon
her, she had not sufficient vital energy left to throw it off. She
failed rapidly and died on the 14th of January, 1865, after two weeks'
illness. Her mother, after her death, received numerous letters from
soldiers for whom she had cared, lamenting her loss and declaring that
but for her faithful attentions, they should not have been in the land
of the living. Among those who have given their life to the cause of
their country in the hospitals, no purer or saintlier soul has exchanged
the sorrows, the troubles and the pains of earth for the bliss of
heaven, than Rose M. Billing.


Some of the ladies named in the preceding sketch had passed through
other experiences of hospital life, before becoming connected with the
Naval Academy Hospital at Annapolis. Among these, remarkable for their
fidelity to the cause they had undertaken to serve, were several of the
ladies from Maine, the _Maine-stay_ of the Annapolis Hospital, as Dr.
Vanderkieft playfully called them. We propose to devote a little space
to sketches of some of these faithful workers.

Miss Louise Titcomb, was from Portland, Maine, a young lady of high
culture and refinement, and from the beginning of the War, had taken a
deep interest in working for the soldiers, in connection with the other
patriotic ladies of that city. When in the early autumn of 1862, Mrs.
Adaline Tyler, as we have already said in our sketch of her, took charge
as Lady Superintendent of the Hospital at Chester, Pennsylvania, which
had previously been in the care of a Committee of ladies of the village,
she sought for volunteer assistants in her work, who would give
themselves wholly to it.

Miss Titcomb, Miss Susan Newhall, and Miss Rebecca R. Usher, all from
Portland, were among the first to enter upon this work. They remained
there eight months, until the remaining patients had become
convalescent, and the war had made such progress Southward that the post
was too far from the field to be maintained as a general hospital.

The duties of these ladies at Chester, were the dispensing of the extra
and low diet to the patients; the charge of their clothing; watching
with, and attending personally to the wants of those patients whose
condition was most critical; writing for and reading to such of the sick
or wounded as needed or desired these services, and attending to
innumerable details for their cheer and comfort. Dr. Le Comte, the
Surgeon-in-charge, and the assistant Surgeons of the wards, were very
kind, considerate and courteous to these ladies, and showed by their
conduct how highly they appreciated their services.

In August, 1863, when Mrs. Tyler was transferred to the Naval Academy
Hospital, at Annapolis, these ladies went thither with her, where they
were joined soon after by Miss Adeline Walker, Miss Almira F. Quimby,
and Miss Mary Pierson, all of Portland, and Miss Mary E. Dupee, Miss
Emily W. Dana, and Mrs. Eunice D. Merrill, all from Maine. Their duties
here were more varied and fatiguing than at Chester. One of them
describes them thus: "The Hospital was often crowded with patients
enduring the worst forms of disease and suffering; and added to our
former duties were new and untried ones incident to the terrible and
helpless condition of these returned prisoners. Evening Schools were
instituted for the benefit of the convalescents, in which we shared as
teachers; at the Weekly Lyceum, through the winter, the ladies in turn
edited and read a paper, containing interesting contributions from
inmates of the Hospital; they devised and took part in various
entertainments for the benefit of the convalescents; held singing and
prayer-meetings frequently in the wards; watched over the dying, were
present at all the funerals, and aided largely in forwarding the
effects, and where it was possible the bodies of the deceased to their
friends." Five of these faithful nurses were attacked by the typhus
fever, contracted by their attention to the patients, exhausted as they
were by overwork, from the great number of the very sick and helpless
men brought to the hospital in the winter of 1864-5; and the illness of
these threw a double duty upon those who were fortunate enough to escape
the epidemic. To the honor of these ladies, it should be said that not
one of them shrank from doing her full proportion of the work, and
nearly all who survived, remained to the close of the war. For twenty
months, Miss Titcomb was absent from duty but two days, and others had a
record nearly as satisfactory. Nearly all would have done so but for

Miss Rebecca Usher, of whom we have spoken as one of Miss Titcomb's
associates, in the winter of 1864-5, accepted the invitation of the
Maine Camp and Hospital Association, to go to City Point, and minister
to the sick and wounded, especially of the Maine regiments there. She
was accompanied by Miss Mary A. Dupee, who was one of the assistants at
Annapolis, from Maine.

The Maine Camp and Hospital Association, was an organization founded by
benevolent ladies of Portland, and subsequently having its auxiliaries
in all parts of the state, having for its object the supplying of
needful aid and comfort, and personal attention, primarily to the
soldiers of Maine, and secondarily to those from other states. Mrs.
James E. Fernald, Mrs. J. S. Eaton, Mrs. Elbridge Bacon, Mrs. William
Preble, Miss Harriet Fox, and others were the managers of the
association. Of these Mrs. J. S. Eaton, the widow of a Baptist
clergyman, formerly a pastor in Portland, went very early to the front,
with Mrs. Isabella Fogg, the active agent of the association, of whom we
have more to say elsewhere, and the two labored most earnestly for the
welfare of the soldiers. Mrs. Fogg finally went to the Western armies,
and Mrs. Eaton invited Miss Usher and Miss Dupee, with some of the other
Maine ladies to join her at City Point, in the winter of 1864-5. Mrs.
Ruth S. Mayhew had been a faithful assistant at City Point from the
first, and after Mrs. Fogg went to the West, had acted as agent of the
association there. Miss Usher joined Mrs. Eaton and Mrs. Mayhew, in
December, 1864, but Miss Dupee did not leave Annapolis till April,
1865. The work at City Point was essentially different from that at
Annapolis, and less saddening in its character. The sick soldiers from
Maine were visited in the hospital and supplied with delicacies, and
those who though in health were in need of extra clothing, etc., were
supplied as they presented themselves. The Maine Camp and Hospital
Association were always ready to respond to a call for supplies from
their agents, and there was never any lack for any length of time. In
May, 1865, Mrs. Eaton and her assistants established an agency at
Alexandria, and they carried their supplies to the regiments encamped
around that city, and visited the comparatively few sick remaining in
the hospitals. The last of June their work seemed to be completed and
they returned home.

Miss Mary A. Dupee was devoted to the cause from the beginning of the
war. She offered her services when the first regiment left Portland, and
though they were not then needed, she held herself in constant readiness
to go where they were, working meantime for the soldiers as opportunity
presented. When Mrs. Tyler was transferred to Annapolis, she desired
Miss Susan Newhall, a most faithful and indefatigable worker for the
soldiers, who had been with her at Chester, to bring with her another
who was like-minded. The invitation was given to Miss Dupee, who gladly
accepted it. At Annapolis she had charge of thirteen wards and had a
serving-room, where the food was sent ready cooked, for her to
distribute according to the directions of the surgeons to "her boys."
Before breakfast she went out to see that that meal was properly served,
and to ascertain the condition of the sickest patients. Then forenoon
and afternoon, she visited each one in turn, ministering to their
comfort as far as possible. The work, though wearing, and at times
accompanied with some danger of contagion, she found pleasant,
notwithstanding its connection with so many sad scenes. The
consciousness of doing good more than compensated for any toil or
sacrifice, and in the review of her work, Miss Dupee expresses the
belief that she derived as much benefit from this philanthropic toil as
she bestowed. As we have already said, she was for three months at City
Point and elsewhere ministering to the soldiers of her native State.

Miss Abbie J. Howe, of Brookfield, Massachusetts, was another of the
Annapolis Hospital Corps deserving of especial mention for her untiring
devotion to the temporal and spiritual welfare of the sick and wounded
who were under her charge. We regret our inability to obtain so full an
account of her work and its incidents as we desired, but we cannot
suffer her to pass unnoticed. Miss Howe had from the beginning of the
war been earnestly desirous to enter upon the work of personal service
to the soldiers in the hospitals, but considerations of duty, the
opposition of her friends, etc., had detained her at home until the way
was unexpectedly opened for her in September, 1863. She came directly to
Annapolis, and during her whole stay there had charge of the same wards
which she first entered, although a change was made in the class of
patients under her care in the spring of 1864. At first these wards were
filled with private soldiers, but in April, 1864, they were occupied by
the wounded and sick officers of the Officers' Hospital at that time
established in the Naval Academy under charge of Surgeon Vanderkieft.

Miss Howe brought to her work not only extraordinary skill and tact in
the performance of her duties, but a deep _personal_ interest in her
patients, a care and thoughtfulness for what might be best adapted to
each individual case, as if each had been her own brother, and beyond
this, an intense desire to promote their spiritual good. An earnest and
devoted Christian, whose highest motive of action was the desire to do
something for the honor and glory of the Master she loved, she entered
upon her duties in such a spirit as we may imagine actuated the saints
and martyrs of the early Christian centuries.

We cannot forbear introducing here a brief description of her work from
one who knew her well:--"She came to Annapolis with a spirit ready and
eager to do all things and suffer all things for the privilege of being
allowed to work for the good of the soldiers. Nothing was too trivial
for her to be engaged in for their sakes,--nothing was too great to
undertake for the least advantage to one of her smallest and humblest
patients. This was true of her regard to their bodily comfort and
health--but still more true of her concern for their spiritual good. I
remember very well that when she had been at work only a day or two she
spoke to me with real joy of one of her sick patients, telling me of a
hope she had that he was a Christian and prepared for death. * * * She
loved the soldiers for the cause for which they suffered--but she loved
them _most_, because she was actuated in all things by her love for her
Saviour, and for them He had died. * * * I used to feel that her
_presence_ and _influence_, even if she had not been strong enough to
_work_ at all, would have been invaluable--the soldiers so instinctively
recognized her true interest in them,--her regard for the right and her
abhorrence of anything like deceit or untruthfulness, that they could
not help trying to be good for her sake."

Miss Howe took a special interest in the soldier-nurses--the men
detailed for extra duty in the wards. She had a very high opinion of
their tenderness and faithfulness in their most trying and wearying
work, and of their devotion to their suffering comrades. This estimate
was undoubtedly true of most of those in her wards, and perhaps of a
majority of those in the Naval Academy Hospital; but it would have been
difficult for them to have been other than faithful and tender under the
influence of her example and the loyalty they could not help feeling to
a woman "so nobly good and true." Like all the others engaged in these
labors among the returned prisoners, Miss Howe speaks of her work as one
which brought its own abundant reward, in the inexpressible joy she
experienced in being able to do something to relieve and comfort those
poor suffering ones, wounded, bleeding, and tortured for their country's
sake, and at times to have the privilege of telling the story of the
cross to eager dying men, who listened in their agony longing to know a
Saviour's love.


Mrs. Gibbons is very well known in the City of New York where she
resides, as an active philanthropist, devoting a large portion of her
time and strength to the various charitable and reformatory enterprises
in which she is engaged. This tendency to labors undertaken for the good
of others, is, in part, a portion of her inheritance. The daughter of
that good man, some years ago deceased, whose memory is so heartily
cherished, by all to whom the record of a thousand brave and kindly
deeds is known, so warmly by a multitude of friends, and by the
oppressed and suffering--Isaac T. Hopper--we are justified in saying
that his mantle has fallen upon this his favorite child.

The daughter of the noble and steadfast old Friend, could hardly fail to
be known as a friend of the slave. Like her father she was ready to
labor, and sacrifice and suffer in his cause, and had already made this
apparent, had borne persecution, the crucial test of principle, before
the war which gave to the world the prominent idea of freedom for all,
and thus wiped the darkest stain from our starry banner, was

The record of the army work of Mrs. Gibbons, does not commence until the
autumn of 1861. Previous to that time, her labors for the soldier had
been performed at home, where there was much to be done in organizing a
class of effort hitherto unknown to the women of our country. But she
had always felt a strong desire to aid the soldiers by personal

It was quite possible for her to leave home, which so many mothers of
families, whatever their wishes, were unable to do. Accordingly,
accompanied by her eldest daughter, Miss Sarah H. Gibbons, now Mrs.
Emerson, she proceeded to Washington, about the time indicated.

There, for some weeks, mother and daughter regularly visited the
hospitals, of which there were already many in the Capitol City,
ministering to the inmates, and distributing the stores with which they
were liberally provided by the kindness of friends, from their own
private resources, and from those of "The Woman's Central Association of
Relief," already in active and beneficent operation in New York.

Their work was, however, principally done in the Patent Office Hospital,
where they took a regular charge of a certain number of patients, and
rendered excellent service, where service was, at that time, greatly

While thus engaged they were one day invited by a friend from New York
to take a drive in the outskirts of the city. Washington was at that
time like a great camp, and was environed by fortifications, with the
camps of different divisions, brigades, regiments, to each of which were
attached the larger and smaller hospitals, where the sick and suffering
languished, afar from the comforts and affectionate cares of home, and
not yet inured to the privations and _discomforts_ of army life. It can
without doubt be said that they were patient, and when we remember that
the most of them were volunteers, fresh from home, and new to war, that
perhaps was all that could reasonably be expected of them.

The drive of Mrs. Gibbons, and her friends extended further than was at
first intended, and they found themselves at Fall's Church, fifteen
miles from the city. Here was a small force of New York troops, and
their hospital containing about forty men, most of them very sick with
typhoid fever.

Mrs. Gibbons and her daughter entered the hospital. All around were the
emaciated forms, and pale, suffering faces of the men--their very looks
an appeal for kindness which it was hardly possible for these ladies to

One of them, a young man from Penn Yan, New York, fixed his sad
imploring gaze upon the face of Mrs. Gibbons. Pale as if the seal of
death had already been set upon his features, dreadfully emaciated, and
too feeble for the least movement, except those of the large, dark,
restless eyes, which seemed by the very intensity of their expression to
draw her toward him. She approached and compassionately asked if there
was anything she could do for him. The reply seemed to throw upon her a
responsibility too heavy to be borne.

"Come and take care of me, and I shall get well. If you do not come, I
shall die."

It was very hard to say she could not come, and with the constantly
recurring thought of his words, every moment made it harder. It was,
however, impossible at that time.

After distributing some little offerings they had brought, the party was
forced to leave, carrying with them a memory of such suffering and
misery as they had not before encountered. Fall's Church was situated in
a nest of secessionists, who would have been open rebels except for the
presence of the troops. No woman had ever shown her face within the
walls of its hospital. The routine of duty had probably been obeyed, but
there had been little sympathy and only the blundering care of men,
entirely ignorant of the needs of the sick. The men were dying rapidly,
and the number in the hospital fast diminishing, not by convalescence,
but by death.

After she had gone away, the scene constantly recurred to Mrs. Gibbons,
and she felt that a field of duty opened before her, which she had no
right to reject. In a few days an opportunity for another visit
occurred, which was gladly embraced. The young volunteer was yet living,
but too feeble to speak. Again his eyes mutely implored help, and seemed
to say that only that could beat back the advances of death. This time
both ladies had come with the intention of remaining.

The surgeon was ready to welcome them, but told them there was no place
for them to live. But that difficulty was overcome, as difficulties
almost always are by a determined will. The proprietor of a neighboring
"saloon," or eating-house, was persuaded to give the ladies a loft
floored with unplaned boards, and boasting for its sole furniture, a
bedstead and a barrel to serve as table and toilet. Here for the sum of
five dollars per week, each, they were allowed to sleep, and they took
their meals below.

There were at the date of their arrival thirty-nine sick men in the
hospital, and six lay unburied in the dead-house. Two or three others
died, and when they left, five or six weeks afterward, all had
recovered, sufficiently at least to bear removal, save three whom they
left convalescing. The young volunteer who had fastened his hope of life
on their coming, had been able to be removed to his home, at Penn Yan,
and they afterwards learned that he had entirely recovered his health.

Under their reign, cleanliness, order, quiet, and comfortable food, had
taken the place of the discomfort that previously existed. The sick were
encouraged by sympathy, and stimulated by it, and though they had
persisted in their effort through great hardship, and even danger, for
they were very near the enemy's lines, they felt themselves fully
rewarded for all their toils and sacrifices.

During the month of January, their patients having nearly all recovered,
Mrs. and Miss Gibbons, cheerfully obeyed a request to proceed to
Winchester, and take their places in the Seminary Hospital there. This
hospital was at that time devoted to the worst cases of wounded.

There were a large number of these in this place, most of them severely
wounded, as has been said, and many of them dangerously so. The closest
and most assiduous care was demanded, and the ladies found themselves at
once in a position to tax all their strength and efforts. They were in
this hospital over four months, and afterwards at Strasburg, where they
were involved in the famous retreat from that place, when the enemy took
possession, and held the hospital nurses, even, as prisoners, till the
main body of their army was safely on the road that led to Dixie.

Many instances of that retreat are of historical interest, but space
forbids their repetition here. It is enough to state that these ladies
heroically bore the discomfort of their position, and their own losses
in stores and clothing, regretting only that it was out of their power
to secure the comforts of the wounded, who were hurried from their
quarters, jolted in ambulances in torture, or compelled to drag their
feeble limbs along the encumbered road.

After the retreat, and the subsequent abandonment of the Valley by the
enemy, Mrs. Gibbons and her daughter returned for a short time to their
home in New York.

Their rest, however, was not long, for on the 19th of July, they arrived
at Point Lookout, Maryland, where Hammond United States General Hospital
was about to be opened.

On the 20th, the day following, the first installment of patients
arrived, two hundred and eighteen suffering and famished men from the
rebel prison of Belle Isle.

A fearful scene was presented on the arrival of these men. The transport
on which they came was full of miserable-looking wretches, lying about
the decks, many of them too feeble to walk, and unable to move without
help. Not one of the two hundred and eighty, possessed more than one
garment. Before leaving Belle Isle, they had been permitted to bathe.
The filthy, vermin-infected garments, which had been their sole covering
for many months, were in most cases thrown into the water, and the men
had clothed themselves as best they could, in the scanty supply given
them. Many were wrapped in sheets. A pair of trowsers was a luxury to
which few attained.

They were mostly so feeble as to be carried on stretchers to the
hospital. Mrs. Gibbons' first duty was to go on board the transport with
food, wine and stimulants, to enable them to endure the removal; and
when once removed, and placed in their clean beds, or wards, there was
sufficient employment in reducing all to order, and nursing them back to
health. Many were hopelessly broken down by their past sufferings, but
most eventually recovered their strength.

Mrs. and Miss Gibbons remained at Point Lookout fifteen months. After a
short time Mrs. Gibbons finding her usefulness greatly impaired by being
obliged to act under the authority of Miss Dix, who was officially at
the head of all nurses, applied for, and received from Surgeon-General
Hammond an independent appointment in this hospital, which gave her sole
charge of it, apart from the medical supervision. In this appointment
the Surgeon-General was sustained by the War Department. In her
application Mrs. Gibbons was influenced by no antagonism to Miss Dix,
but simply by her desire for the utmost usefulness.

The military post of Point Lookout was at that time occupied by two
Maryland Regiments, of whom Colonel Rogers had the command. If not in
sympathy with rebellion, they undoubtedly were with slavery. Large
numbers of contrabands had flocked thither, hoping to be protected in
their longings for freedom. In this, however, they were disappointed. As
soon as the Maryland masters demanded the return of their absconding
property, the Maryland soldiers were not only willing to accede to the
demand, but to aid in enforcing it.

Mrs. Gibbons found herself in a continual unpleasant conflict with the
authorities. Sympathy, feeling, sense of justice, the principles of a
life, were all on the side of the enslaved, and their attempt to escape.
She worked for them, helped them to evade the demands of their former
masters, and often sent them on their way toward the goal of their hopes
and efforts, the mysterious North.

She endured persecution, received annoyances, anonymous threats, and had
much to bear, which was borne cheerfully for the sake of these oppressed
ones. General Lockwood, then commander of the post, was always the
friend of herself and her protegés, a man of great kindness of heart,
and a lover of justice.

As has been said, they remained at Point Lookout fifteen months. The
summer following her introduction to the place, Mrs. Gibbons visited
home, and after remaining but a short time returned to her duties. She
had left all at home tranquil and serene, and did not dream of the
hidden fires which were even then smouldering, and ready to burst into

She had not long returned before rumors of the riots in New York, the
riots of July, 1863, reached Point Lookout.

"If private houses are attacked, ours will be one of the first," said
Miss Gibbons, on the reception of these tidings, and though her mother
would not listen to the suggestion, she very well knew it was far from

That night they retired full of apprehension, and had not fallen asleep
when some one knocked at their door with the intimation that bad news
had arrived for them. They asked if any one was dead, and on being
assured that there was not, listened with comparative composure when
they learned that their house in New York had been sacked by the mob,
and most of its contents destroyed.

The remainder of the night was spent in packing, and in the morning they
started for home.

It was a sad scene that presented itself on their arrival. There was not
an unbroken pane of glass in any of the windows. The panels of the doors
were many of them beaten in as with an axe. The furniture was mostly
destroyed, bureaus, desks, closets, receptacles of all kinds had been
broken open, and their contents stolen or rendered worthless; the
carpets, soaked with a trampled conglomerate of mud and water, oil and
filth, the debris left by the feet of the maddened, howling crowd, were
entirely ruined; beds and bedding, mirrors, and smaller articles had
been carried away, the grand piano had had a fire kindled on the
key-board, as had the sofas and chairs upon their velvet seats, fires
that were, none knew how, extinguished.

Over all were scattered torn books and valuable papers, the
correspondence with the great minds of the country for years, trampled
into the grease and filth, half burned and defaced. The relics of the
precious only son, who had died a few years before--the beautiful
memorial room, filled with pictures he had loved, beautiful vases, where
flowers always bloomed; and a thousand tokens of the loved and lost, had
shared the universal ruin. So had the writings and the clothing of the
lamented father, Isaac T. Hopper--of all these priceless mementoes,
there remained only the marble, life-size, bust of the son, which Mr.
Gibbons had providentially removed to a place of safety, and a few minor
objects. And all this ruin, and irreparable loss, had been visited upon
this charitable and patriotic family, by a furious, demoniac mob,
because they loved Freedom, Justice, and their country.

After this disaster the family were united beneath a hired roof for some
time, while their own house was repaired, and the fragments of its
scattered plenishing, and abundant treasures, were gathered together and

Mrs. Gibbons returned for a brief space to Point Lookout, where her
purpose was to instal the Misses Woolsey, and then leave them in charge
of the hospital.

Circumstances, however, prevented her from leaving the Point for a much
longer period than she had intended to stay, and when she did leave, she
was accompanied by the Misses Woolsey, and the whole party returned to
New York together.

We have no record of the further army work of Mrs. and Miss Gibbons
until the opening of the grand campaign of the Army of the Potomac, the
following May.

Immediately after the battle of the Wilderness, Mrs. Gibbons received a
telegram desiring her to come to the aid of the wounded. She resolved at
once to go, and urged her daughter to accompany her, as she had always
done before. Miss Gibbons had, in the meantime, married, and in the
course of a few weeks become a widow. She felt reluctant to return to
the work she had so loved, but her mother's wish prevailed. The next day
they started, and in a very short space of time found themselves amidst
the horrible confusion and suffering which prevailed at Belle Plain.

Their stay there was but brief, and in a short time they were themselves
established at Fredericksburg. There Mrs. Gibbons was requested to take
charge of a hospital, or rather a large unfurnished building, which was
to be used as one. In great haste straw was found to fill the empty
bed-sacks, which were placed upon the floor, and the means to feed the
suffering mass who were expected. The men, in all the forms of
suffering, were placed upon these beds, and cared for as well as they
could be, as fast as they arrived, and Mrs. Emerson prepared food for
them, standing unsheltered in rain or sultry heat.

For weeks they toiled thus. One day when the town was beautiful and
fragrant with the early roses, some regiments of Northern soldiers
landed and marched through the town, on their way to the front. The
patriotic women gathered there, cheered them as they marched on, and
gathered roses which they offered in a fragrant shower, with which the
men decorated caps and button-holes. They passed on; but two days later
the long train of ambulances crept down the hill, bringing back these
heroes to their pitying countrywomen, the roses withering on their
breasts, and dyed with their sacred patriot blood.

Through all the horrors of this sad campaign, Mrs. Gibbons and Mrs.
Emerson remained, doing whatever their hands could find to do. When
Fredericksburg was evacuated, they accompanied the soldiers, riding in
the open box-cars, and on the way administering to them as they could.

They were for a time at White House, where thousands of wounded required
and received their aid, and afterwards at City Point, where they
remained for several weeks in charge of the hospital of the Second
Division, being from first to last, among the most useful of the many
noble women who were engaged in this work.

After their return home, Mrs. Gibbons accepted an appointment at the
hospital in Beverly, New Jersey, where she had charge under Dr. Wagner,
the excellent surgeon she had known, and to whom she had become much
attached, at Point Lookout. As usual, Mrs. Emerson accompanied her to
this place, and lent her efforts to the great work to which both had
devoted themselves.

There were about nineteen hundred patients in this hospital, and the
duties were arduous. They boarded with the family of Dr. Wagner,
adjacent to the hospital, and after the labors of the day were mostly
finished, they went there to dine, at seven o'clock. Often, despite
pleasant conversation, and attractive viands, the sense of fatigue,
before unfelt, would attack Mrs. Gibbons, and at the table she would
fall asleep. But the morning would find her with strength restored, and
ready for the toil of the coming day.

The winter of 1865 will long be remembered in New York for the ravages
of small-pox in that city. The victims were not confined to any class,
or locality, and there were perhaps as many in the homes of wealth, as
in the squalid dwelling-places of the poor.

Mrs. Gibbons was suddenly summoned home to nurse her youngest daughter,
in an attack of varioloid. This was accomplished, and the young lady
recovered. But this closed the army labors of the mother. She did not
return, though Mrs. Emerson remained till the close of the hospital the
following spring, when the end of the war rendered their further
services in this work unnecessary, and they once more found themselves
settled in the quiet of home.


We have spoken in previous sketches of the faithfulness and devotion of
many of the government nurses, appointed by Miss Dix. No salary,
certainly not the meagre pittance doled out by the government could
compensate for such services, and the only satisfactory reason which can
be offered for their willingness to render them, is that their hearts
were inspired by a patriotism equally ardent with that which actuated
their wealthier sisters, and that this pitiful salary, hardly that
accorded to a green Irish girl just arrived in this country from the
bogs of Erin, was accepted rather as affording them the opportunity to
engage more readily in their work, than from any other cause. In many
instances it was expended in procuring necessary food or luxuries for
their soldier-patients, and in others, served to prevent dependence upon
friends, who had the disposition but perhaps hardly the ability to
furnish these heroic and self-denying nurses with the clothing or
pocket-money they needed in their work.

It is of one of these nurses, a lady of mature age, a widow, that we
have now to speak. Mrs. E. J. Russell, of Plattekill, Ulster County, New
York, was at the commencement of the war engaged in teaching in New York
city. In common with the other ladies of the Reformed Dutch Church, in
Ninth Street, of which she was a member, she worked for the soldiers at
every spare moment, but the cause seemed to her to need her personal
services in the hospital, and in ministrations to the wounded or sick,
and when the call came for nurses, she waited upon Miss Dix, was
accepted, and sent first to the Regimental Hospital of the Twentieth New
York Militia, National Guard, then stationed at Annapolis Junction. On
arriving there she found that the regiment consisted of men from her own
county, her former neighbors and acquaintances. The regiment was soon
after ordered to Baltimore, and being in the three months' service, was
mustered out soon after, and Mrs. Russell was assigned by Miss Dix to
Columbia College Hospital, Washington. Here she remained in the quiet
discharge of her duties, until June, 1864, not without many trials and
discomforts, for the position of the hired nurse in these hospitals
about Washington, was often rendered very uncomfortable by the
discourtesy of the young assistant surgeons. Her devotion to her duties
had been so intense that her health was seriously impaired, and she
resigned, but after a short period of rest, her strength was
sufficiently recruited for her to resume her labors, and she reported
for duty at West Building Hospital, Baltimore, where she remained until
after Lee's surrender. She was in the service altogether four years,
lacking eighteen days. During this time nine hundred and eighty-five men
were under her care, for varying periods from a few days to thirteen
months; of these ninety died, and she closed the eyes of seventy-six of
them. Her service in Baltimore was in part among our returned prisoners,
from Belle Isle, Libby and other prisons, and in part among the wounded
rebel prisoners.

Many of the incidents which Mrs. Russell relates of the wounded who
passed under her care are very touching. Many of her earlier patients
were in the delirium of typhoid fever, and her ears and heart were often
pained in hearing their piteous calls for their loved ones to come to
them,--to forgive them--or to help them. Often had she occasion to offer
the consolations of religion to those who were evidently nearing the
river of death, and sometimes she was made happy in finding that those
who were suffering terribly from racking pain, or the agony of wounds,
were comforted and cheered by her efforts to bring them to think of the
Saviour. One of these, suffering from an intense fever, as she seated
herself by the side of his cot, and asked him in her quiet gentle way,
if he loved Jesus as his Saviour, clasped her hand in his and folding it
to his heart, asked so earnestly, "Do you love Jesus too? Oh, yes, I
love him. I do not fear to die, for then I shall join my dear mother who
taught me to love him." He then repeated with great distinctness a
stanza of the hymn, "Jesus can make a dying bed," etc., and inquired if
she could sing. She could not, but she read several hymns to him. His
joy and peace made him apparently oblivious of his suffering from the
fever, and he endeavored as well as his failing strength would permit,
to tell her of his hopes of immortality, and to commend to her prayers
his only and orphaned sister.

Another, a poor fellow from Maine, dying of diphtheria, asked her to
pray for him and to read to him from the Bible. She commended him
tenderly to the Good Shepherd, and soon had the happiness of seeing,
even amid his sufferings, that his face was radiant with joy. He
selected a chapter of the Bible which he wished her to read, and then
sent messages by her to his mother and friends, uttering the words with
great difficulty, but passing away evidently in perfect peace.

Since the war, Mrs. Russell has resumed her profession as a teacher at
Newburgh, New York.


It is somewhat remarkable that a considerable number of the most
faithful and active workers in the hospitals and in other labors for the
soldier during the late war, should have been of foreign birth. Their
patriotism and benevolence was fully equal to that of our women born
under the banner of the stars, and their joy at the final triumph of our
arms was as fervent and hearty. Our readers will recall among these
noble women, Miss Wormeley, Miss Clara Davis, Miss Jessie Home, Mrs.
General Ricketts, Mrs. General Turchin, Bridget Divers, and others.

Among the natives of a foreign land, but thoroughly American in every
fibre of her being, Mrs. Mary W. Lee stands among the foremost of the
earnest persistent toilers of the great army of philanthropists. She was
born in the north of Ireland, of Scotch parentage, but came with her
parents to the United States when she was five years of age, and has
ever since made Philadelphia her home. Here she married Mr. Lee, a gold
refiner, and a man of great moral worth. An interesting family had grown
up around them, all, like their parents thoroughly patriotic. One son
enlisted early in the war, first, we believe, in the Pennsylvania
Reserve Corps, and afterward in the Seventy-second Pennsylvania
Volunteers, and served throughout the war, and though often in peril,
escaped any severe wounds. A daughter, Miss Amanda Lee, imbued with her
mother's spirit, accompanied her in most of her labors, and emulated
her example of active usefulness.

Mrs. Lee was one of the noble band of women whose hearts were moved with
the desire to do something for our soldiers, when they were first
hastening to the war in April, 1861, and in the organization of the
Volunteer Refreshment Saloon at Philadelphia, an institution which fed,
during the war, four hundred thousand of our soldiers as they passed to
and from the battle-fields, and brought comfort and solace to many
thousands of the sick and wounded, she was one of the most active and
faithful members of its committee. The regiments often arrived at
midnight; but whatever the hour, whether night or day, at the firing of
the signal gun, which announced that troops were on their way to
Philadelphia, Mrs. Lee and her co-workers hastened to the Union
Volunteer Refreshment Saloon, near the Navy Yard, and prepared an ample
repast for the soldiers, caring at the same time for any sick or wounded
among them. No previous fatigue or weariness, no inclemency of the
weather, or darkness of the night was regarded by these heroic women as
a valid excuse from these self-imposed duties or rather this glorious
privilege, for so they deemed it, of ministering to the comfort of the
defenders of the Union. And through the whole four and a-third years
during which troops passed through Philadelphia, no regiment or company
ever passed unfed. The supplies as well as the patience and perseverance
of the women held out to the end, and scores of thousands who but for
their voluntary labors and beneficence must have suffered severely from
hunger, had occasion to bless God for the philanthropy and practical
benevolence of the women of Philadelphia.

But this field of labor, broad as it was, did not fully satisfy the
patriotic ardor of Mrs. Lee. She had heard of the sufferings and
privations endured by our soldiers at the front, and in hospitals remote
from the cities; and she longed to go and minister to their wants.
Fortunately, she could be spared for a time at least from her home.
Though of middle age, she possessed a vigorous constitution, capable of
enduring all necessary hardships, and was in full health and strength.
She was well known as a skilful cook, an admirable nurse, and an
excellent manager of household affairs. The sickness of some members of
her family delayed her for a time, but when this obstacle was removed,
she felt that she could not longer be detained from her chosen work. It
was July, 1862, the period when the Army of the Potomac exhausted by its
wearisome march and fearful battles of the seven days, lay almost
helpless at Harrison's Landing. The sick poisoned by the malaria of the
Chickahominy Swamps, and the wounded, shattered and maimed wrecks of
humanity from the great battles, were being sent off by thousands to the
hospitals of Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and New
England, and yet other thousands lay in the wretched field hospitals
around the Landing, with but scant care, and in utter wretchedness and
misery. The S. R. Spaulding, one of the steamers assigned to the United
States Sanitary Commission for its Hospital Transport Service, had
brought to Philadelphia a heavy cargo of the sick and wounded, and was
about to return for another, when Mrs. Lee, supplied with stores by the
Union Volunteer Refreshment Committee, and her personal friends,
embarked upon it for Harrison's Landing, where she was to be associated
with Mrs. John Harris in caring for the soldiers. The Spaulding arrived
in due time in the James River, and lay off in the stream while the
Ruffin house was burning. On landing, Mrs. Lee found Mrs. Harris, and
the Rev. Isaac O. Sloan, one of the Agents of the Christian Commission
ready to welcome her to the toilsome duties that were before her.
Wretched indeed was the condition of the poor sick men, lying in
mildewed, leaky tents without floors, and the pasty tenacious mud ankle
deep around them, the raging thirst and burning fever of the marshes
consuming them, with only the warm and impure river water to drink, and
little even of this; with but a small supply of medicines, and no food
or delicacies suitable for the sick, the bean soup, unctuous with rancid
pork fat, forming the principal article of low diet; uncheered by kind
words or tender sympathy, it is hardly matter of surprise that hundreds
of as gallant men as ever entered the army died here daily.

The supplies of the Sanitary and Christian Commissions, and those sent
to Mrs. Harris and Mrs. Lee, from the Ladies' Aid Society, and the Union
Volunteer Refreshment Committee, administered by such skilful nurses as
Mrs. Harris and Mrs. Lee, Mrs. Fales, Mrs. Husband, and Miss Hall, soon
changed the aspect of affairs, and though the malarial fever still
raged, there was a better chance of recovery from it, and the sick men
were as rapidly as possible transferred to a better climate, and a
healthier atmosphere. In the latter part of August, the Army of the
Potomac having left the James River for Acquia Creek and Alexandria,
Mrs. Lee returned home for a brief visit.

On the 5th of September, she started for Washington, to enter again upon
her chosen work. Finding that the Army were just about moving into
Maryland, she spent a few days in the Hospital of the Epiphany at
Washington, nursing the sick and wounded there; but learning that the
Army of the Potomac were in hot pursuit of the Rebel Army, and that a
severe battle was impending, she could not rest; she determined to be
near the troops, so that when the battle came, she might be able to
render prompt assistance to the wounded. It was almost impossible to
obtain transportation, the demand for the movement of sustenance and
ammunition for the army filling every wagon, and still proving
insufficient for their wants; but by the kind permission of Captain
Gleason of the Seventy-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, she was permitted
to follow with her stores in a forage wagon, and arrived at the rear of
the army the night before the battle of Antietam. The battle commenced
with the dawn on the 17th of September, and during its progress, she was
stationed on the Sharpsburg road, where she had her supplies and two
large tubs of water, one to bathe and bind up the wounds of those who
had fallen in the fight, and the other to refresh them when suffering
from the terrible thirst which gun-shot wounds always produce. As the
hours drew on, the contents of one assumed a deeper and yet deeper
crimson hue and the seemingly ample supply of the other grew less and
less. Her supply of soft bread had given out, and she had bought of an
enterprising sutler who had pushed his way to a place of danger in the
hope of gain, at ten and twenty cents a loaf, till her money was nearly
exhausted; but to the honor of this sutler, it should be said, that the
noble example of Mrs. Lee, in seeking to alleviate the sufferings of the
wounded so moved his feelings, that he exclaimed, "Great God! I can't
stand this any longer; Take this bread, and give it to that woman,"
(Mrs. Lee), and forgetting for the time the greed of gain which had
brought him thither, he lent a helping hand most zealously to the care
of the wounded. During the day, General McClellan's head-quarters were
at Boonsboro', and his aids were constantly passing back and forth over
the Sharpsburg road, near which Mrs. Lee had her station.

The battle closed with the night-fall, and Mrs. Lee immediately went
into the Sedgwick Division Hospital, where were five hundred severely
wounded men, and among the number, Major-General Sedgwick. Here she
commenced preparing food for the wounded, but was greatly annoyed by a
gang of villainous camp followers, who hung around her fires and stole
everything from them if she was engaged for a moment. At last she
entered the hospital, and inquired if there was any officer there who
had the authority to order her a guard. General Sedgwick immediately
responded to her request, by authorizing her to call upon the first
soldier she could find for the purpose, and she had no further

She remained for several days at this hospital, doing all she could with
the means at her command, to make the condition of the wounded
comfortable, but on the arrival of Mrs. Arabella Barlow, whose husband,
then Colonel, afterward Major-General Barlow, was very severely wounded,
she gave up the charge of this hospital to her, and went to the Hoffman
Farm's Hospital, where there were over a thousand of the worst cases.
Here she was the only lady for several weeks, until the hospital was
removed to Smoketown, where she was joined by Miss M. M. C. Hall, Mrs.
Husband, Mrs. Harris, and Miss Tyson, of Baltimore. She remained at
Smoketown General Hospital, nearly three months. The worst cases, those
which could not bear removal to Washington, Baltimore, or Philadelphia,
were collected in this hospital, and there was much suffering and many
deaths in it.

Mrs. Lee returned home on the 14th of December, 1862, and on the 29th of
the same month, she again set out for the front, arriving safely at
Falmouth on the 31st, where the wounded of Fredericksburg were gathered
by thousands. After four weeks of earnest labor here, she again returned
home, but early in March, she was again at the front, in the Hospital of
the Second Corps, which had been removed from Falmouth to Potomac Creek.
She continued in this Hospital until the battle of Chancellorsville,
when she went up to the Lacy House, at Falmouth, to assist Mrs. Harris
and Mrs. Beck. She accompanied Mrs. Harris, and several of the gentlemen
of the Christian Commission in an Ambulance to take nourishment to the
wounded of General Sedgwick's command, and witnessed the taking of
Marye's Heights, the balls from the batteries passing over the heads of
her company. Her anxiety in regard to this conflict was heightened by
the fact that her son was in one of the regiments which made the charge
upon the Heights, and great was her gratitude in finding that he was not
among the wounded.

After the wounded were sent to Washington she returned to Potomac Creek,
where she remained until Lee's second invasion of Maryland and
Pennsylvania, when she moved with the army as far as Fairfax
Court-House, enduring many hardships. From Fairfax Court-House she went
to Alexandria to await the result of the movement, and after some delay
returned home. The battle of Gettysburg called her again into the field.
Arriving several days after the battle, she went directly to the Second
Corps Hospital, and labored there until it was broken up. For her
services in this hospital she received from the officers and men a gold
medal--a trefoil, beautifully engraved, and with an appropriate
inscription. She went next to Camp Letterman General Hospital, where she
remained for some weeks, her stay at Gettysburg being in all about two
months. Her health was impaired by her excessive labors at Gettysburg
and previously in Virginia, and she remained at home for a longer time
than usual, giving her attention, however, meanwhile to the Volunteer
Refreshment Saloon, but early in February, 1864, she established herself
in a new hospital of the Second Division, Second Corps, at Brandy
Station, Virginia. Here, soon after, her daughter joined her, and the
old routine of the hospital at Potomac Creek was soon established. Mrs.
Lee has the faculty of making the most of her conveniences and supplies.
Her daughter writing home from this hospital thus describes the
furniture of her "Special Diet Kitchen:"--"Mother has a small stove;
until this morning it has smoked very much, but it is now doing very
well. The top is about half a yard square. On this she is now boiling
potatoes, stewing some chicken-broth, heating a kettle of water, and has
a large bread-pudding inside. She has made milk-punch, lemonade,
beef-tea, stewed cranberries, and I cannot think what else since
breakfast." With all this intense activity the spiritual interests of
her patients were not forgotten. Mrs. Lee is a woman of deep and
unaffected piety, and her tact in speaking a word in season, and in
bringing the men under religious influences was remarkable. This
hospital soon became remarkable for its order, neatness and

The order of General Grant on the 15th of April, 1864, for the removal
of all civilians from the army, released Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Husband, who
had been associated with her, from their duties at Brandy Station. But
in less than a month both were recalled to the temporary base of the
army at Belle Plain and Fredericksburg, to minister to the thousands of
wounded from the destructive battles of the Wilderness and
Spottsylvania. At Fredericksburg, where the whole town was one vast
hospital, the surgeon in charge entrusted her with the care of the
special diet of the Second Corps' hospitals. Unsupplied with kitchen
furniture, and the surgeon being entirely at a loss how to procure any,
her woman's wit enabled her to improvise the means of performing her
duties. She remembered that Mrs. Harris had left at the Lacy House in
Falmouth, opposite Fredericksburg, the year before, an old stove which
might be there yet. Procuring an ambulance, she crossed the river, and
found the old stove, much the worse for wear, and some kettles and other
utensils, all of which were carefully transported to the other side, and
after diligent scouring, the whole were soon in such a condition that
boiling, baking, stewing and frying could proceed simultaneously, and
during her stay in Fredericksburg, the old stove was kept constantly
hot, and her skilful hands were employed from morning till night and
often from night till morning again in the preparation of food and
delicacies for the sick. Nothing but her iron constitution enabled her
to endure this incessant labor.

From Fredericksburg she went over land to White House and there, aided
by Miss Cornelia Hancock, her ministrations to the wounded were renewed.
Thence soon after they removed to City Point. Here for months she
labored amid such suffering and distress that the angels must have
looked down in pity upon the accumulated human woe which met their
sympathizing eyes. Brave, noble-hearted men fell by hundreds and
thousands, and died not knowing whether their sacrifices would be
sufficient to save their country. At length wearied with her intense and
protracted labors, Mrs. Lee found herself compelled to visit home and
rest for a time. But her heart was in the work, and again she returned
to it, and was in charge of a hospital near Petersburg at the time of
Lee's surrender. She remained in the hospitals of Petersburg and
Richmond, until the middle of May, and then returned to her quiet home,
participating to the very last in the closing work of the Volunteer
Refreshment Saloon, where she had commenced her labors for the soldiers.
Other ladies may have engaged in more extended enterprises, may have had
charge of larger hospitals, or undertaken more comprehensive and
far-reaching plans for usefulness to the soldier--but in untiring
devotion to his interests, in faithfully performed, though often irksome
labor, carried forward patiently and perseveringly for more than four
years, Mrs. Lee has a record not surpassed in the history of the deeds
of American women.


Miss Cornelia M. Tompkins, of Niagara Falls, was one of the truly heroic
spirits evoked by the war. Related to a distinguished family of the same
name, educated, accustomed to the refinements and social enjoyments of a
Christian home she left all to become a hospital nurse, and to aid in
saving the lives of the heroes and defenders of her native land.
Recommended by her friend, the late Margaret Breckinridge, of whom a
biographical notice is given in this volume, she came to St. Louis in
the summer of 1863, was commissioned as a nurse by Mr. Yeatman, and
assigned to duty at the Benton Barracks Hospital, under the
superintendence of Miss Emily E. Parsons, and the general direction of
Surgeon Ira Russell. In this service she was one of the faithful band of
nurses, who, with Miss Parsons, brought the system of nursing to such
perfection at that hospital.

In the fall of that year she was transferred to the hospital service at
Memphis, by Mr. Yeatman, to meet the great demand for nurses there,
where she became favorably known as a most judicious and skilful nurse.

In the spring of 1864 she returned to St. Louis, and was again assigned
to duty at Benton Barracks, where she remained till mid-summer, when
having been from home a year, she obtained a furlough, and went home for
a short period of rest, and to visit her family.

On her return to St. Louis she was assigned to duty at the large
hospital at Jefferson Barracks, and continued there till the end of the
war, doing faithful and excellent service, and receiving the cordial
approbation of the surgeons in charge, and the Western Sanitary
Commission, as well as the gratitude of the sick and wounded soldiers,
to whom she was a devoted friend and a ministering angel in their
sorrows and distress.

In her return to the quiet and enjoyment of her own home, within the
sound of the great cataract, she has carried with her the consciousness
of having rendered a most useful service to the patriotic and heroic
defenders of her country, in their time of suffering and need, the
approval of a good conscience and the smile of heaven upon her noble and
heroic soul.


Mrs. Anna C. McMeens, of Sandusky, Ohio, was born in Maryland, but
removed to the northern part of Ohio, in company with her parents when
quite young. She is therefore a western woman in her habits,
associations and feelings, while her patriotism and philanthropy are not
bounded by sectional lines. Her husband, Dr. McMeens, was appointed
surgeon to an Ohio regiment, which was one of the first raised when Mr.
Lincoln called for troops, after the firing upon Sumter. In the line of
his duty he proceeded to Camp Dennison, where he had for some time
principal charge of the medical department. Mrs. McMeens resolved to
accompany her husband, and share in the hardships of the campaign, for
the purpose of doing good where she could find it to do. She was
therefore one of the first,--if not the first woman in Ohio, to give her
exclusive, undivided time in a military hospital, in administering to
the necessities of the soldiers. When the regiment left Camp Dennison,
she accompanied it, until our forces occupied Nashville. Dr. McMeens
then had a hospital placed under his charge, and his faithful wife
assisted as nurse for several months, contributing greatly to the
efficiency of the nursing department, and to the administration of
consolation and comfort in many ways to our sick soldier boys, who were
necessarily deprived of the comforts of home. Subsequently at the battle
of Perryville, Mrs. McMeens' husband lost his life from excessive
exertions while in attention to the sick and wounded. Being deprived of
her natural protector, she returned to her home in Sandusky, which was
made desolate by an additional sacrifice to the demon of secession.
While at home, not content to sit idle in her mourning for her husband,
she was busily occupied in aiding the Sanitary Commission in obtaining
supplies, of which she so well knew the value by her familiarity with
the wants of the soldiers in field, camp and hospitals. She however very
soon felt it her duty to participate more actively in immediate
attentions upon the sick and wounded soldiers. A fine field offered
itself in the hospitals at Washington, to which place she went; and
remained nearly one year in attention, and rendering assistance daily
among the various hospitals of the Nation's capital. It would be feeble
praise to say that her duties were performed in the most energetic and
judicious manner. Few women have made greater sacrifices in the war than
the subject of our sketch; none have been made from a purer sense of
duty, or a fuller knowledge of the magnitude of the cause in which we
have been engaged.

At present the necessity for attention to soldiers has happily ceased,
and we find her busily engaged in missionary work among the sailors,
which she has an excellent opportunity of performing while at her
beautiful summer home on the island of Gibraltar, Lake Erie.


This young lady was one of the martyrs of the war. She resided in
Cascade, Dubuque County, Iowa, and just previous to the commencement of
the war had buried her only child, a sweet little girl of four years.
When volunteers were called for from Iowa, her husband, Mr. J. E. Small,
felt it his duty to take up arms for his country, and as his wife had no
home ties she determined to go with him and make herself useful in
caring for the sick and wounded of his regiment, or of other regiments
in the same division. She proved a most excellent nurse, and for months
labored with untiring energy in the regimental hospitals, and to
hundreds of the wounded from Belmont, Donelson, and Shiloh, as well as
to the numerous sick soldiers of General Grant's army she was an angel
of mercy. Her constant care and devotion had considerably impaired her
health before the battle of Shiloh.

At this battle her husband was badly wounded and taken prisoner, but was
retaken by the Union troops. In the course of the battle, the tent which
she occupied and where she was ministering to the wounded came within
range of the enemy's shells, and she with her wounded husband and a
large number of other wounded soldiers, were obliged to fly for their
lives, leaving all their goods behind them. Previous to her flight,
however, she had torn up all her spare clothing and dresses to make
bandages and compresses and pillows for the wounded soldiers. She found
her way with her wounded patients to one of the hospitals extemporized
by the Cincinnati ladies. Her husband and many of his comrades of the
Twelfth Iowa Regiment were among this company of wounded men. She craved
admission for them and remained to nurse her husband and the others for
several weeks, but when her husband became convalescent, she was
compelled to take to her bed; her fatigue and exposure, acting upon a
somewhat frail and delicate constitution had brought on galloping
consumption. She soon learned from her physician that there was no hope
of her recovery, and then the desire to return home and die in her
mother's arms seemed to take entire possession of her soul. Permission
was obtained for her to go, and for her husband to accompany her, and
when she was removed from the boat to the cars, Mrs. Dr. Mendenhall of
the Cincinnati Branch of the Sanitary Commission accompanied her to the
cars, and having provided for her comfortable journey, gave her a
parting kiss. Mrs. Small was deeply affected by this kindness of a
stranger, and thanking her for her attention to herself and husband,
expressed the hope that they should meet in a better world. A lady, who
evidently had little sympathy with the war or with those who sought to
alleviate the sufferings of the soldiers, stepped up and said to Mrs.
Small; "You did very wrong to go and expose yourself as you have done
when you were so young and frail." "No!" replied the dying woman, "I
feel that I have done right, I think I have been the means of saving
some lives, and that of my dear husband among the rest; and these I
consider of far more value than mine, for now they can go and help our
country in its hour of need."

Mrs. Small lived to reach home, but died a few days after her arrival.
She requested that her dead body might be wrapped in the national flag,
for next to her husband and her God, she loved the country which it
represented, best. She was buried with military honors, a considerable
number of the soldiers of the Twelfth Iowa who were home on furlough,
taking part in the sad procession.


This lady was the wife of Colonel Herman Canfield, of the Seventy-first
Ohio Regiment. She accompanied her husband to the field, and devoted
herself to the care and succor of the sick and wounded soldiers, until
the battle of Shiloh, where her husband was mortally wounded, and
survived but a few hours. She returned home with his body and remained
for a short time, but feeling that it was in her power to do something
for the cause to which her husband had given his life, she returned to
the Army of the Mississippi and became attached to the Sixteenth Army
Corps, and spent most of her time in the hospitals of Memphis and its
vicinity. But though she accomplished great good for the soldiers, she
took a deep interest also in the orphans of the freedmen in that region,
and by her extensive acquaintance and influence with the military
authorities, she succeeded in establishing and putting upon a
satisfactory basis, the Colored Orphan Asylum in Memphis. She devoted
her whole time until the close of the war to these two objects; the
welfare of the soldiers in the hospitals and the perfecting of the
Orphan Asylum, and not only gave her time but very largely also of her
property to the furthering of these objects. The army officers of that
large and efficient army corps bear ample testimony to her great
usefulness and devotion.


These two ladies, sisters, volunteered as unpaid nurses for the War,
from Cincinnati. They commenced their duties at the first opening of the
Hospitals, and remained faithful to their calling, until the hospitals
were closed, after the termination of the war. In cold or heat, under
all circumstances of privation, and often when all the other nurses were
stricken down with illness, they never faltered in their work, and,
although not wealthy, gave freely of their own means to secure any
needed comfort for the soldiers. Mrs. Mendenhall, of Cincinnati, who
knew their abundant labors, speaks of them as unsurpassed in the extent
and continuousness of their sacrifices.


This lady, the wife of Rev. Shepard Wells, was, with her husband, driven
from East Tennessee by the rebellion, because of their loyalty to the
Union. They found their way to St. Louis at an early period of the War,
where he entered into the work of the Christian Commission for the Union
soldiers, and she became a member of the Ladies' Union Aid Society, of
St. Louis, and gave herself wholly to sanitary labors for the sick and
wounded in the Hospitals of that city, acting also as one of the
Secretaries of the Society, and as its agent in many of its works of
benevolence, superintending at one time the Special Diet Kitchen,
established by the Society at Benton Barracks, and doing an amount of
work which few women could endure, animated and sustained by a genuine
love of doing good, by noble and Christian purposes, and by true
patriotism and philanthropy.

The incidents of the persecutions endured by Mr. and Mrs. Wells, in East
Tennessee, and of her life and labors among the sick and wounded of the
Union army, would add very much to the interest of this brief notice,
but the particulars are not sufficiently familiar to the writer to be
narrated by him, and he can only record the impressions he received of
her remarkable faithfulness and efficiency, and her high Christian
motives, in the labors she performed in connection with the Ladies'
Union Aid Society, of St. Louis,--that noble Society of heroic women
who, during the whole war, performed an amount of sanitary, hospital
and philanthropic work for the soldiers, the refugees and the freedmen,
second only to the Western Sanitary Commission itself, of which it was a
most faithful ally and co-worker.

United with an earnest Christian faith, Mrs. Wells possessed a kind and
generous sympathy with suffering, and a patriotic ardor for the welfare
of the Union soldiers, so that she was never more in her element than
when laboring for the poor refugees, for the families of those brave men
who left their all to fight for their country, for the sick and wounded
in the hospitals, and for the freedmen and their families. The labors
she performed extended to all these objects of sympathy and charity,
and, from the beginning to the end of her service, she never seemed
weary in well-doing; and there can be no doubt that when her work on
earth is finished, and she passes onward to the heavenly life, she will
hear the approving voice of her Saviour, saying, "Well done, good and
faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."


In the month of December, 1861, on a visit made by the writer to the
Fourth Street Hospital, in St. Louis, he was particularly impressed with
the great devotion of one of the female nurses to her sick patients. At
the conclusion of a religious service held there, as he passed through
the wards to call on those who had been too ill to attend worship, he
found her seated by the bed-side of a sick soldier, suffering from
pneumonia, on whose pale, thin face the marks of approaching dissolution
were plainly visible. She held in her hand a copy of the New Testament,
from which she had been reading to him, in a cheerful and hopeful
manner, and a little book of prayers, hymns and songs from which she had
been singing, "There is rest for the weary," and "The Shining Shore."
The soldier's bed was neatly made; his special diet had been given; his
head rested easily on his pillow; and his countenance beamed with a
sweet and pleasant smile. It was evident the patient enjoyed the kind
attentions, the conversation, the reading and singing of his faithful
nurse. The lady who sat by his bed-side was of middle age, having a
countenance expressive of goodness, benevolence, purity of motive,
intelligence and affection. It was plain that she regarded her patient
with a tender care, and that her influence calmed and soothed his
spirit. Her name was Mrs. E. C. Witherell, and the sick soldier was a
mere boy, who had shouldered his musket to fight for the cause of the
Union, and had contracted his fatal disease in the marches and the
exposure of the army in Missouri, and was now about to die away from
friends and home. The interest felt by Mrs. Witherell in this soldier
boy, was motherly, full of affection and sympathy, and creditable to her
noble and generous heart. As I drew near and introduced myself as a
chaplain, she welcomed me, introduced me to the patient, and we sat down
and conversed together; the young man was in a state of peaceful
resignation; was willing to die for his country; and only regretted that
he could not see his mother and sisters again; but he said that Mrs.
Witherell had been as a mother to him, and if he could have hold of her
hand he should not be afraid to die. He even hoped that with her kind
care and nursing he might get well. Mrs. Witherell and myself then sang
the "Shining Shore;" a brief prayer of hope and trust was offered; the
other patients in the room seemed equally well cared for, and interested
in all that was said and done; and I passed on to another ward, and
never saw either the nurse or patient again. But I learned that the
soldier died; and that Mrs. Witherell continued in the service, until
she also died, a martyr to her heroic devotion to the cause of the sick
and wounded soldiers, for whom she laid down her life, that they might
live to fight the battles of their country.

The only facts that I have been able to learn about this noble lady,
were that at one time she resided in Louisville, and was greatly
esteemed by her pastor, Rev. John H. Heywood, of the Unitarian Church;
that she chose this work of the hospitals from the highest motives of
religious patriotism and love of humanity; that after serving several
months in the Fourth Street Hospital, at St. Louis, she was assigned to
the hospital steamer, "Empress," in the spring of 1862, as matron, or
head nurse; that she continued on this boat during the next few months,
while so many sick and wounded were brought from Pittsburg Landing,
after the battle of Shiloh, and from other battle-fields along the
rivers, to the hospitals at Mound City and St. Louis; that she was
always constant, faithful and never weary of doing good; and that at
last, from her being so much in the infected atmosphere of the sick and
wounded, she became the victim of a fever, and died on the 10th of July,

On the occurrence of the sad event, the Western Sanitary Commission, who
had known and appreciated her services, and from whom she held her
commission, passed a series of resolutions, as a tribute to her worth,
and her blessed memory, in which she was described as one who was
"gentle and unobtrusive, with a heart warm with sympathy, and
unshrinking in the discharge of duty, energetic, untiring, ready to
answer every call, and unwilling to spare herself where she could
alleviate suffering, or minister to the comfort of others," as "not a
whit behind the bravest hero on the battle-field;" and as worthy to be
held "in everlasting remembrance."


This noble woman, who laid down her life in the cause of her country,
was a teacher in Washington, Iowa, and left her school to enter the
service as a hospital nurse. In the summer of 1863 she was commissioned
by Mr. Yeatman, at St. Louis, and assigned to duty in the large hospital
at Benton Barracks, where she belonged to the corps of women nurses,
under the superintendence of Miss Emily E. Parsons, and under the
general direction of Surgeon Ira Russell.

In the fulfilment of the duties of a hospital nurse she was very
conscientious, faithful and devoted; won the respect and confidence of
all who knew her, and is most pleasantly remembered by her associates
and superior officers.

In the autumn of 1863 she went home on a furlough, was recalled by a
letter from Miss Parsons; returned to duty, and continued in the service
till the summer of 1864, when she was taken ill of malarious fever and
died at Benton Barracks in the very scene of her patriotic and Christian
labors, leaving a precious memory of her faithfulness and truly noble
spirit to her friends and the world.


Among the ardently loyal women of Philadelphia, by whom such great and
untiring labors for the soldiers were performed, few did better service
in a quiet and unostentatious manner than Mrs. Greble. Indeed so very
quietly did she work that she almost fulfilled the Scripture injunction
of secrecy as to good deeds.

The maiden name of Mrs. Greble was Susan Virginia Major. She was born in
Chester County, Pennsylvania, being descended on the mother's side from
a family of Quakers who were devoted to their country in the days of the
Revolution with a zeal so active and outspoken as to cause them to lose
their membership in the Society of Friends. Fighting Quakers there have
been in both great American wars, men whose principles of peace, though
not easily shaken, were less firm than their patriotism, and their
traits have in many instances been emulated in the female members of
their families. This seems to have been the case with Mrs. Greble.

Her eldest son, John, she devoted to the service of his country. He
entered the Military Academy at West Point in 1850, at the age of
sixteen, graduating honorably, and continuing in the service until June,
1861, when he fell at the disastrous battle of Great Bethel, one of the
earliest martyrs of liberty in the rebellion. Another son, and the only
one remaining after the death of the lamented Lieutenant Greble, when
but eighteen years of age, enlisted, served faithfully, and nearly lost
his life by typhoid fever. A son-in-law, Lieutenant-Colonel of the
Ninetieth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and a brave soldier, was for many
months a prisoner of war, and experienced the horrors of three different
Southern prisons. Thus, by inheritance, patriotic, and by personal
suffering and loss keenly aroused to sympathy with her country's brave
defenders, Mrs. Greble from the first devoted herself earnestly and
untiringly to every work of kindness and aid which suggested itself.
Blessed with abundant means, she used them in the most liberal manner in
procuring comforts for the sick and wounded in hospitals.

There was ample scope for such labors among the numerous hospitals of
Philadelphia. Now it was blankets she sent to the hospital where they
were most needed. Again a piece of sheeting already hemmed and washed.
Almost daily in the season of fruit she drove to the hospitals with
bushel baskets filled with the choicest the market afforded, to tempt
the fever-parched lips, and refresh the languishing sufferers. Weekly
she made garments for the soldiers. Leisure moments she employed in
knitting scores of stockings. On holidays her contributions of poultry,
fruit, and pies, went far toward making up the feasts offered by the
like-minded, to the convalescents in the various institutions, or to
soldiers on their way to or from the seat of war.

It was in this mode that Mrs. Greble served her country, amply and
freely, but so quietly as to attract little notice. She withheld nothing
that was in her power to bestow, giving even of her most precious
treasures, her children, and continuing her labors unabated to the close
of the war.


Maine has given to the cause of the Union many noble heroes, brave
spirits who have perilled life and health to put down the rebellion, and
not a few equally brave and noble-hearted women, who in the
ministrations of mercy have laid on the altar of patriotism their
personal services, their ease and comfort, their health and some of them
even life itself to bring healing and comfort to the defenders of their
country. Among these, few, none perhaps save those who have laid down
their lives in the service, are more worthy of honor than Mrs. Fogg.

The call for seventy-five thousand men to drive back the invaders and
save the National Capital, met with no more hearty or patriotic
responses than those that came from the extreme northeastern border of
our Union, "away towards the sun-rising." Calais, in the extreme eastern
part of Maine, raised its quota and more, upon the instant, and sent
them forward promptly. The hearts of its women, too were stirred, and
each was anxious to do something for the soldier. Mrs. Fogg felt that
she was called to leave her home and minister in some way, she hardly
knew how, to the comfort of those who were to fight the nation's
battles. At that time, however, home duties were so pressing that, most
reluctantly, she was compelled to give up for the time the purpose.
Three months later came the seeming disaster, the real blessing in
disguise, of Bull Run, and again was her heart moved, this time to more
definite action, and a more determined purpose. Her son, a mere boy,
had left school and enlisted to help fill the ranks from his native
State, and she was ready now to go also. Applying to the patriotic
governor of Maine and to the surgeon-general of the State for permission
to serve the State, without compensation, as its agent for distributing
supplies to the sick and wounded soldiers of Maine, she was encouraged
by them and immediately commenced the work of collecting hospital stores
for her mission. In September, 1861, she in company with Mrs. Ruth S.
Mayhew, went out with one of the State regiments, and caring for its
sick, accompanied it to Annapolis. The regiment was ordered, late in the
autumn, to join General T. W. Sherman's expedition to Port Royal, and
Mrs. Fogg was desirous of accompanying it, but finding this
impracticable, she turned her attention to the hospital at Annapolis, in
which the spotted typhus fever had broken out and was raging with
fearful malignity. The disease was exceedingly contagious, and there was
great difficulty in finding nurses who were willing to risk the
contagion. With her high sense of duty, Mrs. Fogg felt that here was the
place for her, and in company with Mrs. Mayhew, another noble daughter
of Maine, she volunteered for service in this hospital. For more than
three months did these heroic women remain at their post, on duty every
day and often through the night for week after week, regardless of the
infectious character of the disease, and only anxious to benefit the
poor fever-stricken sufferers. The epidemic having subsided, Mrs. Fogg
placed herself under the direction of the Sanitary Commission, and took
part in the spring of 1862, in that Hospital Transport Service which we
have elsewhere so fully described. The month of June was passed by her
at the front, at Savage's Station, with occasional visits to the brigade
hospitals, and to the regimental hospitals of the most advanced posts.
She remained at her post at Savage's Station, until the last moment,
ministering to the wounded until the last load had been dispatched, and
then retreating with the army, over land to Harrison's Landing. Here,
under the orders of Dr. Letterman, the medical director, she took
special charge of the diet of the amputation cases; and subsequently
distributed the much needed supplies furnished by the Sanitary
Commission to the soldiers in their lines.

When the camps at Harrison's Landing were broken up, and the army
transferred to the Potomac, she accompanied a ship load of the wounded
in the S. R. Spaulding, to Philadelphia, saw them safely removed to the
general hospital, and then returned to Maine, for a brief period of
rest, having been absent from home about a year. Her _rest_ consisted
mainly in appeals for further and larger supplies of hospital and
sanitary stores for the wounded men of Maine, who in the battles of
Pope's campaign, and Antietam had been wounded by hundreds. She was
successful, and early in October returned to Washington and the
hospitals of northern Maryland, where she proved an angel of mercy to
the suffering. When McClellan's army crossed the Potomac, she followed,
and early in December, 1862, was again at the front, where she was on
the 13th, a sad spectator of the fatal disaster of Fredericksburg. The
Maine Camp Hospital Association had been formed the preceding summer,
and Mrs. J. S. Eaton, one of its managers, had accompanied Mrs. Fogg to
the front. During the sad weeks that followed the battle of
Fredericksburg, these devoted ladies labored with untiring assiduity in
the hospitals, and dispensed their supplies of food and clothing, not
only to the Maine boys, but to others who were in need.

When the battles of Chancellorsville were fought in the first days of
May, 1863, Mrs. Fogg and Mrs. Eaton spent almost a week of incessant
labor, much of the time day and night, in the temporary hospitals near
United States Ford, their labors being shared for one or two days by
Mrs. Husband, in dressing wounds, and attending to the poor fellows who
had suffered amputation, and furnishing cordials and food to the wounded
who were retreating from the field, pursued by the enemy. One of these
Hospitals in which they had been thus laboring till they were
completely exhausted, was shelled by the enemy while they were in it,
and while it was filled with the wounded. The attack was of short
duration, for the battery which had shelled them was soon silenced, but
one of the wounded soldiers was killed by a shell.

In works like these, in the care of the wounded who were sent in by flag
of truce, and the distribution to the needy of the stores received from
Maine, the days passed quickly, till the invasion of Pennsylvania by
General Lee, which culminated in the battle of Gettysburg. Mrs. Fogg
pushed forward and reached the battle-field the day after the final
battle, but she could not obtain transportation for her stores at that
time, and was obliged to collect what she could from the farmers in the
vicinity, and use what was put into her hands for distribution by
others, until hers could be brought up. She labored with her usual
assiduity and patience among this great mass of wounded and dying men,
for nearly two weeks, and then, abundant helpers having arrived, she
returned to the front, and was with the Army as a voluntary Special
Relief agent, through all its changes of position on and about the
Rapidan, at the affair of Mine Run, the retreat and pursuit to Bristow
Station, and the other movements prior to General Grant's assumption of
the chief command. In the winter of 1864, she made a short visit home,
and the Legislature voted an appropriation of a considerable sum of
money to be placed at her disposal, to be expended at her discretion for
the comfort and succor of Maine soldiers.

At the opening of the great Campaign of May, 1864, she hastened to Belle
Plain and Fredericksburg, and there, in company with scores of other
faithful and earnest workers, toiled night and day to relieve so far as
possible the indescribable suffering which filled that desolated city.
After two or three weeks, she went forward to Port Royal, to White
House, and finally to City Point, where, in connection with Mrs. Eaton
of the Maine Camp Hospital Association, she succeeded in bringing one of
the Hospitals up to the highest point of efficiency. This accomplished,
she returned to Maine, and was engaged in stimulating the women of her
State to more effective labors, when she received the intelligence that
her son who had been in the Army of the Shenandoah, had been mortally
wounded at the battle of Cedar-Run.

With all a mother's anxieties aroused, she abandoned her work in Maine,
and hastened to Martinsburg, Virginia, to ascertain what was really her
son's fate. Here she met a friend, one of the delegates of the Christian
Commission, and learned from him, that her son had indeed been badly
wounded, and had been obliged to undergo the amputation of one leg, but
had borne the operation well, and after a few days had been transferred
to a Baltimore Hospital. To that city she hastened, and greatly to her
joy, found him doing well. Anxiety and over exertion soon prostrated her
own health, and she was laid upon a sick bed for a month or more.

In November, her health being measurably restored, she returned to
Washington, and asked to be assigned to duty by the Christian
Commission. She was directed to report to Mrs. Annie Wittenmeyer, who
was the Commission's Agent for the establishment of Special Diet
Kitchens in the Hospitals. Mrs. Wittenmeyer assigned her a position in
charge of the Special Diet Kitchen, on one of the large hospital-boats
plying between Louisville and Nashville. While on duty on board this
boat in January, 1865, she fell through one of the hatchways, and
received injuries which will probably disable her for life, and her
condition was for many months so critical as not to permit her removal
to her native State. It would seem that here was cause for repining, had
she been of a querulous disposition. Herself an invalid for life, among
strangers, her only son permanently crippled from wounds received in
battle, with none but stranger hands to minister to her necessities, who
had done so much to soothe the anguish and mitigate the sorrows of
others, there was but little to outward appearance, to compensate her
for her four years of arduous toil for others, and her present
condition of helplessness. Yet we are told, that amid all these
depressing circumstances, this heroic woman was full of joy, that she
had been permitted to labor so long, and accomplish so much for her
country and its defenders, and that peace had at last dawned upon the
nation. Even pain could bring no cloud over her brow, no gloom to her
heart. To such a heroine, the nation owes higher honors than it has ever
bestowed upon the victors of the battle-field.


Old age is generally reckoned as sluggish, infirm, and not easily roused
to deeds of active patriotism and earnest endeavor. The aged think and
deliberate, but are slow to act. Yet in this glorious work of American
Women during the late war, aged women were found ready to volunteer for
posts of arduous labor, from which even those in the full vigor of adult
womanhood shrank. We shall have occasion to notice this often in the
work of the Volunteer Refreshment Saloons, the Soldiers' Homes, etc.,
where the heavy burdens of toil were borne oftenest by those who had
passed the limits of three score years and ten.

Another and a noble example of heroism even to death in a lady advanced
in years, is found in the case of Mrs. E. E. George. The Military Agency
of Indiana, located at the capital of the State, became, under the
influence and promptings of the patriotic and able Governor Morton, a
power for good both in the State and in the National armies. Being in
constant communication with every part of the field, it was readily and
promptly informed of suffering, or want of supplies by the troops of the
State at any point, and at once provided for the emergency. The supply
of women-nurses for camp, field, or general hospital service, was also
made a part of the work of this agency, and the efficient State Agent,
Mr. Hannaman, sent into the service two hundred and fifty ladies, who
were distributed in the hospitals and at the front, all over the region
in insurrection.

One of these, Mrs. E. E. George, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, first applied
to Mr. Hannaman for a commission in January, 1863. She brought with her
strong recommendations, but her age was considered by the agent a
serious objection. She admitted this, but her health was excellent, and
she possessed more vigor than many ladies much younger. She was,
besides, an accomplished and skilful nurse.

She was sent by Mr. Hannaman to Memphis where the wounded from the
unsuccessful attack on Chickasaw Bluffs,--and the successful but bloody
assault on Arkansas Post,--were gathered, and her thorough
qualifications for her position, her dignity of manner and her high
intelligence, soon gave her great influence. During the whole Vicksburg
campaign, and into the autumn of 1863, she remained in the Memphis
hospitals, working incessantly. After a short visit home, in September,
she went to Corinth where Sherman's Fifteenth Corps were stationed, and
remained there until their departure for Chattanooga. She then visited
Pulaski and assisted in opening a hospital there, Mrs. Porter and Mrs.
Bickerdyke co-operating with her, and several times she visited Indiana
and procured supplies for her hospital. When Sherman commenced his
forward movement toward Atlanta, in May, 1864, Mrs. George and her
friends, Mrs. Porter and Mrs. Bickerdyke, accompanied the army, and
during the succession of severe battles of that campaign, she was always
ready to minister to the wounded soldiers in the field. When Atlanta was
invested in the latter part of July, 1864, she took charge of the
Fifteenth Army Corps Hospital as Matron, and in the battles which
terminated in the surrender of Atlanta, on the 1st of September, she was
under fire. After the fall of Atlanta she returned home to rest and
prepare for another campaign. She could not accompany Sherman's army to
Savannah, but went to Nashville, where during and after Hood's siege of
that city she found abundant employment.

Learning that Sherman's army was at Savannah, she set out for that
city, via New York, intending to join the Fifteenth Corps, to which she
had become strongly attached; but through some mistake, she was not
provided with a pass, and visiting Washington to obtain one, Miss Dix
persuaded her to change her plans and go to Wilmington, North Carolina,
which had just passed into Union hands, and where great numbers of Union
prisoners were accumulating. She had but just reached the city when
eleven thousand prisoners, just released from Salisbury, and in the
worst condition of starvation, disease and wretchedness were brought in.
Mrs. George, though supplied with but scant provision of hospital stores
or conveniences, gave herself most heartily to the work of providing for
those poor sufferers, and soon found an active coadjutor in Mrs. Harriet
F. Hawley, the wife of the gallant general in command of the post.
Heroically and incessantly these two ladies worked; Mrs. George gave
herself no rest day or night. The sight of such intense suffering led
her to such over exertion that her strength, impaired by her previous
labors, gave way, and she sank under an attack of typhus, then
prevailing among the prisoners. A skilful physician gave her the most
careful attention, but it was of no avail. She died, another of those
glorious martyrs, who more truly than the dying heroes of the
battle-field have given their lives for their country. To such patient
faithful souls there awaits in the "Better Land" that cordial
recognition foreshadowed by the poet:

    "While valor's haughty champions wait,
      Till all their scars be shown,
    Love walks unchallenged through the gate
      To sit beside the Throne."


This lady, a resident of Massachusetts, had early in the war been
bereaved of her husband and only child, not by the vicissitudes of the
battle-field but by sickness at home, and her heart worn with grief,
sought relief, where it was most likely to find it, in ministering to
the sufferings of others.

She accepted an appointment under Miss Dix as a hospital nurse, and
commenced her hospital life in Frederick City, Maryland, in March, 1862,
where she was entrusted with the care of a large number of wounded from
the first battle of Winchester. Her life here passed without much of
special interest, till September, 1862, when the little Maryland city
was filled for two or three days with Stonewall Jackson's Corps on their
way to South Mountain and Antietam. The rebels took possession of the
hospital, and filled it for the time with their sick and wounded men.
Resistance was useless, and Mrs. McKay treated the rebel officers and
men courteously, and did what she could for the sick; her civility and
kindness were recognized, and she was treated with respect by all. After
the battle of Antietam, Frederick City and its hospitals were filled
with the wounded, and Mrs. McKay's heart and hands were full--but as
soon as the wounded became convalescent, she went to Washington and was
assigned to duty for a time in the hospitals of the Capital. In January,
she went to Falmouth and found employment as a nurse in the Third Corps
Hospital. Here by her skill and tact she soon effected a revolution,
greatly to the comfort of the poor fellows in the hospital. From being
the worst it became the best of the corps hospitals at the front.
General Birney and his excellent wife, seconded and encouraged all her
efforts for its improvement.

The battles which though scattered over a wide extent of territory, and
fought at different times and by different portions of the contending
forces, have yet been known under the generic name of Chancellorsville,
were full of horrors for Mrs. McKay. She witnessed the bloody but
successful assault on Marye's Heights, and while ministering to the
wounded who covered all the ground in front of the fortified position,
received the saddening intelligence that her brother, who was with
Hooker at Chancellorsville, had been instantly killed in the protracted
fighting there. Other of her friends too had fallen, but crushing the
agony of her own loss back into her heart, she went on ministering to
the wounded. Six weeks later she was in Washington, awaiting the battle
between Lee's forces and Hooker's, afterwards commanded by General
Meade. When the intelligence of the three days' conflict at Gettysburg
came, she went to Baltimore, and thence by such conveyance as she could
find, to Gettysburg, reaching the hospital of her division, five miles
from Gettysburg, on the 7th of July. Here she remained for nearly two
months, laboring zealously for the welfare of a thousand or fifteen
hundred wounded men. In the autumn she again sought the hospital of the
Third Division, Third Corps, at the front, which for the time was at
Warrenton, Virginia. After the battle of Mine Run, she had ample
employment in the care of the wounded; and later in the season she had
charge of one of the hospitals at Brandy Station. Like the other ladies
who were connected with hospitals at this place, she was compelled to
retire by the order of April 15th; but like them she returned to her
work early in May, at Belle Plain, Fredericksburg, White House, and City
Point, where she labored with great assiduity and success. The changes
in the army organization in June, 1864, removed most of her friends in
the old third corps, and Mrs. McKay, on the invitation of the surgeon in
charge of the cavalry corps hospital, took charge of the special diet of
that hospital, where she remained for nearly a year, finally leaving the
service in March, 1865, and remaining in Virginia in the care and
instruction of the freedmen till late in the spring of 1866. The
officers and men who had been under her care in the Cavalry Corps
Hospital, presented her on Christmas day, 1864, with an elegant gold
badge and chain, with a suitable inscription, as a testimonial of their
gratitude for her services. She had previously received from the
officers of the Seventeenth Maine Volunteers, whom she had cared for
after the battle of Chancellorsville, a magnificent Kearny Cross, with
its motto and an inscription indicating by whom it was presented.


Mrs. Ricketts is the daughter of English parents, though born at
Elizabeth, New Jersey. She is the wife of Major-General Ricketts, United
States Volunteers, who at the time of their marriage was a Captain in
the First Artillery, in the United States Army, and with whom she went
immediately after their union, to his post on the Rio Grande. After a
residence of more than three years on the frontier, the First Artillery
was ordered in the spring of 1861, to Fortress Monroe, and her husband
commenced a school of practice in artillery, for the benefit of the
volunteer artillerymen, who, under his instruction, became expert in
handling the guns.

In the first battle of Bull Run, Captain Ricketts commanded a battery of
light artillery, and was severely, and it was supposed, mortally wounded
and taken prisoner. The heroic wife at once applied for passes to go to
him, and share his captivity, and if need be bring away his dead body.
General Scott granted her such passes as he could give; but with the
Rebels she found more difficulty, her parole being demanded, but on
appeal to General J. E. Johnston, she was supplied with a pass and
guide. She found her husband very low, and suffering from inattention,
but his case was not quite hopeless. It required all her courage to
endure the hardships, privations and cruelties to which the Union women
were, even then, subject, but she schooled herself to endurance, and
while caring for her husband during the long weeks when his life hung
upon a slender thread, she became also a minister of mercy to the
numerous Union prisoners, who had not a wife's tender care. When removed
to Richmond, Captain Ricketts was still in great peril, and under the
discomforts of his situation, grew rapidly worse. For many weeks he was
unconscious, and his death seemed inevitable. At length four months
after receiving his wound, he began very slowly to improve, when
intelligence came that he was to be taken as one of the hostages for the
thirteen privateersmen imprisoned in New York. Mrs. Ricketts went at
once to Mrs. Cooper, the wife of the Confederate Adjutant-General, and
used such arguments, as led the Confederate authorities to rescind the
order, so far as he was concerned. He was exchanged in the latter part
of December, 1861, and having partially recovered from his wounds, was
commissioned Brigadier-General, in March, 1862, and assigned to the
command of a brigade in McDowell's Corps, at Fredericksburg. He passed
unscathed through Pope's Campaign, but at Antietam was again wounded,
though not so severely as before, and after two or three months'
confinement, was in the winter of 1862-3, in Washington, as President of
a Military Commission.

General Ricketts took part in the battles of Chancellorsville and
Gettysburg, and escaped personal injury, but his wife in gratitude for
his preservation, ministered to the wounded, and for months continued
her labors of love among them.

In Grant's Campaign in 1864, General Ricketts distinguished himself for
bravery in several battles, commanding a division; and at the battle of
Monocacy, though he could not defeat the overwhelming force of the
Rebels, successfully delayed their advance upon Baltimore. He then
joined the Army of the Shenandoah, and in the battle of Middletown,
October 19th, was again seriously, and it was thought mortally wounded.
Again for four months did this devoted wife watch most patiently and
tenderly over his couch of pain, and again was her tender nursing
blessed to his recovery. In the closing scenes in the Army of the
Potomac which culminated in Lee's surrender, General Ricketts was once
more in the field, and though suffering from his wounds, he did not
leave his command till by the capitulation of the Rebel chief, the war
was virtually concluded. The heroic wife remained at the Union
headquarters, watchful lest he for whom she had perilled life and health
so often, should again be smitten down, but she was mercifully spared
this added sorrow, and her husband was permitted to retire from the
active ranks of the army, covered with scars honorably won.


At the commencement of the War, Mrs. Phelps was residing in her pleasant
home at Springfield, Missouri, her husband and herself, were both
originally from New England, but years of residence in the Southwest,
had caused them to feel a strong attachment for the region and its
institutions. They were both, however, intensely loyal. Mr. Phelps was a
member of Congress, elected as a Union man, and when it became evident
that the South would resort to war, he offered his services to the
General Government, raised a regiment and went into the field under the
heroic Lyon. After the battle of Wilson's Creek, Mrs. Phelps succeeded
in rescuing the body of General Lyon, and had it buried where it was
within her control, and as soon as possible forwarded it to his friends
in Connecticut. Her home was plundered subsequently by the Rebels, and
nearly ruined. At the battle of Pea Ridge, Mrs. Phelps accompanied her
husband to the field, and while the battle was yet raging, she assisted
in the care of the wounded, tore up her own garments for bandages,
dressed their wounds, cooked food, and made soup and broth for them,
with her own hands, remaining with them as long as there was anything
she could do, and giving not only words but deeds of substantial
kindness and sympathy.

Col. Phelps was subsequently made Military Governor of Arkansas, and in
the many bloody battles in that State, she was ready to help in every
way in her power; and in her visits to the East, she plead the cause of
the suffering loyalists of Missouri and Arkansas, among her friends with
great earnestness and success.


Maryland, though strongly claimed by the Rebels as their territory
almost throughout the War, had yet, many loyal men and women in its
country villages as well as in its larger cities. The legend of Barbara
Freitchie's defiance of Stonewall Jackson and his hosts, has been
immortalized in Whittier's charming verse, and the equally brave
defiance of the Rebels by Mrs. Effie Titlow, of Middletown, Maryland,
who wound the flag about her, and stood in the balcony of her own house,
looking calmly at the invading troops, who were filled with wrath at her
fearlessness deserves a like immortality. Mrs. Titlow proved after the
subsequent battle of Gettysburg, that she possessed the disposition to
labor for the wounded faithfully and indefatigably, as well as the
gallantry to defy their enemies.

Mrs. Jane R. Munsell, of Sandy Spring, Maryland, was another of these
Maryland heroines, but her patriotism manifested itself in her incessant
toils for the sick and wounded after Antietam and Gettysburg. For their
sake, she gave up all; her home and its enjoyments, her little property,
yea, and her own life also, for it was her excessive labor for the
wounded soldiers which exhausted her strength and terminated her life. A
correspondent of one of the daily papers of New York city, who knew her
well, says of her: "A truer, kinder, or more lovely or loving woman
never lived than she. Her name is a household word with the troops, and
her goodnesses have passed into proverbs in the camps and sick-rooms and
hospitals. She died a victim to her own kind-heartedness, for she went
far beyond her strength in her blessed ministrations."




When President Lincoln issued his proclamation, a quick thrill shot
through the heart of every mother in New York. The Seventh Regiment left
at once for the defense of Washington, and the women met at once in
parlors and vestries. Perhaps nothing less than the maternal instinct
could have forecast the terrible future so quickly. From the parlors of
the Drs. Blackwell, and from Dr. Bellows' vestry, came the first call
for a public meeting. On the 29th of April, 1861, between three and four
thousand women met at the Cooper Union, David Dudley Field in the chair,
and eminent men as speakers.

The object was to concentrate scattered efforts by a large and formal
organization. Hence the "Woman's Central Association of Relief," the
germ of the Sanitary Commission. Dr. Bellows, and Dr. E. Harris, left
for Washington as delegates to establish those relations with the
Government, so necessary for harmony and usefulness. The board of the
Woman's Central, after many changes, consisted of,

VALENTINE MOTT, M.D., _President_,
HENRY W. BELLOWS, D.D., _Vice President_,
GEORGE F. ALLEN, Esq., _Secretary_,
HOWARD POTTER, Esq., _Treasurer_.


H. W. Bellows, D.D., _Chairman_.
Mrs. G. L. Schuyler.[K]
Miss Ellen Collins.
F. L. Olmstead, Esq.
Valentine Mott, M.D.
Mrs. T. d'Orémieulx.
W. H. Draper, M.D.
G. F. Allen, Esq.


E. Blackwell, M.D., _Chairman_.
Mrs. H. Baylis.
Mrs. V. Botta.
Wm. A. Muhlenburg, D.D.
Mrs. W. P. Griffin, _Secretary_.
Mrs. J. A. Swett.
Mrs. C. Abernethy.
E. Harris, M.D.


Howard Potter, Esq.
John D. Wolfe, Esq.
William Hague, D.D.
J. H. Markoe, M.D.
Mrs. Hamilton Fish.
Mrs. C. M. Kirkland.
Mrs. C. W. Field.
Asa D. Smith, D.D.

[Footnote K: This lady's place was filled by her daughter from the

While in Washington, Dr. Bellows originated the "United States Sanitary
Commission," and on the 24th of June, 1864, the Woman's Central
voluntarily offered to become subordinate as one of its branches of
supply. The following September this offer was accepted in a formal
resolution, establishing also a semi-weekly correspondence between the
two boards, by which the wants of the army were made known to the
Woman's Central.

Prominent and onerous were the duties of the Registration Committee. Its
members met daily, to select from numberless applicants, women fitted to
receive special training in our city hospitals for the position of
nurses. So much of moral as well as mental excellence was indispensable,
that the committee found its labors incessant. Then followed the
supervision while in hospital, and while awaiting a summons, then the
outfit and forwarding, often suddenly and in bands, and lastly, the
acceptance by the War Department and Medical Bureau.

The chairman of the committee, Miss E. Blackwell, accompanied by its
secretary, Mrs. Griffin, went to Washington in this service. Miss
Blackwell's admirable report "on the selection and preparation of nurses
for the army," will always be a source of pride to the Woman's Central.

In the meantime, the Finance and Executive Committees were struggling
for a strong foothold. The chairman of the former, Mrs. Hamilton Fish,
raised over five thousand dollars by personal effort. The latter
committee had the liveliest contests, for the Government declared itself
through the Army Regulation, equal to any demands, and the people were
disposed to cry amen. Rumors of "a ninety days' war," and "already more
lint than would be needed for years," stirred the committee to open at
once a correspondence with sewing-societies, churches, and communities
in New York and elsewhere. Simultaneously, the Sanitary Commission
issued an explanatory circular, urgent and minute, "To the loyal women
of America."

Then began that slow yet sure stream of supplies which flowed on to the
close of the war, so slow, indeed, at first, and so impatiently hoped
for, that the members of the committee could not wait, but must rush to
the street to see the actual arrival of boxes and bales. Soon, however,
that good old office, No. 10, Cooper Union, became rich in everything
needed; rich, too, in young women to unpack, mark and repack, in old
women to report forthcoming contributions from grocers, merchants and
tradesmen, and richer than all, in those wondrous boxes of sacrifices
from the country, the last blanket, the inherited quilt, curtains torn
from windows, and the coarse yet ancestral linen. In this personal
self-denial the city had no part. What wonder that the whole corps of
the Woman's Central felt their time and physical fatigue as nothing in
comparison to these heart trials. Out of this responsive earnestness
grew the carefully prepared reports and circulars, the filing of
letters, thousands in number, contained in twenty-five volumes, their
punctilious and grateful acknowledgement, and the thorough plan of
books, three in number, by which the whole story of the Woman's Central
may be learnt, and well would it repay the study.

First, The receiving book recorded the receipt and acknowledgement of

Second, In the day book, each page was divided into columns, in which
was recorded, the letter painted on the cover of each box to designate
it, and the kind and amount of supplies which each contained after
repacking, only one description of supplies being placed in any one box.
So many cases were received during the four years, that the alphabet was
repeated seven hundred and twenty-seven times.

Third, The ledger with its headings of "shirts," "drawers," "socks,"
etc., so arranged, that on sudden demand, the exact number of any
article on hand could be ascertained at a glance.

Thus early began through these minute details, the effectiveness of the
Woman's Central. Every woman engaged in it learnt the value of

A sub-committee for New York and Brooklyn was formed, consisting of Mrs.
W. M. Fellows, and Mrs. Robert Colby, to solicit from citizens,
donations of clothing, and supplies of all kinds. These ladies were
active, successful and clerkly withal, giving receipts for every article

Those present at Dr. Bellows' Church in May, will never forget the first
thrilling call for nurses on board the hospital transports. The duty was
imperative, was untried and therefore startling. It was like a sudden
plunge into unknown waters, yet many brave women enrolled their names.
From the Woman's Central went forth Mrs. Griffin accompanied by Mrs.
David Lane. They left at once in the "Wilson Small," and went up the
York and Pamunkey rivers, and to White House, thus tasting the first
horrors of war. This experience would form a brilliant chapter in the
history of the Woman's Central.

In June, 1861, the association met with a great loss in the departure
of Mrs. d'Orémieulx, for Europe. Of her Dr. Bellows said: "It would be
ungrateful not to acknowledge the zeal, devotion and ability of one of
the ladies of this committee, Mrs. d'Orémieulx, now absent from the
country, who labored incessantly in the earlier months of the
organization, and gave a most vital start to the life of this
committee." This lady resumed her duties after a year's absence, and
continued her characteristic force and persistency up to the close.

At this time, Mr. S. W. Bridgham put his broad shoulders to the wheel.
He had been a member of the board from the beginning, but not a
"day-laborer" until now. And not this alone, for he was a night-laborer
also. At midnight, and in the still "darker hours which precede the
dawn," Mr. Bridgham and his faithful ally, Roberts, often left their
beds to meet sudden emergencies, and to ship comforts to distant points.
On Sundays too, he and his patriotic wife might be easily detected
creeping under the half-opened door of Number 10, to gather up for a
sudden requisition, and then to beg of the small city expresses,
transportation to ship or railroad. This was often his Sunday worship.
His heart and soul were given to the work.

In November, 1862, a council of representatives from the principal
aid-societies, now numbering fourteen hundred and sixty-two, was held in
Washington. The chief object was to obtain supplies more steadily.
Immediately after a battle, but too late for the exigency, there was an
influx, then a lull. The Woman's Central therefore urged its auxiliaries
to send a monthly box. It also urged the _Federal principle_, that is,
the bestowment of all supplies on United States troops, and not on
individuals or regiments, and explained to the public that the Sanitary
Commission acted in aid of, and not in opposition to the government.

In January, 1863, all supplies had been exhausted by the battles of
Antietam and Fredericksburg. Everything was again needed. An able letter
of inquiry to secretaries of the auxiliary societies with a preliminary
statement of important facts, was drawn up by Miss Louisa L. Schuyler,
and issued in pamphlet form. Two hundred and thirty-five replies were
received, (all to be read)! which were for the most part favorable to
the Sanitary Commission with its Federal principle as a medium, and all
breathed the purest patriotism.

In February, the plan of "Associate Managers" borrowed from the Boston
branch was adopted. Miss Schuyler assumed the whole labor. It was a
division of the tributary states into sections, an associate manager to
each, who should supervise, control and stimulate every aid-society in
her section, going from village to village, and organizing, if need be,
as she went. She should hold a friendly correspondence monthly, with the
committee on correspondence (now separated from that on supplies)
besides sending an official monthly report. To ascertain the right
woman, one who should combine the talent, energy, tact and social
influence for this severe field, was the difficult preliminary step.
Then, to gain her consent, to instruct, and to place her in relations
with the auxiliaries, involved an amount of correspondence truly
frightful. It was done. Yet, in one sense, it was never done; for up to
the close, innumerable little rills from "pastures new" were guided on
to the great stream. The experience of every associate manager, endeared
to the Woman's Central through the closest sympathy would be a rare

An elaborate and useful set of books was arranged by Miss Schuyler in
furtherance of the work of the committee "on correspondence, and
diffusion of information." Lecturers were also to be obtained by this
committee, and this involved much forethought and preparation of the
field. Three hundred and sixty-nine lectures were delivered upon the
work of the Sanitary Commission, by nine gentlemen.

State agencies made great confusion in the hospitals. The Sanitary
Commission was censured for employing paid agents, and its board of
officers even, was accused of receiving salaries. Its agents were abused
for wastefulness, as if the frugality so proper in health, were not
improper in sickness. Reports were in circulation injurious to the honor
of the Commission. Explanations had become necessary. The Woman's
Central, therefore, published a pamphlet written by Mr. George T.
Strong, entitled: "How can we best help our Camps and Hospitals?" In
this the absolute necessity of paid agents was conclusively vindicated;
the false report of salaries to the board of officers was denied, and
the true position of the Sanitary Commission with reference to the
National Government and its medical bureau was again patiently
explained. A series of letters from assistant-surgeons of the army and
of volunteers, recommending the Commission to the confidence of the
people, was also inserted.

About this time a Hospital Directory was opened at Number 10, Cooper

In the spring of 1863, the Woman's Central continued to be harassed, not
by want of money, for that was always promised by its undaunted
treasurer, but by lack of clothing and edibles. The price of all
materials had greatly advanced, the reserved treasures of every
household were exhausted, the early days of havelocks and Sunday
industry had gone forever, and the Sanitary Commission was frequently
circumvented and calumniated by rival organizations. The members of the
Woman's Central worked incessantly. Miss Collins was always at her post.
She had never left it. Her hand held the reins taut from the beginning
to the end. She alone went to the office daily, remaining after office
hours, which were from nine to six, and taking home to be perfected in
the still hours of night those elaborate tables of supplies and their
disbursement, which formed her monthly Report to the Board of the
Woman's Central. These tables are a marvel of method and clearness.

To encourage its struggling Aid-Societies, who were without means, but
earnest in their offers of time and labor, the Woman's Central offered
to purchase for them materials at wholesale prices. This was eagerly
accepted by many. A purchasing Committee was organized, consisting of
Mrs. J. H. Swett, Mrs. H. Fish, Mrs. S. Weir Roosevelt.

Miss Schuyler's wise "Plan of organization for country Societies," and
the founding of "Alert-clubs," as originated in Norwalk (Ohio), also
infused new life into the tributaries. Her master-mind smoothed all
difficulties, and her admirable Reports so full of power and pathos,
probed the patriotism of all. Societies were urged to work as if the war
had just begun. From these united efforts, supplies came in steadily, so
that in the summer of 1863, the Woman's Central, was able to contribute
largely to the Stations at Beaufort and Morris Island. The blessings
thus poured in were dispensed by Dr. and Mrs. Marsh, with their usual
good judgment, and it is grateful to remember that the sufferers from
that thrilling onslaught at Fort Wagner, were among the recipients.

In the summer of 1863, the Association lost its faithful Secretary, Mr.
George F. Allen. Mr. S. W. Bridgham was elected in his place.

During this eventful summer, Miss Collins and Mrs. Griffin, had sole
charge of the office, through the terrible New York riots. These ladies
usually alternated in the summer months, never allowing the desk of the
Supply Committee to be without a responsible head. Mrs. Griffin also
became Chairman of the Special Relief Committee organized in 1863, all
of whom made personal visits to the sick, and relieved many cases of
extreme suffering.

Early in January, 1864, a Council of women was summoned to Washington.
Thirty-one delegates were present from the Eastern and Western branches.
Miss Collins and Miss Schuyler were sent by the Woman's Central. This
meeting gave a new impulse to the work. These toilers in the war met
face to face, compared their various experiences, and suggested future
expedients. Miss Schuyler took special pains to encourage personal
intercourse between the different branches. Her telescopic eye swept
the whole field. The only novelty proposed, was County Councils every
three or six months, composed of delegates from the Aid-Societies. This
would naturally quicken emulation, and prove a wholesome stimulus.
Westchester County led immediately in this movement.

About this time supplies were checked by the whirlwind of "Fairs." The
Woman's Central, issued a Circular urging its Auxiliaries to continue
their regular contributions, and to make their working for Fairs a
pastime only. In no other way could it meet the increased demands upon
its resources, for the sphere of the Sanitary Commission's usefulness
had now extended to remotest States, and its vast machinery for
distribution had become more and more expensive.

Letters poured in from the country, unflinching letters, but crying out,
"we are poor." What was to be done? How encourage these devoted
sewing-circles and aid-societies? Every article had advanced still more
in price. A plan was devised to double the amount of any sum raised by
the feeble Aid-Societies, not exceeding thirty dollars per month. Thus,
any Society sending twenty dollars, received in return, goods to the
value of forty. This scheme proved successful. It grew into a large
business, increasing greatly the labors of the Purchasing Committee,
involving a new set of account books and a salaried accountant. Duly the
smaller Societies availed themselves of this offer. The Sanitary
Commission, agreed to meet this additional expense of the Woman's
Central, amounting to over five thousand dollars per month. Thus an
accumulation was gathered for the coming campaign.

In November, 1864, The Woman's Central convened, and defrayed the
expenses of a Soldiers' Aid Society Council, at which two hundred and
fifteen delegates were present.

The Military Hospitals near the city had, from time to time, received
assistance, though not often needed from the Association. The Navy too,
received occasional aid.

In the spring of 1865, The Woman's Central lost its President, Dr. Mott,
whose fame gave weight to its early organization. From respect to his
memory, it was resolved that no other should fill his place.

At last, in April, 1865, came the glad tidings of great joy. Lee had
surrendered. In May, Miss Collins wrote a congratulatory letter to the
Aid-Societies, naming the 4th of July, as the closing day of the Woman's
Central, and urging active work up to that time, as hospital and field
supplies would still be needed. With tender forethought, she also begged
them to keep alive their organizations, for "the privilege of cherishing
the maimed and disabled veterans who are returning to us."

The receipts and disbursements of the Woman's Central are as astounding
to itself as to the public. So much love and patriotism, so little
money! As early as May, 1863, the Treasurer in his Report, remarks:

"That so small a sum should cover all the general amount of expenses of
the Association in the transaction of a business which, during the year,
has involved the receipt or purchase, assorting, cataloguing, marking,
packing, storing and final distribution of nearly half a million of
articles, will be no less satisfactory to the donors of the funds so
largely economized for the direct benefit of the soldier, than to those
friends of the Association from whose self-denying, patriotic and
indefatigable personal labors, this economy has resulted."

In the Table of supplies received and distributed from May 1st, 1861, to
July 7th, 1865, prepared by Miss Collins, the item of shirts alone
amounts to two hundred and ninety-one thousand four hundred and

For four years' distribution, purchase of hospital delicacies, and all
office expenses, except those of the committee which purchased material
for the aid-societies amounting to seventy-nine thousand three hundred
and ninety dollars and fifty-seven cents, the sum expended was only
sixty-one thousand three hundred and eighty-six dollars and fifty-seven

[Footnote L: This does not include, of course, the value of the supplies
sent to the distributing depôts of the Sanitary Commission, to
Hospitals, or to the field. These amounted to some millions of dollars.]

  Eng^d. by A.H. Ritchie.]

How was this accomplished by the Woman's Central except through its band
of daily volunteers (the great unnamed) its devoted associate managers
through whom came an increase of one hundred and thirty-eight new
societies, the generosity of Express companies, the tender
self-sacrifice of country-homes, and the indefatigable labors of the
several committees, all of whom felt it a privilege to work in so sacred
a cause. Neither love nor money, nothing less than sentiment and
principle, could have produced these results.

To the Brooklyn Relief Association the Woman's Central always felt
deeply indebted for supplies. Its admirable President, Mrs. Stranahan,
was in close sympathy with the association, often pouring in nearly half
of the woollen garments it received.

The careful dissemination of printed matter tended to sustain the
interest of country societies. The voluminous reports of the Association
arranged monthly by Miss Schuyler, who also contributed a series of
twelve articles to the Sanitary Commission Bulletin, published
semi-monthly by that board, the "Soldiers' Friend," "Nelly's Hospital,"
and other documents amounting in sixteen months to ninety-eight thousand
nine hundred and eighty-four copies were issued by the committee "On
Correspondence," etc. For the last two years that committee consisted of
Miss L. L. Schuyler, chairman; Mrs. George Curtis, Mrs. David Lane, Miss
A. Post, Miss C. Nash, H. W. Bellows, D.D.

For the last three years, to the first members of the committee on
"Supplies," etc., were added Miss Gertrude Stevens, the Misses Shaw in
succession, Miss Z. T. Detmold, Mr. Isaac Bronson. George Roberts
remained the faithful porter through the whole four years.

The territory from which the Woman's Central received its supplies after
the various branches of the Sanitary Commission were in full working
condition, was eastern and central New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island,
and partially from northern New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont and
Canada. Generous contributions were also received from European

On the 7th of July, 1865, the final meeting of the board of the Woman's
Central took place. Its members, though scattered by midsummer-heat, did
not fail to appear. It was a solemn and touching occasion. The following
resolutions, deeply felt and still read with emotion by its members,
were then unanimously adopted:

     _Resolved_, That the Woman's Central Association of Relief cannot
     dissolve without expressing its sense of the value and satisfaction
     of its connection with the United States Sanitary Commission, whose
     confidence, guidance and support it has enjoyed for four years
     past. In now breaking the formal tie that has bound us together, we
     leave unbroken the bond of perfect sympathy, gratitude and
     affection, which has grown up between us.

     _Resolved_, That we owe a deep debt of gratitude to our Associate
     Managers, who have so ably represented our interests in the
     different sections of our field of duty, and, that to their
     earnest, unflagging and patriotic exertions, much of the success
     which has followed our labors is due.

     _Resolved_, That to the Soldiers' Aid Societies, which form the
     working constituency of this Association, we offer the tribute of
     our profound respect and admiration for their zeal, constancy and
     patience to the end. Their boxes and their letters have been alike
     our support and our inspiration. They have kept our hearts hopeful,
     and our confidence in our cause always firm. Henceforth the women
     of America are banded in town and country, as the men are from city
     and field. We have wrought, and thought, and prayed together, as
     our soldiers have fought, and bled, and conquered, shoulder to
     shoulder, and from this hour the womanhood of our country is knit
     in a common bond, which the softening influences of Peace must not,
     and shall not weaken or dissolve. May God's blessing rest upon
     every Soldiers' Aid Society in the list of our contributors, and on
     every individual worker in their ranks.

     _Resolved_, That to our band of Volunteer Aids, the ladies who, in
     turn, have so long and usefully labored in the details of our work
     at these rooms, we give our hearty and affectionate thanks, feeling
     that their unflagging devotion and cheerful presence have added
     largely to the efficiency and pleasure of our labors. Their
     record, however hidden, is on high, and they have in their own
     hearts the joyful testimony, that in their country's peril and need
     they were not found wanting.

     _Resolved_, That the thanks of this Association are due to the
     ladies who have, at different times, served upon the Board, but are
     no longer members of it; and that we recall in this hour of parting
     the memory of each and all who have lent us the light of their
     countenance, and the help of their hands. Especially do we
     recognize the valuable aid rendered by the members of our
     Registration Committee, who, in the early days of this Association,
     superintended the training of a band of one hundred women nurses
     for our army hospitals. The successful introduction of this system
     is chiefly due to the zeal and capacity of these ladies.

     _Resolved_, That in dissolving this Association, we desire to
     express the gratitude we owe to Divine Providence for permitting
     the members of this Board to work together in so great and so
     glorious a cause, and upon so large and successful a scale, to
     maintain for so long a period, relations of such affection and
     respect, and now to part with such deep and grateful memories of
     our work and of each other.

     _Resolved_, That, the close of the war having enabled this
     Association to finish the work for which it was organized, the
     Woman's Central Association of Relief for the Army and Navy of the
     United States, is hereby dissolved.

     The meeting then adjourned _sine die_.

        SAMUEL W. BRIDGHAM, _Secretary_.

For further and better knowledge of the Woman's Central, is it not
written in the book of the Chronicles of the Board of the United States
Sanitary Commission?


Among the branches or centres of supply and distribution of the United
States Sanitary Commission, though some with a wider field and a more
wealthy population in that field have raised a larger amount of money or
supplies, there was none which in so small and seemingly barren a
district proved so efficient or accomplished so much as the "Soldiers'
Aid Society of Northern Ohio."

This extraordinary efficiency was due almost wholly to the wonderful
energy and business ability of its officers. The society which at first
bore the name of The Soldiers' Aid Society of Cleveland, was composed
wholly of ladies, and was organized on the 20th day of April, 1861, five
days after the President's proclamation calling for troops. Its officers
were (exclusive of vice-presidents who were changed once or twice and
who were not specially active) Mrs. B. Rouse, President, Miss Mary Clark
Brayton, Secretary, Miss Ellen F. Terry, Treasurer. These ladies
continued their devotion to their work not only through the war, but
with a slight change in their organization, to enable them to do more
for the crippled and disabled soldier, and to collect without fee or
reward the bounties, back pay and pensions coming to the defenders of
the country, has remained in existence and actively employed up to the
present time.

No constitution or by-laws were ever adopted, and beyond a verbal
pledge to work for the soldiers while the war should last, and a fee of
twenty-five cents monthly, no form of membership was prescribed and no
written word held the society together to its latest day. Its sole
cohesive power was the bond of a common and undying patriotism.

In October, 1861, it was offered to the United States Sanitary
Commission, as one of its receiving and disbursing branches, and the
following month its name was changed to The Soldiers' Aid Society of
Northern Ohio. Its territory was very small and not remarkable for
wealth. It had auxiliaries in eighteen counties of Northeastern Ohio,
(Toledo and its vicinity being connected with the Cincinnati Branch, and
the counties farther west with Chicago), and a few tributaries in the
counties of Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania, which bordered on
Ohio, of which that at Meadville, Pennsylvania, was the only
considerable one.

In this region, Cleveland was the only considerable city, and the
population of the territory though largely agricultural was not
possessed of any considerable wealth, nor was the soil remarkably

In November, 1861, the society had one hundred and twenty auxiliaries. A
year later the number of these had increased to four hundred and fifty,
and subsequently an aggregate of five hundred and twenty was attained.
None of these ever seceded or became disaffected, but throughout the war
the utmost cordiality prevailed between them and the central office.

In the five years from its organization to April, 1866, this society had
collected and disbursed one hundred and thirty thousand four hundred and
five dollars and nine cents in cash, and one million and three thousand
dollars in stores, making a grand total of one million one hundred and
thirty-three thousand four hundred and five dollars and nine cents. This
amount was received mainly from contributions, though the excess over
one million dollars, was mostly received from the proceeds of
exhibitions, concerts, and the Northern Ohio Sanitary Fair held in
February and March, 1864. The net proceeds of this fair were about
seventy-nine thousand dollars.

The supplies thus contributed, as well as so much of the money as was
not required for the other objects of the society, of which we shall say
more presently, were forwarded to the Western Depôt of the Sanitary
Commission at Louisville, except in a few instances where they were
required for the Eastern armies. The reception, re-packing and
forwarding of this vast quantity of stores, as well as all the
correspondence required with the auxiliaries and with the Western office
of the Sanitary Commission, and the book-keeping which was necessary in
consequence, involved a great amount of labor, but was performed with
the utmost cheerfulness by the ladies whom we have named as the active
officers of the society.

Among the additional institutions or o