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Full text of "Our army nurses. Interesting sketches, addresses, and photographs of nearly one hundred of the noble women who served in hospitals and on battlefields during our civil war"

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iZ-, ^w.^f.m'^^-c. 



Our Army Nurses. 



INTERESTING SKETCHES, 

ADDRESSES, 

AND PHOTOGRAPHS 

Of nearly One Hundred of the Noble W^omen 

who Served in Hospitals and on 

Battlefields during 

OUR CIVIL WAR. 



COMPILED 
By MARY A. GARDNER HOLLAND. 



SOLD BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY. 



1895. 

B. WILKINS & CO., Publishers, 

93 Federal Street, Boston, 

Massachusetts. 



iiyis 



COFVKI'iHT, lH'Xi, 



B. WILKIXS & CO., 
Boston, ]\rAss. 



^ 



-0- 




PREFACE. 



Orators find sources of eloquence in considering the part 
which woman phxjed in our Civil War. Their strongest 
praise cannot reach too high. We all know full well 
what a background of encouragement, sympathy, and 
actual aid the women of the North furnished ; they held 
back their deepest wishes lest they should be considered 
selfish, cheered long weary hours Avith patriotic songs, and 
organized through villages and towns to carry on the work 
of the Sanitary Commission. 

But there were other women who went forth on the peril- 
ous path of real service in the wnv. They were sunshine 
iit the edge of battlefields, voices of solace in hospital suffer- 
ings. In ways beyond tlie power of the chaplains they 
served the dying, receiving last messages and brightening 
the last hours of many a boy in blue. 

The privations and dangers which these nol)le characters 
endured called for a fortitude equal in man}- respects to the 
valor of the soldier. The army nurse was obliged to respond 
to duty at all times and in all emergencies. She could not 
measure her time, sleep, or strength. She was under orders 
to serve to the fullest. 

What remarkable experiences fell to the lot of these 
women are somewhat revealed in the following pages. I 
am gratified to see this collection of narratives, all aglow 
with tlie vivid light of our great war. Such descriptions 
ought to be of intense interest to the young ; there surely 

5 



6 PREFACE. 

is, flashing from their pages, incitement to self-sacrifice and 
heroism for other pliases of life ; while gratitude spontane- 
ously wreatlies her garland for these devoted women. Not 
alone to the soldier of the Union does this book appeal. 
Wherever men and women are thankful for a Republic 
saved to a glorious future, there these stories told by 
army nurses will be welcome. Wherever a student of 
history desires to know the full explanation of the 
enthusiasm with which the Northern armies fought their 
great battles, in this book he will find something of an 
answer. What these women did on the field of carnage 
and amidst terrible conditions, discloses the spirit pervad- 
ing the people of the North. They were willing to dare 
everything for the sake of union and liberty. 

The following pages will also prove fragrant with the 
blossoms of compassion. If Christian civilization must 
have its wars, greatly for defense, it is something to be 
able to record the tender ministrations which alleviate 
many horrors. The army nurses were ministers of light 
and love, passing and repassing over the dark scenes of 
these stormy years. This book, wliich has been compiled 
by Miss Holland, herself an army nurse, is like a gath- 
ered sheaf of precious harvesting. Let us remember that 
there were many women unknown and unfamed who did 
faithful service. Yet their glory is a part with these whose 
names we read with pride in this volume. No one can 
peruse this suggestive, inspiring work without rising at 
the end with deep admiration, quickened patriotism, and 
a stronger faith in human kind. 

Rev. Ei)WAi;i) A. Hokton. 
Boston, Mass. 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



Miss Mary A. Gardner Holland, Frontispiece. 




PAGE. 


DuNKER Church 10 


Bombardment of Fort Sumter 








14 


National Monument, Gettysburg, Pen 


N. 






27 


Mrs. Dorothea Lynde Dix 








28 


Mary A. Livermore 








36 


Scene in Richmond after Battle of ] 


^AIR ( 


Daks 




40 


Clara Barton .... 








42 


Mrs. Fowle 










66 


Mary Prinole 










80 


Dr. Nancy M. Hill . 










82 


Mary A. Loomis . 










86 


Mrs. E31MA L. Simonds 










88 


Margaret Hayes 










90 


Elizabeth B. Nichols 










94 


M. Alice Frush 










100 


Mrs. Pamelia Reid 










104 


Julia S. Tompkins 










106 


Belle Coddington 










110 


Ruth Helena .Sinnotte 










124 


Elizabeth S. Ward 










132 


Lucy F. Barron 










134 


Rena L. Miner 










138 


Field Hospital, Savage St 


\TION 








142 


Vesta M. W. Swarts 










144 


FALLEN Marsh 










148 


Clara B. Hoyt 










154 


Margaret INIackey 










156 


Emily M. Cone 








158 


MoDENiA R. Weston 










162 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



Maria W. Aubey 






166 


Mrs. Wm. N. Si'Rague 






170 


Lucy L. C. Kaiser 






174 


Elizabeth J. Dudley . 






188 


Susan M. Babcock 






190 


Elizabeth P. Hunt 






192 


Mr. S. C. Wright, with Sketch of I 


^^URSE 


Moir 


19C) 


Hannah C. Sheppard 






204 


Estelle S. Johnson 






206 


Mrs. Emily E. Woodley 






214 


Mrs. Mary J. Watson 






216 


Jannette Maxwell Morrill 






220 


Mrs. Elizabeth E. Ellis . 






224 


Mrs. E. F. Cope 






226 


Martha A. Baker 






228 


Mrs. Emma F. Sackett 






232 


Sarah K. Clark 






236 


Jane E. Dunbar 






238 


Mary A. Stinebough-Bradford 






242 


Miss Mary Venard . . . 






254 


Mrs. Elizabeth Thompson 






258 


Hanna L. Palmer 






260 


Mary M. Briggs . . . . 






270 


Lauraetta C. Balch . 






274 


Mary A. Ellis .... 






276 


Louisa E. Kamp 




•. 


280 


Amanda M. Felch 






282 


Mary E. Moore 






29 2 


Lois H. Dunbar 






294 


Rebecca Wiswell 






298 


Mrs. Daniel Schkam 






304 


Nancy M. Gross 






308 


Susan Cox .... 






312 


Miss Elizabeth Wheeler 






314 


Mary Perkins .... 






322 


Martha F. Jennison 






326 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



Mrs. M. J. Bunch Ki! 

Margaret Hamilton . 

Margaret A. Weed 

Mrs. Elizabeth Lucas 

Mrs. Mary Y. Knowles 

Betsey A. Cook 

Eunice M. Brown, nee Fairbank 

Mrs. Elvira Mason 

Jane M. Worrall 

Fannie A. Harper 

Elizabeth O. Gibson 

Matilda E. Morris 

Mrs. Cecilia White . 

Mrs. L. H. Husington 

Adeliza Perry 

Mary E. Darling 

Mrs. Hannah E. Starbird 

Mrs. M. J. Boston 

Mrs. Rebecca R. Pomkoy . 

Sophronia E. Brecklin 

Elizabeth A. Hyatt 

Kate M. Duncan 

Adelaide E. Spurgeon 

Mrs. Fannie H. Titus-Hazen 

Mrs. Delia B. Fay 

Sumner's Advance at Antietem 

M. V. Harkin . 

Mrs. J. T. Richards 

Mary E. Bell . 

Mrs. Helen E.. Smith 

'' Mother" Ransom 

"Mother" Bickerdyke 

Helen Gilson 

Appomatox Court House, \'a. 

Lee's Shattered Army 



TAGE. 

330 
33G 
344 
350 
354 
356 
360 
372 
376 
382 
386 
390 
402 
406 
412 
41.S 
422 
424 
432 
442 
446 
452 
454 
466 
476 
482 
486 

4;m; 

500 
504 
510 
516 
534 
545 
546 



10 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




INTRODUCTION. 



To no class of people are the soldiers of the late war more 
indebted than to the Army Nurses. How the eyes of the old 
veteran fill with tears when, at our camp fires, some old lady 
is introduced, and the presiding officer says, " Boys, she 
was an army nurse." For a moment the distinguished officers 
present are forgotten, and they gather around the dear old 
lady, eager to grasp her hand and say some kind and loving 
word in appreciation of her services. I have often witnessed 
such a greeting at the annual reunion of New Hampshire 
veterans at the Weirs, when Aunt Harriet Dame has been 
presented. 

The work of the army nurse began as soon as Sumter was. 
fired upon. Within thirty days after the call for 75,000 
men, made by President Lincoln, April 14, 1861, the Woman's 
Central Association, of New York, had chosen, from hundreds 
of candidates, one hundred competent women to be trained 
by the physicians and surgeons of New York as nurses in the 
army hospitals. 

June 10, 1861, Miss Dorothea Dix was appointed, by the 
Secretary of War, Superintendent of female nurses. She 
gave herself up, without compensation, to the selection of 
competent nurses. Secretary Stanton vested her Avith full 
power to appoint army nurses in the hospitals, and she cheer- 
fullv gave her labor and her fortune to the cause. Nurses 
selected by her, and others, who followed the several regi- 
ments to the front, were found on every battlelield from Bull 

n 



12 INTRODUCTION. 

Run to Appomattox. They were in every hospital, minister- 
ing to the sick, wounded, and dying of the Union Army. 

An incident of their devotion and angelic loveliness came 
under my personal observation. At the battle of Antietam 
my brother fell, mortally wounded. For two days I was 
unable to obtain any trace of him, as, by change of front, 
the rebels held the j^ortion of the field where he lay. As 
soon as they retreated I found him near an old haystack in a 
barnyard at the right of Dunker Church. I saw at once 
that he could live only a few days, and was anxious to get 
him where he could have medical attendance, and, calling an 
•ambulance, had him taken to a field hospital near Sharps- 
burg. As I was kneeling by his side, taking his last message 
to our dear mother, a voice said, "Is this your brother?" 
and looking up I saw the sweet face of a woman, and by 
her side a sergeant of the Philadelphia Fire Zouaves. That 
woman was Mrs. Mary Lee, of Philadelphia. She had 
given her only son to his country, and had followed him 
to the field. I explained to her how my brother and I had 
enlisted together, and that, being in command of the com- 
pany, and under orders to march at once, I could not stay 
vs^ith him. She said, " I will take his mother's place," and 
•she nursed him until he died; then saw him buried, his 
grave marked, and in a few days wrote me all the sad 
circumstances. 

When the war was over I met Mrs. Lee in Philadelphia. 
She followed the old Second Division, Second Corps, to the 
end. She wore on her breast a gold Corps badge, presented 
by the boys of the 72d Pennsylvania. God spared her son, 
and I have visited the family in their happy home. A few 
years ago Mrs. Lee passed to a higher life, mourned liy all 
the men in the old Corps, who loved her as a mother. 
It Avould be invidious to mention by name Avhere so 



INTRODUCTION. 13 

many served. Miss Clara Barton served from first to 
last ; " Mother " Bickerdyke, who was called by General 
Sherman, one of his best generals ; Mrs. Mary A. Liver- 
more, who served in the Army of the West; Miss Gilson, 
who was attached to the transfer service in the Chicka- 
liominy campaign and with the Army of the Potomac in 
the Wilderness; and a host of others, all sacrificing and 
suffering as much as any soldier in the ranks. The pay 
of those regularly mustered in the service was twelve dollars, 
per month; but hundreds never waited to be mustered in,, 
only desiring to serve where duty called, without pay or 
hope of reward. 

Many died of exposure and disease contracted in the ser- 
vice. Many returned with health impaired ; and some, be it 
said with shame and sorrow, died in poverty. Until within 
a few years no official recognition has ever been given them 
by the Government which they served so well. Some three 
years since a pension bill was passed, giving them twelve 
dollars a month, ])ut the record of their service is so imperfect 
that it is almost impossible to prove a claim, and a large 
proportion go to their graves unrecognized and unrewarded; 
yet while their names are written on no army roll, and but 
few books have been published telling the story of their 
services, their memory will ever live in the hearts of the 
veterans they nursed with such tender care, and they will 
never grow weary of telling to their children and children's 
children the story of the loving, tender, and Christian minis- 
trations of those "-angels of mercy." 

John G. B. Adams, 

Fast National Commander G. A. li. 



14 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




TO THE READER 



^AVIXG conceived the plan of the army nurses 
^ writing an abbreviated sketch of their war 
* record to put in book form, I undertook the 
^-^ arduous work of securing the addresses of all 
I could locate, and have received letters and photo- 
graphs of more than can be contained in this book. 
I trust that the outcome of the work may be an open- 
ing of the way of communication between nurse and 
patient, a desire on the part of many, covering the 
period of intervening years since the war. 

Many a veteran will here be able to look into the 
face of his faithful nurse who stood by him in those 
terrible days of suffering. Friends who have sur- 
vived the soldier who has passed the last roll-call, 
must look with equal interest upon the faces of those 
who by force of circumstances took their places to 
watch and Avait, to cheer and comfort the loved hus- 
band, father, son, or brother who responded to our 
country's call. 

With some it was hard to decide the question, 
" Shall I leave my home and dear ones, mayhap never 
to return?" But while the decision lay trembling in 
the balance, the bugle call sounded, and the martial 
tread Avas heard, — tramp ! tram}) ! tramp ! Our boys, 
imiformed in blue, are coming over the mountains, 
from the river-side, and through the valleys. ^o^Y 
the thunder of the engine is heard in the distance. 



16 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

It comes nearer, and yet nearer, until the eye of the 
locomotive rests npon the multitude gathered upon 
the phitform. Grief is too great to allow confusion 
or bustle. The little groups apart exchange the part- 
ing words. The hour has come. The inevitable 
farewell must now be given, — and the last hand- 
clasj). The shrill whistle warns a hurried good-bye, 
and "God bless you!" echoes and re-echoes as the 
iron steed bears our boys aw^ay. 

Oh, how many of them, on those fateful days, had 
in reality given the last "farewell"! Sorrowfully the 
weeping wife led her little ones back to the desolate 
hearthstone, to gather them in a fond embrace and 
tell them of their soldier father, — how he had gone to 
strike back the rebel arm that would trail our Stars and 
Stripes in the dust, and dishonor its glorious record. 

And the old mother, bending a little with age, with 
trembling hand lifts the latch that last closed when 
her son went out to return no more, ^o ^*en can 
depict the sorrows that shadowed the lonely homes 
our soldiers left during those foiu- years of blood- 
shed, — four years of anxiety and watching for news 
of the next battle and its results ; four years of suffer- 
ing on the part of our soldiers, tenting in swamps, 
mai'ching through the mud of Southern soil, on, 
double-fpiick, to the scene of carnage! The tierce 
contest has begun, — and they bare their defenseless 
bodies to the shot and shell of our Southern bi'others, 
whose big guns sweep furrows through our ranks. 
The gaps are immediately closed, our boys falling 
dead- or disabled. 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 17 

What more fitting place for women with holy 
motives and tenderest sympathy, than on those fields 
of blood and death, or in retreats prepared for onr 
suffering heroes? QYe are glad even at this late 
date to record upon these pages, the names of as 
many nurses as we have been enabled to gather. ]S"o 
lapse of years can cool the patriotism that urged them 
to the responsibilities they took npon themselves, and 
the same spirit breathes in every line of contribu- 
tion to this book, that actuated their deeds during the 
dark days of the Civil AVar:jdays that tried men's 
souls, while women wept in grief and sympathy. All 
risked life, — thousands met death while the strugfo-le 
went on that preserved for ns the sheltei'ing folds of 
our flag, that " grand emblem of protection to home 
and native land." It seems to me that had I died 
battling for my countr}' 's honor, that my right hand 
would almost leap from its entombed dust to 
strike back the arm that would dare drag our flao;- 
from its high standard of glory, — the grandest em- 
blem of the grandest country that lies under God's 
sunshine ! Let no foe dare molest that flag, and thus 
insult our country. Such would be compelled to retreat 
to their own corners in dismay, for the spirit of the old 
Revolution days burned in the hearts of om' country- 
men dnring the Civil War, and is transmitted to the 
rising generation. Our boys and girls are taught in 
many of the schools to salute the flag, and SAvear 
allegiance to "one country, one flag, one language." 

Though my place is small in comparison to that 
of many heroic women of the war, I feel the assur- 



18 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

ance that the Recording Angel has borne my 
name to Him who has said, "As ye have done it 
nnto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have 
done it unto me." And when the key unlocks to us 
the mysteries of life, and opens the unknown future, 
may it be said of all army nurses, " They did what 
they could," and " Well done, good and faithful ser- 
vant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." 

My service in hos])itals covered a period of nearly 
fourteen months. The, first gun fired on Sumter 
iired every drop of my blood. Had it been possible 
I should have made my appearance at the first battle 
of Bull Run. I had an aged mother, who depended 
almost altogether upon me for her support, and that 
duty deterred me. At one time I said to her, " It 
seems to me that I must go to the war." I worked 
for her and for m3\self during the day, and on Sani- 
tary Conunission work evenings. I told her there 
were married women, with families of half-grown 
girls, who could not go to the front, but could do all 
I was doing. She had long known my desire to be 
identified with some more important work, so after 
considering calmly for a few moments she answered, 
" Well, my daughter, if you can go under govern- 
ment protection, your mother is willing." " But," I 
answered, " you cannot spare me." She continued 
the same reflective attitude and repeated what she 
had just said, adding: "God will take care of your 
mother. If you ever go, do all you can, and tell the 
dying boys of God and heaven." 

From that day I left no method untried to go 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 19 

under government protection ; but not until early in 
the spring of 1864 did I accomplish my desire. I 
had tried to enlist under Miss Abbie May, of Boston. 
At one time it seemed that my plans were well nigh 
completed to go to Fortress Monroe, where Mrs. 
Lander was trying to establish a hospital. She 
failed in her enterprise, and I was doomed to further 
delay. Later, I procured one of Miss Dix's circulars, 
and read it again and again. It appeared to me a 
queer demand. It read like this : " ^NTo woman under 
thirty years need apply to serve in government hos- 
pitals. All nurses are required to be very plain- 
looking women. Their dresses must be brown or 
black, with no bows, no curls, or jewelry, and no 
hoop-skirts." 

It was fashionable at that time to wear immense 
hoops. I had worn one for some time, and really 
felt it a sacrifice to leave it off. Other requirements 
were agreeable, but I felt I could not walk without 
a hoop. I said, " Well, if I can't w^alk without it, I 
will crawl; for I must go, and I will do the best I 
can." Soon after this I took up a morning paper 
and read that the wounded were being brought into 
Washington so fast that more help was needed at 
-once. I wrote immediately to Miss Dix, saying: ''I 
am in possession of one of your circulars, and will 
comply with all your requirements. I am plain- 
looking enough to suit you, and old enough. I 
have no near relatives in the war, no lover there. 
I never had a husband, and am not looking for one. 
Will you take me?" In a few days her answer 



20 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

came : " Report at once at my house, corner of 14th 
Street and New York Avenue, Washington." 

She labeled me so nicely that had I been a box of 
glass I think I should have gone safely, and gave me. 
instructions to procure transportations at Nos. 12 
and 13 Temple Place, Boston. 

She first quartered me at Columbia College Hospi- 
tal, Meridian Heights, Washington . From there I went 
to the Seminary Hospital, West Washington — all offi- 
cers. Then to Annapolis. I served mostly in charge 
of linen rooms, and as matron ; doing the principal part 
of real nursing evenings, and sometimes all night 
after having attended to the duties assigned me 
during the day. 

My work was very hai'd, as I did not feel satisfied 
to fill the places given me and not attend to the 
wounded men. 

I would like to mention a case in the Officers' Hos- 
pital at Georgetown, D. C. One evening there were 
nine wounded officers brought in, and consigned to 
the convalescent ward, Rebecca Wiswall, of Ply- 
mouth, Mass., nurse in charge. This ward was on 
the same floor where I was acting as matron. I as- 
sisted the male attendants in giving the wounded 
officers their supper. The doctors and Miss Wis- 
wall attended to dressing their wounds. One of the 
number, a young man about twenty-three years of 
age, was laid on a bed across the hall from my room, 
and nearly opposite. Lieutenant Lee had died on 
that cot in the morning. It was a distressing death; 
he was two days dying. His poor mother was with 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 21 

him, and the scene was terrible. The young man 
phiced on the cot that evening was only sHghtly 
wounded. A spent ball had entered the left forearm 
and lodged, but had been removed by the surgeon 
before bringing him to the hospital. As soon as all 
were located, a dispatch was sent to his father in 
Pennsylvania, saying, "In Officers' Hospital, George- 
town, slightly wounded." The return had come be- 
fore I left the room, "Shall we come to you?" 
When all had received attention. Aunt Becky, as she 
was familiarly called, stepped to my side, and as we 
stood in the doorway, looking over the ward, I 
asked her how many of the last arrivals she thought 
would pull through. Pointing to one poor fellow she 
said, " He may not live until morning," then spoke of 
two other doubtful cases. I said, "I think that young 
man behind the door will die." "Oh, no," was her 
reply ; " he is the most slightly wounded of any." 

In the morning I went to his bedside, and said, 
" How did you get on during the night? " "Oh, very 
well." His voice was sweet as a woman's; his face 
was beautiful. Large drops of sweat stood out all 
over his high, white forehead. I could see a change 
in him from the evening before. I wiped away the 
perspiration, and fanned him for a few minutes. 
When I left him he said, "Must you go?" "To 
breakfast," I replied. " I will come in again soon." 
All the nm-ses had preceded me to the table, and 
Aunt Becky said: "Miss Holland, your premonitions 
a])out that young man were correct. He must die." 
I asked what the shiver meant that passed over him 



22 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

SO frequently. " The lockjaw. We were with him 
half the night after you left, but can do nothing to 
save him." Very soon I took my place by his cot, 
and left it only for a few moments at a time to attend 
to the direction of other duties, as I was then acting 
matron. His spasms were frequent and severe all 
the forenoon. Just before noon he came out of one^ 
and asked, "Is my case a critical one?" "My dear 
boy, I fear it is," I said. He went into another, and 
when he came out of it said, " If anything haj^pens to 
me send my body home." A moment after he said, 
"Mother!" loud and clear; then his teeth came to- 
gether with a crash, and he passed away in that 
struggle, at just twelve o'clock noon. 

I had retired to my room that evening. It was 
about half past ten Avhen I heard a great wail of 
grief in the steward's office. Those sounds were 
frequent, yet every time they touched a tender chord 
of pity in my heart, and I said aloud, though alone, 
" Some poor soul has come and found that the dear 
one is gone." Presently there was a knock at my 
door. I inquired, and the answer was from the 
steward's orderly, "Mr. Pollock has come, and the 
steward wants you in the office." 

The poor old father was in a reclining position, 
with both hands pressed against his face. I stood in 
the middle of the floor waiting, as I had not the 
heart to approach such intense grief. "When the 
steward said, " Mr. Pollock, here is the woman who 
gave your son his last supper," he lifted his face to 
mine, then fell pi'one upon the floor. He wound my 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 23 

skirts about his face, not knowing what he did. At 
length he became a httle calmer, and told us that 
Chester was his only boy. He had graduated from 
coUeo-e, and had just entered upon what he had de- 
termined a life work as a lawyer, when his country 
called him to her defense, in which he had given his 
life. Over and over I told the old father the story of 
his coming into the hospital the evening before, and 
of his suffering through the forenoon of that day. 
He wanted me to go home with him, that the invalid 
wife and mother might look upon the woman who 
gave their boy his last supper. He offered every in- 
ducement in money and presents, but I could not be 
spared. I think the boy's first name was Chester; I 
am not sure. His last name was Pollock, his com- 
mission a lieutenant. 

For a few days I was quartered at the Lincoln 
Barracks Hospital, East Capitol Street, D. C. I had 
a nephew there, William K. Nason, from Maine. He 
was badly wounded. Miss Dix had sent me there 
for a week, to do anything that I saw needed to be 
done. My nephew had his father with him, so I was 
not required to do much for him. I looked up and 
down the ward, to ascertain where I might be most 
needed. ^N'ear the far end I saw a pale face half 
covered with flies. I went to the cot, and found the 
poor fellow had suffered twenty days with a fractured 
ankle bone, then had an amputation between the 
knee and the ankle. The surgeon, for some reason 
better known to himself than to any one else, had left 
the stump open; had not drawn the flesh over the end 



24 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

of the bone, as is usual in amputations, but was to 
bandage it close, and more closely until healed. 
After suppuration had commenced the artery sluffed 
off, and the night before I found him he had 1)1 ed 
fearfully after lights had been turned down. The 
watchman was passing the foot of the bed, and 
slij^ped on the blood; he then called the surgeon, 
who put a compress on the leg above the knee, 
burned the end of the artery, and sto})ped the flow. 
I had been by the cot but a few minutes, when the 
surgeon and orderly came in again. The surgeon 
threw back the sheet in a careless way, almost 
roughly, and picked at the end of the arter}^ The 
blood spurted, and he made another turn on the com- 
press, saying, "We must hunt for that artery again." 
The poor boy said in a whisper, the first I had heard 
him speak, "Can't you wait till morning?" It was 
morning then; you can miderstand how weak he 
was. They gave him a glass of brandy and went at 
the wound. I thought from the quantities of blood 
that followed the almost inhuman treatment, that his 
life w^ould go out ere the trial ended. But he lived 
through it, and I stayed by him four days. Every 
morning I took him a quart of delicious blackberries. 
He ate those, but took no other food. The morning 
of the fifth day I said : " I must go away this noon, 
and cannot come to you again. Have you mother, 
wife, or sister to send for? I fear you are too weak 
to rally." "^o one w4io could come," he replied. 
" Give me your address." I wrote it, and he said, 
" ^ow put it into the book under my pillow." It Avas 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



25 



■a Testament, and my address was deposited therein. 
I bade him good-bye, and spoke a httle of the 
heavenly land, then left him. In about two months 
I received a letter, saying the only excuse he had for 
writing to me was that he had not strength to thank 
me when I left him, and he believed the blackbei-ries 
I gave him had saved his life. That day he had been 
on crutches beside his cot for the first time, and but 
for a minute ; hoped he should soon be transferred to 
his own State. I have forgotten where he lived, but 
if this should ever meet the eye of John Tucker, I 
hope to hear from him. 

I could add many thrilling incidents to this brief 
journal, but forbear, that I may give space for the 
lai-ge number of contributions to this book, many of 
them having barely place for their j^resent address. 

Mary A. Gardxek Holland. 




26 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

BURIED WITH THE FLAG. 

An army nurse, returning home from her work among the woundecT 
to die, requested that she might be buried with the old flag wrapped 
around her. — '•'■Woman's Work in the Civil War," page ^^^. 

Home she went exhausted, dying, 
With her soldier- husband lying 

At her side with battle scars. 
And she said : "When death has found me, 
Soothed me into rest and crowned me, 
Wrap the flag I love around me, 

With the glorious Stripes and Stars." 

With the Stars and Stripes wrapped round her 
She was speaking truth profounder 

Than the bugle ever brayed ; 
While the patriot women render 
To the Flag a love so tender, 
Not a stripe shall lose its splendor. 

Not one star shall ever fade. 

And the earth that closed upon her 
Seemed to rise up with new honor 

And draw nearer unto God ; 
While all hearts were rent asunder 
With a thrill of awe and wonder 
As the Stars and Stripes went under 

The very ground they trod. 

Oh ! the sweet and tender story 
Of these patriot souls sheds glory 

On the Flag forever more. 
We shall love the cause they wrought for, 
We shall seek the end they sought for, 
We shall guard the flag they fought for. 

And in living, dying, bore. 

— Rev. Alfred J. Hough, Bradford, Vt. 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



27 




NATIONAL MONUMENT, GETTYSBURG, PENN. 



28 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




DOROTHEA LYNDE DIX. 



•ffn flDemori^ of Dorotbea X\>nbc S^iy. 



/^ X the 17th of July, 1887, occurred the death of 
I I Dorothea Lynde Dix ; a woman whose memory 
^^ will be kept green until acts of humanity be- 
come so common that they are passed by without 
comment. 

She was born in 1802, and her early life was bleak, 
humiliating, and painful. Her father not being able 
to take care of her she soon left his roof, and found 
an abiding place, but scarcely a home, with her grand- 
mother in Boston. 

She possessed exceptional energy and ambition, 
and early determined to fit herself for a teacher. 
While one side of her character seemed that of an 
earnest, unenthusiastic worker, the other was excep- 
tionally sensitive, and full of beautiful ideals. She 
reveled in poetry, and worshiped intellectual great- 
ness; but she was above a selfish absorption in these, 
for poverty and ignorance appealed to her strongly, 
and she early began to work for poor and neglected 
children. 

For these she opened a school in the barn of her 
grandmother's house, which was the beginning of 
the beneficent work afterward carried on at Warren- 
Street Chapel, now the Barnard Memorial, on War- 
renton Street. 



30 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

Miss Dix also had a small day school, which after- 
wards developed into a large combined boarding and 
day school. While she had charge of this school, 
which required the most assiduous labor and execu- 
tive ability, she was writing a book that became a 
familiar friend to many families a generation ago. 
It was called the "Science of Common Things," 
and in a comprehensive, easy manner gave a great 
deal of valuable information about the ordinary 
things used in the household. It had a place in 
almost every home, and was a standard reference. 
One could find in it infoi-mation about everything, 
from a needle to a nutmeg; and in any perplexity 
" Common Things " was consulted as an oracle. 
This little book passed through sixty editions. 

Other later books were " Garland of Flora," " Pri- 
vate Hours," " Alice and Ruth," " Prisons and 
Prison Discipline." 

At last, on account of poor health, the school was 
relinquished, and she became a governess in the 
family of Dr. W. E. Channing. It was while a 
member of his family that she went to the island of 
St. Croix, and obtained her first glimpse of the evils 
of slavery. 

After her return to Boston, being in better health, 
she again took up school work, which was pursued 
with zeal until 1836, when she broke down utterly, 
and, accompanied by friends, went abroad for rest 
and change. She had saved enough money to afford 
her a modest income suited to her wants. 

It was not until 1811 that Miss Dix was brought 



OL'R AR3TV NCrRSES. 31 

face to face witli the horrible condition of thing-s 
that existed in the prisons and ahnshouses of 
Massachnsetts. 

She visited the jail of East Cambridge, and found 
a terrible overcrowding of innocent, guilty and insane 
prisoners. She then visited all the other prisons of 
the State, finding such a horrible condition of affairs 
that she addressed a memorial to the Legislature on 
the subject, giving a graphic description of the 
abuses suffered by the insane poor. 

Her enthusiasm on the subject enlisted the atten- 
tion of Dr. S. G. Howe, Charles Sumner, and others. 
Public opinion was aroused by the horrors unveiled 
by Miss Dix ; politicians were overwhelmed, a bill for 
relief immediately carried, and an order passed to 
provide State accommodations for two hundred insane 
people. 

Thus her first step was taken. Then the convic- 
tion came to her that all over the United States the 
same appalling story was true of the wretched fate of 
the pauper insane. She felt that she must visit State 
after State, collect facts, besiege Legislatures, and 
arouse public o^^inion. It was a stupendous work, 
but this frail woman, with a grasp of intellect worthy 
of a statesman, accomplished it. 

Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and I^ew Jersey all 
show her work to-day. Pennsylvania followed. She 
made long journeys ^orth and South, East and West, 
always canying hope for the unfortunate. In nine 
years she had carried for reforms the Legislatures of 
Indianna, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennesee, Missouri, Mis- 



32 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

sissippi, Louisiana, Alabama, South and ^orth Caro- 
lina and Maryland, besides establishing an asylum at 
Halifax, N. S., and St. John, :N'. B. 

For several sessions she petitioned Congress to 
grant a large tract of land for the benefit of the 
insane, but after years of work upon the subject the 
bill was vetoed by President Pierce. After this dis- 
appointment Miss Dix again visited Europe, and on 
her return became interested in the work of saving 
shij^wrecked mariners on Sable Island, which had 
long been called the Graveyard of Seamen. 

While Miss Dix was visiting the place a wreck 
occurred, and she saw how inadequate to save life 
Avere the means at hand. 

Through the co-operation of several citizens of 
Boston, Miss Dix sent life-boats and other life-saving 
paraphernalia to Sable Island. The day after these 
arrived a large ship was wrecked on the island, and 
by means of this apparatus one hundred and eighty 
souls were saved. 

In 1854-55 she investigated, not without opposi- 
tion, the condition of insane hospitals in Scotland, 
and found in them a repetition of what she had seen 
here. She at once began moving the great and cum- 
brous engine of English law to reform these abuses, 
but it was not until 1857, after years of labor and 
opposition, that the object was accomplished. 

Her attention was then called to similar abuses in 
the Channel Islands. After thirteen years of agita- 
tion a large public asjdum for the humane and 
scientific treatment of the demented was built. 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 33 

She also inspected the asyhims in Rome, finding' so 
much to condemn that she obtained an audience with 
Pope Pius IX. She was received with the greatest 
kindness, and her reveUitions intently listened to. 
Later the Pope visited the asylum, and found so 
many shocking things that, at a second audience, he 
thanked Miss Dix that she, " a woman and a Protes- 
tant, had crossed the seas to call his attention to 
these cruelly ill-treated members of his flock." 

On her return to America, until the breaking out of 
the Civil AYar, in 1861, Miss Dix devoted herself to 
hospital work, aiding new institutions and directing 
older ones. In all, she founded thirty-two hospitals, 
besides two in Japan, that owe their inception to her 
influence. 

Dui'ing the war she devoted herself to hospital 
work. She was superintendent of nurses, having the 
entire control of their appointment and assignment to 
duty. At the close of the war she was instrumental 
in raising the funds for the great national monument 
for dead soldiers at Fortress Monroe. 

In the latter days of Miss Dix's career it may be 
said that no benevolent project ever lacked her sup- 
port. It might be as simple a thing as a drinking 
fountain in a densely populated district in Boston, 
or collecting money for the suffering from some great 
conflaorration. AYork for others was still her mis- 
sion, and though she was loaded with praise and 
honor for the great things accomplished, she was as 
unostentatious as a child, and looked always for the 
results, and never at her own efforts. She was 



34 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

revered like a jjutron saint by many who had reaped 
the benefit of her care. 

She dropped at, last, with the harness on, while 
ready as ever to work for others. Her mind was 
clear to the last, and she was always interested in 
what had been her life work. 

In commemoration of her is the Dix Ward in the 
McLean Asylum at Somerville, the Dixmont Hospital 
of Pennsylvania, and the Dorothea L. I^ix House on 
Warrenton Street, just opposite the Barnard Memo- 
rial, which was the first fruits of the seed sown by 
Miss Dix in 1821. 

Her biographer, Rev. Francis Tiffany, speaks of 
one very tender trait in her nature, and that was her 
friendship for young people, and her desire to see 
them happily settled in homes of their own. That in 
her the social element was strongly developed, and 
that, when a lonely Avorker, she coveted what was 
denied her — the society of cultured people. It is this 
in her character that is exemjDlified in the life at the 
house on AYarrenton Street. 

This little social center comprises a group of 
working women, teachers, artists, and a physician, 
who have made a home for themselves amid a set of 
other workers, not in any sense in a charitable 
way, but to be among those who also work. Their 
occupations giving them a little more leisure than 
others, they devote certain nights of the week to 
society, and invite the neighbors in for a pleasant 
evening. 

Incidentally they have some talks on various live 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



35 



topics of the day, with music, and, when occasion 
requires, helpful words to each other. 

The life at the Dix House has been misrepre- 
sented; for it is not an alms-giving from the wealthy 
to the poor, but the social life among- workers, to 
help to brighten, by mutual intercourse and confi- 
dence, and make pleasanter, toilsome lives. 

If, in her visits, the physician meets some of the 
very poor who need aid, the matter is looked into, 
and help is forthcoming; but the real help is more, 
perhaj^s, that of amusement, to while away the weary 
hours. 

During the summer some of the occupants of the 
house will be away on vacation, and the use of their 
room is offered, free of charge, to any girl earning 
small wages who would be glad to save expense. 
Application can be made at the house. 




UNKNOWN GRAVES, NATIONAL CEMETERY, GETTYSBURG, PENN. 



36 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




Ik 













^nyrsRS. MARY ASHTON RICE LIYERMOEE 
If I was born in Boston, Mass., December 19, 
/ ^ 1821. Her father, Timothy Rice, of North- 
^ - ^ field, Mass., who was of AVelsh descent, 
iserved in the United States Xavy during the war of 
1812-15. Her mother, Zel)iah Yose Glover Ashton, 
was the daughter of Capt. Nathaniel Ashton, of Lon- 
don, Eng. Mrs. Livermore was placed in the public 
schools of Boston at an eai'ly age, and was gradu- 
ated at fourteen, receiving one of the six medals dis- 
tributed for good scholarship. There w^ere then no 
high, normal, or Latin schools for girls, and their 
admission to colleges was not even suggested. She 
was sent to the Female Seminary in Charlestown, 
Mass., now Boston, where she completed the four 
years' course in two, when she was elected a member 
of the faculty, as teacher of Latin and French. 
While teaching she continued her studies in Latin, 
Greek, and metaphysics, under tutors; resigning her 
position at the close of the second year, to take 
charge of a family school on a plantation in Southern 
Yirginia, where she remained nearly three years. 
As there were between four and five hundred slaves 
on the estate, Mrs. Livermore was brought face to 
face with the institution of slavery, and witnessed 
deeds of barbai-ism as tragic as any described in 
"LTncle Tom's Cabin." She returned to the North a 

37 



38 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

radical Abolitionist, and henceforth entered the lists 
against slavery, and every form of oppression. 
She was identified with the AVashingtonian Teni- 
pei'ance Keform ])efore her marriage; was on the 
editoral staff of a juvenile tem])erance paper, organ- 
ized a Cold Water Army of fifteen hundred boys 
and girls, for whom she wrote temperance stories, 
which she i-ead to them and which were afterwards 
published in book form, under the title of '' The Chil- 
dren's Arm3^" In 1857 the Livei'mores i*emoved to 
Chicago, 111., where Mr. Livermore became proprietor 
and editor of a weekly religious paper, the organ of 
the Universalist denomination in the ^N^orthwest, and 
Mrs. Livermore became his associate editor. At the 
first nomination of Abraham Lincoln for the Presi- 
dency, in the Chicago Wigwam, in 1860, she was 
the only woman reporter assigned a place among a 
hundred or more men reporters. 

Out of the chaos of benevolent eftbrts evolved 
by the opening of tlie Civil War, in 1861, the 
United States Sanitary Commission was born. 
Mrs. Livermore, with her friend Mrs. Jane C. Hoge^ 
was identified with i-elief work for the soldiers, 
from the beginning. Mrs. Livermore resigned all 
]3ositions save that on her husband's paper, secured a 
governess for her children, and subordinated all de- 
mands upon her time to those of the Commission. 
She organized Soldiers' Aid Societies; delivered pub- 
lic addresses in the principal towns and cities of the 
Northwest; wrote letters by the hundreds, personally 
and Ijy amanuenses, and answered all that she re- 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 39 

ceived; Avrote the circulars, bulletins, and monthly 
I'epoi'ts of the Commission; made trips to the front 
Avith sanitary stores, to whose distribution she gave 
personal attention; brought back large numbers of 
invalid soldiers who were discharged, that they might 
die at home; assisted to plan, organize, and conduct 
colossal Sanitary Fairs ; detailed women nurses for the 
hospitals, by order of Secretary Stanton, and accom- 
panied them to their posts: in short, the story of 
women's work during the war has never been told, 
and can never be understood save by those connected 
with it. The war over, Mrs. Livermore resumed the 
former tenor of her life, and took up again the phil- 
anthropic and literary work which she had tempo- 
rarily relinquished. ^Notwithstanding her many years 
of hard service, she is still in vigorous health. Happy 
in her home, and in the society of her husband, 
children, and grnndchildi-en, she keeps steadily at 
work with voice, and pen, and influence, ready to lend 
a hand to the weak and struggling, to strike a blow 
for the right against the wrong, to prophesy a better 
future in the distance, and to insist on a woman's 
right to help it along. Since her return from Chicago, 
her home has been in Melrose, Mass. 



40 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



'ii 



'' ' r 




STREET SCENE IN RICHMOND AFTER BATTLE OF FAIR OAKS. 



42 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




CLARA BARTON. 



^^HE work of Miss Clara Barton during the late 
(s) (s) war, as that of Miss Dix, is too well known to 
reqnire fnrther comment; but the Red Cross 
^ ^ movement, of which she is the pioneer Ameri- 
can champion, has been so qnietly and modestly 
managed that our people, as a rule, know httle about 
the Societ}^, although it has been in existence for 
al)out thirty years, and the American Branch for 
eleven. 

The Society of the Red Cross is to-day one of the 
most important philanthropic organizations in the 
world, whose results prove it the most productive 
and beneficent. Briefly stated, it is a confederation 
of societies in diffei-ent countries, having as an 
aim the amelioration of the condition of sick and 
wounded prisoners in time of war. But to mider- 
stand its spirit, we nmst glance over past history, 
through bar]:)arous and semi-barbarous ages, and 
even np to the time of wars as recent as the Napo- 
leonic, and we see organized, systematic wounding 
aud slaughtering of men; but not until three centuries 
ago was there any system, supported by the State, by 
which the victims could be aided in any way, and 
until a very recent date there was no hospital system 
worthy the name. AVe cannot but wonder that such 
a condition of things existed so late in the history of 
the world; but the very fact that miiversal war was 



43 



44 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

tolerated, was sufficient to prevent a spirit of 
humanity from developing in the hves of men. 
However, when that spirit was once aroused it grew 
rapidly, and since the campaigns of Napoleon, no 
war has occurred in Europe without voluntary relief 
societies spi'inging up to aid the disabled, though 
their efficiency was lessened by lack of organization 
and permanency. 

When the war between Russia and the Allied 
Powers broke out, in 1853, all Europe, and especially 
England, had been awakened to a different feeling 
toward the common soldier than had ever been 
cherished before. Only a certain knowledge of the 
inhumanities practiced upon the disabled was now 
needed to arouse the English to fierce indignation. 
That knowledge was furnished by the newspa])er cor- 
respondent who went with the army to Crimea. 

All the horrors of j^estilence and blood were faith- 
fully portrayed, and the reproach of all unnecessary 
suffering laid where it justly belonged, upon the gov- 
ernments that had failed to provide efficient sanitary 
service. Then, and not till then, did the truth become 
a clearly outlined idea, that the military power prob- 
ably never could provide and keep in operation an 
adequate medical service through a long campaign. 

Face to face with this fact, and appalled by the 
awful disaster, the Minister of War, Lord Sydney 
Herbert, wrote to Miss Florence Nightingale for help. 
A letter from her asking permission to help was 
even then on its way to him. A few days later she 
was on her wav to the scenes of war. Here was the 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 45 

beginning of a system by which the misery of soldiers 
is reduced to the lowest degree jDossible under present 
conditions. 

The history of Miss Xightingale and her three hun- 
dred companions is a familiar household story. She 
has become one of the most revered and beloved 
ideals. 

]N^ow we come to the immediate events which led 
to the organization of the Red Cross, under which 
every state in Europe has to-day an organization, 
together with many other nations. 

A Swiss gentleman, named Henri Dunant, first 
conceived the idea of ])ermanent societies similar to 
the temporaiy ones that had already come into exist- 
ence for some special occasion, and that these societies 
be formed among all the nations, and be bound to- 
gether by solemn pledges to prevent unnecessary suf- 
fering where possible. 

In 1859 he was traveling in Italy Avhen the battle 
of Solferino occurred, and for some days I'emained in 
the hospitals, helping to care for the wounded. Soon 
he published a little l)ook describing the scenes he 
had witnessed there, vividly picturing the horrors of 
war. The book created a w ide-spread sensation, and 
he determined to present his theories to the Society 
of Public Utility. Accordingly at their next meeting 
he presented this measure, viz.: that the central 
society form auxiliary societies, each organization to 
be permanent, and in time of peace, work to increase 
its ethciency. Each central society was to labor 
especially to secure the I'ecognition of its govern- 



46 OCR AR3rV A^CRSES. 

ment, and to establish symj^athetic relations between 
the society and the state. 

M. Dunant found an able advocate in the president 
of the Swiss Society, M. Gustav Moynier, who 
warmly approved his plans, and presented him to the 
society, which appointed a connnittee to take charge 
of the movement, and endeavor to intei'est other 
countries. As a result, an international conference 
was called in October, 18(33, where sixteen nations, 
including all the great European powers except 
Russia, were repi'esented. Under the authority of 
the Supreme Council of Switzerland, this conference 
called an International Convention, Avhich met at 
Geneva, August 8, 1864. It was well attended; 
there were present twenty-five membei'S eminent in 
diplomatic or military service or in medical science. 
All came, empowered by their several governments, 
to sign a treaty should it be deemed advisable. Here 
sixteen nations were again represented, and the 
deliberations occupied two weeks. The articles 
adopted were as follows: 

"That hospitals containing the sick and wounded 
shall lie held neutral by belligerants so long as thus 
occupied.'" 

The second and third provide for " the neutrality 
and security of all persons euiployed in the care of 
inmates of the hospitals, surgeons, chaplains, nurses, 
and attendants, even after the enemy has gained 
the ground; but when no longer required for the 
wounded, they shall be promptly conducted, luider 
escort, to the outposts of the enemy, to rejoin the 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 47 

corps to which thc}^ belong-, thus preventing all oppor- 
tunity to roam fi-ee, and make observations under 
cover of neutrality." 

Article four settles the terms upon which the 
material of hospitals shall not be subject to cap- 
ture. 

Article five, with a view to quieting the fears of 
the inhabitants in the vicinity of a battle, Avho often 
flee in terror, as well as to secure their assistance and 
the comfort of their homes for the care of the 
wounded, offers military protection and certain 
exemptions to all who shall entertain and care for 
the wounded in their houses. 

Article six binds the parties contracting the treaty 
not only to give the requisite care and treatment to 
all sick and wounded who shall fall into their hands, 
but to see to it that their misfortune shall not be 
aggravated by the prospect of banishment or impris- 
onment; they shall not be retained as prisoners of 
war, but, if circumstances admit, may be given up 
immediately after the action, to be cared for by their 
own army, or, if retained until recovered, and found 
disabled for service, the}^ shall be safely returned to 
their country and friends ; and also that all convoys 
of sick and wounded shall be protected by absolute 
neutrality. 

Article seven provides for a flag for hospitals and 
convoys, and an arm badge for persons. The badge 
adopted was a red cross with four equal arms, on a 
white ground, this being the national ensign of 
Switzerland with the colors revei'sed. 



48 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

Articles eight and nine provide for the details of 
execution being left open for the subsequent admis- 
sion of other governments. 

This treaty at first received twelve signatures, 
which was soon increased to sixteen. 

This is indeed a wonderful gain over the time 
when the w^ounded were left to starve, as a matter of 
course, and we see in it a beginning of the end of 
w^ar. When men fought face to face they became 
infuriated, and were like Avild beasts, so, naturally, no 
mercy would be shown a fallen enemy. Xow that 
our wai-s are freed from almost every trace of personal 
combat, and are simply deadly illustrations of the 
triumphs of inventive genius, and demonstrations of 
a country's w^ealth and power, such a treaty has be- 
come possible, and is in perfect harmony with an era 
that favors arl)iti-ation. 

Forty governments are now enrolled under the 
Red Cross, and the Avords '' wounded and a pris- 
oner" can never again freeze the heart Avith their icy 
touch of despair. ]N^ever again Avill the fallen perish 
in agony alone, for a well-knoAvn flag of truce will 
make it possible for a reHef corps to go to their aid, 
unquestioned and unharmed. 

The flrst act in each government after the treaty 
has been signed, is t<^ form a national central society,, 
which is independent, except so far as it owes allegi- 
ance to the International Society of Switzerland in 
respect to a few fundamental principles essential to 
unity of direction and successful action: "The first 
being, that in each country there shall l)e one ^N'ational 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 49 

Society, to which the auxiliary societies shall be 
tributary; second, that the societies shall in time of 
peace keep themselves constantly prepared for war, 
thus securing permanency of organization; third, 
that during war their succor shall be extended to foe 
equally with friend, whenever necessary; fourth, 
that societies whose countries ai'e at peace may send 
relief to belligerent armies, without being considered 
to violate the j^rinciples of neutrality to which their 
governments may be pledged." " In Europe the cen- 
tral societies are under the patronage of men and 
women of rank, often the members of royal families. 
Of the first one formed, the German Empress, 
Augusta, grandmother of the pi-esent Emperor, was 
head, taking ardent interest in its affairs. Her 
daughter. Grand Duchess Louise, of Baden, fills the 
same position in the society of that country. Both 
these ladies were heart and soul in the Avork of the 
Red Cross." 

Germany took the movement to her heart at once, 
and when war came was fully prepared; no such 
provision having ever been known before. When 
the Franco-Prussian War broke out they were again 
in a condition of perfect efficiency. 

Hitherto France had done comparatively little, but 
after the war commenced, she threw herself into the 
work with unparalleled energy, and within a month a 
thorough system was established. What the condi- 
tion of France would have been without the aid of 
the Red Cross, the imagination dares not picture. 
Thus in 1871 the movement had an assured place in 



50 OUR ARMV NUJ^SES. 

the hearts of grateful people, "ained hy its efRciency 
in time of need. 

We come now to the events which led to the for- 
mation of the society in America; but in order to 
understand the situation we must know something- of 
its President, Miss Chu-a Barton, whose work has 
been done so quietly that thousands in our own land 
Ivuow little about her beyond her nauie. 

At the beginning of our late RelK'llion she was in 
Washington. When news came that the troops on 
their way to the Capital had been fired upon, and 
that wounded men were lying in Baltimore, she 
volunteered with others to go and cai-e for them. 
She had entered upon what proved to lie her life 
work. From that time she was to be found in the 
hospitals, or Avherever soldiers were in need of at- 
tendance. Soon she was recognized as a woman of 
great ability and discretion, and could pass in and 
out at will, where others met with constant hin- 
drance by *' red tape." 

She met the wounded from Virginia ; she was 
pi'csent at the battles of Cedar Moinitain, Second 
Bull Run, Antietani and Fredericksburg; was eight 
months at the siege of Charleston, at Fort AVagner, 
in front of Petersburg and at the Wilderness. She 
was also at the hospitals near Richmond and on 
Morris Island. ISTeither were her labors over when 
the war ended, liut her tenderness and revei-ence led 
her to remain in Andersonville six weeks, to mark as 
many as possible of the thirteen thousand graves of 
Union prisoners who were l)uried there. 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 51 

When this self-imposed task was over, her physi- 
cian ordered her to Europe for rest and change. But 
her splendid work on our battlefields was known 
abroad, and before her health was fully established, 
she was asked to join the relief corps of the Red 
Cross during the Franco-Prussian War. Her ex- 
perience and knowledge were eagerly sought, and 
she did heroic service. 

In 1869, when the International Connnittee learned 
that she was in Geneva, they called npon her to ask 
an explanation of the strange fact that while the 
Unitec^ States had shown the most tender care for 
its o\,- wounded, it had held aloof from the Red 
Cross. 

Miss Barton told them she had never heard of the 
Society nor of the Geneva Treaty while at home, 
and that she was certain that the United States, as a 
people, were totally ignorant that proposals such as 
they alluded to had ever been sul^mitted to the Gov- 
ernment, and showed her visitors how some single 
official could carelessly keep the people from any 
knowledge that such pi'oposals had been made to 
them. 

Of course she was aflame with enthusiasm for the 
movement, and shame that the United States was not 
a party to the treaty; and she resolved to give her- 
self no rest until our people were acquainted with the 
Treaty of Geneva. 

After the convention in 1868, in Pai-is, when the 
United States was represented by Dr. Hemy Bellows, 
the subject was again presented to our Government 



52 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

I)V tluit gentleman, and, singnlariy enough, met only 
indift'erenee; however, throngh his efforts a society 
was formed, but it lacked the essentials to success; 
viz., the sanction tnid sympathy of government, and 
soon died. 

After tlie war in Europe was over, Miss Barton 
came home, an invalid, and lay upon her bed for 
years; and when at hist she ralhed, it was to begin 
almost as a child, and slowly acqiure even the poAver 
to walk. 

As soon as she Avas able she went to AYashing- 
ton and presented the suliject of the Treaty to Presi- 
dent Hayes, in 1877, and the cause w^as set forth l)y 
a committee of three women and one man. This 
effort won no response, but four years later, when 
Garfield was in the chaii-, the little society received 
assui'ances of sympathy from Government. Secretary 
Windom laid the subject before the Cal)inet, and the 
President and all his secretaries were at once cor- 
dially interested. Secretary Blaine wrote a warm 
letter of approval, and the President, in his first 
message to Congress, recommended our accession 
to the Treaty. This w^as seventeen years after the 
subject was first presented to our Government. The 
society of 1877 was reorganized, and became incor- 
porated as the American Association of the Red 
Cross. But it remained for Pi-esident Arthur to 
sign the Treaty, March 1, 1882. 

Some indispensable changes had been made to 
adapt it to the purposes of the United States. In the 
Old World the Red Cross had kept its first purpose, 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 53 

— that of caring for the sick and wounded soldiers; 
but in the United States we are comparatively safe 
fi'om the danger of needing such services. So it was 
deemed necessary to have a constitution here that 
should enjoin work other than that pertaining to 
armies, and a distinctly American feature was incor- 
porated. ^'It is that our Society shall have for one of 
its objects aids to the suffering in times of great 
national calamities, such as floods and cyclones (visi- 
tations to which we are peculiarly liable), great fires, 
l)estilence, earthquake, or local famines," 

Misfortunes such as these come without warning, 
and relief must come quickly, so constant preparation 
is necessary, and perfect organization essential to 
prevent untold misery. 

Twelve national calamities have claimed the ser- 
vices of the Red Cross: the Michigan fires, the 
Ohio and Mississippi floods (1882), the Mississippi 
cyclone, again in 1884 the floods, the Vh'ginia 
epidemic, the Texas drouglit, the Charleston earth- 
quake, the Mt. Vernon (111.) cyclone, and the Johns- 
town disaster. Besides these it rendered assistance 
to Russia during the famine. 

No better occasion to illustrate the work of the 
Red Cross has ever occurred than at the Johnstown 
disaster. The President, with fifty aids, arrived on 
the first train from the East, and with them came 
everything necessary for people, who were left utterly 
destitute. Establishing themselves in tents, they be- 
gan to distribute food, and means were provided to 
insure the fact that no one would be overlooked. 



54 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

The confidence in the Society was such that money 
and supphes continued to arrive, and buildings were 
erected to i-eceive them. The crushed, heart-broken 
women were organized into committees to assist in 
the work, and with their help the wants of over 
20,000 persons were made known to the secretary 
in writing. 

The white wagons with the red s^anbol carried 
supplies for all of these. Barracks were erected, 
where large numbers were housed and fed; then two 
and four-roomed buildings were put up and furnished 
by the Society, and family life began once more. 
A comfortable hospital was next arranged, and in the 
autumn turned over to the city. Miss Barton re- 
mained five months in that devastated city, and 
among the most touching tributes ever paid to the Red 
Cross is a sketch in a Johnstown paper of that date: 

" The vital idea of the Ked Cross is not charity, it 
scoi'us the word, but friendliness, helpfulness. It 
is a privilege to do for those in trouble; they are 
neighbors in the good Samaritan sense: in a word, 
human brotherhood is their ci'eed, and nothing less 
than the true law of love as given by Jesus Christ 
their animating principle." 

In March, 1893, the American Society received a 
welcome gift. Dr. Joseph Gardner presented a tract 
of land, comprising more than one square mile, with 
buildings, fruit trees, and everything necessary to a 
beautiful farm. In accepting the gift Miss Barton 
says, " This property will be the one piece of neutral 
ground on the Western Hemisphere, protected by 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 55 

international treaty again>st the tread of hostile feet. 
Forty nations are pledged to hold all material and 
stores of the Red Cross and all its followers nentral 
in war, and free to go and come as their dnties re- 
qnire. 1 will direct that monuments be ei-ected de- 
fining the boundaries of this domain, dedicated to 
eternal peace and hnmanity, npon which shall be in- 
scribed the insignia of the Treaty of Geneva ; w hich 
insignia all the nations of the earth are bound by 
solemn covenant to respect." 

In writing of Miss Barton, Laura Doolittle says: 
''Her superb executive ability must have impressed 
all who met her. She influences and controls men 
and women not so much because of native gifts of 
leadership, as because of elevation of character, 
strong convictions, and high purposes. In person 
and manner she is gentle and womanly, her voice 
sweet and feminine; but that she is an unusual, 
peculiar woman, every one feels who meets her. 
That which is deeply boi-ne in upon the mind is that 
she is totally without fear ; that the ' custom ' which 
lies upon the rest of us with such a weight, lies not 
at all upon her; that for some deep reason she is a 
woman apart. She is a law to her staff, and is 
worshiped by them. 

"A life devoted wholly to the highest objects, a 
heart single to the service of humanity, time, health 
and fortune given without stint, and without hope of 
earthly reward, — history cannot fail to place her high 
on the roll of those who love God supremely, and 
her neighbor as themselves. 



56 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

*' In a little casket in Miss Bai-ton's room lie some 
few jewels, badges of orders, gifts from ro^al i)er- 
sons, societies, beneficiaries, visible testimonials of 
love, gratitnde, and appreciation; conrt jewels from 
the Grand Duchess of Baden; a medal and jewels 
from the Empress of Germany; a decoration from 
the Qneen of Servia ; the Iron Cross of Merit, given 
only for heroic deeds of kindness, from old Kaiser 
Wilhelm, and some other deeoi-ations. A beautiful 
brooch aud pendant of diamonds testify to the abound- 
ing gratitude and love of the people of Johns- 
town." 

The American Society has its headquarters in 
Washington, in the mansion once nsed as the head- 
quarters of General Grant. The walls are decoi-ated 
by flags of many nations, the banner of Switzerland, 
with its Avhite cross on a crimson field, occupying the 
place of honor. Miss Barton meets all the expenses 
of the establishment from her private fortune. 

Over this Iniilding floats the banner of the Red 
Cross, telling to all the world that the United States 
is leagued with thirty-nine other nations pledged to 
promote the human brotherhood. 

We append an address delivered by Clara Barton 
before the International Council of Women, held in 
Washington, :March 25 to April 1, 1888. 

Thh Red Cross. 

The organization of the Red Cross is the result of 
an international treaty known among nations as the 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 57 

''Treaty of Geneva," and has for its object the amel- 
ioration of the conditions of that chiss of persons 
who, in accordance with the cnstoms of mankind 
from the earHest liistoi-y to tlie present, have been 
called to maintain the bonndaries of nations, and even 
national existence itself, by hmnan warfare. 

Whether w^dl or ill, needful or needless, that na- 
tions and lx)nndaries be so preserved, is not a qnes- 
tion for me here to consider. That they have been, 
and mainly are so preserved, that no better method is 
yet consnnnnated, and that, in the progress of hu- 
manity, the existing countries of the civilized world 
have seen fit to enter into an international treaty for the 
betterment of tlie conditions of those 8ul)jects or citi- 
zens who, by their laws, are called to the performance 
oi" this duty, are facts w hich I am here to state. This 
international ti-eaty of 1864 commences wdth the neu- 
tralizing of all parties in their efforts at relief. It 
l)rings to the aid of the medical and hospital depart- 
ments of armies the direct, organized, and protected 
help of the people. It goes through the entire cate- 
gory of military medical regime, as practiced up to its 
date; makes war upon and plucks out its old-time 
barliarities, its needless restrictions and cruelties, and 
finally, in effect, ends by teaching Avar to make war 
upon itself. 

By its international code, all military hospitals 
under its flag become neutral, and can be neither at- 
tacked nor captured. All sick and wounded within 
them remain unmolested. Surgeons, nurses, chap- 
lains, attendants, and all non-combatants at a field, 



58 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

wearing the accredited insignia of the Red Cross, are 
protected from capture. Badly wounded prisoners 
lying* upon a captured fiekl, are dehvered to their 
own army if desired. All supplies designed for the 
use of the sick or wounded of either army, and bear- 
ing the sign of the Red Cross, are protected, and 
held sacred to their use. All convoys of wounded or 
prisoners in exchange are safely protected in transit, 
and if attacked from ambush or otherwise harmed, 
an international treaty is broken. All persons resid- 
ing in the vicinity of a battle about to take place 
shall be notified by the generals commanding both 
armies, and full protection, with a guard, assui-ed 
each house, which shall open its doors to the care of 
the wounded fi-om either army; thus each house be- 
comes a furnished field liospital,and its inmates nurses. 

Each nation, upon its accession to the Treaty, 
establishes a national society, or committee, through 
which it will act internationally in its various rela- 
tions. This body corporate adopts a constitution, in 
the formation of which it seeks the best methods for 
serving humanity in general, together with the 
interests of its own people, in the direction of its 
legitimate efforts. 

With the exception of our own, no national consti- 
tution has covered more than the direct ground of 
the treaty ; viz., the prevention and relief of suffering 
by war.* The formers of the JS^ational Constitution 



♦Since the reading of this address each nation which has united with 
the treaty, including Japan, has requested to be admitted with the 
American Amendment. 



or A' ARMY NURSES. 59 

of the Red Ci'oss of America foresaw that the great 
woes of its people would not be confined to human 
warfare; that the elements raging, unchained, would 
wage us wars and face us in battles; that as our 
vast tei'ritory became populated, and people, in the 
place of prairies and forests, should lie in their track, 
these natural agents might prove scarcely less de- 
structive and more relentless than human enemies; 
that fire, flood, famine, pestilence, drouth, earthquake, 
and tornado woidd call for the ])r()mj)t help of the 
people no less than war, and while organizing for the 
latter they also included the former. The ratifying 
congress at Berne accepted us with that digression 
from the original purport of the treaty, and what we 
term the ""civil branch " of the Red Cross is known 
abroad as the ^'American Amendment." 

With these exjjlanations, it remains only to name 
some of the things accomplished and the changes 
which have taken place in consequence of this treaty 
during its life of a short quarter of a century. 

Previous to the war of the Crimea civil help for 
military necessities was unknown. Florence IN^ight- 
ingale trod a pathless field. In the wars which fol- 
lowed, till 1866, even this example was not heeded, 
and the wars of Xa})oleon III. in JSTorthern Italy wei-e 
types of military cruelt}^ medical insufficiency, and 
needless suffering which shocked the woi-ld. Out of 
the smouldering ashes of these memories rose the 
clear, steady flame of the Red Cross ; so bright and 
beautiful that it drew the gaze of all mankind; so 
broad that it reached the farthest bound of the hori- 



60 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

zoii; so peaceful, wise, harmless and fraternal that all 
nations and sects, the Christian and the Jew, the 
Protestant and the Catholic, the soldier and the phi- 
lanthropist, the war-maker and the peace-maker, could 
meet in its softened rays, and, hy its calm, holy light, 
reveal to each other their difficulties, compare their 
views, study methods of humanity, and, from time to 
time, learn from and teach to each other things better 
than they had known. 

Our own terril)le war which freed 4,000,000 slaves 
and gave to lis the ^^ Battle Hymn of the Republic," 
had no ray of this fraternal light. We "read the 
righteous sentence by dim and flaring lamps," and in 
darkness and inhumanity, soi'i'ow and doul^t, " our 
souls went marching on." 

The great Commissions rose, and performed a work 
of relief hitherto unknown, but from lack of military 
recognition their best efforts com})aratively failed; 
and from lack of permanent organization their fu- 
ture possibilities were lost to the world. 

With the Franco-German war of '70-71 com- 
menced the opportunities for the practical application 
of the princi^^les of the treaty. Both nations were in 
the compact. There was perfect accord between the 
military and the Ked Cross Relief. There Avas 
neither medical nor hospital work save through and 
under the treaty of Geneva. The Red Cross bras- 
sard flashed on the arm of every agent of relief, from 
the medical director at the headquarters of the king 
to the little boy carrying water to his wounded lieu- 
tenant; fi-om the noble Empress Augusta and her 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 61 

court, and poor Eugenia, while she had one, to the 
patient, tired nuivse in the lowliest hospital or tent hy 
the wayside. 

^o record of needless inhumanity or cruelty to 
wounded or sick, stains the annals of that wai'. 

I walked its hospitals day and night. I served in 
its camps, and I marched with its men, and I know 
whereof I speak. The German, the Frenchman, the 
Italian, the Arab, the Turko, and the Zouave were 
gathered tenderly alike, and lay side by side in the 
Red Cross palace hospitals of Germany. The I'oyal 
women, who to-day mourn their own dead, mourned 
then the dead of friend and foe. 

Since that day no war between nations within the 
treaty has taken place in which the Red Cross did 
not stand at its ]30st, at the field, and the generous 
gifts of neutral nations have filled its hands. 

The treaty has brought the war-making powers to 
know each other. Four times it has called the heads 
of thirty to forty nations to meet through appointed 
delegates, and confer upon national neutrality and 
relief in war. It has created and established one 
common sign for all military medical relief the world 
over, and made all under that sign safe and sacred. 
It has established one military hospital flag for all 
nations. It has given to the people the recognized 
right to reach and succor their wounded at the field. 
It has rendered impossi1)le any insiifficieny of sup- 
plies, either medical or nutritive, for wounded or pris- 
oners which human sympathy and power can reach. 
It has given the best inventions known to science for 



62 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

the proper handling" of mutilated person.s, whether 
soldiers or civilians. The most approved i:)ortable 
hospitals in the world are of the Red Cross. It has 
frowned upon all old-time modes of cruelty in de- 
structive warfare; poisoned and explosive bullets are 
no longer popular. Antiseptic dressings and electric 
light at battlefields ai"e established facts, and the am- 
bulance and stretcher-bearei's move in the rear ranks 
of every army. These isolated facts are only the 
mountain peaks which I point out to you. The great 
Ali)ine range of humanity and activity below cannot 
be shown in fifteen minutes. 

80 much for human warfare and the legitimate dis- 
pensation of the treaty. 

Touching our ""American Amendment," the wars 
of the elements have not left us quite at leisure. 

The public in general, to a large extent, is coming 
to the use of the Red Cross as a medium of conveyance 
and distribution for its contributions. The ^National 
Association, with its headquarters at Washington, 
has a field-agent, wdio visits, in person, every scene 
where aid is rendered. Commencing Avith the "forest 
fires " of Michigan, in 1881, there has fallen to its 
hands a share of the relief-work in the ovei'flow of 
the Mississippi River, in 1882; of the Ohio, in 1883; 
of the Mississii)pi cyclone the same year; the over- 
How of both the Ohio and Mississippi, in 1881; the 
representation of the United States Government at 
the International Conference of Geneva, Switzerland, 
in 1884; the exhibition of "woman's work " in the 
Red Cross, both foreign and American, at the Expo- 



OL'R ARMY NURSES. 63 

sition at ;N"ew Orleans, in 1885 ; the drouth in Texas, 
in 1886; the Charleston earthquake, in 1886; the 
representation of the United States Cxovernment again 
at the court of their Koyal Highness the Grand 
Duke and Duchess of Baden, at Carlsruhe, Germany, 
in 1887 ; and the relief of the sufferers from the Mt. 
Yernon cyclone, in 1888.* 

In the overflow of the rivers in 1884 the Govern- 
ment appropriated |150,000 for distribution through 
the War Department, and magnificently and faith- 
fully was that distribution made ; an honor to any 
nation. 

The Red Cross, with no appropriation and no 
treasury, received from the public, and personally 
distributed in the space of four months, money and 
material at the moderately estimated value of $175,- 
000; an honor to any people. 

But, s'ays one, "What has this war movement, this 
Red Cross treaty, to do with real progress, and the 
bringing about of that great universal peace toward 
which our eyes and hearts and hopes are turned, and 
for which we have so long organized, labored, and 
prayed V " 

Wars are largely the result of unbridled passions. 
That universal treaty binding every war-making 
power to wholesome restraints, pledging it to hu- 
manity, and holding it responsible to the entire world, 

*The last five years have added to the relief and labors of the above 
list. The yellow fever epidemic of Florida, in 1888; the Johnstown 
disaster, in 1889; the Russian famine, in 1891-"92; the Fifth Interna- 
tional Conference at Rome, 1892; and the hurricane and tidal wave of 
the South Carolina sea- island coast of 1893-'94. 



64 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

is the bit in the nionth, the eur]) on the neck, of the 
war horse; and while it holds out the measure of oats 
in the one hand, it carries the bridle in the other. It 
constitutes a peace society which cannot be sneered 
at in counsel, nor ignored in war. It is one of the 
thresholds to the temple of Peace, and even ourselves 
may be farther from the entrance than we are wont 
to fondly dream. Wars are organized mobs, they 
tell us. We are not without that seed in our own 
fair land to-day. 

Women have taken their share in the work. Em- 
presses and queens — princesses of peace and hu- 
manity — as well as emperors and kings, lead its 
societies and its relief work in Avar; and Avhile each 
queenly wife stands Avith her Ked Cross hand on the 
epauletted shoulder of her w^ar-meditating husband^ 
he Avill consider well before he declares. This has 
been and Avill be again the case; and in the great 
millennial day, when Peace has conquered war, and 
its standards float out from the shining battlements, 
the Ked Cross and its devoted workers Avill be there. 



66 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MRS. FOWLE. 



**lenglan^ bae ber one, Hmcrica ber 
tbou9an^0/* 



QF all the women who devoted themselves to the 
soldiers in our late Kebellion, perhaps none 
had a more vai'ied experience than Elida B. 
Rumsey, a g'irl so 3'oung that Miss Dix would not 
receive her as a nurse; a fact for which hundreds 
had reason to be gi-ateful. 

Undaunted by seeming difficulties, she persisted in 
" doing the next thing," and so fulfilled her great 
desire to do something for the Union soldiers. Yet 
it was not to these alone that her kindly ministrations 
extended; for wherever she saw a soldier in need her 
ready sympathies were enlisted, little cai'ing if the 
heartbeats stirred a coat of blue or gray. 

Miss Rumsey vv-as born in I^ew York City, June 6, 
184:2. Upon the removal of her parents to Washing- 
ton, where the ^'Secesh" element was strong in '61, 
her patriotic spirit was so enthused that she deter- 
mined to help in some way; and relying upon her 
own resources, she entered upon a career that gave 
her an almost national reputation, and endeared her 
to thousands of hearts. 

She was engaged to John A. Fowle, of Jamaica 
Plain, Mass., who was employed in the Xavy Depart- 
ment, at Washington, but devoted all his spare time 



08 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

to philanthropic enterprises, — and their work was 
supplementary from the first. In November, 'Gl, she 
began to visit the hospitals and sing to the soldiers, 
who found relief and courage in the tones of her 
strongly sympathetic voice, and watched eagerly for 
the young, vivacious face that almost daily appeared 
in the wards, always bringing sunshine and leaving 
renewed hope. It was the knowledge of how little 
the boys had to look forward to from day to day, 
while all the time under such depressing influences, 
that first inspired the thought of supplying them 
with pictures and books. Then, too, much stern 
condemnation was passed upon the convalescents 
for playing cards and telling idle stories, and Miss 
Rumsey believed a better way would be to displace 
evil by good. 

The " Soldiers' Rest " was a name very inappro- 
priately given to a place near the Baltimore & Ohio 
depots where prisoners were exchanged, or some- 
times stayed over night when they had no Avhere 
else to go. Miss Rumsey had a strong desire to see 
what kind of men had been in Libby Prison, and 
when the first lot had been exchanged she went 
down to see them off as they were going home on a 
furlough. They looked utterly disheartened and 
demoralized by disaster and suffering; and their 
enthusiasm was all gone. Some one recognized the 
young lady, and called for a song. To gain attention 
and give her a moment's preparation, Mr. Fowle 
stepped to her «ide and said, ^' Boys, how would 
you like a song?" " Oh, very well, I guess," came 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 69 



^ the reply in spiritless tones. She sang the "Red, 
AYhite, and Blue/' Soon they crowded ai'onnd her 
with moi-e interest than they had yet shown since 
leaving prison; Init comparatively few could see her. 
At the close of the song they called for anothoi-, and 
a pile of knapsacks was thrown on the ground. 
Standing on this rude rostrum she sang " The Star- 
Spangled Banner/' Her natural enthusiasm was 
intensified by the surroundings, and the desire to 
inspire the boys with the courage they had all but 
lost. Her voice was full of power, and her whole 
attitude instinct with patriotism, as she brought her 
foot down on the imaginary rebel flags (words writ- 
ten by Mr. Fowle on the first captured "rebel flags," 
then on exhibition in the rotunda in the Capitol), 
when, raising her eyes, she met those of a Southern 
officer in a pen just beyond, waiting to be transferred. 
It was but a momentary interchange of unspoken 
thought, but a moment surcharged with deep, sym- 
pathetic feeling on the part of each ; and the impres- 
sion could not be lightly forgotten. In less time 
than it takes to tell it, that strange experience was 
over. Our boys, now restored to their former ear- 
nestness, rent the air with cheer after cheer. I^'rom 
this time her voice, hitherto used only for the enjoy- 
ment of her friends, was devoted to her country. 

One of the first things definitely accompHshed was 
the establishment of a Sunday evening prayer meet- 
ing in Columbia College Hospital, in an upper room 
in Auntie Pomroy's ward. That room was crowded 
night after night, and overflow meetings were held 



70 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

in a grove near b}^ The interest steadily- increased, 
the boys often doing donble duty in order to be 
present, and they were continued as long as it was 
safe; but the enthusiasm of the soldiers could not be 
repressed when Miss Rumsey's sweet voice stiri-ed 
their souls and rekindled the noble, self-sacrificinir 
sjoirit that had brought them to such a place, and 
cheers shook the A^ery walls. The soldiers planned 
what they wanted her to sing from week to week, 
and she threw into the songs all her great desire to 
bring the boys l:iack to their better selves, and help 
them to feel that they were not forgotten nor alone. 

All this time her plans had been assuming outward 
form. Xow, having received a grant of land from 
Government, a building Avas erected, and the ; 
^'Soldiers' Free Library" founded; Mrs. Walter \ 
Baker giving the hrt^t hundred dollars and the greater \ 
part of the remainder was earned by Miss Rumsey and 
Mr. Fowle giving concerts, at two of which tliey had 1 
the Marine Band, by order of the President. As far ' 
as known, this was the first library ever founded by 
a woman, and that by a mere girl scarcely eighteen 
years old. Perhaps no better idea of the institution 
can be given than by an article from one of the news- 
papers soon after the new building was occupied. 

''Fast Day I took a walk to the Soldiers' Free Li- 
brary and Reading Room; and, Messrs. Editors, if I 
ever felt proud of being an old Massachusetts man, 
my pride had no fall to-day. Six months ago Miss 
Elida Rumsey, Avhose sweet voice has so often been 
heard in the Choir of Representatives ' Hall, con- 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 71 

ceived the idea of establishing a free hbrary for the 
soldiers. For this purpose she gave several concerts, 
the avails from which were devoted to the erection of 
a plain one-story building 65 x 24 feet, at a cost of 
about one thousand dollars. The use of the land, on 
Judiciary Square, was donated by Congi-ess. 

" The reading-room is modestly fitted up with seats 
which will accommodate two hundred and fifty per- 
sons. It has a melodeon, on which soldiers practice 
at will, though every Wednesday evening regular in- 
struction is given in music and singing by Mr. and 
Mrs. Fowle, and religious services are conducted by 
the chaplain twice each Sunday. I may as well state 
here that Miss Rumsey was married a short time since 
to Mr. John A. Fowlo, of the ^avy Department, 
formerly from Jamaica Plain, Mass. He is thoroughly 
devoted, heart and soul, to the sufferers of the war. 

"About fifty different papers are sent regularly by 
publishers, free of charge. Boxes of books are daily 
arriving for the libraiy, which already exceeds three 
thousand volumes. One box from Jamaica Plain 
came while I was there, — a donation from a Sunday 
Hcliool, comprising many of the new works of the day. 
The reading-room is open all day, and the library 
four hours each day. Secretary Stanton has detailed 
a convalescent soldier v/ho is alwa^^s on duty to keep 
the room in order, deliver books, etc. 

" One room is devoted to storage of medicine, deli- 
cacies, stationery, socks, shirts, etc., and is under the 
charge of Mrs. Fowle. Here the soldiers can pro- 
cure Testaments (donated by the Massachusetts Bible 



72 OUR AR3rV lYURSES. 

Society), hymn books, pamphlets, newspapers, letter 
paper, envelopes, etc., all free of charge. 

"One object interested me deeply, — a box from 
Dorchester containing one thousand small cotton 
bags, each filled with tea or gronnd coffee, with a 
few lumps of sugar, ready for immediate use. Every 
convalescent who leaves for camp has a few of those 
packages placed in his knapsack by Mrs. Fowle." 

Having spoken of Miss Rumsej's marriage, we 
add another sketch, also taken from a paper at that 
time. 

"Mr. and Mrs. Fowle first met in the reception 
room at the House of Representatives. To-day, 
March 1, 1863, after the conclusion of Dr. Stock- 
ton's remarks, a scene never before witnessed in the 
halls of Congress took place, in the form of a mar- 
riage ceremony ; the parties being Mr. John A. Fowle 
and Miss Elida B. Kumsey. Mr. Fowle is from 
Boston, Mass., but at present a clerk in the !N^avy 
Department. He is known as connected with move- 
ments for the aid of soldiers in the hospitals, and for 
the establishment of a free library for the soldiers. 
Miss Rumsey is from ]^ew York, her father at 
present residing in this city. She also has given 
much attention to the patients in military hospitals. 
During the present Congress she and Mr. Fowle 
have in part composed the Choir of the House. For 
this cause it is said that certain Senators and Repre- 
sentatives desired that the marriage should take 
place in the Representatives' Hall. 

"A good deal of publicity had been given the 



OrJ^ ARMY NURSES. 73 

affair, and tlie floor and galleries were packed. 
About four thousand peo})le were present. . . . 

^' The marriage ceremony was performed according \ 
to the rites of the Episcopal Church, by Kev. Mr. 
Quint, pastor of the church which Mr. Fowle at- / 
tended in Jamaica Plain, and now chaplain of the / 
Second Massachusetts Regiment. / 

"The bride was dressed in a plain drab poplin, with 
linen collar and cuffs, and wore a bonnet of the same 

(color, ornamented with red, white, and blue flowers. 
A bow of red, white, and blue ribbon was fastened 
upon her breast. 
"After the ceremony had been completed, the bene- 

/ diction pi-onounced, and the couple were receiving 
congratulations, a soldier in the gallery shouted, 
^ Won't the bride sing the " Star Spangled Ban- 
ner?'" and she did, then and there, in her bridal 
dress, with never more of fervor in her beautiful 
voice." 

y President Lincoln had intended to be present, but 

at the last moment he was detained ; but with "Auntie 
Pomroy," in his carriage, he sent a magnificent bas- 
ket of flowers. The city gardener, Mr. ^N^okes, also 
sent a basket; and these, with the following note, 
"Accept as a slight testimonial this check of one 
hundred dollars from the doorkeeper and assistant, 
Mrs. Ira Goodnoe," were all the presents or payment 
she ever received for her services. On their return 
from their bridal trip the soldiers of Columbia Hos- 
pital requested the j)rivilege of reversing the order, 
and giving a concert themselves to the newly married 



74 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

couple. When the company were assembled, six 
pieces of plate were presented to the bride and 
gTOom; a present from the officei-y, nurses, and 
soldiers. But knowing that she would never accept 
a sacrifice from those for whom she was laboring, no 
soldier was allowed to give more than twenty-five 
cents. 

Also a large Bible from the soldiers of Judiciary 
Hospital. 

Mrs. Fowle has an almost inexhaustible supply of 
racy anecdotes and pathetic stories that she knows so 
well how and when to tell. She has, also, a collec- 
tion of army relics, among them one of the first rebel 
flags captured. On this flag she has stood many 
times while singing "The Star Spangled Banner." 
Perfectly fearless in the face of thoughtless criticism, 
she went on her errands of mercy for three years, 
doing anything tliat needed to be done. Mr. 
Fowle had established the making of crutches and 
canes for the soldiers, free of charge, and these were 
stored in one part of the library. Mrs. Fowle (then 
Miss Rumsey) would frequently go to the l^avy 
Yard after them with her ambulance, and ride back 
perched on the top of the load. 

Knowing that there would be urgent need, and 
fearful suffering, she determined to go to the second 
battle of Bull Run ; so taking a load of supplies and 
some four hundred loaves of bread, she and Mr. 
Fowle started in the ambulance. Having no Gov- 
ernment pass it was a hazardous undertaking, and 
she experienced some difliculty in getting through 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 75 

the lines. The last guard peremptorily refused to let 
her go any farther; when, springing from the ambu- 
lance, she fell on her knees before him and begged 
her way through. Thus Avhile Miss Dix and her 
faithful nurses were detained three miles away, she 
was inside the lines and ready for action. AYhen 
almost on the battlefield they came to a little negro 
cabin, and resolved to nse it for a hospital. It was a 
tiny affair, but on o])ening the door they found that 
it Av^as already occupied. A terrified crowd of negroes 
had sought shelter there. Almost wild with fear, 
they could scarcely obey the order " Be oif," but 
were soon on their way to Washington. Their 
prej)arations had not been made any too quickly, 
for now the wounded men began to arrive. The 
little cabin would hold about fifty, and as Mr. Fowle 
did what he could for one, he was removed, and an- 
other took his place. When the stores had all been 
distributed, Mrs. Fowle determined to go in and help 
care for the wounded. Just as she stepped inside 
she glanced down. The fioor was completely hid- 
den with blood. She covered her face Avith her 
hands and turned away, overpowered for a moment 
by the thought of Avalking through that Avarm human 
blood. Then came a sti'ong reaction; then no fear of 
shrinking from duty : she firmly entered, and helped 
to bind up those fearful Avounds until the close of 
that famous Sunday night Avhen the army retreated. 
Only two men died during the day that they cared 
for, — one whose name and regiment were unknown, 
the other from Ncav York. But though death was 



76 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

not common, there were other scenes as fearful. 
Once as she was washing the wounds in a pail of 
water thick with blood, some soldiers begged for it 
to drink : the Avater they used had to be carried over 
two miles. 

Mrs. Fowle carries a scar on her face, — a relic of 
war times, — and its story defines her whole attitude 
during the RebelHon: a large carbuncle, the re- 
sult of blood-poisoning, while washing wounds on the 
battlefield. At last the doctors said it must be 
lanced. Having a horror of a knife, and with 
nerves already quivering from the sights around 
her, she did not feel equal to the ordeal. Still 
knowing it must be done, she said, "Let me go over 
to the Judiciary Hospital and see the boys who have 
had their legs and arms amputated, and I can bear 
it." A chair was placed in one end of the ward, and 
calmly seating herself after looking for a moment at 
the long rows of cots, she told the surgeon to go on. 

These scenes have been selected at random from 
among the every-day experiences of her three years' 
service. In closing, I will again quote from a news- 
paper of that period. 

" At the Patent Office Hospital last May a soldier 
lay on his dying bed; he was a mere boy, only seven- 
teen years of age, from the State of ^ew York. 
Typhoid fever had brought him low, and then con- 
sumption marked him for its victim, and day by day 
he wasted, growing weaker and weaker, until at last 
he could only whisper. The dear little fellow was 



OUR ARMY NURSES. -J-! 

conscious he was about to die, and was prepared to 
go. A young lady of this city, who spends all her 
time in labors of love for the sick and wounded 
soldiers, took a special interest in his case, and at 
the twilight hour she would often visit him, and at 
his request her sweet voice would be heard at his 
bedside, singing to him of " Jesus " or " Heaven." 

" One evening just as the sun had set she foinid him 
failing rapidly ; he wanted to hear a hymn, and whis- 
pered, ^Sing, " JS'earer Home."' It was a favorite, 
beginning thus, — 

' One sweetly solemn thought 
Comes to me o'er and o'er.' 

and Tommy liked to hear it set to the sweet tune 
of ^Dennis.' Under such touching circumstances it 
was difficult to sing; the tears must flow, and the 
utterance be choked; but the lady tried, and there 
surrounded by a little band of his soldier friends, and 
faithful nurse. Miss Lawrence, of Albany, IS^. Y., she 
sang the first, second, and third verses, — then 
stopped, for a great change was taking place in 
Tommy; he was dying; he was Agoing home,' — was 
leaving ^his cross of heavy grief, to wear a starry 
crown.' 'Twas a scene that all present will never 
forget. 

"Some weeks later the hospital was closed, and 
opened again in September. A few Sabbaths ago 
the same lady, standing where the soldier died, sang, 
by request, a little ballad composed by Mr. Fowle in 
memory of Tommy Reese. A large audience heard 
it, and not a dry eye could be seen." 



78 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

THE DYING SOLDIER BOY. 

Tune, Annie Laurie. Bj John A. Fowle. 

Sing me a song before I go, 

Said the dear and dying boy : 
" Nearer Home " is the one I love ; 

Oh, sing of heavenly joy ! 
Sing, for I'm going home. 

Over the crystal sea ; 
I'm going to join the angel throngs, 

And spend eternity. 

With faint and trembling voice we sang 

Of laying my burden down ; 
We sang tlie sweet, sweet words, 

Wearing my starry crown. 
And then the soldier smiled, 

As his spirit soared above : 
He left his cross of heavy grief, 

To spend a life of love. 

Brave boy, we mourn your fate. 

Your life was noblv given ; 
Far from home, and far from friends, 

Y"ou gave up earth for heaven. 
No stone may mark the spot 

Where our soldier boy is laid. 
But in our hearts he has a place, — 

A spot in memory made. 

Our country mourns for heroes brave. 

Who died to save our land ; 
Our hearts, — how oft they bleed 

For many a noble band. 
But at their hallowed graves 

We all shall Pilgrims be ; 
We'll shed a tear for those who've died 

For Right and Liberty. 

Mi'w. Fowle now resides at 337 Boston Street, 
Dorchester, Mass. 



80 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MARY PRINGLE. 



J WAS born in Columhus, Ohio, Jan. 11, 1833. 
My maiden name was Mary Breckel. When 
the war broke ont I was Hving in Keoknk, 
Iowa, and while at church one Sunday, vohm- 
teers were called for to go into the hosjjital at Quincy, 
111., and the next day I started alone. Upon my arri- 
val I was introduced to Miss Orland, and went with 
her to Hospital No. 1, as her assistant, by appointment 
of Dr. Stanton. After al)ont a month I was trans- 
ferred to ^o. 2, as superintendent. I had been there 
about a year when I heard that my brother was sick 
in Columbus. I went to see him, and while there a 
hospital was organized on Broad Street, and I went 
as superintendent. I l)ecaine sick from overwork, 
and had to leave the service July, 1863. 

It would give me much pleasure to hear from any 
of the 'Mjoys in blue," who knew me while in oui 
country's service. 

Yours in F., C. and L., 

Mary Pringle. 

Chillicothe, Livingston Co , Mo. 




82 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



«ev5.*-a,:^ 



^it 



-Jm 







s 



DR. NANCY M. HILL. 



EAIS'CY M. HILL, daughter of William and 
Harriet (Swan) Hill, was born in West Cam- 
bridge (now Arlington and Belmont), Mass. 
Her forefathers were in the battles of Lex- 
ington, West Cambridge, and Bunker Hill. 

She was educated in the public schools at West 
Cambridge, and at Mount Holyoke Seminary, South 
Hadley, Mass. 

There was a great call for educated w omen to go as 
nurses, during the War of the Rebellion, in the hospi- 
tals at Washington. Ladies from Cambridge, Boston, 
and other places offered their services at Armory 
Square Hosi)ital, under Dr. Bliss, who was surgeon 
in charge. These ladies were specially appointed by 
Surgeon-General Barnes. 

There was a vacancy in Ward F in this hospital, 
and Miss Hill was summoned. She went in April, 
1863, and remained until August, 1865, after the 
close of the war. 

The pay of the volunteer nurses was to go into a 
hospital fund, to buy extras for the soldiers, which 
Government did not provide. 

Armory Square Hospital was a barrack hospital of 
eleven buildings, besides tents for the convalescents, 
capable of holding a thousand men. Each lady had 
charge of a ward under a doctor. There were fifty- 
two beds in each w^ard, but often extra cots were 



84 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

added. This hospital was nearest the boat-landing 
and the railroad depot, and received the worst cases. 
They were often brought all the way from the boat 
on stretchers, as they could not stand the jar of the 
ambulances. 

AVhen the battles of the Wilderness were going 
ou, all hospital supplies and sanitary stores had been 
sent to the front, and there w^ere none in Washington. 
Miss Hill wrote to her mother about it, and she had 
the letter read next morning in the four churches in 
Arlington. Immediately the congregations were dis- 
missed, and all went home, to returu to the Town Hall 
bringing table-cloths, and linen, and cotton sheets, — 
the best they had. The ladies and gentlemen worked 
all day long makiug and rolling bandages and pick- 
iug lint. Before niue o'clock that night two large 
dry-goods boxes, the size of an upright piano, were 
on their way to Washington by Adams Express, Avho 
took them fi-ee of charge. 

The Soldiers' Aid Societies of both Arlington and 
Belmont were very generous in their contributions. 
As fast as they sent boxes away, they began to fill 
others to send, — and so it was with all the volunteer 
nurses; friends at the I^orth sent bountiful supplies 
of whatever w^as needed. 

After General Grant took command of the Army 
of the Potomac, the hospitals were crowded with 
severely wounded men. He followed up the foe so 
fast it was blow upon blow. Every day the wounded 
came, and every day men who could be moved with 
safety, were sent to Baltimore or Philadelphia, to 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



85 



make room for others. It was a common thing to 
count forty amputation cases at a time, when looking- 
up and down the ward that summer, and so it con- 
tinued until the end of the war. 

After the hospital closed, Dr. Bliss advised Miss 
Hill to study medicine. 

Acting on this suggestion she began reading under 
Dr. Marie Zakryewska, the Alma Mater of all lady 
physicians of Boston and vicinity. Afterwards she 
became a medical student at the New England Hos- 
pital for Women and Children, at Roxbury, Mass. 
She was graduated at the medical department of the 
Michigan University, at Ann Arbor, in the year 1874. 
She then came to Dubuque, Iowa, and opened an 
office, and has been in active practice of medicine 
ever since. 

Her address is Dr. Nancy Hill, Dubuque, Iowa. 



86 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MARY A. LOOMIS. 



5Y two and a half years of service during the 
war I ^hall not soon forget. The privations 
and snfferings of onr brave and noble boys 
will always linger in my memory. 
At the time the war broke ont my home was in 
Coldwater, Mich. I entered the service with my 
husband sometime in May, 1861, as a volunteer nurse, 
and was not under authority of any one e:xcept the 
surgeon. Later I was appointed matron of Hospital 
'No. 13, Kashville, Tenn., and remained there from 
September, 1862, until January, 1863. This hospital 
was in chai-ge of H. J. Herrick, M.D., of the 17th 
Kegiment Ohio Volunteers. I then went to No. 20, 
Nashville, and stayed until May, as matron under 
J. R. Goodwin, M.D., surgeon in charge. 

I was also in a hospital at Murfreesboro, Tenn., and 
at Huntsville, Ala. 

In all, I was in hospitals about a year; the remainder 
of the time I was in camp or on the march with my 
husband, Capt. George W. Van Pelt, and I always 
found plenty of work to do there. My husband fell 
in the battle of Chickamauga, in September, 1863, 
and in November I left the service. 



Mary A. Loomis. 



Burr Oak, St. Joseph Co., Micu. 



88 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MRS. EMMA L. SIMONDS. 




mS. EMMA L. SIM0:N'DS was appointed as 
a nurse by Mrs. Iloge and Mrs. Liverniore, 
under the authority of Miss D. L. Dix, on 
^^^^^ August 26, 1863, and was assigned to work 
in Memphis, Tenn., as chief nurse of Ward A in the 
Gayoso Hospital; Dr. F. Noel Burke, surgeon in 
charge. 

She went from De Kalb, 111., soon after our mar- 
riage, to Memphis, where I was on duty as an army 
surgeon. United States Army, in Jackson Plospital. 
At the close of the war she returned with me to 
my home at Iowa Falls. In 1873 we moved to Fay- 
etteville, Ark., where she resumed practice as a pro- 
fessional nurse; which work she continued untd 
January, 1892. She died in May, 1893. I think 
she was the most unselfish, most charitable in her 
opinions and in her demeanor toward others, the 
most forgiving in spirit, and the most truthful in 
all her expressions, of any woman I have ever 
known. 

Yours truly, 

J. F. SiMONDS. 
Washington, D. C 



90 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MARGARET HAYES. 



Q:N' the 17th day of February, 1863, I left my 
home in Mendota, 111., for Chicago. Arriving 
there we went to the Sanitary Commission 
rooms, and were cared for by Mrs. Livermore, 
who gave lis onr commissions, put us up a lunch, 
gave us each a pillow and a small comfortable, as 
there were no sleeping cars in those days, procured 
transportations, and started us that same evening for 
Memi^his, Tenn. Another lady went w^ith me, who 
was as anxious as I to do something for the "boys 
in blue." AYe an-ived safely, and I was immediately 
assigned to the Adams General Hospital, ^o. 2 
(which had just been opened to receive the sick 
and wounded from Arkansas) , in A\ ard 2, Room B, 
where there were seventy-two men. I think the 
ward master was one of the kindest men I ever 
knew. Poor fellow ! He went through the war, and 
returned to his home with the regiment, but only to 
die soon after his arrival. There was a medicine 
man and a wound-dresser, and six nurses were 
detailed from among the convalescents. My especial 
duty Avas to cook the extra diet, see that the patients 
received it, Avait upon those who could not feed them- 
selves, look after the comfort of all, and, in fact, make 
myself generally useful. A part of the time I had 
two wards. The boys appreciated whatever I did for 
them very much, and presented me with a valuable 



92 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



gold watch, which I still hold as one of iny choicest 
treasures. 

I remained at the Adams until January, 18(3.">, when 
I v.as transferred to the Gayoso, and was discharged 
from there at the close of the war. 

I often think of my "boys," and wonder where they 
all ai'e. The old ones are mustered out, the young- 
are now gra-y and old, and would not know me or I 
them if we should meet. I have even changed my 
name. I was Mrs. Maggie MeseroU then ; the}^ called 
me " Sister Mao-o-ie." 

My first ward surgeon was Dr. Taylor, of Cam- 
bridge, Mass. ; next. Dr. Cole, of St. Louis; then came 
Dr. Lard, and Di". Iveenon, who died while in charge, 
succeeded by Dr. Study. 

At the Gayoso were Dr. Burke and Dr. Stold, Dr„ 
Joe Lynch, and Ma j. B. J. D. Irvin. 

I could tell many incidents if I could see to wi-ite 
them, but I am so blind that I have not been al)le to 
read since 1882. ' 

Yours in F., C. and L., 

Margaret Hayes, 

South Los Angeles, Cal. 



94 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




ELIZABETH B. NICHOLS. 



JN^ beginning to narrate the scenes of my army life 
I will state that I first entered the service at the 
request of my husband, who wished me to join 
him in Chicago, where his regiment had been 
sent on exchange, after having been taken prisoner 
at Harper's Ferry. My husband and many others 
were sick, so I started with as little delay as possible 
on the 17th of October, 1862, at about 2 o'clock p. m., 
and arrived in Chicago at 2 A. m. It was three miles 
to Camp Douglas, where our soldiers were quartered, 
and I rode that distance in the street cars. Alone in 
the darkness I found the gate, but it was closed. I 
rapped, and heard the "Halt! Who comes?" I gave 
the guard my name, told my business, and asked for 
admission, only to be told that he could not let me in. 
I must wait for the officer who w^ould change the 
guards. But when he came he told me to stop at 
some hotel until morning, and then return. I replied 
that I was a stranger, and did not know where to go 
at that time of night. It seemed so hard to send me 
away that they at length admitted me, although it 
was against the rules : telling me not to speak aloud, 
they conducted me to the hospital, inquired for Still- 
man ^N^ichols, and, leading me to his cot, asked him if 
I was his wife. Knowing how tired I must be, he 
soon asked them to find some place for me to rest. 
They led me to the baggage room, gave me a couple 



95 



96 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

of blankets and a pillow, and I was soon asleep in 
spite of my strange snrroundings. The call of the 
drnm awoke me the next moi-ning, and after break- 
fast I reported to the snrgeon in charge, and entered 
npon my work. As soon as my husband became 
convalescent he was detailed with two others to 
assist me; the work was also made easier by Chris- 
tian ladies who bronght baskets of provisions. It 
was good to see how eager the "boys" were to get 
a share of the contents of those baskets. 

At last we sent the sick to the City Hospital, to be 
cared for until they were able to join their regiments; 
then we broke camp and started for Washington, the 
journey requiring four days and three nights. Ke- 
fi'eshments were served at several places on tlie road. 
Once some ladies asked me why I was there, and 
when I told them that ni}^ husband and I were nurses, 
they praised my patriotism. 

We stayed in Bahimore about three hours, and 
while there our colonel received sealed orders for the 
rec>iment to 2:0 at once to Texas : but before we could 
embark the oi'der was countermanded, and we Avere 
ordered to Washington, whei-e we arrived at day- 
light, and marched to the " Soldiers' Kest." It being 
the Sabbath, services were conducted here by Chap- 
lain Brown. 

From there we marched to Fairfix Seminary, 
crossing the long l^i'idge. It was a beautiful place, 
a large brick building, with shaded lawn, where I 
saw the roses in bloom at Christmas time. Here 
we camped, and a large empty room was taken for 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 97 

a hospital, and as we had oni* stores with iis we did 
very well. 

While there I had the pleasure of attending a 
darkey wedding. There were about one hundred 
freed slaves present. A colored minister officiated, 
but as he could not read, our officer of the guard 
stood behind him and read the service out of the 
Episcopal Prayer Book, and the minister pronounced 
them man and wife. Then the bride and groom led 
the way to another room, wliere a large table was 
spread with as nice a supper as one need to eat. 
After the supper came the wedding dance. Two 
fiddlers furnished the music; and such music as I had 
not been used to hearing, to say the least. The party 
broke up about morning, all pronouncing it a merry 
occasion. 

After our regiment had gone to Stockade Camp,, 
my husband and I had to stay nearly two weeks with 
nine sick men. The only facilities we had for cook- 
ing were a coffee-pot, one mess-pan, a spider, and a 
fireplace. But we got along some way, and the time 
came when I started in an ambulance to join the regi- 
ment. I found a great many sick, but we got them 
into a hospital tent as soon as we could, and soon felt 
more at home, though one died that evening, and 
through the night my husband watched by the body, 
while, wrapped in my blanket, I slept on a pile of straw. 

Soon there were many sick with typhoid fever and 
other maladies, and I have passed through scenes 
that I shall never foi'get. Often and often have I 
stood by a dying soldier to hear his last words. I 



98 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

had a habit of gomg through the ward to say good- 
night and speak a cheerful word, for I often knew 
that some woukl die before another day. 

One morning as I was about to enter the hospital 
the doctor met me with the dreadful news that the 
small-pox had broken out, but through the providence 
of God I was spared. There were eighteen cases, and 
only one died. 

After a time we were ordered to Centreville, Va. ; 
the regiment went first. We sent our stores to the 
General Hospital, then boarded a freight car; the 
cook, three doctors, my husband and myself com- 
pleted the load of freight. We were in the last car, 
the one in front being loaded with hay. Sometime in 
the night, when we could not see where we were, we 
were left behind. I rested quite contentedly sitting 
on the car floor, and in the morning an engine was 
sent for us, so we reached our regiment at last. 

I remained there two months, then a\ ent home on 
leave of absence; meanwhile our regiment was ordered 
to Gettysburg, so I did not return. Then my hus- 
band was very sick, and was cared for eight months 
in Philadelphia. I worked my board while there, so 
as to be near him, but the " Sisters " were nursing him. 
As soon as he recovered sufficiently he was ordered 
to Washington, where he was detailed as cook in the 
Invalid Corps Camp, and he sent for me to help him. 
I stayed there one year and four months; then my 
husband was discharged, and we went home. 

Elizabeth B. Nichols. 

Clyde, New York 



100 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




M 



^ 




M. ALICE FRUSH. 



fHE^ the war broke out I was living in a little 
town called Grcencastle, about eleven miles 
from Chanibersburg-, Penn. My father was 
"=^^- a great Union man, and threw our house 
open as headquarters for the officers. The generals 
quartered there were Dana, Smith, and Fitshugh, 
and they had their staffs. We did all we could for 
the comfort of the soldiers, and when the call came 
for nurses, I was one to volunteer. I served three 
years ; first in the hospital at Hagerstown, Md., then 
at Greencastle. I left to become the wife of Sergt. 
M. L. Frush, of Company B, 6th Yirginia Cavalry. 

During my hospital service I was on the battle- 
fields of Antietam and Gettysburg, after the fight, 
helping the wounded and caring for the dying. Mau}^ 
of the injured men were carried to our little town of 
Greencastle, and we sisters did what we could for 
them, picking lint, knitting stockings, etc. I was then 
Mary Alice Smith, and but eighteen jenvs of age. I 
served under Gen. David Detrich, in Greencastle, but 
do not remember who was surgeon in charge at 
Hagerstown. When I was not engaged in the hos- 
pitals I was out with an aml)ulance, gathering 
provisions for the soldiers. My father had a large 
warehouse, and we fed them there. 

Upon my marriage, in December, 1864, I left the 
service, but was not discharged, so I have no papers. 



102 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



One little incident in closing. When Lee's army 
passed through Greencastle, en route for Gettysburg, 
my sister Sadie and I waved the American flag in 
front of them, and were heartily cheered by the 
""boys in gray." 

Yours in F., C. and L., 

M. Alice Feush. 

222 Scott Street, Youngstown, Ohio. 






t *-^ 






, 0- W^ 



r ■ '\ 



J 



"^p 



»\r^ 









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M, 



AFTER THE BATTLE. 



104 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



J 




MRS. PAMELIA REID. 



fHEX the war broke out my home was in 
Farmingtoii, Iowa. T began my nursing be- 
fore I left home to go to tlie liospital. It 
'-^-^ happened in this way: — 
One da}^ I heard that a wounded soldier was at the 
station, too sick to proceed any farther on his way 
home. I had him carried to my house, and nursed 
him until he was nmch improved in health, when his 
brother came to accompany him the remainder of the 
journey. 

My next experience was with my husband, who 
was wounded at the battle of Belmont, and I went to 
care for him until he needed me no longer. 

After the battle of Shiloh, I saw in a newspaper 
that the Estes House had been taken for a hospital 
and female nurses were wanted. It was ten o'clock 
A. M. Avhen I read the notice, and at four p. m. I was 
on my way, and the next morning commenced my 
duties under the direction of Mrs. Wittenmeyer. 

I served at the Estes House one year and a half, 
with the exception of a few weeks leave of absence 
to go to my husband, who was wounded again. At 
the end of that time a hospital was established at the 
Medical College, and I served there until my health 
failed. 

Yours truly, 

Mks. Pamelfa Reid. 

Georgetown, Mass. 

105 



106 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




JULIA S. TOMPKINS. 




^Y war record is much shorter than it would 
have been had I been able to carry out the 
earnest desire of my heart. From the time 
^ ^-^ the first call for volunteer nurses was issued, 
my heart burned with patriotic longings to do some- 
thing for our country and the dear old flag; and why 
not? My ancestors on both sides were descendants of 
the Puritan and Revolutionary stock. My husband 
was at the front, and I kept writing for his consent 
to go where I could help the sick and wounded ; but 
as we had a little boy, and no one with whom to leave 
him, he would not hear to any such proposition until 
he was left in a hospital with most of his regiment, as 
they were returning to the front from Camp Douglas, 
where they had been taken prisoners. 

After he became convalescent I visited him at 
Benton Barracks, where he had been assigned to 
take charge of the kitchens and procure supplies. 
Again my very soul was stirred with longing to do 
something for the patient sufferers, and I begged to 
stay. When the soldiers learned of my desire, they 
added their entreaties to mine, as they had become 
very much attached to our little boy, who took the 
place of those "left behind," and enlivened many 
lonely hours. My husband at last consented, and I 
received my appointment. I went on duty in Ward 
A, Amphitheatre Building, at Benton Barracks, 
where I served until prostrated by a nervous fever, 



107 



108 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

caused by my sympathy for the " brave boys who 
wore the bhTe," who were never heard to utter a com- 
phiint, no matter how badly they Avere Avounded or 
how much they were suffering, l^ut were ever i-eady 
to expi'ess gratitude for all we did for them. 

On my recovery I was placed in charge of the linen 
room, and served in that department until I left the 
service. 

Dr. Ira Russell was in charge of the hospitals when 
I went there, but was relieved by Dr. John H. Grove, 
August 10, 18(33. He remained until Fel)ruary 12, 
1861, when Dr. Russell returned. He was still there 
when I left the work. 

AVhen my husband was discharged fi'om active 
field service, on account of disabilities, there was no 
one with whom to leave my boy, and I had to request 
that my connection with the hospital be severed, as I 
could not look after my child and do my duty as a 
nurse. My request was rehictantly granted, and I 
returned to my home. 

One little incident connected with my work there 
gave me much pleasure. Miss Emily E. Parsons was 
^^ Superior ]^urse " at our hospital. My sister's son 
had been wounded at Yicksburg, and was very low. 
She had him placcid in my section of the ward, where 
he would be under my immediate care. I could not l)nt 
feel complimented, as no nurse was allowed to be on 
duty in a ward where she had relatives, or even former 
friends, lest favoritism should be shown. She never 
had reason to feel that her confidence was misplaced. 

Julia S. Tompkins. 

418 2d Avenuk, Clinton, Iowa. 



110 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




BELLE CODDINGTON. 



1^ EFORE taking up my pen to write this sketch 
l(\ I cHmbed to the top of the Hbrary, and taking 
^^ down a hirge, old Latin book, uniquely bound 
in hog-skin, and printed three and a half cen- 
turies ago, I turned its musty, though well-preserved 
pages, and found in a large official envelope another 
old and highly valued relic, — the commission of an 
army nurse. It reads as follows : — 

Office of Western Sanitary Commission, 

St. Louis, March 19, 1864. 
Mrs. A. Tannehill, having furnished satisfactory evidence of her 
qualifications for the position of " nurse" in the employment of the 
Medical Department, U. S. A., is approved. 

James E. Yeatman, 

Agent for Miss D. L. Dix. 

Assigned to duty at Benton Barracks, General Hospital, St. 
Louis, March 19, 1864, upon application of Ira Russell, surgeon in 
charge. 

James E. Yeatman, 

Agent for Miss D. L. Dix. 

Approved: Dr. Miles, Surgeoi), U. S. A., Medical Director. 

In the same envelope was another commission 
dated at Philadelphia, June 1, 1865, and signed by 
Geo. H. Stuart, chairman of the United States Chris- 
tian Commission. As I glanced over these old 
l^apers, ni}' thoughts went back of the dates upon 
them to the strange events that influenced my life, 



111 



112 OCR ARMY NURSES. 

resulting in my becoming an army nnrse, and a dele- 
oate of the United States Christian Commission. 

I thonght of my wedding day, when I stood at the 
altar and took upon myself the sweet and solemn 
marriage vows; of the five short months of un- 
alloyed happiness that followed; then the enlisting 
of my young husband in the service of his country, 
— how hard I tried to be brave as I clung to him in 
parting; then of the eagerly-looked-for letters, — and 
at last the one that never came, but in its stead a 
message in a strange hand telling me of my hus- 
band's death, and burial near Yicksburg, where his 
regiment had been sent to reinforce General Gi-ant. 
To a true woman there is no sweeter word than wife, 
no sadder one than AvidoAV. In less than a year I 
had realized in my experience the meaning of both. 
The deep feeling of the heart had been touched by 
the hand of Love, the tenderest feeling by the hand 
of Death; and.it is the experience of sorrow that 
prepares us to minister to others. 

After my husband's death there came an intense 
desire to do something for the sick and wounded 
soldiers in the hospitals. But not knowing how to 
proceed to get a position as nurse, I resumed my 
former occupation of school-teaching. What had 
once been a dehght, now seemed irksome and dis- 
tasteful. My first term of school had closed, when I 
met a Mrs. Conrad, who had been engaged in the 
Keokuk, Iowa, hospital. She told me to correspond 
with Mrs. AVittenmeyer, who would give me the 
information necessary to secure a position in that 



OUR AR3iy NURSES. 113 

hospital. I wrote to her at once, and received a 
reply telling me to apply to James E. Yeatman, and 
inclose testimonials of good moral character, signed 
by my pastor and the ladies of the Aid Society 
where I lived. 

FolloAving her directions I soon had a letter froni 
Mr. Yeatman, but, alas, there was no opening at that 
time; but he informed me that as soon as more ladies 
were needed he would let me know. 

Months passed in anxious waiting. A winter term 
of school was begun and finished, and then came the 
long-looked for commission, and with it Government 
transportation. I do not suppose an officer in the 
army, from general down to second lieutenant, ever 
received his commission with greater delight or 
enthusiasm. Little time was spent in preparing for 
my journey, for I was anxious to get at the work, 
and only a fcAv days elapsed from the time I received 
my commission until I had reported for duty where 
I had been assigned. 

The Benton Barracks Hospital was one of the 
largest in the West, and included the Amphitheatre 
and other buildings in the fair grounds of the St. 
Louis Agricultural Society. In this large hospital 
there w^ere often two thousand patients. Dr. Russell, 
of JSTatick, Mass., the surgeon in charge, was every 
way fitted for his responsible position. One histo- 
rian in referring to him called him ''that able surgeon 
and earnest philanthropist." I shall ever cherish his 
memory. Only a few years ago, and a short time 
before his death, I received from him the Idndest of 



114 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

letters and a request that I send him my photograph, 
and all other niir>^es I might ha^'e in my possession, 
to be put on file in the archives of the Loyal Legion. 
I am sorry to say I neglected to send them. His 
home was in Winchendon, Mass., at the time of his 
death. 

Benton Barracks, when I Avas there, comprised a 
promiscuous throng, — Avhite and colored soldiers, 
refugees, contrabands, teachers, ministers, officers' 
families, etc. It was especially interesting to me to 
watch the colored soldiers on dress parade. They 
realized there was a vast difference betAveen slavery 
and the overseer's lash, and freedmen in the United 
States uniform, standing shoulder to shoulder with 
the men who had fought to make them free. It was 
a little amusing, too, to see a colored soldier march- 
ing a white comrade to the guardhouse, as was 
sometimes the case. They sank to the depths of 
humiliation themselves AAdien detailed to do duty in 
the refugee hospitals, for they scorned the " ])o' Avhite 
trash." In the hospitals they receiA^ed the same care- 
ful nursing, and everywhere the same humane treat- 
ment, as the Avhite soldier. Books had been furnished 
them, and it Avas Avonderful to see hoAV eager they 
Avere to learn. I Avas deeply touched one day when 
one of them, an old man, drew from the pocket of 
his blue coat a Testament, and bowing politely to me, 
said, "Please, Missus, shoAV me de place Avhere it 
tells 'bout de many mansions, and Jesus preparin' de 
way." 

The day of my arrival at the hospital I Avas met 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 115 

b}' Miss Emily Parsons, superintendent of the nurses. 
She was one peculiarly gifted and endowed for such 
a Avork, and it could be truly said of her, '^ She 
opened her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue 
was the law of kindness." Her name recalls precious 
recollections, and I woidd offer this tribute to her 
memory. From her I received instructions in regard 
to my appointment and my duties as matron of Ward 
D, General Hospital. The next morning she opened 
the door, and following her, I stood for the first time 

" In the ward of the whitewashed wall, 
Where the sick and tlie dying lay." 

She soon retired, and T entered upon my work. 

The duty of ward matron, as specified, was to at- 
tend to the special diet of the weaker patients, to see 
that the wards were kept in order, to minister to the 
wants of the i)atients, and to give them words of 
good cheer, both by reading and conversation, and 
to assist them in con-espondence with their friends at 
home. Before I had made the rounds in my ward 
the first morning, my coui-age was put to the test. 
I approached a cot, and talking with a sick man found 
he had the small-pox. His cot was only a few feet 
from my room, which joined the ward. The partition 
was not a plastered one, but boards placed on end, 
barn fashion, with sti-ips nailed over the cracks. The 
air was virtually the same in both ward and nurse's 
room. Could I lie down and slee[), knowing that 
every breath I took was freighted with this terrible 
contagion? I felt somewhat relieved, however, when, 



116 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

before the day was over, the patient was removed to 
the pest hospital. Poor fellow! I soon heard of his 
death. I became accustomed to disease in its vari- 
ous forms, and even small-pox patients were attended 
with as much care while they remained in the ward, 
as any others. Though I did escape the small-pox, I 
could not resist the measles, but had the orthodox 
United States type of the malady. One thing I 
could not become accustomed to, and a heart-sick 
feeling came over me always when I saw the under- 
taker's cari-iage pass along with its load of cotRns 
going to the National Cemetery ; and as I have stood 
ill those cemeteries and looked over the acres and 
acres of graves, as close as they could be made, where 
were lying our boys in blue, my feelings were inde- 
scribable. 

Appreciation is grateful to all, and the army 
nurse received it without measure from those to 
whom she daily ministered. To hear a soldiei' say 
as he bade her good-bye to join his regiment, after 
having been nursed back to health," You have saved 
my life," was the richest compensation she could 
have received. 

We had in connection with the hospital one of 
those special Diet Kitchens, originated by Mrs. Wit- 
tenmeyer, which furnished delicate articles of food so 
grateful to the sick. It was a deliglit to me, aftei* 
having gone the rounds with the surgeon of my 
ward, to go to this kitchen with my ap]:)roved lists 
and see them filled, then hear the poor boys say as 
they tasted the tempting food, " This makes me think 



OCrR ARMY NURSES. 117 

of home." It was the hands of Miss Phcsbe Allen, of 
Washington, Iowa, that served ns so faithfnlly in the 
Diet Kitchen for awhile. Then we fokled those 
hands to rest, and wept tears of sorrow at her un- 
timely death. 

As the Benton Barracks was so far i-emoved from 
the seat of war, there Avas very little of an exciting 
character while I was there. The work of one day 
was much like that of every other. Once General 
Price threatened us, and every soldier who was able, 
in barracks and hospital, was ordered to sleep on his 
arms. I remember well that night. After "taps" 
had been sounded and lights wei'e out I went to my 
window, and looking out into the night, I wondered 
if the rebels would really come. After a while I 
heard in the distance a sound like the tramping of 
horses' feet and the rumbling of wagon wheels, and I 
expected every moment that the entire force would 
be called out to attack General Price and his army. 
All remained quiet as usual. Still I listened, and 
soon I could see in the moonlight a train of wagons 
approaching. It was an enemy in very truth, — only 
loads of sour commissary bread. 

In March, 1865, I was transferred to the Nashville 
Hospital, where Dr. Russell had gone, and Avas serving 
as surgeon in charge. Before leaving Benton Bar- 
racks, the soldiers in the ward where I had been for 
nearly a year presented me with an elegant silk dress 
pattern, in token of their good will. 

My work at Nashville was much as it had been be- 
fore. Many of the patients had been in the engage- 



118 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

ment between Thomas and Hood. It was simply 
wonderful to see how bravely these men bore their 
misfortnnes. One who had lost an arm was rejoicing- 
over the fact that it was not a leg; while one who 
hobbled abont on crntches thonght he was very for- 
tunate indeed not to have lost an arm, or, worse, his 
head. A colored soldier being asked by a visitor 
what was the matter with him, replied, ^'De doctah 
says I have de dispensation of de heart." He meant 
palpitation. 

There was a large honse with beautiful grounds 
near by, — confiscated property, — and we were al- 
lowed to gather the flowers that grew so abundantly. 
I remember how we would arrange the tricolors, red, 
white, and blue, upon the little square stands that 
stood by each soldier's cot, not only bringing cheer 
to the sick, but calling forth the admiration of the 
inspecting officers. 

It was while I was at ^N'ashville that the exciting 
news of the surrender of Lee's army was received. 
The cannon thundered forth from Fort IN^eighly until 
the ground seemed to shake beneath our feet. Then 
while the air was still vibrating with the echoes and 
the soldiers' jubilant shouts, a telegram announced 
the assassination of President Lincoln. 

In June I was recalled to St. Louis, to enter the 
work of the Christian Commission. The Sanitary 
Commission was about closing its work. The war 
was ended, but months must elapse before the soldier 
could return home. The Christian Commission, in- 
stead of disbanding, brought all their resources to the 



OUR ARMY' NURSES. 119 

great work of supplying the soldiers until they were 
finally mustered out. 

I left Nashville in July, and returning to Benton 
Barracks I entered the old Amphitheatre again, — 
the apartments occupied as the headquarters of the 
Christian Commission. How distinctly the room 
comes before me. Along the beams overhead were 
the words, ""Mother, Home, Heaven."" Scripture 
mottoes were on the walls. Long tables extended 
across the room, where soldiers could come to write 
letters, or read books and papers. On a little plat- 
form was a place usually occupied by a lady dele- 
gate of the Commission, and above this was the 
motto, '^Let woman's influence be felt in behalf of 
her country.*" Here one of the ladies was usually 
found with busy hands distributing supplies to those 
who came into the reading room. The badge she 
wore was a safe passport to the hospital, barracks, or 
camp. She worked for God and humanity, and 
wherever she went the blessing of the soldiers fol- 
lowed her. 

The work of mustering out was going on as rapidly 
as possible; and as the mighty armies melted awa}^ 
and our soldiers went from camp to home, the de- 
mand for workers grew less. At last there came a 
day when we were needed no longer. Our work 
among the soldiers was done. December 3, 1865, I 
left St. Louis, and reached my home at Troy, Iowa, in 
time to celebrate my twenty-third birthday, which 
occurred the same month, having been gone almost 
two years. 



120 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

One year after my return I was married to Rev. 
E. H. Coddington. When the war broke out he was 
a student at the Iowa Weslevan University, at Mt. 
Pleasant. At the first call to arms he enlisted in 
Company F, 14th Iowa Infantry. At the battle of 
Foi't Doiielson a rebel musket shot shattered his left 
arm, rendering a shoulder-joint amputation necessary. 
After being discharged and regaining sufficient 
health, he entered college again. Then came the 
call for more men, and again he enlisted in the ser- 
vice of his countr}', and was commissioned Captain, 
Comj^any II, •loth low a. Serving out his term, he 
was dischai'ged, and entered college the third time, 
and graduated w ith the class of 1866. The following 
year he entered the ministr}^, and in December w^e 
were married. Though he had not fully recovered 
from the loss of his arm, and knew he never would, 
yet he hoped his life might be spared long enough to 
brinof to him the realization of some of his brigflit 
hopes and aspiration. So with brave and happy 
liearts we enjoyed the present, and planned foi* the 
future. 

Seven years of successful work in the ministry, 
four years of mtense suffering, then came the end. 
He w^as not, for God took him. Two little children 
had preceded him to the heavenly home; two remained 
to my care and love, — a son ten years old, a daugh- 
ter five. I saw them grow to manhood and w oman- 
hood, and graduate from the same college that 
graduated their father. 

My son entered journalism, but applied himself too 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 121 

closely to his work. Last May his health failed, and 
his physician advised him to go to Colorado. In 
^TsTovember I was called to Denver to see him die, and 
I brought him home, and laid him beside his father. 
When my daughter is not away teaching school she 
is with me. But for her my life would be as lonely 
and desolate as when I l)ecame an army nurse. 

Belle Coddestgto^t. 

Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. 



Tlie life-blood that our father's gave 

Still warms the firm and free. 
Free as our eagle spreads his wings, 

We own no tyrant's rod, 
No master, but the king of kings. 

No monarch, but our God ! 

— Mks, E. T. Daniels. 



122 OUR ARMY NURSES. 



THE LIVELY OLD LADY. 

" By the fireside cozily seated, 

With spectacles riding her nose, 
The lively old lady is knitting 

A wonderful pair of hose. 
She pities the shivering soldier 

Who is out in the pelting storm, 
And busily plies her needles 

To keep him hearty and w^arm. 

" Her eyes are reading the embers, 

But her heart is off to the war. 
For she knows what tliose brave fellows 

Are gallantly fighting for. 
Her fingers as well as her fancy 

Are cheering them on their way, 
Who, under the good old banner, 

Are saving their country to-day. 

" She ponders how, in her childhood, 

Her grandmother used to tell 
The story of barefoot soldiers, 

Who fought so long and well. 
And the men of the Revolution 

Are nearer her than us ; 
And that, perhaps, is the reason 

Why she is toiling thus. 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 123 

" She cannot shoulder a musket, 

Nor ride with cavahy crew, 
But, nevertheless, she is ready 

T(j work for the boys who do. 
Her heart may be larger and braver 

Than his who is tallest of all ; 
The work of her hands as important 

As cash that buys powder and ball. 

"And thus, while her quiet performance 

Is being recorded in rhyme. 
The tools in her tremulous fingers 

Are running a race with Time. 
Strange that four needles can form 

A perfect triangular bound ; 
And equally strange that their antics 

Result in perfecting ' the round.' 

" And now, while beginning ' to narrow,' 

She thinks of the Maryland mud, 
And wonders if ever the stocking 

Will wade to the ankle in blood. 
And now she is ' shaping the heel,' 

And now she is ready ' to bind,' 
And hopes if the soldier is wounded, 

It never will be from behind. 

"And now she is ' raising the instep,' 

Now narrowing off at the toe. 
And prays that this end of the worsted 

May ever be turned to the foe. 
She gathers the last of the stitches. 

As if a new laurel were won ; 
Now placing the ball in the basket. 

Announces the stockinjr is done." 



124 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



'jji li^'iffTiriWMttf II 




MRS. RUTH H. SINNOTTE. 



J WAS commissioned by Mr. Yeatman, in St. 
Louis, as nurse at large, and sent on board 
the steamer "Imperial," a hospital boat plying 
between St. Louis and Pittsburg Landing; Dr. 
Gove surgeon iu charge, and Dr. Bixliy assistant sur- 
geon. I remained on board the " Imperial " until the 
Tennessee River had fallen so Ioav the boat could go no 
farther, and went out of the hospital service. I was 
then sent by the medical director on board the '^Ella," 
and remained on that boat until she went out of hos- 
pital service, and became a ti'an sport boat. 

Then Dr. Douglass, the medical director, sent me 
to Monterey, in Tennessee, the receiving hospital of 
Corinth battlefield, in charge of Dr. Eaton; I think 
he was from ^ew York. While there I was sun- 
struck, and on the third day Avas attacked with yellow 
jaundice. I then obtained a furlough, and went 
home to Illinois. As soon as able I reported to Gov- 
ernor Yeates, who ordered me to go South with the 
113th, or Board of Trade Regiment, Colonel Hoge. 
The colonel put my name on the muster roll as matron 
for three years, or to the close of the war. I went to 
Memphis with the reghnent, and we encamped at 
Camp Peabody, about two miles from the city. 
AVhen they went on the TuLihoma I'aid I accom- 
panied them, by particuhu" request of Colonel 
Hoge. The fourth day, was sent with all the sick 



126 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

to Holly Springs, Mississippi. Was there a num- 
ber of weeks, and l)efbre Bragg- took the place 
was ordered to Meni])his; on the way was told 
the troops had gone down the rivei', and General 
"Wright advised nie to keep on down to the fleet. 
I did so. 

While with the Vicksbni-g fleet, one day I noticed 
the boat I Avas on was drao<>ino: her hawser from 
the tree where she had been fastened. I reported 
to the captain. He said, ^'I know it.'' There was no 
steam on, and we were drifting down the river. The 
captain said we were going to Vicksburg, and were 
only a half mile from the line between the two armies. 
Among the sick was a captain of one of the com- 
panies of the 113th Illinois Regiment. I immediately 
went to him and reported the treachery on boaixl of 
the boat. He could do nothing, as he was too ill to 
raise his head. He swoi'e me, and gave me the neces- 
sary signal. I went on the hurricane deck; no one 
was there, no one on the pilot house. I gave the 
signal as he told me. In a moment I saw it answ^ered. 
Immediately the " Von Pool " came down and towed 
the boat to the u})[)er end of the fleet, and pnt a stop 
to our going to Vicksburg. All of the crew, from 
the captain to the chambermaid, were so very angry 
they would have killed me had they known I Avas 
responsible for the change of programme. 

AVe had several Avounded ofiicers among the load 
of sick and disabled men on my first trip from Pitts- 
burg Landing to St. Louis. Our transport Avas the 
" Imperial.'' Each officer had an orderly to Avait upon 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 127 

him. The attendant of one, a colonel, came to me 
and said, "Are you afraid of the colonel?" I replied 
I was not. Then said he, " I wish you would see if 
you can do anything with him, but I really fear he 
will kill you." " Oh, no ; I will go : where is he ? " He 
pointed the way, keeping well out of sight of the 
officer. When I came to the stateroom he occupied 
the door was ajar. I looked in and said, " Good 
morning, Colonel." He answered, " What do you 
want here?" "I came to see if you have had break- 
fast." "1^0, and don't A\ ant any." But I said: ^^You 
must eat something. I will see what I can get that 
you may relish." I went to the kitchen, toasted a 
slice of bread, poached an ^^^^ poured it over the 
toast, made a bowl of chicken broth, and a cup of 
green tea and apple jelly made up the breakfast. I 
put it on a waiter with a white napkin (these things 
were for officers only), went to his room, and said, 
"ISTow see what of this you can eat." "Can't I get 
rid of you? I wish I had something to throw at you, 
but I have thrown everything I can get at that 
Dutchman," meaning his attendant. I said, "You 
must eat; there is no other way for you." "I will tip 
over that cart of yours," and he made a spring toward 
the tray. I said, " Sir, stop such pranks, and take 
some of this food immediately." He then grabbed 
the toast, crammed it all into his mouth, the broth 
followed with a gulp, the tea and jelly in turn, all in 
less time than I am telling you. I said to him, " That 
was pretty good, wasn't it?" "Good enough." 
" Will you eat more if I get it for you? " " I suppose 



128 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

I can if I must." I prepared the same amount. He 
ate it all, using a knife and fork. I then asked why 
he treated me so badly when I was only trying to 
help him. He told me this story : " I am from 
Marion County, 111. Was acknowledged to be the 
richest man in the county. I raised a whole regiment 
and equipped it. They chose me their colonel. I 
had a wife and child, a little girl. I settled all my 
business, made my will, appointed my wife adminis- 
tratrix and guardian of my child. I took my regi- 
ment, was accepted, and went to the front. As soon 
as I was gone my W"ife sold everything I had and put 
the money in the Confederate cause, took my child 
and went to IN^ew Orleans, her former home. I was 
in the battle of Pittsburg Landing; had my leg 
shattered, and amputated at the hip. ISTow I have 
lost my property, my wife and my child, lost my leg, 
and what have I to live for? " I waited a moment, 
then said, — 

" You must live for the good that needs assistance, 
For the bad that needs resistance, , 
For the future in the distance, 
And the good that you can do." 

He was all right to the end of the trip, and ate his 
food as I gave it to him. He was left at St. Louis. 
I think he was put into Benton Barracks. We went 
back to Pittsburo- Landing- for another load of the 
mano:led human freio^ht. On our return to St. Louis 
I learned the colonel was dead, — had died because 
he would not eat. 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 129 

On my second trip on the '"'" Imperial " my ward was 
the cabin. One afternoon, having got my men made 
comfortable for the night, I thought I would go to 
the lower deck, and see what the conditions were 
there. I heard the surgaon say to an attendant, "You 
need not give him anything more; he won't live till 
morning." I asked the doctor what his sickness was. 
" He has the typhoid fever, and is now in the sink- 
ing state." I said, "Can I do something for him?" 
" You can do all you hke ; it will avail nothing." I 
said, "Will you give me an order on the drugstore?" 
(The bar of the boat was the drugstore.) He tore a 
leaf from a memorandum book and wrote, "Let Mrs. 
Sinnotte have whatever she wants from the drugstore." 
I ordered a cup of brandy and some red pepper. I 
mixed them, dipped cloths into the mixture and 
bound them onto the bottoms of his feet, the palms of 
his hands, and over the breast-bone. I tried a little 
of the brandy to his lips. He could not swallow. 
Then I tried a few drops of water. After a while the 
water ran down his throat without strangling him; 
then I got a little chicken broth, and alternated every 
fifteen minutes, a few drops of bi-andy, then of the 
broth. I stood over him for hours. After awhile I 
noticed a change for the better. He could swallow, 
and his pulse was quite perceptible. Finally it 
beat as quick as I wanted to feel it. After mid- 
night I became quite faint ; I had not eaten. I could 
not stop for supper. I called the best nurse on the 
boat to relieve me. I went to my quarters, but could 
not undress. I unfastened my shoes, then fell into 



130 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



a faint, or dead sleep. Did not awake until the sun 
called me, shining through the slats of my door. I 
went to my patient. He looked up and smiled. The 
doctor soon came along, and said, "Why, ain't he dead 
yet?" The sick man whispered, " She," pointing to 
me. The doctor asked me what I had done. I said, 
" I attended to him as though he were my own, and in 
our own home.'' I asked if I could have him in my 
ward. He said, "" Yes; you deserve to have him." 
When he got to St, Louis he walked the length of 
the boat between two men, shook hands with me, 
and said: " God bless you always. You have saved 
me to my wife and five children." 

Mrs. Ruth Helena Sinnotte. 



132 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




ELIZABETH S. WARD. 



,1 

I 



J LEFT m}" home in South Bristol, AYis., Septem- 
ber 22, 1864, for Louisville, Ivy. My first 
period of service was in Foundry Transfer 
Hospital of that place, under Surgeons Prescott 
and Phelps; where I remained until January 28, 
1865, when I left under orders for Nashville, Tenn. 
I was the first woman in charge of the light Diet 
Kitchen in Wilson Colored Hospital, and served there 
under Surgeon Kussell, until I was taken danger- 
ously ill with typhoid fever about the 25th of March, 
from which I recovered sufficiently to be removed by 
easy stages to my home the last of May, 1865. 

My period of service was short, when compared 
with that of many who entered in the earlier years of 
the war; but I was too young at that time to be 
accepted, yet I feel very grateful that I was enabled, 
even in so short a time, to relieve, comfort, and cheer 
many sick and wounded soldiers. 

Sincerely yours, 

Elizabeth S. Ward. 

Pleasant Prairik, Wis. 




133 



134 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




LUCY (FENMAN) BARRON. 



J WAS a regimental nurse in our late war, from 
March, 1861 to March, 1863, and went from 
place to place wherever the "boys " Avere 
ordered. I was sworn in as nurse by Capt. 
S. M. Davis, but neglected to be enrolled. 

I served at Camp Reed, Erie, two months, then 
went with the troops to Maryland, where I entered 
the Regimental Hospital at Baltimore. In May, 1862, 
we went to Harper's Feriy, and I served in the Gen- 
eral Hospital there until the surrender in September, 
when we returned to Washington, and I was stationed 
in many different places that one could hardly call 
hospitals, for almost every house contained some sick 
or wounded. 

While in West Virginia the rebels took me for a 
target, but, praise God, they missed their mark, and 
the bullet whistled above my head. Once they sur- 
rounded us, and we could get no supplies for nearly 
three weeks. At the last w^e had nothing to eat but 
hard-tack, and not much of that. At this extremity 
oui" men fought their way out; the commander of the 
place surrendered, and was shot for it, as a traitor. 
I had a severe time among those rebels while I had 
the typhoid fever, receiving care only from the good 
Union doctor. We dared not say we were Union, or 
we might have been killed. When able to travel I 
returned to the Regimental Hospital in West Vu*- 

135 



136 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

ginia where I remained, until I returned to my home. 
While in the College Hospital, at Georgetown, 
an affecting scene was enacted. A young soldier 
was wounded in the shoulder, severing the main 
artery, and he would die in a few moments if 
the blood were allowed to flow; but we nurses took 
turns in holding back the life-stream until he could 
be baptized; then he said: "I am ready now. You 
may take away your hand," and in a very few minutes 
he died. 

Lucy (Fenmak) Barron. 

EUUEKA, CaL. 



OUR GRAND ARMY OF THE DEAD. 

Fast asleep the boys are lying in their low and narrow tents, 
And no battle-cry can wake them, and no orders call them hence ; 
And the yearning of the mother, and the anguish of the wife. 
Cannot with their .magic presence call the soldier back to life ; 
And the brother's manly sorrow, and the father's mournful pride. 
Cannot give back to his country him who for his country died: 
They who for the trembling nation in its hour of trial bled. 
Lie, in these its years of triumph, with our army of the dead. 
When the reign of Time is ended, and Eternity begun ; 
When the thunders of Omniscience on our wakened senses roll. 
And the sky above shall wither and be gathered like a scroll ; 
When, among the lofty mountains and across the mighty sea, 
The sublime, celestial bugler shall ring out the reveille, — 
Then shall march with brightest laurels and with proud, victorious 

tread. 
To their station up in heaven, our grand army of the dead. 



/ 



138 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MRS. RENA MINER. 



<nypRS. RENA L. MmER, formerly Miss Little- 
/f\ field, is a grand- daughter of old Squire Little- 
I ^ field, who was widely known throughout 
^ ^'^ N^orthern Indiana and Southern Michigan, 
in the early settlement of that section. He was a 
man of iron constitution, indomitable will, strong 
convictions, and gruff manners; yet possessed of a 
generosity so broad, and a sympathy so ready, that 
he was instinctively sought as a champion of the 
oppressed. With what he saw to be wrong he held no 
compromise, but was its open, bitter, implacable foe. 

Albert Littlefield, his eldest son and Mrs. Miner's 
father, was a man of wide mental attainments, studi- 
ous, conscientious, and of an exceedingly retiring 
nature. It was said of him, " He never wronged a 
fellow-being; a poor man himself, he has often 
divided his last dollar with one poorer." 

Mrs. Miner is a true descendant of this hardy and 
scholarly ancestry. In early girlhood she manifested 
to an unusual degree an interest in social problems. 
She was troubled by the inequalities in environments 
and opportunities, the unjust estimate placed upon 
worth as opposed to position, and probably more so 
from the fact that it became necessary, early in life, 
that she should fight its battles for herself. This she 
began to do when scarcely out of childhood, as mill 
operator, seamstress, and compositor. 



139 



140 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

During this hard life she managed to become 
advanced in the text-books of the schools, so that a 
few months' discipline fitted her to procure a certifi- 
cate for teaching. After this she taught and attended 
school alternately, until she had graduated from the 
common school course at Sturgis, Mich. 

At the breaking out of the war she was enthused 
with a patriotic desire to aid in maintaining the 
Union. Her father being too much of an invalid, and 
her brother too young to enter the service, she 
determined to represent the family herself, and 
appealed to the president of the Indiana Sanitary 
Commission for permission to enter hospital service. 
This request was refused, on account of her youth; 
but, nothing daunted, she applied again and again, un- 
til struck by the resolution manifested, and receiving 
assurances from the home physicians of her capability, 
he finally informed her that if she would secure six 
elderly ladies, to accompany her, he would give her an 
appoinment with the rest, as their services were much 
needed. This she promptly did; but when the time 
for departure came all but one had deserted, having 
become faint-hearted from the dismal predictions of 
their friends. 

With this one friend she proceeded to Indianapolis, 
and was immediately sent to Louisville, Kentucky, 
whence they were transferred to Jeffersonville Gen- 
eral Hospital. 

Late in the autumn of 1864 the hospital was 
nearly emptied by transfers, and she returned to 
her home for several months, but was again assigned 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 141 

to duty at St. Louis, where they received the returned 
prisoners of war, who were more pitiable, if possible, 
than wounded soldiers; remaining there until the 
closing of the hospitals, in October, 1865, making 
sixteen months of service. 

She was married to Mr P. P. Miner, a veteran 
soldier, in September, 1866. She is the mother of 
three children, and has performed all of her own 
household labor. During all these years she has been 
a trusted comrade, inspiring genius at her husband's 
side, preparing his thoughts as well as her own for 
the press. For half a score of years she was a con- 
stant contributor to the ^Vestern Rural. She has 
also been a contributor to the Courant of Chicag-o, 
the Chicago Express, Iridianajjolis Leader, Indus- 
trial jVews, Michigan Patriot, JVetv Forum, and 
many others. In company with Mrs. I. C. Fales, of 
Brooklyn, she founded the Sociologic News, she 
editing the Western department. 

Mrs. Rena Mi:n:er. 

St. Charles. Mich. 



142 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 








FIELD HOSPITAL, SAVAGE STATION, VA. 



144 OUR ARMY NURSES. 




VESTA M. W. SWARTS, M. D. 



)BOUT the sixth of July, 1864, and at the age 
of twenty-three, I resigned my position as 
principal of the High School at Auburn, 
^-^ Indiana, where I then lived, and started for 
the South. I expected to join my husband. Dr. 
D. J. Swarts, assistant surgeon, 100th Indiana 
Volunteers, then on duty iu a hospital at Altoona 
Pass, Georgia, and to assist him in the care of the 
sick and wounded at that place. 

When I reached Indianapolis I learned that com- 
munication was cut off, and that it would not be 
possible for me to get through. While hesitating, 
and wondering what I should do, Governor Morton 
suggested that I report in person to the Christian 
Commission agency at Louisville, Ky., as he thought 
that Annie Wittenmeyer, who was doing grand work 
for the soldiers, would find a place in some hospital 
where my work would be needed. This I decided 
to do, and in a few days (about July 15th) I began 
work at Brown U. S. General Hospital, near Louis- 
ville, Ky., being employed by surgeons in charge 
under the auspices of the Christian Commission. 

About October of the same year I was transferred 
to Crittenden U. S. General Hospital, at Louisville, 
where I remained until March 27, 1865, when being 
unfit for duty, on account of poor health, I was 
honorably discharged, and returned to my home. 



145 



146 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

Among" the army nurses with whom I was asso- 
ciated, I recall the names of two most excellent 
women who are numbered with the dead, — - Mrs. 
Underwood of Brown, and Mrs. Ailing of Ci'itten- 
den Hospital. 

The war for the preservation of our Union evi- 
dently did much to advance the best interests of 
woman. It created a necessity for her lal)or in new 
and untried ways. It gave her an opportunity to 
prove her ability, and also to cultivate that true 
com-ag-e without which the most capable person ma}'" 
utterly fail of success, ^o women appreciate these 
facts so well as do the active workers of those days, 
among whom are the army nurses. 

Fraternally yoin-s, 
Yesta M. W. Swakts, M.D. 

CoK. Maixe and Sixth Stkekts, Auburn, Ixd. 



148 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




ELLEN MARSH. 



EARLY in the year 1863 I commenced my duties 
as nurse in a military hospital. On my arrival 
at the barracks I was shown by the surgeon in 

^ charge through several wards, and introduced 
to some of the nurses with whom I was soon to be 
associated. The long rows of beds on either side of 
each ward, upon which wei-e so many sufferei'S, made 
a deep and lasting impression. I felt I had under- 
taken a responsible work. 

On the first day my attention was attracted to a 
man past the prime of life, who was evidently near 
its close. I was told that he wanted a letter written, 
but I found hira too weak to do more than give the 
name of a brother to whom he wished to have his 
last words sent. The chaplain had talked with him, 
and felt convinced he died a Christian. 

For ten days I found very interesting work writing 
for some, reading to others, and finding books, 
papers, and tracts for others; and had an oppor- 
tunity to become acquainted with the character of 
those with whom I was to be associated, and thus 
learned how to meet their wants, and also gained a 
knowledge of the daily duties of a nurse before I 
was assigned a ward. But when I received my 
orders in military form, to report for duty to the 
surgeon of Ward A, I felt, — I shall have my own 
little province, and my own patients, for whom I shall 

149 



150 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

work with a hearty good-will. I looked up and 
down my ward — two hundred feet long. There 
were the same two rows of beds as in the others. 
They looked even longer than they Avere to me, just 
commencing the work; but as day after day I passed 
from one end to the other, looking after the wants of 
my patients, the distance grew less and my ward a 
home, — the patients my family. It is not strange 
that one had the feeling of sister for men who had 
suffered so bravely for their country, and a sympa- 
thizing and encouraging word for the coarsest and 
roughest among them ; remembering that many had 
not enjoyed privileges of home and education. 

The ward always looked cheerful, for a dozen 
windows on each side let in the sunlight, and the 
curtains were rolled high, that none of its cheer or 
warmth should be lost. 

The most of the patients were convalescing, as 
they had been cared for during the winter, and only 
needed nourishment to tit them for the field as the 
spring campaign opened, or to be sent home, having 
been found unfit for duty in the army. By the side 
of one bed (a fever patient) sat the Avife to whom he 
was too feeble to talk, but resigned to death. The 
only hope was what most careful nursing and noui*- 
ishment could do for him; but his system was too 
reduced, and in five weeks we stood at his death-bed. 
Death seemed more solemn in such surroundings. 
For a time quietness prevailed in the ward. Soon 
all was as usual, the bed removed, and our patient's 
body prepared for buiial. Words of comfort and 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 151 

sympathy to the wife and such aid for her homeward 
journey was given as was in our power. Then 
others claimed our attention. 

On the same side of the ward sits another very 
young wife, whose husband is suffering from gan- 
grene in his foot, which had been frozen. It was 
thought amputation would be necessary, but nature 
did the work, aided by rest and courage, and a cheer- 
ful disposition which has done much for him. In a 
few weeks he is walking around the ward, with the 
aid of crutches, and eagerly waiting for his turn to 
go home. 

On the opposite side of the ward lay a Massachu- 
setts boy, 2oale, delicate, and seemingly not long for 
this world. Below him is a boy about the same age, 
who was transferred from the same hospital to ours 
a few days before I had taken charge. These were 
the greatest sufferers, and the ones to whom I should 
devote the most of my time. The little patient last 
named needs more than passing notice. His courage 
and uncomplaining disposition under so much suffer- 
ing is remarkable, and shows him to be a true soldier. 
The little form, bent out of shape, is pitiable. The 
limbs are swelled, and the cords so contracted that 
he cannot straighten them. One arm, his right, en- 
tirely helpless, and so emaciated that it is like a skele- 
ton, lies on his breast. Two abscesses formed on 
that side prevent his moving it; therefore his food 
must be so prepared that he can pick it up with his 
left hand. He cannot let any one feed him while 
he is able to do so much with his other hand. His 



152 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

appetite is fitful as a consumptive's ; we must tax our 
minds to get him the delicacies that will tempt him. 
Visitors are interested to help us; so Charlie fares 
quite well. He says as I often write for him, " Tell 
mother I am doing well, — that I have not lost my 
courage." His father, at home, is dying, and the 
other children are younger than Charlie, so there 
is no one to come for him. I passed many houi'S 
reading to him, or listening while he told of his 
school days and his life in the army. He had de- 
ceived about his age Avhen he had enlisted, — was 
yomiger than allowed. He had acted as orderly, and 
had the promise of a better position. He could not 
believe but he would get well; — would say, "I am 
too young to die," even with such helplessness that 
he must be turned by an attendant if he wanted to 
change his position, as he could not lie but a few 
minutes on his back. 

Our short services Sunday consisted of reading a 
portion of Scripture, a hymn, and then the j^rayers. 
To these he looked forward, although he would not 
acknowledge a deep interest in spiritual things, and 
even disliked to have the chaplain talk to him. He 
enjoyed having the patients sit round his bed and 
sing hymns, and would select one after another, and 
often we could hear his feeble voice join in. " There 
is rest for the weary," was one of his favorites. He 
failed gradually, but surely. The Sunday before he 
died he asked the chaplain to pray with him; and as 
we stood by his bed it was a solemn thing to realize 
that as long as the poor sufferer had strength, he 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 153 

clung to earthly support; but in his weakness called 
on God. We cannot doubt but God in his mercy 
heard. His mother arrived just at the last. She 
had started after the funeral of her husband. One 
evening just after " taps " I had left the ward, when 
there was a knock at my door, with the announce- 
ment that "the sick boy's mother has arrived." I 
hastened to welcome her, and made her comfortable 
to watch by her boy that night. A few days later 
we stood by his bed. His mother, too overcome, had 
left the room, when he said, " Call mother; I want to 
say good-bye." He said to her: "Tell them at home 
I die happy. I hoj)e I am forgiven. I am going to 
father." At his request the patients stood around 
his bed and sang, " I'm going home, to die no more." 
At the close of the hymn he breathed his last. The 
spirit had gone to God, who gave it; and the wid- 
owed mother went home alone to mourn her oldest 
child. 

My services as nurse commenced Feb. 15, 1863, 
at Armory Square Hospital, Washington, D. C, 
and covered nineteen months, with intervals of 
absence to get recruited. 

Ellen Mabsh. 

LiNGWOOD, Princks Park, Livkrpool, Eng. 



154 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




CLARA B. HOYT. 



^^ the 15th of September, 1864, m response to 
a call from Miss Dix, I bade adieu to home, 
kindred, and friends, in Gravesville, ]^ew 
York, and wended my way toward the scene 
of battle, to share in the horrors attendant on grim 
war, as a volunteer nurse. A few days later I arrived 
at Washington, and as Miss Dix was away, I was 
sent by her order to the Columbia College Hospital, 
for rest and instruction until her return. After eight 
days I received word to report at headquarters, and 
was immediately sent to the 18th Army Corps Hos- 
pital, Point of Rocks, Va. Arriving there I was 
assigned to duty, Oct. 6, 1864, by Dr. Fowler, 
and remained there until the close of the war. 

It would be impossible for me to describe what I 
passed through. Oh, the pain, the groans, the 
dying struggles! Nothing but the strongest devo- 
tion to country and flag could have enabled me to 
endure it. 

Many of the present generation have too little 
sympathy with the defenders of our Republic, — too 
slight a realization of the significance of the four 
years of strife, the clouds and darkness through 
which the nation passed, ere liberty was pro- 
claimed, and the flag floated free. 

Clara B. Hoyt. 

Laknkd, Kansas. 

155 



156 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MARGARET MACKEY. 



JWE:N'T from Milwaukee, June 10, 1863, and 
served until July, 1865, at Hospital 'No. 2, 
located on College Hill, at Nashville, Tenn. 
During the first year I was there Major Lyon 
was surgeon in charge; then he was sent to the 
front, to a field hospital, and Major Herbert took 
his place in No. 2. At the close of the war I 
returned to my home. 

Yours in F., C. and L., 

Margaret Mackey. 

360 4th Street, Milwaukee, Wis. 

Woe to the land that lets 

Its watch-fires burn to embers I 
The conqueror soon forgets, 

But the beaten foe remembers. 

Bravely the fathers fought. 

No shameful ease allured them ; 
The peace their high hearts souglit. 

Their trusty swords secured them. 

Build, then, our ships of war, 

Keep the watch-fires burning ever ; 
So danger shall dwell afar. 

So peace shall be broken never I 

That brave life, quenched years ago, 

Seems of mine own a part; 
For he who dies for freedom, lives 

In every freeman's heart. 



158 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




EMILY M. CONE. 



J WAS enrolled as an army nnrse Sept. 2, 18G3, 
and served in that capacity one year and 
nine months, being discharged May, 1865. 
I went from Rockford, 111., and entered the 
Cnmberland Hospital, at Kashville, Tenn., where I 
served under Major McDermott, during the first 
year, and Major Cloak the year following. I had 
charge of the Laundry Department, and also of the 
Low Diet Kitchen, for a short time during the 
absence of Mrs. Woodruff. When I had any 
spare time I devoted it to the cai-e of the sick 
and wounded soldiers. 

After the battle of Nashville I was on duty forty- 
eight hours without sleep, caring for the boys that 
were brought in from the battlefield, which was about 
two miles distant. The excitement was intense. 
We expected to be obliged to leave the hospital 
and flee to the city for protection, and preparations 
were made to convey the sick and wounded to a 
place of safety; but fortunately we were not dis- 
turbed. 

On his way to Franklin my husband's brother was 
taken sick, through exposure at the time of battle, 
and removed to Huntsville, Ala., where our army 
was in camp. 

He sent for me, and that journey I shall never for- 
get, owing to the hardships I endured on the way. 



159 



IGO 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



We went in box cars, with about three hundred 
soldiers on board. I was the only woman among 
them from Stephenson down, but I must say I was 
never treated with more consideration and kindness 
than by " our dear boys in blue." I remained three 
days, and during that time buried the brother; then 
returned to jSTashville, more dead than alive myself. 
My husband enlisted in 1861, and served with his 
regiment until 1863. He was injured at Stephenson, 
and transferred to the Cumberland Hospital, where 
he remained with me until we were discharged. 

Emily M. Cone. 

Care of A. H. Maxwell, 

New Milford, III. 




ttHtCTgn BY THE STATE « 



162 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MODENIA R. WESTON 



J WAS born in Albany, :N'. Y., Ang. 3, 1816. 
I went from Iowa into the army Sept. 1, 
1861. My labors were varied. I was first 
connected with the 3d Iowa Infantry Hospi- 
tal. I was called the mother of the regiment. In 
October there were a great many sick with the 
measles, but soon the disease abated somewhat, and 
the regiment was ordered to Quincy, to recuperate. 
We went to Benton Barracks next, where those who 
had not already taken the measles now had them. I 
was the only woman connected with the department, 
and had my hands full. My labors were made much 
easier by having a good supply of sanitaries sent to 
me. 

In February the regiment was ordered to Mexico, 
Mo.; the hospital department, containing thirty 
patients, to be left behind. As soon as the sick 
were able to travel we followed the troojjs, and had 
no sooner established our hospital than small-pox 
broke out. In March all the able-bodied men were 
ordered to Pittsburg Landing; as soon as possible 
we followed, only to find most of the regiment sick 
with diarrhoea, from drinking surface water. The 
ladies of Quincy supplied us with sanitary stores, 
and with them a large box of tea. So I had tea 
made for those in the hospital department, and all 
got well. 

163 



164 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

I was with the regiment the first day at the battle 
of Shiloh, and we did up wounds until eleven o'clock. 
Then went to River Landing and aboard the steamer, 
on which were four hundred wounded. Here, too, I 
was the only woman. They had no food, so I first sent 
for coffee, sugar, and hard-tack. Tuesday the boat 
was ordered to Savannah, where we occupied an un- 
finished building. After we had been there a few days 
we received some supplies; then we did very well. 

About the first of May four lady nurses were sent 
to us, and as soon as possible the wounded were 
removed. The sanitary stores were sent to Far- 
rington. We found twenty-two hundred wounded, 
and some fever cases; all were in tents. We stayed 
until September; then the patients were sent JN^orth, 
the hospital was broken up, and the supjDlies sent to 
Corinth. Three other nurses and myself were sent to 
Jackson, where we remained until March, 1863. Then, 
all patients haying been removed, the nurses, twenty- 
two in number, were ordered to report at Memphis, 
Tenn. From there we went to Washington. All 
this time I was a volunteer nurse, without pay. 

April 20, 1863, I received my commission from 
Miss Dix. In January, 1864, I was ordered to 
report to J. D. Erwin, Superintendent of U. S. 
General Hospital of Memphis, Tenn. He sent me 
to the Small-Pox Hospital as matron. I i-emained 
there until October, 1866. 

When I volunteered, my name was Modenia R. 

McColl. Now it is 

Modenia R. Weston. 

Waveland, Hancock Co., Miss. 



166 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MARIA W. ABBEY. 



f^'N the third Sunday in April, 1861, at Ply- 
11 mouth Church, Brooklyn, N. Y., I heard Rev. 
^^ H. W. Beecher read a call for women as 
volunteers to work in ISTew York for the good 
of our soldiers; also a call for volunteers to go as 
nurses in the war. I responded at once, and was one 
of a company of six ladies who left New York for 
the seat of war the first day of May. We reached 
Baltimore that evening, and Washington the next 
day at 5 o'clock p. m. We stopped at the Kirkwood 
over two weeks ; then received permission to go into 
the Union Hospital at Georgetown, where we soon 
found work enough to do. 

As yet there was no organization, and we found 
it very difficult to do anything systematically; but 
we were each obliged to do the best we could. 

The hospital began to fill after the first battle of 
Bull Run, and we had no rest then. 

Up to that time I had been in good health, but the 
impure and infectious atmosphere began to tell upon 
my strength. I failed rapidly, and was obliged to 
leave on the 3d of September. 

A little later I was induced to take a house, which 
I opened as a private hospital, and maintained it 
myself for two years. Then I moved, but my 
means and strength were still given for our suf- 
fering soldiers, and my house was open to them. 



168 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



although few could repay me, and I have not 
received anything for my services. 

I left Nashville in September, 1867, a widow, and 
with broken health. Since that time I have main- 
tained myself, although I am now lame. 
Yours in F., C. and L., 

Maria AV. Abbey. 

92 Ralph Avk., Brooklyn, N. Y. 




National Cemetery, Gettysburg, Penn. 



170 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MRS. W. N. SPRAGUE. 



EHE subject of this sketch, Sarah J. MilHken, 
was born in Baldwin, Me., Aug. 3, 1830, 
and was the daughter of Josiah and Sally 
^ ^ (Townsend) Milliken. At the age of twenty 
she went to Lynn, where her brother had preceded 
her, and remained until the breaking out of the war. 
During the first year of the Rebellion she was in 
Maine, where, in company with other patriotic 
women, she was engaged in making army clothes 
for the men at the front. But tiring of this, she 
wished to be of more use to her country. An op- 
portunity came when Miss Dix called for volunteer 
nurses. With two other women she left her home, in 
September, 1862, and became a regularly enlisted 
army nurse. When she arrived in Washington, 
the city was crowded with sick and wounded 
soldiers, and every available building was used as 
a temporary hospital. She was first assigned a 
place in the court-room of the City Hall building, 
where for nearly a month she ministered to the 
wants and relieved the suffering of the soldiers 
under her charge. 

At the end of the month the wounded were 
removed to the Judiciary Square Hospital, which 
consisted of ten wards, each containing thirty-six 
beds. Miss Milhken was given charge of Ward 
Three. The surgeon was Dr. A. Hartsuff, and the 



172 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

chaplain, Rev. John C. Smith, of the First Presby- 
terian Church of Washington. 

Miss MilUken continued in charge of her ward 
until the spring of 1863, when she was retained as 
the only female nurse, and given charge of the whole 
hospital. At this time the work of caring for the 
sick was performed by convalescent soldiers, and 
she directed these men in the performance of their 
duty. In her enlarged field of action she had ample 
opportunity to display that womanly kindness and 
sympathy which made the army nurses so dear to 
the hearts of the soldiers. She had under her charge 
the wounded from many a famous battlefield, and 
could relate many interesting and touching inci- 
dents which came under her immediate notice. 
After sixteen months she I'etired from the service, 
January, 1864, receiving the following recom- 
mendation from the surofeon in charoe : — 

U. S. A. General Hospital, 
Judiciary Square, Washington, D. C, 

January, 1864. 
This certifies that Miss Milliken has been employed in this hospi- 
tal, as nurse, for many months. Slie has always been found faithful 
to her duties, kind to the patients, and strictly honest; thus com- 
bining all the qualities of a good nurse and estimable woman. 

A. Hartsuff. 

In 1872 Miss Milliken married, and her present 
address is 

Mrs. Wm. X. Sprague. 

Lynn, Mass. 



174 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



■'-'*■ ^t 




LUCY L. CAMPBELL KAISER. 



■:N' April, 1861, I left my home in St. Charles, 111., 



and went to Chicago, and from there to St. 



I Louis, where I went to a hotel and watched 
^^ all incidental affairs pertaining to the Rebellion, 
until the battle of Carthage. Then I consulted with 
prominent men as to how and where I could apply 
my individual work in the way that would be most 
acceptable; and soon found a place at Jefferson Bar- 
racks, Mo., then the old United States Post Hospital. 
I left my name and address with the steward, who 
promised to send for me as soon as I was needed; 
then returned to St. Louis, where I spent the period 
of waiting in visiting soldiers who came to camp in 
and around the old Fair Ground, and I found many 
in need of care, as well as articles of actual necessity, 
which I furnished by writing to prominent ladies, 
who always responded to the call with a supply of 
clothing, bedding, food, and many things that helped 
to make life more endurable in the unorganized con- 
dition in which the army was at that time. During 
my work there I was paying my board at the hotel, 
as what I did was entirely a free-will offering, 
prompted by my pity and sorrow for a condition 
of affairs that had already cost so much human life 
and engendered bitter hatred. I remained there 
until August 6th, when I started out for "Wilson's 
Creek, intending to make the march from RoUa 

175 



176 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

with the regiment, then preparing to reinforce 
General Lyon; hnt npon my arrival I fonnd the 
officers slow to obey orders, giving as an excuse 
the fact that they had no wagons for transportation. 
While thus delaying the battle was fought, and 
Lyon and many of his men killed. I lingered 
until the wounded began to arrive; then knowing 
it was useless to go to the front at that late hour, 
I returned to St. Louis and resumed my work, going 
the rounds of Benton Barracks. I found all in the 
hospital in the lower part of the city well cared for 
by the Sisters of Charity, so my assistance was not 
needed there. I found men from Bull Run, Spring- 
field, and other places where there had been fighting, 
and kept busy doing with as little delay as possible 
whatever ought to be done. 

Here I saw Generals Fremont and Sigel, and 
noted the contrast. Fremont, large and portly, — 
the picture of a commanding ofticer; Sigel, exactly 
the opposite : small in head and stature, and wearing 
glasses, which hid the redeeming feature of a promi- 
nent man. 

As the hotel where I was boarding was crowded 
with military men, I changed to the St. Lawrence, 
August 29th. Then hearing that there were many 
soldiers in Rolla who needed assistance I started at 
once, taking with me a lai-ge basket of such articles 
as I thought would be required. After a long day's 
travel I reached camp just at evening, and found 
many sick ones; some had measles, some fevers or 
colds, and still others were homesick. There was 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 177 

one lady there doing what she conld without sup- 
plies or conveniences. I gave her the basket, and 
promised to send more. A regiment composed of 
men fi*om our town and its vicinity was here, and I 
saw my l)rother and a cousin, besides many old neigh- 
bors. That night was passed at Wilson's Hotel, and 
the next morning I returned to St. Louis, where I 
rested over the Sabbath, then taking up the work at 
the Barracks again. 

September 4th. I wrote Miss Dix, inquiring into 
the detail business; then visited some regimental 
tents, taking, as usual, a supply of whatever I 
thought would be most needed to supply their im- 
mediate wants. During that week I continued such 
visits, also applied to many ladies for supplies. Then 
came an order to report for duty at Jefferson Bar- 
racks. Here I saw that I was real!}" needed, and I 
Avorked in the wards until late that night, getting 
things in shape so I could go back to the city for 
needed articles, and returned on the 8th. At this 
time I received an introduction to ex-Governor 
Stewart, Avho escorted me to the dining-room, and 
acted the part of champion to the " Lady Soldiei-," 
as he chose to call me. 

On the 9th I again visited the city for supplies, 
and witnessed the first military funeral I ever saw. 
I was also made very anxious by hearing that there 
had been a skirmish at Arlington Heights. I went 
for supplies again the 12th, as I wished to report to 
those furnishing what we needed most. On this 
occasion I was present at the presentation of a flag 



178 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

to the survivors of the battle of Springfield, by the 
ladies of the city. 

On the 15th, while at the hospital, I had a call 
from a mysterious pei"son, — tall, and cross-eyed, 
otherwise passably good-looking. His errand was 
apparently to get a Republican paper I was taking, 
but he went away without it. Query: "What did 
he call for?" I never knew. The 17th I wxnt 
through the city to the Fair Grounds, to the hospi- 
tal where I worked before going to Jeffei-son Bar- 
racks Hospital. That day I saw the need of good 
help. The 18th and 19th I Avorked with the sick in 
the wards, and my heart was saddened by seeing 
so many in the prime of life called to the other land 
by such a mistaken path. TVHiy did this revolt ever 
occur? 

The next day Di-. Buel came to us, asking me to 
interest some lady in behalf of his sick men, suffer- 
ing for want of attention and supplies. I referred 
this to ladies in St. Louis, who promptly responded. 

The 21st I visited the Sanitary Commission, and in 
answer to my request I received from Mr. Yeatman, 
as an agent for Miss Dix, my coveted commission, 
and the 23d was put on the hospital pay-roll. I 
considered the situation thoroughly, and decided that 
let what would come, I would not abandon the sol- 
diers so long as I Avas able to stay. I soon found 
that there was no clothing in the linen room, in fact 
no linen department, and was at a loss what to do, 
as we could not get " such things " from Govern- 
ment. Then we applied to the Sanitary Commis- 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 170 

sion, but they did not have anything-. We next 
ajDpealed to the Ladies' Aid who promptly sent a 
hmited supply. I made an enemy of the steward's 
wife, by i-ef using to grant her reqnest for clothing 
for herself and family; but I found she w^as in prac- 
tice, and would have it dishonestly if she could not 
get it honestly. 

My next work was to superintend the cleaning of 
the ward, so far as soap and water would do the work. 
By this time the sick were mostly convalescent, — all 
doing well; but we had another anxiety, in the fear 
that some of our men had been taken prisoners. 

Until this time I had been obliged to occupy a 
room with the ^steward's hired girl and her baby; and 
as I was very tired I greatly appi-eciated a room 
alone, which I was now able to have. Then, too, 
more supplies came, and that made the work easiei*. 

The 1st of October a few new cases arrived, and 
the doctor ordered that the shade trees be cut down, 
to let more air and sunshine into the hospital. Soon 
my health was much improved. 

After this my first attendant was taken sick, 
and had to be removed for rest and chang-e. I 
was greatly troubled, wondering wdien the struggle 
would end, and my anxiety was increased by the 
privations that the men in the wards had to endure. 
Then new patients arrived, and I had to do much of 
the work that belonged to the doctor in addition to 
my own. Soon all the wards were filled, and I had 
about all I could do; still there were many calls for 
help that I so wanted to render, and all the time I 



180 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

was harassed by the steward's wife. I never saw 
the equal of that woman; I coukl only hope that 
sometmie there would be " rest for the weary," 
though I feared that hope might end in despair. I 
had to change attendants often, and so watch them 
very closely, as they often made mistakes, and did 
great mischief when trying to do right. 

The 1st of ^N^ovember a disagreeable experience 
came to me. Wright reported me for not giving 
him enough to eat, and I suppose it v/as true. The 
fiict was I could not get enough food: butter out, 
sugar out, no crackers, poor bread, tough beef, no 
vegetables, no candles ; in fact, the commissary was 
bare, and the officers in town on a drunk. 

November 5th, Mr. Jordan called to see the patients, 
and take it all round we had a genuine surprise party. 
All the pleasure-seekers in the city came out to cele- 
brate the connection of the North Missouri and Iron 
Mountain Railroads. Four locomotives, Avith thirty 
cars decked in holiday attire, landed a full com- 
plement of men and women; at the same time 
the steamer " Louisiana " brought seven companies 
of troops from Texas. There was much excitement 
among the patients on hearing the firing of the 
salutes; many supposed the enemy at hand. To 
cap the climax, the hospital was found to be on 
fire; but it was put out witli little d^^mage, — no 
thanks to the officers who were having their "good 
time" in the city. 

All through the month we had very little to do 
with, and complaint was common. A new doctor 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 181 

and steward came, l)ut paid little attention to the 
patients; so I had to do Avhat I could of their work, 
besides superintending the kitchen and dining-room 
as well as the wards. 

The 1st of December there were some deaths in 
the hospital. Things grew no easier, and at length I 
applied to the Sanitary Commission for an easier 
place, but they would not let me go. I was dis- 
gusted with the way the hospital was neglected, and 
wanted some one else to see if she could not do better 
than myself. 

About the first of February, 1862, I was asked to 
go to Benton Barracks for a time ; and this 1 gladly 
consented to do, for I wanted to see how the " Ban- 
ner Hospital " was run. IS^ow 1 had to do battle as 
supervisor and nurse, as I was all alone; also to 
superintend the kitchens and instruct the half-sick 
soldier' who acted as cook, look after the laundry, and, 
in fact, was " chief cook and bottle-washer." 1 knew 
there was an able corps of nurses there, and 1 deter- 
mined to learn all I could. 1 reported to the sur- 
geon; also to the supervisor, who was a lady from 
Keokuk. 

1 was assigned to a small building containing 
smaller rooms, or wards. I think 1 had ten men. 
What to do, how to do it, or whether to do anything, 
I did not know; so 1 decided to visit my neighbors. 
I found a lady sitting by a bed reading a paper; 
introduced myself, and asked her to tell me what was 
expected of me. I learned that my duty was to see 
that the men had medicine, food, and clothing; also 



182 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

to keep the ward clean. So far, so good; and I 
I'eturned to try to get acquainted with my patients. 
Everything Ment smoothly here, only I must say that I 
felt out of place, after having had so much to do, to 
be confined to a room about fourteen feet square. 

But I managed to exist there until the troops com- 
menced to leave for Pittsburs^ Landing-; then I told 
Mr. Yeatman I did not like my place, and would go 
to the front. He did not think I could, as women 
Avere not allowed there then ; but I took my staff in 
hand and went to the major, asking him if I 
could go if I would run all the risks and pay my 
own expenses. He told me that he had no objections 
if I could get on board the boat and up the river, but 
it must be at ni}^ own risk, as he would be court- 
marshaled if found out. I went to the Provost Mar- 
shal and got a pass to cross the river, then had my 
things put al)oard. 

The gang-plank guard did not read my pass, and 
I went aboard and directly to the surgeon in chai-ge 
of the boat, and told him the situation, asking him 
to ignore my ]ii'esence until we were well on our 
way, also to keep a stateroom for me. Then I went 
immediately to the sick, and tried to make them as 
comfortable as possible for the night. Soon an offi- 
cer came aboard and called out, "All females will 
immediately come ashore." I looked him square in 
the face and saw him go, but I did not choose to go 
with him. The boat swung out and headed down 
stream, and I was afloat. I found a room and took 
jDOSsession, then looked around me, and soon saw 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 183 

a woman with two little girls. Her hiisliaiid had 
smuggled her on board, as they were in the city 
and destitnte, and the soldiers had agreed to divide 
rations with them, and give her their washing to do. 
At length Ave arrived and disembarked, and I fol- 
lowed the regiment to camp through the darlniess 
and wind, as I knew of nowhere else to go. A few 
days after our arrival there was to be a grand re- 
view. A horse was furnished for my use, and I rode 
out to see the parade. It was very imposing, — a sight 
that is seldom seen in our time and countiy. Yet in 
sj)ite of the splendor I returned to sick soldiers, who 
lay on the damp ground, wrapped only in a blanket. 
Early Sunday morning we were roused by the 
drum calling to battle. The men responded 
promptly, leaving me with only one attendant, 
to care for the helpless sick. I gave them some 
coffee and hard-tack, with a smile and the assur- 
ance that I would get them out of the way of the 
flying lead. The camj) was in range of the battle, 
and I kncAv the regiment had no ammunition, and 
must soon fall back, jierhaps before I could even get 
the men ready to go. Several balls came tearing 
through the tent, creating almost a panic. We had 
gone there in the dark, and had not taken the trouble 
to find out our position, and what to do we did not 
know. Suddenly I thought of a lieutenant who had 
been sick the day before. I sought among the tents 
and found him, and he gave me the points of the 
compass, and told me of a ravine near by where we 
must try to get the men. Those who were unable 



184 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

to walk we carried on poles, and thus all were trans- 
ported but one old man, who Avas delirious and would 
neither go nor be carried. 

A captain came in, wounded in the left shoulder, 
and so once more I went to the camp and returned 
with what I could carry, then bound np the wound, 
to stop the blood. By that time an orderly came 
with the command to get the men as far down the 
ravine as we could, and an ambulance would meet us 
there. As soon as all Avas in order I took a rifle and 
started for the battleground. I crossed a cotton- 
field, and passed an old log house known as the Post 
Office. On my way I met an aged conple, each with 
a large bundle, and trying to reach the river, but 
going the opposite way. They were German, and 
did not understand my English. I was not a Ger- 
man scholar, but I spoke to them the best I could, 
and set them in the right direction, then hurried on. 
When I reached the line I found our men in great 
numbers, and Avorked as long as I could find any- 
thing to do with. After using my oavu handkei-chief 
and skirt, and everything I could get at, I Avent 
down to the river. There I saw such sights as I 
never Avant to see again: Avounded men, mules and 
horses, tents and blankets, in the Avildest disorder. 
The surgeon Avas attending to putting the men on a 
boat. He sent me aboard to do Avhat I could. There 
Avere men Avounded in all imaginable Avays. Soon an 
amputation table Avas prepared; meanwhile I sat 
down on the floor Avith my back to the partition, 
trying to rest a moment, as I had been passing 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 185 

through so much since before clayHght. A woman 
eaine out of a stateroom just in time to see me there, 
and walking up to me she said in sharj^ tones, "Why 
don't you go to work?" As I had been on my feet 
all that dreadful da}^, without food and working in 
blood, I thought her question called for a reply, and I 
asked, " Why don't you go to work yourself, and see 
how you like it?" She said, "I am at work taking 
care of my husband, who has had his thumb shot, and 
is in that stateroom." I quietly walked over the 
wounded men to see him. He had had his thuml) 
well dressed on the field. I found the kitchen, inter- 
ested those in charge, and was soon giving coffee 
and hard-tack to men who had not tasted food that 
day. Then I went to dressing wounds, and worked 
with the surgeon all night, and all the next day. 
Monday night I slept on the colored woman's bed 
for two hours, then went to work again. Thursday 
I went on board a boat loaded for Cincinnati, in 
order to get some clothing, as my trunk had been 
lost during the battle. I purchased the needed 
articles, and returned to beat up the Tennessee 
River. I was so exhausted that I paid little atten- 
tion to anything during the trip. On our arrival I 
reported to General Grant, who gave me an order to 
remain on a boat in the harbor until the hospital 
boat arrived. This gave me a little spare time, which 
I utilized by visiting the old camp-ground, and look- 
ing up all the regimental hospitals along the way, 
taking orders for such sanitary goods as they needed. 
I went to the lower landing, where Mrs. Bickerdyke 



186 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

was in charge, and offered to assist her; bnt she 
promptly declined my help in a way which to me 
was rather amnsing. She did not ask me into the 
tent; but, nndannted, I passed on, taking the number 
of Illinois men and their condition, for I knew there 
would be a boat for them that afternoon. The boat 
came, Avith a supply of sanitary goods. This I 
boarded, and went to the room I had left in the 
morning, a tired, hungry woman. I gave the 
president of the Commission the names of the men, 
and their condition so far as my observations had 
extended, and he took the matter in charge. 

Then I rode thirty miles without leaving the sad- 
dle. The next day I went aboard the boat and to 
work in earnest, as the men had lain so long that 
they Avere in need of immediate attention. Soon 
after I returned to my old rooms at Jefferson Bar- 
racks, and set about getting my ward in order. The 
enlargement of the hospital had made a change of 
management necessary, and there were now other 
women there, so my Avork Avas much easier. Here 
I received a new cei-tificate as Miss Dix's nurse, as 
the other Avas lost in my trunk. This second one 
Avas dated June 26, 1862. So I continued to work 
and Avait for the end of the Avar, until the siege of 
Vicksburg. On the morning of May 17, 1863, I left 
for that field. I Avent on board a boat used as a 
transfer. May 21st. Here I met Generals Grant and 
Sherman, and Inspector-General HoAvard. He Avas 
sick and cross, but thought he Avas all right. Dr. 
Hodges said I was sarcastic, but I stood the rebuke, 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 187 

for I was apt to express my mind, let the re- 
marks hit or miss ; and I thought only of the men, 
who had done quite as well as could be expected. 

I stayed on the boat in plain sight of Vicksbui-g, 
and could hear the cannon and feel the vibrations 
almost as plainly as at Pittsburg Landing, although 
y.e were much farther fi'om the battle. We left with 
nine hundred sick and wounded, and on the 12th had 
an accident to the boat, by running into a snag, but 
it did not damage the hull or hurt any of the patients. 
The next day the boats were lashed together for pro- 
tection, as the shores were occupied by the enem}^ 
But we arrived in safety the 14:th. 

In such ways my time was spent. My lot w^as 
about the same as that of other nurses, so far as 
I know. I attended strictly to the sick, irrespective 
of rank or personal pleasure. I continued the Avork 
until June, 1864; then being tired out, and knowing 
the wai' must soon close, I resigned. 

During the time I was on duty I had many pleas- 
ant incidents, as well as many very sad ones; and 
among the saddest was writing to wife or mother 
that the dear one was dead. This I found no small 
task, as the men were of all nationalities, and it 
required much thought to express what I desired. 
But I can simply say that in this, as in other things, 
I tried to do my best. 

Lucy L. Campbell Kaiser. 

St. Charles, Kane Co. , III. 



188 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




if- 1^ 




ELIZABETH J. DUDLEY, 



ARMV NURSE. 



Chicopee, Mass. 



190 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




SUSAN M. BABCOCK. 



JEKI.ISTED in the United States service Oct. 
1, 18G1, as a narse under Miss Dix, who was 
the General Superintendent, and was ordered 
to the front at Bell Plain, to cany supplies 
and attend the sick and wounded. Then I returned 
to Washington, and was ordered to the Georgetown 
Hospital. From there I went to Fortress Monroe, 
Va., under order of Miss Dix, and remained about 
three months; then returned to Washington, and 
was assigned to Stone Hospital, where I remained 
six months. Then went to Columbia Hospital, 
where I stayed a year. After that I went to Hare- 
wood Hospital for al)out eight months. The first 
year I served without compensation. In all, I 
worked about four years; then was married, in 
January, 1864. 

I am eighty-three years old, and although my 
general healtli is as good as could be expected for 
one of my years, my memory is somewhat impaired; 
80 if I were to attempt to Avrite an outline of my 
experiences, I shoukl not do it justice. 
Yours truly, 

Susan M. Babcock. 

Smithville, N. Y. 



191 



192 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



^4,-' "iSS^" 





ELIZABETH P. HUNT. 



'T yonr request, I will give a few items of my 
experience in hospital life, although I cannot 
now remember all of them. At that time my 
^-^ home was in Salem, Iowa, and the hospital I 
worked in was at Keokuk, Iowa. There were three 
hospitals in the city. The one I worked in was 
called the Main Street Hospital. It was a large 
eight-story building. I worked in the Fifth Ward. 
There were a great many patients, and I deeply sym- 
pathized with those poor heroes who had risked 
their lives to protect our homes. 

I was employed by Dr. Iluges (now deceased), 
who had charge. Tliere was a great demand for 
nurses, and I took my place in May, 1862 and left 
in August. My ward had ten cases of small-pox, 
and none of the other nurses were willing to wait on 
them, for fear of the disease. I told the surgeon I 
Avould stay. My people were very much alarmed, 
but I had friends in the city who said they would 
care for me. Soon I was taken ver}^ ill with the 
vari<jloid form, and was removed from the hospital; 
but my health was so impaired I was unable to return 
to the service, and I have never been well since. 

I made application for a pension, but as I was not 
in the service six months, it Avas not granted. This 
seemed to me a little unjust, for I should probably 
have remained a year or tAvo had I not been stricken 
down by caring for small-pox patients. 

Eliza RETii P. Hunt. 

Bloomix(;i>a!.k, Ind. vxi 



194 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

OUR COUNTRY'5 FLAQ. 

Thou glorious flag of Freedom's air, 

With folds so grandly swelling, 
In every star emblazoned there 

Proud memories are dwelling ! 
Should danger come from any shore. 

And fields grow rich with slaughter, 
In thy defense our hearts would pour 

Their crimson tide like water. 

Chorus. — Our flag, our flag, our country's flag! 
Should danger e'er assail tliee, 
The bugles' call will find us all ; 
We'll never, never fail thee ! 

For life or death, our latest breatli 

Would wish thy greatest glory ; 
And never shame should soil thy fame. 

Embalmed in song and story. 
Our sabi'es bright would guide the fight, 

While war steeds, madly neighing. 
Would wildly dash where cannons flash, 

And hands were red with slaying ! 

Our infantry's united files. 

Like stone walls, would be ready 
To meet opposing foemen's wiles, 

And always would be steady. 
And when the bugle rang surcease. 

Far in the foremost sally — 
Though woeful Avere their ranks' decrease ■ 

The rest would sternly rally I 

And when the star-eyed Peace returned. 

On Victory's field descending. 
And quenchless ardor brightly burned 

For home and friends attending. 
What glorious welcome there would be 

For those who did their duty ; 
And shouts of gladness, songs and glee. 

From lips of youth and beauty I 



VM'y 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




SAMUEL C WRIGHT. 




MONG tliosc wliose service in the hospitals 
during the war deserves special mention, 
one whose service commenced early in 18(31 
and continued until the close of the long and 
bitter struggle, stands the name of Mi-s. Hannah D. 
Moir; a name near and dear to many a faithful de- 
fender of the Union who has cause to-day to bless 
her memory. She was one who made the last 
moments of many a dying hero more pleasant by 
her faithful care. 

She was a daughter of ISTathaniel Thomas, but 
married a man named Moir, who held a commission 
in the main army. He was severely wounded, and 
died of his wounds in a Washington hc^spital, where 
his faithful wife ministered to his wants luitil the 
end; then felt it her duty to remain, and care for 
other brave men who needed her attention. Here 
her noble, self-sacrificing nature could find full scope. 
All so blessed as to come under her care were made 
to feel the influence of her gentle words. Young, 
bright, and of a cheerful disposition, she cast only 
rays of sunshine in her pathway, cheering the boys 
who lay sick or wounded as only a woman can. 
Kind, sympathetic, taking the burdens of others on 
herself so far as she was able, going on errands of 
mercy from one place to another, she was, in fact, a 
ministering angel to all within the reach of her care 



107 



198 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

or influence. I feel that \\\s pen is inadequate to the 
task of giving my readers any conception of her 
goodness; but the recording angel, I fully believe, 
has wi'itten her deeds, and the "AVell clone '' has been 
pronounced for her in heaven. 

The writer of this sketch can vouch for her good 
woi'ks, as, severely wounded he lay, for months under 
her tender care. I have been invited to tell an 
incident in connection with my faithful nurse, and 
have consented, as I feel it ma}- be of interest to some 
of the readers of this book. 

I had been in Harewood Hospital for several weeks, 
being ministered to l)y this faithful friend, before I 
was aware that only a few miles separated our birth- 
places. Among the things in my possession was a 
case containing over one hundred photographs of my 
friends in the Xorth. I had carried these three years 
and more, and they had been a great comfort to me. 
They lay on the table at the head of my cot, and the 
boys who were a])le to Avalk would come to look at 
them. One day while they were thus engaged Mrs. 
Moir, in passing, noticed one in the hands of a soldier 
who had been my roommate, in former }■ ears, at Brook- 
line, Mass. Stopping, she addi-essed me thus: " How 
came you by that lady's picture? " "She gave it to 
me," I replied, " as she formerly belonged in my 
town." ''■ Where is your company from?" she asked. 
^^ Plymouth," I replied. " Why, I was from Duxbury, 
and that makes us neighbors, does it not? " From 
that time the friendship ah-eady existing strength- 
ened, and my own dear mother could not have done 



OUR ARMY NURSES. I99 

more for me than did my nurse. I wrote my friend 
of the discovery of her ohl friend, and a corre- 
spondence was opened, which for some unknown 
reason stopped at the close of the war. 

I was brought to my home, and for a long time 
was helpless; but as time wore away, and my wounds 
allowed me to travel, I proceeded to visit Duxbnry 
in search of my faithful friend, but all my labor was 
in vain. Years came and went, and still my longings 
were not satisfied. I wished once more to meet her 
and reward her for her kindness. Years later the 
friend, formerly of Brookline, said to me, ^^I have 
got track of Mrs. ]Moir, and as soon as I locate her I 
will write to you of her whereabouts; she is writing 
in some office in Boston.'' 

j^ow comes the singular part of my story. As 
each Christmas came it made my desire to reward 
my nurse more earnest, for I felt that I owed my life 
to her care and devotion. One Christmas Eve I had 
made my usual presents, then I said to my good wife : 
"Only one thing remahis to be done. Could I find 
her, I should make Mrs. Moir a present; then I 
should be content." 

In a dream that night I thought myself on the 
same battlefield whei-e I was last wounded, Avith 
every stick, stone, and stump about me as of old. 
As I lay there a woman approached me, passed, 
and turning back, came and called my name as 
she grasped my hand. 

I at once recognized Mrs. Moir, dressed in her 
deep black, as of old. I never saw any one more 



200 OUR .lAWV AV^RSES. 

plainly than I saw her. As I looked, the foi'm van- 
ished; but the black-gloved hand remained, and for 
several moments I felt plainly the pressnre of that 
friendly grasp. I s])rang from my bed and told my 
wife the dream, the same as I have related it to yon, 
my readers, ^ow jndge of my snrprise "when on 
the way to my office, walking down Broadway, 
Sontli Boston (an nnusnal thing to do), as I 
passed my uncle, J. T. Cole's, undertaker's rooms, 
he stood in the doorway and invited me in. I 
accepted the invitation, seated myself by his desk, 
and carelessly glanced at a burial permit, on which 
I read these words, " 3Irs. Hannah D. Moir, 
daughter of Capt. Nathaniel Thomas, of Dux- 
biiry, aged 38.*" I fainted dead away as I read, 
and when once moi-e I was myself, my uncle said, 
"AVhat was it that so affected you?" I replied, 
"You have listened to the story of my nurse; that 
death certificate is for her, I am sure ; I know by the 
way the name is spelled." 

He said, " This lady wrote in the office of Lawyer 
Robb, at 25 Bi'omfield Street, Boston, and boarded 
at 428 (I think) Broadway, South Boston." It was 
near my own home. 

I at once visited 25 Bromfield Street, and there 
learned that my fears were too true. The recital 
by her of my wounds was retold to me. 

I saw her in her casket, and, oh, how I longed for 
those closed eyes to open, those sealed lips to speak 
as of old! But she had gone to her reward. The 
dream I had of her, and the time I sprang from my bed, 



OrR ARM)' Nl'RSES. 201 

Avas within five iiiiiuites of the time lier spirit took its 
flight. Since then, all I can do is from time to time 
to decorate her grave with flowers; but I hope one 
da}' to express my gratitude to one of God's noble 
women. 

I might speak of the faithful service of others 
who ministered to my wants in the Overton Hospital, 
at Memphis, or on the battlefield; also on the journey 
to Washington, when I was near death's door; but it 
is not mine to know their names, although their 
memory is engraved on my heart, never to be erased. 
Their kind words and deeds should, and ever will, 
live in my memory. 

May God bless the faithful nurses, living and dead, 
Avho served their country, and did as heroic duty as 
did any general or pi-ivato who woi-e a uniform of 
blue. May Heaven deal kindly by the army nurses, 
as they dealt kindly by us. 

Samuel C. Wright. 

29n Statk Street, Boston, Mass. 



We append the record of army service of the 
writer, S. C. Wright, whose photograjDh accom- 
panies the sketch. 

Fii-st enlisted at Plymouth, Mass., May 8, 1861. 
Mustei'cd into the United States service at Fortress 
Monroe, Ta., May 21, 1861. Was in twenty-one 
battles, and wounded as follows : — 

At White Oak Swamp, Ta., in head by shell; 
rejwrted in Xew York papers as killed. 



202 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

At Aiitietam, in l)()th legs by rifle ball, while 
answering call for volunteers to pull down the 
fence pi'evious to the famous charge into the corn- 
field. Here he was first promoted on the field for 
bravery. 

At Cold Harbor he was wounded in the arm by a 
rifle ball. 

At the battle of the Crater, before Petersburg, he 
was shot in the head by rifle ball, destroying his 
right eye. Here he was left on the field for dead, 
and so ofiicially reported. (See Adjutant-General's 
Keport, three years, Vol. E., 29th Massachusetts 
Volunteers.) He was later promoted for gallantry 
in this action. 

While in a hospital at Memphis with typhoid fever, 
word was sent to the regiment of his death, and his 
things were sent home, Avith a letter to his mother. 

In Kentucky he was run over by a ponderous 
army wagon, loaded with one hundred and eighty 
bushels of oats, and his feet and body were badly 
crushed. 

Later his leg Avas broken in a successful attempt 
to save a piece of artilleiy deserted by another corps 
on a retreat to Knoxville, Tenn. Owing to this 
accident he was obliged to crawl or draw himself 
for thirteen miles between the Rebel and Union 
skirmish lines, suffering untold agony. 

After the regiment returned home, an association 
was formed, and for over twenty yeais he has been 
its secretary, and Avas made color-beai-er foi- life. 



204 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



'X 



:m^ ^ 





HANNAH C. SHEPPARD. 



J 



T has been so long since I passed through the 
sad scenes of the war, that they seem much iike 
a dream to which it would be hard for me to 
give definite outline. 
I went from my native place, Millville, ^. J., July 
6, 18(34, and Miss Dix assigned me to duty at 
the Chesapeake Officers' Hospital, Fortress Monroe. 
The !N^ew Camp, Hampton and Chesapeake Hospi- 
tals, were all under one surgeon, — Dr. McClellen. 
They were not near any city, but were just above 
Fortress Monroe, on a point often called Old Point 
Comfort. 

In the fall of 18(34: 1 was assigned to the Hampton 

and 'New Camp Hospitals, where I remained until 

the following June; being discharged June 28, 1865. 

I served under the name of Hannah Bowman, but 

was married a year later. 

Yours in F., C. and L., 

Ha]s:n^ah C. Sheppakd. 

Port Elizabktji, N. J. 




206 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




ESTELLE S. JOHNSON. 



JHA"\TE been requested to write what I can re- 
member about my life as an army nurse, while 
in the hospital of the 4th Vermont Volun- 
teers. I hardly know what to say, as it is new 
work for me to write for a book. 

When the war broke out I lived in a little country 
village shut in by the mountains of Vermont. One 
day in August, 1861, Leonard Stearns came in search 
of recruits. My husband and his brother-in-law were 
among those who enlisted, and sister and I objected, 
naturally; telling the recruiting officer that if our 
husbands went we should go too, but not thinldng 
that such a thing could be. 

In the course of a week Mr. Stearns came and told 
us that the colonel said that although nurses had not 
been called for, he w^anted us to go. The boys 
formed a company under Capt. Leonard A. Stearns, 
and went into camp at Brattleboro. They w^ere as- 
signed to the 4th Vermont Regiment, Compau}" I. 

On September 18th we were sent to join them, and 
on the 20th signed our names — Estelle S. Johnson 
and Lydia A. Wood — to the I'oll, and were sworn in 
by Lieutenant Higby, in the presence of the colonel, 
adjutant, and major, the Governor of Vermont and 
his son-in-law. The Governor tried to persuade us 
not to go. The regiment started about eight o'clock 
that evening, and went by rail to Stonington, where 

207 



208 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

they embarked for Xew York, an-iving there the 
next day in the forenoon. Thence l)y rail to Phihi- 
delphia, where we arrived in the evening, and 
mai'ched to Cooper's Hall, where a collation was 
prepared for ns. I do believe it w\as the best meal 
I ever ate; we were very hnngry. Late that night 
we went on board a train for Washington, and this 
time we did not get along very fast. It seemed as if 
we only crawled, so slow was onr progi-ess. A few 
miles beyond the Relay we fonnd the rails torn np in 
apiece of woods; bnt they were soon replaced, and 
we proceeded on our way, reaching Washington 
abont eight o'clock in the evening. The colonel 
found a place for sister and I to rest at the 
"Soldiers' Retreat/' where we had supper, lodging 
and breakfast; then went to join the company. 
From the depot they marched to Federal Hill, 
where the " tents were pitched September 23d. I 
had left a little gii'l at home, who was one year old 
that day. 

We stayed there a week; then the 9th Wisconsin 
came on the ground. It was i-aining hard, and the 
colonel wonld not move his men, so sister and I took 
tlie seven ladies who were Avith tlie regiment into the 
tent with ns over night. 

One thing I must mention before we leave Federal 
Hill. Away in the distance was stationed another 
reofiment. One evening near sunset we were look- 
ing over there, when we saw some men drawn np in 
line to shoot a comrade for desertion. I did not see 
the shooting, but I heard the report of the guns, and 



OUR ARMY XrRSES. 209 

knew another i><)<)r fellow liad paid tlie jjenalty of 
desertion. 

September 28tli we again started on the march. We 
crossed Chain Bridge, and halted that night close to 
Fort Smith. Only one tent was pitched; that was 
for the women. When all had tni-ned in and were 
nicely settled for sleep, an order came to go into the 
fort, as an attack was expected; bnt we stayed in 
onr tent ontside and slept sonndly all night. 

]N^ext day we crossed the road, and pitched the tents 
on a slight elevation. This place was called Camp 
Advance. Here we were assigned to the 1st Ver- 
mont Brigade, Brig, ^yilliam F. Smith commanding. 
"We stayed here nearly two weeks. The 2d Ver- 
mont was not far away, and there were five women 
with them, and some of the boys were from onr home. 
Once we visited them. Soon after we moved on, 
and pitched onr tents at Camp Griffin. Here was a 
level strip of gronnd, with a large corn-field on one 
side. A day or two later the long roll was called 
before daylight. That da}^ the camjD was shelled by 
the relicls, bnt the shells did not reach ns. The cap- 
tain wanted sister and I to go back to Langley; bnt 
I told him if he thonght we wonld rnn at the first 
fire he was greatly mistaken. 

As soon as possible a hospital was established, a 
few miles from camp, in a deserted honse. I went 
there as nnrse, or, as Dr. Allen called me, '"" matron." 
In this honse there were three rooms and a kitchen 
on the first floor, and three above; the one over 
the kitchen being a low room, Avith roof slo23ing to 



210 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

the floor and with no hght. Here some of the boys 
were lying, with nothing but their rubber blankets 
under them, and for some time no regular sick ra- 
tions were issued. One day Robert Langdon came 
over to see us from the 2d Regiment. He reported 
to General Brooks how the boys were situated, and 
things were made lively for a day or two. The old 
house underwent a thorough change. Cots were 
made, and ticks filled with straw, hay, or corn- 
shucks; and soon the boys were comparatively 
comfortable. I occupied one of the upper rooms, 
and kept thei-e my hospital stores. 

Many of the soldiers were sick with typhoid fever, 
and my husband soon had it. I slept very lightly, 
and often was called to get the necessary things in 
which to lay out some poor fellow who had died in 
the night. Fi'om my room I had to go down stairs 
by passing through a narrow hall just the width of a 
door. Here was where they laid the dead, and 
sometimes there would be two, side by side, and it 
would be hard to pass them in the narrow space. It 
gave me an awful feeling to crowd by them in the 
dead of night. 

We had been at the hospital about ten days when 
sister Lydia was taken sick with the fever, and died 
the ninth day. Robert Langdon brought Amanda 
Farnham and Mrs. Black to prepare her for burial; 
but the boys could not bear to have her buried as the 
soldiers were, so clubbed together and paid the ex- 
pense of having her embalmed and sent home, and 
her husband with her. He arrived befoi-e the colfin 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 211 

did, and that nig'ht was taken down with the black 
measles. She was kept three weeks, then buried 
beside her little girl ; her husband getting there just 
after she was buried. 

After her death my husband was much worse, and 
for days it was doubtful whether he could live or not, 
but he slowly recovered. The care of him in addition 
to my other duties kept me busy and from being 
homesick. When he became convalescent, Dr. Allen 
wanted me to go to the Brigade Hospital in the 
same capacity in which I was serving there; but I 
objected to going so far from my husband, who would 
soon return to his company. 

I remember many of the boys so well. One called 
Phillips would be up and around one day, the next 
would be very sick. Chaplain Smith came often to 
see him; but as he grew worse he was sent to the 
Brigade Hospital, where he lived only one week. 

There were two Bailey brothers, and the doctor 
said there was nothing the matter with them but 
homesickness. Nearly every day I would go to 
them and read, or perhaps write letters for them, 
but they soon died. 

Another, Charlie Persons, had black measles. I 
used to go to him every day and do all I could. One 
evening an attendant came to tell me Charlie was 
dying. It was only too true. There he lay, his 
hands clasped over his head, apparently sleeping, 
but, really, quietly passing away. I took from 
under his pillow the picture of his lady-love, and 
this with other things I sent to her, — all but her 



212 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

letters, which I burned, for fear curious eyes might 
read them. 

I went to Washington twice with Surgeon Allen. 
The first time I stopped over night Avith Miss Dix. 
Her house was filled with supplies. I shall always 
remember that visit. The next time Amanda Farn- 
ham and I went to get some needed things. We 
went to Georgetown in an army Avagon, then 
walked on from there. Being veiy hungry we 
went into a bakery for something to eat. When the 
German woman who had charge saw our uniforms, 
she invited us into her kitchen to have some dinner, 
and woidd not accept any pay. 

Well, in course of time my husband went on duty 
again, but it was too soon, and the fever settled in 
his right knee, so I had him under my charge once 
more. March 21, 1862, the sick were all sent away, 
as preparations were being made for an advance ; my 
husband being sent to Alexandria. Surgeon Allen 
said he would never be able to march again, and he 
had to get a discharge. After this I did not feel 
that I could stay ; but they said as he had a discharge 
I should not need one. How I have wished since 
that I had it. This was just before the battle of 
Lee's Mills. I left the regiment March 23, 1862, and 
reached home April 3d, my service covering only a 
little over six months; and as our regiment was 
not in any battle during that time, I had no 
wounded to care for, and have no thrilling ad- 
ventures to relate. 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



213 



I hope you may have Amanda Farnham's experi- 
ence. Mine will be nothing beside hers, for she was 
out during the whole war. She was married after I 
left. I do not know her present name, or if, indeed, 
she is living; but if she is I ho]3e she may read this, 
and that I may hear from her. 

Yours in F., C. and L., 

ESTELLE S. JOHXSON. 

HOLYOKE, Mass. 




1st Massachusetts Infantry. 
National Cennetery, Gettysburg, Penn. 



214 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 





MRS. EMILY E. WOODLEY, 

ARMY NLRSE. 



216 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MRS. MARY J. WATSON. 




)FTER the battle of Stone River there came a 
call from Governor Morton, of Indiana, for 
twenty-live nnrses, fifty surgeons and ward 
masters, and a large supply of sanitary goods 
of every description. I was the second one to put 
my name on the list of nurses to go to ^N^ashville, 
Tenn., to help take care of the sick and wounded in 
Hospital 14, which was a five-story building, a female 
seminary; but now full, from basement to attic, of 
sick and wounded soldiers. There were over five 
hundred there at one time, so I was told. I think it 
was true, for every bunk was full, and men were 
lying in the aisle with nothing but their blankets 
under them, and each waiting for some poor soul to 
die or be sent away, so he could get a bed. That 
looks hard, but it is true. 

I could not go up or down stairs but I would 
often meet the men nurses carrying some poor fellow 
to the dead-house. For the first two weeks after 
the battle they averaged from twenty-five to thirty 
deaths a day, the ward master told me. Oh ! it was 
terrible to hear the poor fellows, some praying, some 
calling for wife and children, others for father, 
mother, brother or sister, while the death damp was 
gathering on the brow, and they knew they would 
never see home or friends again. But I must not 
allow myself to think, or I shall write too much. 



217 



218 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



I remained at the hospital from January until 
some time in March, when I was taken sick with 
typhoid fever, and had to leave for awhile. Then 
Governor Morton and William Hannaman sent me 
down to Murfreesboro, Tenn., to nurse in the field 
hospital in the fort. I Avent in July, 1863, and 
stayed until the last of February, 1864. When I 
went, my husband was hing at the point of death in 
the fort. I was the only white woman there for two 
or three weeks, though there were several colored 
women, to do the cooking and washing. 

I drew sanitary supplies for the sick, and did every- 
thing in my power for them. I stayed Avith the 
brigade until it was ordered to the front to join 
Sherman in his march to the sea; then I came home, 
as I needed rest. 

Yours in F., C and L., 

Mits. Mary J. AYatson. 

77 N. Liberty St., Indianapolis, Ind. 



220 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 





JANETTE MAXWELL IN'.ORRILL. 



J WAS commissioned by the colonel of the 6th 
Regiment, Michigan Infantry, Aug. 28, 1861, 
and served in Baltimore, Maryland, until April, 
1862, when I was assigned by Miss Dix to 
the Judiciary Square General Hospital, Washington, 
D. C. On account of severe illness, I left the ser- 
vice :N^ov. 1, 1863. 

Among the many amusing incidents of hospital 
life was the case of a man nearly fifty years of age, 
who, with half a regiment, was brought in sick with 
the measles. I could not make him understand the 
nature of a contagious disease. He thought he was 
sick enough to die ; and remembering my own experi- 
ence when I w^as a child, I did not much wonder. 
When at last he comprehended that in order to take 
the disease one must come in contact w ith some one 
who has it, he wanted me to write to his wife imme- 
diately, and tell her to see that the children have the 
measles, all but the baljy. Why he made that excep- 
tion he would not say; but made me begin and end 
the letter by telling "Eliza to have the children catch 
the measles." 

A very pathetic thing occurred at one time when a 
number of patients were brought into the General 
Hospital at Washington. I was busy here and there 
with those who seemed most in need of care, when 
something like a sob reached my ear. I heard it 

221 



222 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

several times, and it fixed my attention. I passed 
slowly along the ward, among" the fifty or sixty beds, 
and finally reached a youth who looked as thongh his 
place were in the schoolroom rather than as a soldier. 
When he saw me watching him he broke down com- 
pletely, and cried like a child. My own tears mingled 
with his as I tried to comfort him. I learned that he 
was not sixteen when he. left his widowed mother in 
Kentucky and started for the front, and that night 
was the first time in eighteen months that he had 
heard a woman's voice. 

But to me the saddest of all memories, and the one 
that makes other sorrows seem lighter, is the search 
for the missing ones, those for whom it was impos- 
sible to account, — father, brother, husband or lover. 
The thought of the dreadful uncertainty hanging 
over so many lives all these years, makes me very 
thankful that my graves are on the quiet hillside at 

home. 

Yours in F., C. and L., 

Janette Maxwell Mokkill. 

Lawton, Mich. 



224 



OUR ARMY XURSES. 




MRS. ELIZABETH E. ELLIS. 



T^OUR letter addressed to my mother, Mrs. Eliza- 

Y beth E. Ellis, was forwarded to me, as she was 

I called to her reward three years ago. I am 

^^ sorry I cannot give yon as full an account as 

I should like, but will do the best I can, as I would 

like her work to be known. 

My father, too, served three years and a half, and 
finally lost his life on the ill-fated " Sultana." 

Mother volunteered, and was duly enrolled as an 
army nurse, Jan. 14, 1863. She was then twenty- 
eight years old. She served at Woodward Post 
Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio, for fifteen months, when, 
owing to ill health, she was honorably discharged. 
She Avent from Talmage, Ohio, and served under Dr. 
Henry Johnson, at least a part of the time. 

I know her heart and soul were in the work, and 
she never lost her interest in the old soldiers, but 
during her last years was the means of securing pen- 
sions for some who were under her care in the 
hospital. 

In F., C. and L., 

Mrs. Nettie E. Wenk. 

Knightstown, Ind. 



225 



226 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 





MRS. ELIZABETH COPE. 



J^ 1861, when the Rebellion broke out, I was living 
on a farm in Iowa, with my husband and four 
sons, of whom the eldest was eighteen years, 
and the youngest one year old. My husband 
enlisted in August, 1861 ; but before being sworn in 
he became very ill, and died August 31st. The fol- 
lov^dng year my eldest son enlisted. He was wounded 
during the battle of S]3ringfield ; then followed a long 
illness, and the doctors sent him home to die, but 
with the aid of careful nursing he recovered suffi- 
ciently to re-enlist, and was sent to Omaha, as hospi- 
tal steward, and served there until the close of the 
war. 

I entered a hospital at Keokuk in July, 1862, and 
served as ironer until IS^ovember; then I was duly 
enrolled as an army nurse, and served until June 26, 
1864. 

I was the only female nurse in the house, and if 
this falls under the observation of the soldiers who 
were there at that time, I think many will remember 
me. I tried to do all in my power for those who 
needed help, and I am very grateful that my efforts 
were so highly appreciated. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Cope. 

528 18th Street, Oakland, Cal. 



227 



228 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 





jfj'' 



MARTHA A. BAKER. 



J WAS bom in Concord, IncL, April 9, 1838, a 
daughter of Benjamin and Anna Denton. At 
the age of sixteen I went to Sugar Grove Insti- 
tute. In 1859, my mother and father both 
being dead, I was married to Abner Baker. In 
February, 1862, my husband enhsted in the 40th 
Indiana Vokmteers, leaving me at my brother's with 
our little girl. After the battle of Chickamauga he 
was sent to Nashville, in charge of twenty-seven 
officers. Finding that he was an extra nurse, he 
was transferred to the 160th Battalion Yeteran 
Relief Corps, and made chief wound-dresser of one 
ward in the Officers' Hospital. He then wrote for 
me, and I went from Stockwell, Ind., January, 1864, 
and was appointed to the Special Diet Kitchen, 
under the charge of Major Lyons. At that time 
we prepared food for the Officers' Hospital and No. 
2, — about five hundred men. 

Just before the battle of Atlanta a good many of 
the boys went home to vote, and it cut us short of 
hands, as we had fifteen hundred to cook for, and but 
little help. Our strength was taxed to the utmost. 
Sometimes it was almost impossible to keep up, but 
with the aid of the Lord, who always strengthens 
and prepares the back for the burden, we were 
enabled to do our duty, and speak a few words of 
comfort to the poor soldiers who were away from 



229 



230 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

home and friends. "We were glad to see our boys 
come back from their furlough, and to think they 
remembered to bring us some tokens of love from 
mother or sister. We shall always remember the 
kindness of the soldiers. 

Doctor Green, an especial friend of ours, was put 
in assistant surgeon, and he often came for my little 
girl to go with him to see the patients; he would 
laugh and say she did them as much good as he did. 

I was there during the battle of I^ashville. Can- 
non were placed within one hundred yards of our 
building. I saw men bayonetted from the breast- 
works. The cannonading was so heavy it shook the 
building. There I beheld all the horrors of war, and 
after the battle, the sad sight of the ambulances 
coming in with their fearful loads. 

With almost breaking hearts our hands Avere still 
busy caring for the wounded. 

I met two soldier girls who had donned the blue. 
One, Frances Hook, alias Harry Miller, served two 
years and nine months ; the other was called Anna. 
She was put under our charge until the military 
authorities could send her North. 

I left the service in February, 1865. 
Yours truly, 

Martha A. Baker. 

RUSHVILLE, Mo. 



232 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MRS. EMMA FRENCH-SACKETT. 



' ®T AYING a desire to minister to the needs of 
^ our suffering soldiers, I went from Denmark, 

^ Iowa, to Chicago, in company with Mrs. Col- 
' ^ ton, and reported to Mrs. Livermore, not 
knowing whether we should be sent to the front 
amid the battlefields, or where our lot would be cast. 
February 1, 1864, we were sent to Jefferson ville 
General Hospital, where I was assigned to Ward 18, 
which was crowded with sick and wounded, so there 
was no lack of work to do. And although sad the 
office we performed, our hearts were filled with 
pleasure in the work we were doing. It was ours to 
minister to the wants of mind and body; and when 
the poor soldier boy had breathed his last, to write to 
his parents, wife or sister, telling of his last hours, 
and giving the messages for loved ones at home. 
And as we folded the letter inclosing a lock of the 
dear one's hair, we prayed that the white-winged 
messenger might break the news gently. In this 
way an interesting correspondence has been con- 
tinued with those whom I have never seen, as they 
cling to every item, and long for more incidents of 
their dead. 

I i-emember one boy, only fifteen years of age, who 
had his arm amputated. Gangrene set in, and he 
had to endure another amputation; then death 
relieved him of his suffering. Poor boy ! You little 



233 



234 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

knew what was in store for you when you enlisted. 
And poor mother ! Your fondest hopes were blasted. 

Another brave soldier from Minnesota had left one 
leg on the battlefield, and lay upon his cot day after 
day, mourning for home and loved ones, until his life 
went out. 

A pale-faced lad, shot through one lung, lay 'twixt 
life and death for a long time, then rallied, and the 
last I knew he was still alive. 

One day a letter was brought to our ward for a 
former patient, who had been transferred to the 
gangrene ward. I carried it to him, and when his 
name was called he responded with uplifted hand, 
while the tears ran down his cheeks, so glad was he 
to get a word from home. 

How bitter was the disappointment of a sister who 
came to the hospital to see her brother, only to learn 
that he had been transferred to Cincinnati, and that 
she must continue her search. 

So one after another these incidents crowd upon 
the memory. Sad were the scenes when friends 
came to see their loved ones, to find that those they 
were seeking had been buried a few days before. 

On the morning of the 15th of April, when we 
beheld the stars and stripes at half-mast, and the 
words " Lincoln is dead," passed from lip to lip, all 
was hushed. The stillness of death prevailed, and 
we questioned, "What next?" for it seemed a ter- 
rible crisis. A few of the boys made disloyal 
remarks, and the guardhouse was the penalty. 

As the war neared its close colored men were 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 235 

brought to do guard duty, and we held a freedman's 
school for a few hours each day in a chapel near. So 
eager were they to learn, that it was a pleasure to 
teach them. 

Our last work was filling out discharge papers for 
the soldiers, who were eager to get home, now that 
the war was over; and therefore when they were 
given that work, soon hunted up their own papers 
and were at liberty, leaving Uncle Sam to find new 
clerks, which he did among the army nurses. 

Our services were appreciated by those among 
whom we labored, as testimonials held by more than 
one of my colaborers would prove. One day upon 
entering my ward I was halted, but instead of being 
confronted by sword or bayonet, a purse was put 
into my hand, accompanied by a nicely-worded 
address, as a token of the regard and gratitude of 
my patients. The original address is treasured among 
my keepsakes. I was always treated with respect and 
kindness while in the service, and those to whom I 
ministered seemed to me more like brothers than 
strangers. 

I went by the authority of Miss Dix, and served 
under Miss Buckel for nearly eight months, then 
received my discharge Sept. 23, 1865, and returned 
to my Iowa home, having no regrets that I had 
been an army nurse. 

Yours in F., C. and L., 

Mks. Emma French-Sackett. 

Middle River, Iowa. 



236 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




SARAH K. CLARK, 

ARMY NURSE. 



Winona, Minn. 



238 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




JANE E. DUNBAR. 



JSERYED in a hospital on an island in ^ew 
York Harbor about four months. Mr. Church 
was the steward, and Doctor Smith the surgeon 
in charge. I had received a letter from the 
steward saying that my husband was very sick, and 
in response to my inquiry received a dispatch to go 
at once. I reached the hospital the first of August, 
1864, and as there were about eight hundred soldiers 
there I found plenty of work to do. When I had 
been there about a month the surgeon requested me 
to cook the extra diet for the sickest men, and I con- 
tinued that work three months. The woman who did 
it before I went there had forty dollars a month. I 
was not paid, and I boarded myself until my money 
gave out, then I drew rations with the rest. I think 
I never worked so hard in my life. 

At length the hospital was needed for the city 
poor, so the soldiers were removed to McDougal 
Hospital; and as I was not needed there, I re- 
turned to my home. 

This was in December; so when I applied for a 
pension I found that I lacked two months of the 
required time of service. 

While I was in the hospital a band of ladies came 
every week to bring dainties for me to distribute 
among the sick ones. At the time the Southerners 
undertook to burn some of the buildings in the city 



240 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



of IS^ew York, two women came to examine our hos- 
pital, but thought they could not burn it very 
readily. Two of the soldiers who heard them talk- 
ing followed them to the city and had them arrested. 

There was a great deal to do, and I had to go up 
and down three or four flights of stairs constantly ; 
but it was hard to leave, too. When I first went 
there the soldiers asked me if I was going to stay; 
and when I said I would, some of them cried. 
It looked very hard to see so many sick and 
wounded. 

I am now sixty-five years old, and broken down, 
but am still al)le to be around a part of the time. 
Yours in F., C. and L., 

Jaiste E. Dunbar. 

Sparta, Wis. 



242 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MARY A. ST1NEBAUGH-3RADFORD. 



J WAS born in Gallon, Ohio. My mother's 
health was poor, and at an early age I was 
her trnsted nurse and overseer of the children, 
and preferred this loving service to play. I 
attended school at Gallon, Oberlin, and Cleveland, 
Ohio, and was a student at Oberlin College when the 
war broke out. We were not blind to the fact that 
blood must be shed. One of the professors and two 
students had already been Imprisoned at Harper's 
Ferry. Many of the students had friends in the 
Kansas and Missouri troubles, and we were all 
wide awake. 

My brother, George Stinebaugh, then only twenty- 
one years of age, while on his way home from 
Kansas, stopped in Illinois and enlisted. He was 
wounded at Shiloh, and left on the field until our 
men retook it; then was sent to Mound City Hos- 
jDital, Cairo, 111. 

We received a letter telling us that he had lost a 
liml), and asking me to go and nurse him. My father 
thought this unsafe, and so he started, but was not 
allowed to pass the lines. Later came the news of 
his death. 

More than a year passed. I expected soon to begin 
to teach in a Ladies' Seminary, when an invitation 
came to go South, under the leadership of Rev. S. G. 
Wright, who had been a missionary among the 



244 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

Indians for twenty years. After a sleepless night 
spent in prayer I was ready to give np my chosen 
work, feeling that I conld teach after all this was 
over, if I lived to retnrn. My father objected to 
my going, but I said, "You have given your boys 
to die for their country; now you can give your 
girls to nurse them.*" 

My aunt came Avhile I was packing my trunk. 
"Oh!" she said, "they have all gone! The last 
one has enlisted, my five dear sons and my son-in- 
law. I have packed the satchels for six. I could 
not stay at home, and have walked three miles to 
see you and forget ! " " Yes," my mother replied ; 
"all our boys have gone, too, and Mary Ann is 
going!" Then the brave Spartan mothers tried to 
forget their anxiety while packing my trunk. 

The youngest son soon returned, one limb shot off; 
his cousin, without his right arm; and some never 
returned. 

Father said : " Mother, can't we send some butter 
and fruit? They will need it." Soon forty pounds 
of butter and half a barrel of dried fruit was ready, 
together with bandages and other supplies. We took 
the boat at Cincinnati for Yicksburg, and stop})ed at 
Cairo, to see if I could find my brother's grave. We 
visited the hospitals at ^Memphis, and found everything 
in as good order as war would permit, the hospitals 
well supplied with women, both colored and white. 

Here I met a doctor, who said: "Did you not have 
a brother in Ward D, Mound City Hospital ? I see a 
striking resemblance." 



Ol'R AR3IV A'URSES. 245 

I told hiiu that I did, and he replied: "Well, 
Madam, if yon had l)een there yon might have saved 
his life. I assisted in ampntating his leg, and he was 
doing well, nntil high water compelled ns to move the 
sick npstairs. The artery opened while they were 
moving him, and the attendant did not know enongh 
to pnt his thnmb on and stop the bleeding. When I 
reached him he was dead." 

We were assigned to Milliken's Bend, twenty miles 
above Vicksbnrg, where General Grant dng the 
canal, and where the mortality was so great. The 
army had been removed, leaving one company to 
guard the hospitals, containing the sick. 

The next day after onr arrival I was informed that 
I was chosen matron. Many of the men had chronic 
diseases, that seemed to baffle the skill of the most 
competent doctors ; yet the soldiers were hopef nl now 
that Union women had come to care for them. 

The men in charge were familiarly called the old 
and the yonng doctors; bnt their names the finger 
of Time has erased from my memory. We com- 
menced onr dnties with plenty of Government 
rations, a large brick oven, a negro baker, an 
Indian cook, and any amonnt of colored people 
asking for something to do. All went well nntil 
the old doctor sent an order for the sick to have 
only two meals a day. This did not meet my appro- 
bation, bnt what was I to do? I was only a volnn- 
teer; so, also, was the acting chaplain. The old doctor 
ontgeneraled ns for a time, for " a soldier's first dnty 
is obedience.'' The men complained, and at last we 



246 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

thought of a phxn by which the Golden Kiile could 
be obeyed if only we could find trusty help. An old 
colored preacher, who came timidly every Saturday 
for help in preparing his sermon "fo' de bredren de 
J.iawd's day," assured us he could find " niggers 'nuf 
what could be trusted." So while the doctor was in 
his office, or taking his afternoon nap, the sick had 
their supper. 

Christmas Day the commander drew the soldiers 
up in front of the hosj^ital, and invited the chaplain 
and myself to address them. I congratulated the 
men on their temperate habits, emphasizing the 
advantage of such a course. In a few days 
the men rolled a great barrel up the hill from the 
boat. Could it be pork? Was it something nice 
for the sick? Ah! it was nothing less than Govern- 
ment Avhiskey. Drunkenness became so connnon that 
the officers were alarmed. I jDroposed a temperance 
pledge, and much good resulted. 

The small-pox hospital Avas only a mile down the 
river, and the disease was spreading rapidly. One 
day we saw some men with shovels hastily leaving a 
newly-made grave beside the road along which we 
Avere passing. "Whom have you buried there?" 
the doctor inquired. "Oh! a small-pox patient," 
was the reply. The doctor told me I was in dan- 
ger, and Avarned me to keep out of the I'oad. For- 
tunately I escaped the disease. 

The troops had been removed, and there were con- 
stant rumors of guerrillas, but Ave stood our ground. 
Northern people Avent on with the schools and calmed 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 247 

the fears of the freedmen until shortly before Christ- 
mas. Then we saw the fire the outlaws had kin- 
dled to destroy ns. The connnander advised all 
who could do so to cross the river, and take 
refuge in the canebrake, or with a friendly family; 
the young doctor, with the help of the colored 
assistants, would care for the sick. 

While we were away a real blizzard came up, and 
large snowflakes filled the air. How frightened the 
children were! They had never seen snow before, 
and running into the house they tried to hide, and 
were terrified to see us go out and enjoy it. The 
third day we attempted to return, as Chaplain 
"Wright had planned a Christmas tree; but when 
our little boat got into the current, the gale was 
so strong that it was impossible to cross the bois- 
terous river, and we were dashed back to shore. 
Another lady and I jumped overboard and waded 
to land; the others follov.ed. When the sun went 
down we crossed safely. 

All was quiet for some time ; then came a lady on 
horseback with her husband and brothers. They 
had been attacked by the guerrillas, who killed 
one man, and swore that they would make a raid on 
Milliken's Bend the next night, and the "Yanks 
would lose their heads, women first." Again we 
fled, as we were assui*ed that they would not harm 
the sick. We were none too soon in taking the road 
to Yicksburg. As we passed the graveyard, where 
about two thousand of Grant's men now slept, the 
fire met us, and the chaplain pointed to a hickory 



•2 is OUR ARMY NURSES. 

tree, near which a vohime of fire and smoke was 
issuing from the ground. He tokl us it was buried 
cotton burning. 

We found Vicksburg overrun with troops, and 
fasted one day, if never before. I had suggested 
taking a box of hard-taek with us, but every 
one assured me we should l)e supphed. ]^ot so. 
"Where are you from?'' demanded the officer. 
"Milhken's Bend,""' "Well, you have draAvn your 
rations;" and not a loaf of bread could be bought. 
One of our number had some tea and a few hard- 
tacks, and these she divided for our breakfast. We 
found a vacant room, and rested until the next morn- 
ing. Before daylight we sent to the bakery, but the 
soldiers had been there first. They promised to have 
some bread soon, and we anticipated what a break- 
fast we should have, with some lovely hot bread and 
a few dried fish. But, oh, that miserable baker! I 
wondered if the soldiers met the same fate. The 
bread was not baked an inch deep. We had a good 
laugh ; then toasted it on a stick before the grate. 

We learned that help was needed at JS^atchez, and 
were soon on oin* way, passing the plantation of 
Jefferson Davis, and other places of interest. We 
often saw bands of guerrillas at a distance, but were 
not molested. The prejudice against IS^ortherners 
was great in that city. The fort and white tents 
were seen in the distance, but where were our men? 

We had a letter of introduction to IVIr. Wallace, 
and but for that Ave should not soon have found out 
anything. We learned that thei-e was not a female 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 249 

nurse in hospital or camp, and that there was much 
suffering-, and need of workers. 

So the labor was divided. Some were to look 
after Union women and children whose husbands 
and fathers had gone into our army, been robbed of 
their all, and left to die; others were to teach the 
freedmen, others to care for the sick. A confiscated 
mansion was turned over to us, with the injmiction to 
be no "respecter of persons," but to welcome all who 
came, "in the name of the God of the universe." 

It was here that Mr. Wright's experience and 
sagacity, acquired in the Indian service, became of 
great value. He soon canvassed the entire field, and 
reported the condition, and Miss Henry and I offered 
to nurse in the Marine Hospital. The doctor coolly 
informed ns that they were not in need of female 
nurses, but that there was a hospital for colored 
women, and we might be of service there. Heavy- 
hearted we returned to the city, to await further 
developments. 

Soon we decided to visit the wards after the 
doctors had made their morning calls. How glad 
I was of this opportunity to give an encouraging 
Avoixl, to soften a pillow, or f\in a fevered brow. 

One day I noticed that the men were watcliing 
us very closely. Finally one asked, "Are yon not 
a [N^orthern woman?" "Why, to be sure I am." 
"Do you have the papers? Where are they fight- 
ing? We should so like to see a paper," I told him 
he was too sick to read ; he said, " But you can read 
to us, and if you are a ^N^orthern woman you can 



250 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

write home/' Oh! what an avalanche of questions 
followed ; but I took no step until I had spoken to 
the chief attendant. 

In the spring of 1864, Rev. Mr. Brown and hidy, 
he seventy years of age and she sixty-five, estab- 
lished a branch of the Christian Commission within 
the foi't. As I did not always have the company of 
a lady, I thought it wise to call and take Mother 
Brown with me. She was a mother not only to me, 
but also to the boys in blue. Her presence made 
my work much easier. One Sabbath morning in 
the spring of 1864 eveiything was quiet. Soldiers 
and citizens Avere attending church. The gunboat 
had dropped down the river a mile; the fort was 
a mile above the landing, and Camp 70, U. S., col- 
ored, still a mile beyond. 

Suddenly we heard firing, and the answer. The 
church was soon emptied, and all was excitement. 
The Southerners ran to their homes or places of 
safety, the JSTorthern people to the blulF overlooking 
the river. We could see the Confederates on the 
edge of the timber, about a mile away. They were 
commanded by a dashing German general, who rode 
a white horse, and wore a large white plume. They 
had attempted to cross the river and take our com- 
missary stores in Natchez, under the hill. All our 
men were gone but some new recruits, and they 
were ex-slaves. Would they fight, or would they 
cower at the sight of their old masters? See! 
see! How they rush forward, hardly waiting for 
orders! They do better than the guns that fire on 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 251 

the enemy from tlie boat. In two honrs they are 
cMven from the field, leaving their dead and 
wonnded. Three rebel ofiicers were brong'ht to 
onr hospital to be cared for. In a few weeks they 
were able to be in the sitting-room. Our men 
eagerly read the papers, but they shook their 
heads. "Gentlemen," I said, "have you been well 
treated here?" " Yery well," was the reply. "Don't 
you think you were on the wrong side?" "We do 
not wish to talk of this matter with a Union lady." 
" Yet I have a request to make of you," I answered. 
"When our uien fall into your hands, will you not 
use your influence to have them treated as well as 
you have been? " 

The sultry days came, and every time I entered the 
w^ard I w ould miss a cot here and there. At last it 
was deemed best for us to take a furlough. Our 
trunks w^ere packed, and the boats would be up the 
river the next day; when, oh, dreadful news! Two 
boatloads of soldiers would soon arrive. We hast- 
ened to the Marine Hospital, but one load was there 
before us; every wai*d was filled, and they were 
laying them on the verandas, those dying, blood- 
stained men, and there were one hundred and fifty 
more to arrive. "And is this war?" we questioned. 
Oh, horrible sight! I could not bear it. 

When the other boat arrived the men w^ere stored 
in a rude building on a bluff overlooking the river. 
Soon we leai-ned that the men were suffering for food 
and clothing. I procured a basket full of needed 
articles, and on my Avay saw an old colored woman 



252 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

coming out of her shanty. She asked if I was going 
to see the Union soldiers, and said : ""^ I's gwine, too. 
My ole man says they's starvin', an' I's takin' 'em 
some dinner." Then she lifted the snowy cloth, and 
I saw beefsteak, butter, warm bread, and vegetables. 
I feared the doctor's frowns, but many of the men 
relished just such a dinner. As Ave wf^lked toward 
home I said: "Aunty, how can you afford this? 
Butter is fifty cents a pound, and beefsteak but 
little less." " Yo' see, honey, I does washens, an' 
de ole man gets jobs, an' us is free." 

I must tell you how I came to adopt beautiful 
twin boys. I had often heard of them, and how un- 
like other colored children they were. One night I 
dreamed I was going alone to see the sick, when I 
discovered that I was two. I let my parasol fall, and 
my other self quickly dismounted and handed it to 
me. AYhat could it mean? On my way to the hos- 
pital the next time, while talking to their teacher, 
the boys came up, and one touched my arm, then ran 
away, frightened. We reassured them, and finally 
they returned and said : " Aunty is going to die, and 
uncle is in the army. He marched by yesterday, and 
we ran after him to tell him aunty is sick, but he 
did not stop, and we cried. Please, ma'am, won't 
you take us to live with your father?" I went with 
them to see their aunt. On the way I dropped my 
parasol. One of the boys picked it up; the other 
said, "I will tote it for you." There was my dream, 
and I saw my duty. Their father Avas the son of a 
judge in Tennessee, and was treated as a son until he 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 253 

was seventeen years of age. Then he wished to go 
to school with his half brothers, and this enraged 
their mother, who said : ^^ Yon are a negro. You 
cannot learn." ^' Have I not learned as nnich as my 
brothers, and do I not stay in the office with fjither?" 
he cried. In a short time he went, unsuspectingly, 
with a stranger on an errand, as he supposed; but 
he never saw his home again. 

As I passed to and fro, I often noticed a little 
yellow girl perched ujDon a fence. One day I said, 
"See here, little Topsy, do you know you are free?" 
" IN^o, missy." " Well, you are, and there is a school 
at the Baptist Church for you. JN^ow go and tell 
your mistress to send you there, or she will lose 
you." The next day she was at the same place 
watching the " Yanks." " Why are you not at 
school?" "^My missy say you ^Yanks' better go 
home an' let our city 'lone, or de break-bone fever 
will cotch yo'." 

Thus the work went on, with many interi'uptions 
and drawbacks, for about a year, while we did what 
we could for both patients and freedmen. Then I 
returned to my home. 

Mary A. STEsrEBAuGH-BRADroRD. 

Miller, South Dakota. 



254 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




\ 



..Tn 




MISS MARY VENARD. 



JWE^N'T out under Governor Morton\s first call 
for nurses, commissioned by Mr. Ilannaman, 
Sanitary Agent for the State of Indiana. This 
was Feb. 4, 1863. I was then forty-one years 
of age. I was first sent to ]N^ashville, Tenn., fi3r 
three months, but stayed six. Was in the Howard 
High School Building, and had charge of the Diet 
Kitchen, but at the same time I did a great deal of 
nursing. 

As a compliment to my cooking I received a very 
beautiful and practical cook-book, which I never felt 
that I deserved. 

From JSTashville I returned to my home, where 1 
remained ten weeks ; then received strict orders to go 
immediately to Natchez, Miss. I was in the Marine 
Hospital, and the fort was built up around us. This 
was the fall after the siege of Yicksburg, and for 
days and days we expected to be attacked, and had 
everything in readiness to be removed at a moment's 
notice. General Thomas came down the river with 
his regiment, and sent out his soldiers to reconnoiter, 
and that stopped it. The surgeon in charge pro- 
posed that if we wei-e attacked, I should leave imme- 
diately with him in the ambulance. His very kind 
offer I declined, telling him if I had to leave, it 
would be at the last moment; then I would run down 
the hill, and, if necessary, defend myself. 

255 



256 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

I was at IS^atchez one j^ear and six months; then 
returned to my home, but received a telegram the 
next day calling me to Indianapolis, Ind. There I 
took charge of the Kefugee Home, that was jointly 
conducted by the Sanitary Commission and citizens, 
and had the name of being one of the best houses on 
the line. When warm weather came we secured 
homes for those who wished to stay; others were 
sent Avherever they wanted to go. This home was 
closed immediately after the assassination of Pi-esi- 
dent Lincoln. I next went to the Ladies' Home in 
Indianapolis, and remained until fall, when I went to 
Cam}) Morton, to help close that. In three months 
more, the war being over, I was honorably discharged 
by Mr. Hannaman, and returned to my home in Terre 
Haute, where I have lived ever since. I receive 
twelve dollars a month pension, and this is very 
acceptable, as I am not able to do much work. Two 
years ago I received from [N'ational Headquarters of 
the W. R. C. a beautiful nurse's certificate, which I 
api)reciate very much. I am a member of John P. 
Baird Corps. 

Christmas Eve a number of members of Morton 
Post, G. A. R., called at my home in a body, and the 
commander, in a very nice speech, presented the pin I 
have on in the picture. It was an honor of which I 
am justly proud. 

During my sei'vice as army nurse I received from 
my patients many tokens of friendship and esteem, 
among them three pieces of poetry, one thanking me 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



257 



for a bouquet of rare wild flowers I had gathered on 
the bluffs. The followiug is a part of another: — 

TO A STRANGER. 

" Your generous acts and noble deeds, 

Like fragrant flowers 'midst noxious weeds, 

Have won my admiration : 
Your care for one who's far away 
From those who for his safety pi'ay. 

Inspires my veneration. 

" Like angel visits, deeds so rare 
Awake our inmost, earnest prayer 

For blessings on the stranger ; 
And oft we breathe the prayer of love 
To Him who reigns in heaven above, 

To shield you from all danger. 

"And though, perhaps, we ne'er shall meet 
Till summoned to the Mercy Seat, 

Your image I will cherish. 
Amid the memories of my heart. 
Sweet thoughts of you will share a part, 

Till earthly dreams shall perish." 

Miss Mary Yenard. 

6733^ Wabash Avk., Tkrke Haute, Ind. 



258 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



/m '^: 







MRS. ELIZABETH THOMPSON. 



JE:N^LISTED at Plattsburg, :N'. Y., under Cap- 
tain Moore, and served under him for three 
months at Sackett's Harbor, where I was the 
first matron, having my daughter with me as an 
assistant. Here we had to work very hard, cleaning 
the hospital as well as caring for the sick, and trying 
to make everything as homelike as possible under 
the circumstances. The beef and the bread were an 
especial trial. At last my husband, who was the 
hospital steward, told the doctor about it, and at his 
request a loaf of the bread was brought for the 
doctor to see. He stood looking at it for some time, 
then said, " Well, there will be more sick ones than 
there are at present if they have to eat such stuff." 
We told him we could make the bread if only we 
had the material; and in a short time a barrel of flour 
arrived. As I was sick my daughter made the 
bread. When the doctor came the next time he 
inquired how we managed, and my husband showed 
him a loaf. He looked very much pleased, and said, 
" Oh, we can get along nicely, now that we have that 
little baker." From that time we made the bread, in 
addition to our other duties. 

On leaving Sackett's Harbor we went to Fort 
Niagara for three • months, making in all six 
months of service; then, the war being ended, we 
were discharged. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Thompson. 

Vilas Home. Pi.attsburg, N. Y. 



260 



OUR ARI\iy NURSES. 




HANNAH L. PALMER. 



Fl 



T^A^XAH LATHROP PALMER was bom in 

Peterboro, Madison County, ]S^. Y., Jan. 28, 
1827. Her father was a lawyer, a man of fine 
^-^ education and abilities, conscientious and up- 
right in his life and business relations; often fill- 
ing positions of high public trust and responsibility. 
The mother was of the Eastern family of Lathrop, 
and affectionately seconded all her husljand\s plans 
for the education and welfare of their three daughters, 
of whom the subject of this sketch was the eldest. 

In this family the principles of civil and religious 
liberty, and the practice of advanced thinking and 
living, were paramount, the father finding his place 
among the original Aljolitionists, and taking his share 
of the obloquy and suspicion which fell to the lot of 
those who advocated the then unpo^mlar principles of 
human equality and brotherhood. 

For nearly his lifetime he was associated with 
Gerrit Smith in the work of the ^"^ Underground 
Railroad," as a tempei-ance worker, a neighbor, and 
friend. He died at the age of fifty-six years, leav- 
ing to the mother and eldest daughter the care of 
his property and family. 

Miss Palmer's jjrofession was that of teacher, and 
she spent many years in higher-grade schools, finally 
carrying on for five years a boarding and day school 
of her own in Canastota, where she still resides. 



262 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

At the oj:)^!!!!^ of the war her school was closed, 
as were many others ; and feeling sure from the logic 
of events, the records of history, and the current 
political indications, that the death-knell of slavery 
was about to sound, she went heart and soul into the 
work of helping on, were it in ever so humble a way, 
the giant task before the nation of casting off its 
bonds, and making itself free indeed before all the 
peoples of the earth. 

At once she commenced collecting money and 
supplies, serving as secretary and treasurer of the 
Soldiers' Aid Society in her own town, and as soon 
as the Sanitary Commission was organized, sending 
to it whatever was collected, for more than two 
years. 

After the Proclamation of Emancipation and the 
virtual overthrow of slavery, Miss Palmer shared in 
the joy of those who saw a brighter future for the 
dear native land; and though that land was still 
overshadowed by the dark cloud of war, she never 
doubted the final result. But the cry of the prisoner 
was ever sounding, and the sufferings of the wounded 
were ever before her, and she felt she must give 
more efficient aid in the great struggle. 

More nurses were called for, and a correspondence 
was opened with Miss Dix, which resulted in the 
acceptance of Miss Palmer's services; and Miss Dix, 
in her usual energetic manner, hastened her depart- 
ure, writing, " I already have five good Miss Palmers 
in the service, and think you will make the sixth." 

Leaving her widowed mother in the care of friends, 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 263 

she reached the residence of Miss Dix kite on a dark 
night in the middle of April, 1864, and was kindly 
received by the honsekeeper, who said: "Miss Dix 
has gone on business to the surgeon-general's, but 
will soon return. She has been looking for yon all 
day." Soon Miss Dix came in with cordial greetings, 
saying : " I am really glad you have come ; we need 
help very much. AVe shall soon have severe fight- 
ing." !N"ext morning after breakfast that noble 
woman attended prayers, beseeching earnestly that 
the terrible war-cloud might be lifted from the 
nation; that all who Avere working in the great 
cause of freedom might stand firm for the right; 
and that the one who had just come to help in the 
work might be aided and strengthened to do good 
service. It was like a benediction, serving as an 
inspiration, and fixing more firmly a determination to 
do all possible, in the midst of perils, to relieve the 
suffering and save the lives of our brave soldiers. 

Miss Palmer was sent at once to Columbia College 
Hospital; Thomas R. Crosby, surgeon in charge. 
All nurses going there held themselves in readiness 
to go wherever help might be needed. For a few 
days there was little to do, as nearly all the patients 
were convalescent; and in this interval of leisure, 
newcomers were directed to look about town, and 
visit the public buildings, sometimes helping to repair 
hospital garments, in anticipation of the great battle 
all knew was coming. Miss Palmer was retained in 
service here, and writes : " I had a great dread of 
seeing suiFering, and early in May, after we knew 



264 OCJJ^ AR3rV NURSES. 

that fighting had coniinenced, and the battle of the 
Wilderness was in progress, I could not sleep, but 
often sat for houi-s in the deep windows of my room, 
during the night, listening for the coming of the 
ambulances bringing the wounded. 

" At length on one bright day they came, — eight 
hundred men, — some able to walk from the steamer 
upon which they had been brought up the Poto- 
mac; some wei-e taken from the ambulances already 
dead, others bleeding and nearly exhausted. When 
the work was once before me I felt no more dread, 
but with a grateful heart that 1 was permitted to 
enter this service, I henceforth wished no rest nor 
ease." 

Many of the wounds made at the battle of the 
Wilderness were of a very painful nature ; the balls 
often striking against trees, and becoming flattened, 
glanced, and then, entering the flesh, tore their way 
with ragged edges, sometimes leaving in the Avounds 
bits of bark or moss. And how tired the poor fellows 
wei'e ! Days and nights of weary marching with the 
excitement and wounds of battle, or severe sickness, 
had left many nearly bereft of strength and life. 

At this time a large number of wall tents were 
being erected on the college campus, and as soon as 
they were in readiness Miss Palmer was placed in 
charge of the Seventh AVard, consisting of twelve 
tents, each containing ten patients. Mrs. Blanchard, 
of Syracuse, her roommate and co-workei*, had 
been sent to the front with several others of long 
experience. 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 265 

From the battlefield of ]S^orth Anna, in the latter 
])art of May, and that of Cold Harbor, June 1st 
to 12th, many wounded were received. The heat 
having become intense, and the flies and other insects 
numerous, it was very difficult to make the sick and 
wounded comfortable. Those who had been lonofest 
in the service said it was the most fearful summer 
the}' had seen. 

About July 10th occurred " Early's Raid in Mary- 
land," and for several days it was feared that the 
enemy would take Washington. Every hospital 
turned out all its convalescents who were able to 
march; and the home guards, marines, department 
clerks, and citizens hastened to the front in defense 
of the city, and to the aid of the 6th and 2d Divisions 
of the 19th Army Corps. 

Fort Stevens was then attacked, and one night the 
danger was so imminent that Mr. Lincoln, who was 
with his family at his summer residence near the 
Soldiers' Home, Avas brought by his escort into the 
city for safety. Upon llth Street for days there 
was constant marching of troops, and passing of 
artilleiy and amlmlances. The women of this hos- 
pital filled the haversacks of their boys with every 
thing needful, and three hundred convalescents were 
sent to the front. Then with anxious hearts they 
listened to the booming of the guns; watching by 
night from the cupola of the college the camp-fires 
of the op})osing forces, and by day the signaling with 
flags at the forts. A week after the battle, eight of 
the ladv nurses were taken in an ambulance to the 



266 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

battlefield, which presented a scene of desolation 
indescribable. Rifle-pits had been dug along the 
roadsides, and dozens of chimneys were standing 
solitary, where once had been happy homes, — 
their gardens desolated, and vines trailing in the 
dust. Among the residences burned was that of 
Postmaster- General Blair. Several fathers, mothers, 
and friends were on the field, with ambulances or 
carriages, looking among the half-buried bodies for 
the remains of husband or son. 

The weary sunnner passed in hard work, and 
anxiety for the sufferers in charge, and with waver- 
ing hopes for the country, as the tide of war surged 
onward. Many poor fellows, too badly wounded to 
live, passed from earth to their reward, as martyrs 
to their love of country ; and often sorrowing friends 
came to bear away the remains of their beloved 
dead. 

There were many very painful and impressive 
scenes, but there was no time to stop and think. 
The sound of the " Dead March " seemed to be 
ever in the air as those who had passed away 
were taken to their resting places in Arlington. 
And as some j^oor fellow in his delirium, or in the 
weakness of his last hour, reached to take the hand of 
the nurse, with the cry, ^^ Oh, mother, mother ! " she 
felt that it was indeed a great privilege to be per- 
mitted to minister to those noble defenders of the 
flag and of "the dear native land," in their suffer- 
uig and last agony. 

In October a large number of sick pien were 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 267 

brought from the 19th Corps, one division of 
which had been for a long time detained in a 
malarious region in Texas; the Seventh Ward 
receiving among them a case of small-pox, but it 
was discovered before there was danger of con- 
tagion. 

In November, all the men able to travel were 
allowed to go to their homes to vote, it being the 
time of the re-election of President Lincoln. Great 
enthusiasm prevailed, and the prospects of the 
country seemed to brighten. 

Thanksgiving Day was a joyful one for "the 
boys." Seventy-five turkeys had been sent from 
Massachusetts, and were prepared with the usual 
accompaniments for the great dinner. The unani- 
mous verdict was, "This seems like home," with 
" Three cheers for Massachusetts ! " 

On Christmas Day several visitors came in, some 
bringing flowers; the Sanitary Commission furnish- 
ing for the men, as they often had done before, sup- 
lies of pipes and tobacco, socks, mittens, fruits, 
stationery, etc. 

On ^ew Year's Day, 1865, several of the nurses 
found time to attend Mr. Lincoln's usual reception 
at the White House, which always was a very popu- 
lar occasion. In the evening an entertainment was 
given by the nurses to " the boys," which had been 
for several days in course of preparation, — consist- 
ing of recitations, speeches, pantomimes, etc., inter- 
spersed with music. 

About January 15th, Miss Palmer received a mes- 



268 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



sage calling her home for a time; and as there was 
little work to be done just then at the hospital, Miss 
Dix gave lier leave of absence, stipnhiting that if 
there shonld be more fighting, and help needed, she 
should return. 

Taking an affectionate leave of her "boys," and 
the lady friends with whom she had been so long- 
associated, she took, as it proved, a final leave of 
hospital life, having served there nine months. 

In 1883, Miss Palmer was elected an honorary 
member of Keese Post, No. 49, G. A. P., Canastota, 
]^. Y., and in 1891 was granted a special pension of 
twelve dollars per month. She helped to organize 
Peese Pelief Corps, ]S'o. 77, in Se]3tember, 1892 ; was 
one of its charter members, and has been three times 
re-elected president, which office she now holds. 

Looking back from this year (1895) upon those 

dark days of war, she can but be grateful for the 

happy and honorable ending of the strife, and for 

the past prosperity of the country, feeling sure that 

" righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a 

reproach to any people." 

Her address is 

Hannah L. Palmer. 

Canastota, N. Y. 



270 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MARY M. RRIGGS. 



^nnpY grandfather was with "Washington at Valley 
If I Forge, and through the entire war. My father 
f ^ was a "■' Connecticut Yankee," so we children 
■^^^ received many lessons on patriotism, and it is 
no wonder that when our beloved land was threatened, 
my three brothers enlisted at once in her defense, as 
did my husband, also, and I applied at once to Miss 
Dix for a connnission as nurse. It was granted June 
19, 1861, and in August I was summoned to St. 
Louis to my work. I was then a resident of Madi- 
son, Wis., and was the first enlisted nurse from that 
State, under James Yeatman, president of the Sani- 
tary Commission. 

I was assigned to duty at the Good Samaritan 
Hospital, where I cared for the brave boys, to the 
best of my ability, until I was sent to fronton, Mo., 
in 1862. From thei-e I went to Ilai-vey Hospital, 
Madison, Wis., in 1863, where I remained until the 
close of the war. 

Among the greatest comforts of my declining 
years is the love I feel for my native land; the 
knowledge that I was counted worthy to aid, if ever 
so little, in the effort to preserve it, and in teaching 
my gi-andchildren and others lessons of patriotism. 

My dear husband readied home, but only to die in 
1866. Two of my brothers have passed over before 
me; one from severe wounds received at Atlanta, 



272 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



Ga., the other from his sufferings in Andersonville. 
Thank God I have hved to see slaver}^ al)olished, 
and our hmd free indeed, ^ow I am waiting the 
summons to join my loved ones in that land where 
war is unknown. 

I am an invalid, and seventy-four years of age. 
I cannot say very much for myself, but this is all 
that needs to be said, — I tried to do my duty. 

Maky M. Briggs. 

720 St. Chakles St., Elcix III. 




274 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 







LAURAETTA C. BALCH. 



AYEKT alone fi-om Boston to Fort Schuyler, 
K Y., Oct. 18, 1862, and was the first lady 
nurse on the ground. Everything was in a 
very rough condition, — just thrown together. 
The barracks were a shelter for the sick and wounded, 
and that was about all. There were thirty- two 
wards, with fifty-two beds in each. Miss "Williams, 
or Sister Nettie "Williams, as we called her, was at 
the head of the department. She Avas a Boston lady, 
who did good service, devoting time and money to 
our soldiers. I have regretted that I did not keep a 
diar}^, as I have forgotten many who I should be 
glad to remember. But they were constantly coming 
and going, and those were busy times; still, I recall 
many of the nurses, who were beautiful and devoted 
characters. 

As a rule my " boys " were a happy set of sufferers, 
more especially those who could get about on their 
crutches ; and in their efforts to be cheerful and help 
others pass the weary hours, they often seemed to 
forget their own suffering. 

I remained in that hospital during the fifteen 
months of m}^ service, going from ward to ward 
where there was the most to be done. 
I returned to Boston in January, 1864. 

Lauraetta C. Balch. 

Lowell, Mass. 



27G 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MARY A. ELLIS. 



J ASSISTED my husband to raise a regiment, the 
1st Missouri Vohmteer Cavahy, of which he 
was made colonel, with the understanding that 
I should accompany him to the field, which I 
did ; going in my own carriage, and taking with me 
a colored man and woman. I carried my own tent, 
and everything I needed, so that I was no expense to 
the Government. 

The regiment went into camp at St. Louis the 1st 
of August, 1861. Soon the measles broke out, and 
I began my services as nurse there, and continued 
them until after the battle of Pea Ridge, March, 
1862. In camp, on the march, or in the hospital, — 
when we had one, — there was no part of the work of 
a nurse that I did not do, even to assisting in sur- 
gical operations, particularly at the battle of Pea 
Ridge, where I stood at the surgeon's table, not one 
or two, but many hours, with the hot blood steaming 
into my face, until nature rebelled against such 
horrible sights and I fainted, but as soon as possible 
I returned. Our regiment was in the cavalry charge 
at Sugar Creek, and many of our men were killed and 
wounded. I was there with my carriage on the field, 
and brought in the first wounded to the house that 
was made to do duty for a hospital, and continued to 
care for the needy until Api'il, 1862. 

Once in October, 1861, one of our oflftcers was left 



277 



278 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

with the rebels, and was very sick. It was at the 
close of a hard day's march, and his captain came to 
me to know what could be done. I went on horse- 
back alone, with the determination to find him, and 
care for him, if possible, and had the pleasure of being* 
the means of saving his life. 

In ^November the regiment surgeon gave a sick 
man an overdose of narcotics, and I found him lying 
by the wayside. I took him into my carriage, and 
sent to the front for his captain. As soon as possible 
I got him into a house, and laid him on the floor, 
where to all appearances the man died. I heard the 
doctor explaining why he died, but I coidd not be- 
lieve that life was extinct. I tried to revive him, 
the doctors meanwhile making light of my efforts. 
Soon the man caught his breath, with a convulsive 
movement, while the five doctors turned and left the 
room. The captain and I soon bad him all right,, 
and in two weeks he reported for duty, and served 
until the close ' of the war. This act called down on 
my poor head the bitter enmity of the doctor; and, 
later, when he was either dismissed or court-mar- 
tialed, he blamed me for it, though unjustly. The 
affair was no secret ; hundreds knew what the doctor 
had done, and that I saved the man. 

Some time near the middle of October, 1861, it was 
my privilege to carry an important dispatch from 
G-eneral Hunter to General Price. The guerrillas 
and bushwhackers were so plentiful that the cars on 
the ^N^orthern Missouri Railroad could not run. The 
telegraph lines wxre all cut off, and any Union 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 279 

soldier or stranger unlucky enough to be canght 
beyond the camp was shot immediately. I received 
the dispatch from General Hunter at 9 A. M., and 
placed it in the hands of General Price, at Jefferson 
City, at 5 p. m. the same day, having ridden forty 
miles. 

By request of the chief of the Goverment Detect- 
ive Force I acted as detective. 

At last I was taken sick, and was carried to St. 
Louis. It was two months before I was able to 
stand, and I did not recover sufficiently to return to 
camp. 

I was not mustered in, or appointed by any one. 
My service was entirely voluntary, and I have never 
received any pay. On the contrary, I spent thousands 
of dollars in raising the regiment and caring for the 
sick. 

It would be useless for me to attempt to write an 
extended account of my experiences. It would only 
stir up memories of a pleasant home with my husband 
and son. I had but this one child, and I willingly 
gave him to my country's service ; she sent him back 
to me crippled and maimed for life. Two years ago 
he went to join the great army on the shores of 
eternity ; and oh ! I want to go to him, — and as I am 
quite old, it must be soon. I am a physician, but my 
work is done ; I am not able to leave my room. 

Yours respectfully, 

Mary A. Ellis. 

1025 West Washington Street, 

Indianapolis, Ind. 



280 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




LOUISA C. KAMP. 



J IS" response to a call for nurses to go South, to 
care for the sick and wounded, I volunteered, 
and sailed from New York somewhere between 
the 5th and the 10th of March, 1863, under 
orders to report at Hilton Head, S. C; but upon 
my arrival I was sent to Beaufort, where a place was 
assigned me in a hospital, under Surgeon Merritt at 
first, then under Surgeon Hayden, who took his 
place. After serving there until the last of August 
I became very sick with malaria, and returned home 
on a furlough, intending to resume the work soon ; 
but I did not recover sufficiently to do so. 

Louisa C. Ivamp. 

Merrimacport, Mass. 




281 



282 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




M. P. FELCH. 




)MA:N^DA M. COLBURIS^ was boin in West 
Glover, Yermont, l^ov. 12, 1833, Her father 
was a fanner in moderate circumstances, and 
having only one boy, a share in the out-door 
work was often given to Amanda. This early train- 
ing proved of inestimable value to her in later years, 
when a large reserve of physical strength was so 
necessary to enable her to endure, with comparative 
ease, the long marches where hundreds of men were 
overcome ; as during the Peninsular, Gettysburg, and 
other campaigns. At about twenty-three years of 
age she was first married, and it was as Mrs. Farn- 
ham that she became so well known in the Army of 
the Potomac. 

In the summer of 1861, left alone with her little 
boy and in poor health, she returned to the old home 
to find the family in great trouble. Henry, her 
brother, had enlisted in the 3d Yermont Pegiment, 
whereupon she left her child with her parents, and 
followed her brothei-; partly to relieve the great 
anxiety respecting the only son, partly from a 
desire to help in the struggle just at hand. En- 
listing at St. Johnsbury, about July 5, 1861, she was 
enrolled as a member of the 3d Yermont Regiment, 
and appointed hospital matron. They were mus- 
tered in July 11th, left the State on the 23d, arrived 
at Washington the 26th, and the next day went six 



283 



284 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

miles up the river to Camp Lyon, near Chain Bridge, 
on the Maryland side of the river, where they 
remained in camii till September 8th; then crossed 
into Virginia and fortified a hill, which was called 
Fort Smith, in honor of the colonel of the regiment. 

About this time something occurred that later 
became a theme for romance and poetry. Willie 
Scott, a private in Company K, 3d Vermont, was 
found sleeping at his post, tried, found guilty, and 
condemned to be executed, but at almost the last 
moment was pardoned by President Lincoln. Mrs. 
Farnham had known the boy from a child, and took 
a deep interest in his case. Seven months later at 
Lee's Mills, on the Peninsula, when he was shot, she 
assisted at his burial. 

During the fall and winter, sickness and death 
from disease assumed such alarming proportions that 
a special corps of noted physicians was sent to 
advise and aid the medical officers now in the field ; 
but the mortality was not checked until spring. 
During this period Mrs. Farnham worked almost 
constantly. 

In December, 1861, she was dropped from the rolls 
as matron of the 3d, for the Government would no 
longer recognize the position; but she still continued 
her work, and until the Wilderness campaign in 1864, 
occupied a different position than most female army 
nurses, as she did not do regular ward duty, but 
went from one regiment to another, wherever she was 
most needed. Day or night it made no difference, 
she always responded to the call, and would stay 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 285 

until the crisis was passed, or death had reheved the 
patient of his suffering. 

But it was to the boys, like her brother, that her 
heart went out with greatest sympathy. Writing 
letters for such was a daily practice, and when there 
was no hope she would record the dying request, and 
take care of some keepsake to be sent to friends at 
home. Before a battle it became a common thing 
for soldiers, especially of the Vermont troops, to 
intrust her with money or other valuables for safe- 
keeping, until an event occurred after which she 
dared no longer accept the responsibility. During 
the battle of Chancellorsville she had an unusual 
amount of money, which she carried in a belt on her 
person, and other things of value in a hand bag. 
After getting into quarters on our side of the 
river she put up a tent, as it was raining, and, for 
the first time in several nights, took off the belt and 
put it with the bag on the ground under the mat- 
tress. Probably this was all seen in her shadow on 
the tent-cloth, by some one watching for that pur- 
pose. She had just fallen asleep when she became 
conscious that some one was trying to get in; but 
the flap strings had been drawn inside and tied 
tightly around the pole, so that plan was aban- 
doned, and the robber passed around the tent. 
Fully aroused, Mrs. Farnham now crept from the 
blankets, and finding her revolver, awaited results. 
Her first thought was to give an alarm, but she knew 
\ that the thief could easily escape in the darkness 
\ and return later. As no entrance could be found, 



286 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

he cut a long slit in the tent, to reach through. Up 
to the time that the knife began its work she had not 
realized how serious was her situation; now she hesi- 
tated no longer, but, aiming as well as she could in 
the darkness, fired. An exclamation and the sound 
of hurried footsteps was all she heard. The next 
morning news came that one of the new recruits was 
sick, having been wounded by the " accidental dis- 
charge of a pistol in the hands of a chum," and. she 
did not ask to have the case investigated. 

In March, 1862, the command went to Fortress 
Monroe to enter upon the campaign of the Penin- 
sula, through which she marched with the troojDS, 
shared their hardships and fare, and was actually on 
the field at Lee's Mills, "Williamsburg, Golding's 
Farm, Savage Station, Glendale, and Malvern Hill, 
and in the " seven days " retreat from Richmond 
back to Harrison's Landing, where they remained till 
sent to Washington, in August. She not only walked 
in the rain from Malvern Hill to Harrison's Landing, 
through mud knee-deep, but also helped soldiers by 
the way. In August she went home with some sick 
and wounded soldiers, and did not return until the 
battle of Antietam. Arriving at Washington on 
Sunday the llth, and finding where the army was 
supposed to be, she tried to get a pass to the front 
that day, but failed. The next morning she went to 
Secretary Stanton herself, and received not only her 
pass, but also an order for an ambulance. She 
arrived at Antietam the afternoon of the 17th, and 
immediately went to work among the wounded of 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 287 

French's Division, there peforming her first and only 
surgical operation. A soldier had been struck in the 
right breast by a partly spent ball, but with force 
enough to follow around the body under the skin, 
stopping just below the shoulder-blade. Taking the 
only implement she had, a pair of sharp button-hole 
scissors, and pinching the ball np with the thumb 
and finger, she made a slight incision and pressed the 
ball out. 

It was shortly after this, while at Hagerstown, that 
she met Mr. and Mrs. Baxter, and promised to do all 
she could to see that the supplies they sent were given 
to the most needy. The command remained here 
imtil the latter part of October, 1862, then started 
for "on to Richmond" for the third time. December 
13th came Fredericksburg, with all its horrors; the 
Yermonters suffering severely, and Mrs. Farnham, 
who was stationed at the Bernard House, worked 
with the wounded without rest until getting back to 
the old camps at White Oak Church, where the win- 
ter passed very pleasantly. 

In May, 1863, the campaign opened with Chancel- 
lors ville, and the brigade lost nearly three hundred 
in killed and wounded, — Mrs. Farnham doing her 
usual efiicient work. Again the army had to retreat 
to its old camps, to remain until the march to Gettys- 
burg. When there, through the influence of Mrs. 
Baxter, she was permitted to keep a two-horse team, 
to take along supplies on the march. When in camp 
the boys could usually procure for themselves what 
they needed, but on the march they often suffered 



288 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

severely. Such articles as shirts, socks, etc., coffee, 
sugar, condensed milk and canned goods, she carried, 
and gave where most needed. 

It was a weary march from the Rappahannock to 
Gettysbnrg, made more so by the night marches, 
always so trying. The last day they went thirty- 
four miles over a stone road, and under a burning 
sun. It is n(^w simply a matter of history that the 
Sixth Corps marched from ]Manchester to Gettsyburg 
from daylight until 4 o'clock p. m., and it was the 
greatest feat in marching ever accomplished by any 
troops under like conditions. Mrs. Farnham went 
with them, and most of the way on foot, giving up 
the spare room on her wagon to Avorn-out soldiers 
who could not find room in the crowded ambulances. 
A ride for an hour for one, and he could walk on 
again for a time, giving his place to another. Thus 
many moi'e were able to keep along than would have 
been without such help. Again, when she found a 
poor fellow with blistered feet, she gave him a pair 
of new socks to take the place of the holes, all that 
was left of his own. The stoiy of her work all 
night after such a day, has been told in print many 
times: how a guard was placed over a certain pump 
at the request of the ladies of the house, as they 
feared the well would go dry, and they be obliged to 
go to Rock Creek, a quai-ter of a mile distant, for 
water, — little caring how far the exhausted soldiers 
had to go. Bnt some of the boys, knowing Mrs. 
Farnham was near, got her to pmnp for them; and 
when complaint was made the guai-d said his orders 



OCR ARMY NURSES. 289 

did not include women, so she could get all the water 
she wanted. In tliis work, and caring for the wounded 
of Sickles Corps, who filled all the barns and out- 
buildings on the place, she remained all night 
long. 

Few of the Sixth Corps were wounded at Gettys- 
burg, but she Avas busy among others, until the 
division left there. In following up Lee, and at 
Funkstown, the Vermont Brigade suffered severely. 
Among those killed was an old acquaintance, and 
she olitained permission to take his body and two 
others home. She was absent two weeks, joining 
the army near AVarrenton. From that time until 
Grant was preparing to make the final move against 
Richmond, she was quietly occupied with regular 
duties, and until May expected to go to the front 
Avith the troops as before; but Stanton ordered that 
^' no women, no matter who they are," should be 
allowed in the army longer. A large petition pray- 
ing that she might go was presented, but he was 
obdurate, writing on the back, "Mrs. Farnham's 
request has the highest recommendations, but is 
incompatible with the public service." So ended 
all her preparations of the winter for the summer's 
campaign. Hardly three days of grace remained in 
which to dispose of her team and other personal 
property, and so it was at great personal loss that 
she left the army about the 1st of May, 1864. She 
was in Fredericksburg on the 9th, where twenty thou- 
sand Union troops were lying; and here, for about 
the first time, she was a regular army nurse, 



290 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

appointed by Miss D. L. Dix. She so remained 
until discharged in June, 1865. 

She used to like to tell of her first interview with 
Miss Dix. From the time she entered the army, 
Mrs. Farnham had worn a dress similar to the ladies' 
cycling costume of the present, — full pants button- 
ing over the tops of her boots, skirts falling a little 
below the knee, and a jacket with tight sleeves. 
This dress she had on when she called to present her 
papers and request. Miss Dix glanced at the papers, 
then looked Mrs, Farnham over from head to foot, 
until the situation was becoming embarrassing. 
Finally she arose, saying: "Mrs. Farnham, the dress 
you wear is ahominahle., a most abomina])le dress, 
and I do not wish any of my nurses to dress in that 
manner; but you came highly recommended, and I 
have long known of your Avork, but I clidnH know 
you wore such a dress. However, you can Avear it if 
you choose." Then she Avrote an order for her to 
report at Fredericksburg. From that time until after 
the war closed she was one of Miss Dix's trusted 
nurses, and was charged with duties and commis- 
sions at the front that she would trust to no one else ; 
and though they met many times when Mrs. Farn- 
ham wore the same dress, it was not mentioned again. 

M. P. Felch. 

{^For his vv'fe Amanda, deceased.) 
Canox City, Colorado. 



292 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 





MARY E. MOORE. 



J WAS a])pointcd hospital matron by Colonel 
Smith, of the 58th Regiment, Illinois "Volun- 
teers, in l^ovember, 1861, at Camp Douglas, 
Chicago, and served there until some time in 
February, when our regiment left for Cairo, 111.; then 
went to Fort Donaldson, Tenn., where I helped to 
care for the sick and wonnded during the battle, and 
afterwards on a hospital steamer. I next accom- 
panied a party of soldiers to Cairo, where I cared for 
them until all but one were able to leave the hospital. 
While at Fort Donaldson I have sometimes gone 
two or three days without any sleep, and with only 
an occasional cup of coiFee or some hard-tack, which I 
would eat as I Avent in and out among the sick. At 
one time all the sleep I had for three nights was 
on the bare floor, between my husband and a sick 
soldier, and with my husband's arm for a pillow. 

^o one but the poor boys themselves can imagine 
as we nui'ses can what suffering they had to endure 
during the Kebellion. I recall one poor old colored 
man who had borne a great deal, having been shot 
several times. I took eighteen buckshot out of his 
back one day. 

I was in the hospitals something over nine months; 
then my husband died, and I returned to my home. 
Yours in F., C. and L., 

Mary E. Moore. 

King City, Mo. 



294 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




LOIS H. DUNBAR. 




^Y war record is one of hard lalior and severe 
trials. I went from Michigan City, Ind., to 
St. Louis, ]S^ov. 10, 1861. Doctor Hodges 
^■^^ was the surgeon in charge. Tliere were one 
thousand patients; Mrs. Harriet Colefax and I 
having three hundred under our immediate charge 
most of the time, when the wounded were brought 
off the boats from Fort Donaldson. I thought we 
should never be able to do our duty by so many, but 
we worked as only women can; and my experience 
there is something I shall never forget. I picked 
my way among them as they were brought in, often 
where it was hard to find standing room, and ren- 
dered what aid I could to the worst cases. One poor 
fellow had died on the Avay, his spurs still on when 
we found him. 

In April, 1862, Governor Morton sent a request 
for Mrs. Colefax and I to report at Evansville, Ind., 
as there were a great many there who were very 
sick, and no nurses. Doctor De Bruler was surgeon 
in charge of Hospital ^o. 2, and I was sent there, 
but Mrs. Colefax went down the Mississippi. I was 
placed in full charge, and was really commanding 
otficer and nurse, besides having iive other hospitals 
to look after. In September, 1862, I received a com- 
mission from Miss Dix. The surgeons had wanted 
me to be inspector of all the hospitals there, but 



•296 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

Doctor De Bruler objected, as he needed me; and, 
besides, I felt that I could be of more use as a mirse. 
Twice I went down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers 
after the sick, and at Satartia, on the Yazoo, was 
under fire from the rebels, but our gunboats soon 
disabled them. We had a small battle, and took a 
church, which we fitted up for a hospital. We took 
some on the boat, gathering up three hundred on the 
return. 

I was at Young's Point the time of the bombard- 
ment of Yicksburg. On that trip my feet were so 
badly blistered that I had to be carried in a chair 
from the landing to the hospital. I was just ex- 
hausted, and ftiinted when taken to ni}^ room, but 
was soon ready again for duty. 

I have had men die clutching my dress till it was 
almost impossible to loose their hold. I have often 
taken young boys in my arms when they were so 
tired they could not rest in their beds, and held them 
as I would my own little boys. I never Avent to the 
ward with a sad face, but always had a smile and a 
cheery word for all. The doctor used to say he 
knew when I was ahead of him, for tlie patients 
had such pleasant countenances. 

I had " saddle-bag pockets,"' and used to carry little 
delicacies for them to eat, for they would get so 
hungry. At last they used to say, '"'" Our nurse car- 
ries a cook and store in her pockets." My efforts 
were nobly seconded by one of the cooks. He 
seemed never to tire of doing little extras, — 
baking potatoes, boiling eggs, making crackers, and 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 297 

many other things. And how anxious they were 
for the " loaves and fishes." Ah, poor fellows, they 
needed them badly enough! 

Once when we were looking for Morgan and his 
guerrillas, a poor man came to me and requested that 
I go to my room at the first alarm, and said he would 
stand by my door, and they would have to go over 
his dead body to enter. But the pitiful part of it 
was that he had no use of his legs, — had to shove his 
feet along; one arm was disabled, and he had been 
shot through the chest. It moved me to tears, and 
he said, "Do not be afraid; I will die fighting." 
Well T knew he would. N^o such patriots as ours 
could be found. 

Perhaps I should add that the reason I understood 
minor surgery so well, was l)ecause I had a thorough 
course of instruction imder Doctor Jameson, Avho 
gained great experience in the Crimean War. I also 
had a manual that treated of the surgery during that 
war; so I could, and did assist in many amputations. 

My name was then Lois Dennett; but at the close 
of the war I was married to one of my first patients, 
whom I saved after five doctors had given him up. 
I left the hospital in September, 1864. 

Lois II. Duistbar. 

908 22a Stkkkt, Ogden, Utah. 



298 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



\ 



j^tsr^-^ if^l^ 




REBECCA WISWELL. 



JE^^LISTED in Boston, the first week in March, 
1862, and was in CTOvernment employ three 
years and foni- months. Miss Dix sent for me. 
I used to do np bandages, and carry them to 
the State House every day. They said mine were 
the best of any. One day they asked me if I had 
ever nursed. I told them I had for twenty years in 
Boston. They asked if I had any recommendations, 
and I told them I had plenty at home. " Will you 
please bring- them up here and let us see themV " they 
said. Then after looking at them : " i^o one who has 
gone from this part of the country has had such high 
recommendations. You ought to be out at the front; 
and with your consent we will telegraph." So they 
immediately sent for me to go to Washington, and I 
spent the first night with Miss Dix. ^ext day she 
took me up to Seminary Hospital. I stayed there a 
little over two years; then went up the Shenandoah 
Valley, and was there over four months; then was 
sent to Fortress Monroe, where I stayed four months 
more. Was very sick the last fortnight. I had a 
young man in my ward who would not tell where he 
belonged until the afternoon before he died; then he 
told me, and asked me to sing to him, and read a little 
from the Bible. I asked him where I should read, 
and he said, "Where ycm open; and sing, *"My 
heavenly home is bright and fair.'" After I had 



300 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

done this he said, " ]^ow I want you to tell me just 
how long it will take me to die.'' "My dear, I can't 
tell you that," I said. " JS^one but God knows. Are 
you in a hurry to go?" "Yes; I long to be gone." 
He soon passed away, I trust to that bright world 
above where there is " rest for the Aveary." 

I had one man Avho had six little boys and a wife. 
" Oh, how I long to see them! " he would say. But 
that can't be; I must leave them to God's care." 
There were men there who were shot through the 
bowels. They were very hard to take care of. The 
worst case no doctor ever dressed but three times; 
then he was left in my care, and I did it five months. 
God does many wonderful things. We have great 
reason to bless and praise Him. I met one of those 
men in Washington at the Grand Army, a dear gen- 
eral, who said: "You saved my life. The doctor said 
I would die ; but you said, ^ You will live.' " The 
Lord does wonderful things that we poor creatures 
can't do. 

May 20th I went to Annapolis, to see my nephew. 
There were about five thousand troops getting ready 
to move on to Richmond. The next week they were 
on the way. 

In September we had left at our door a baby boy, 
about three months old. I took him into my room 
and kept him two days. I don't know what has 
become of him; he was put into the i)()orhouse. I 
saw him when he w^as two years old, and he was a 
smart little fellow. 

After we had been in the Shenandoah Valley about 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 301 

four months, we nurses were ordered farther South ; 
but rested in Washington three Aveeks before going 
into such hard service. 

We had in the ward a young man who belonged in 
]N^ew York. He was brought in about eight o'clock 
one morning, and lived only until half past two p. m. 
He was very happy. I sang to him al)out two hours 
while he was dying. The officers would look at him 
and say, -^ How that man suffers!" "]^o, I don't," 
was his reply. " Jesus suffered it all. I shall soon 
be at home with him, and what a glorious meeting 
that will be. Jesus can make djdng easy. There is 
something in my haversack I should like to look at 
once more." I opened it, and found photographs 
of his mother, his sister, and the lady to whom he 
was engaged. He kissed them, and said: ^""I hope 
they will be prepared to meet me in heaven. I shall 
soon be there." Oh what a glorious death-bed scene 
to witness! 

I often used to look at the troops, and the sight 
reminded me of the Day of Judgment, so many on 
the march. 

We had some grand meetings during the war. 
President Lincoln used to say : " We need less talk, 
and more praying. God will hear and answer 
prayer." 

I often sang for my patients when requested to do 
so, and I have stood by some of the most blessed 
death-beds I can imagine. There were a great many 
praying men in the army, — a great many I hope to 
meet on the other shore. 



302 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



I can't write well, my hands tremble so very mnch, 
I was 88 years old the 24th day of last Septemljer. 

With love to all, 

Kebecca Wiswell. 

9 Spring Stkekt, Ti^ymouth, Mass. 




40th New York Infantry. 
National Cemetery, Gettysburg, Penn. 



304 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MRS. DANIEL SCHRAM. 



J WAS only a young woman then, but it seems 
bnt yesterday that the war broke out, and mv 
husband was wounded, having responded to 
the first call for volunteers. Oh what chansfes 
there have been since! ]N^ow I have two grown 
children; and other things remind me of the flight 
of time. Disabilities have come upon me, too, and I 
am no longer able to get around very well; still, I 
must not mourn, but accept whatever the Lord sees 
fit to send, as He knows best. 

One of the surgeons under whom I served while in 
the hospitals, was Dr. Charles F. Haynes, now of 
Brighton, Mass. He was a noble man, kind to every 
one under him, but especially thoughtful of the poor 
wounded soldiers. May God bless him and his 
family for his kindness during the cruel war. 

I have never regretted that I went to nurse the 
soldiers in those dark days. I have stood by the 
]:)edsi(le of many a dying man, and those scenes are 
fresh in my memory to-day. 

The following sketch from a paper outlines my 
work : — 

" The case of Mrs. Sohram is familiar to many of the old resi- 
dents of Amsterdam, as she resided here in 1H61, when certain 
patriotic citizens assisted her to proceed to the front, and carry out 
her noble purpose of renderinjr aid as a volunteer nurse in army hos- 
pitals. She first went to Burkittsville, Md. ; but finding that the 
hospital had been removed to F'rederick (Md.), reported for duty 



306 



OUR ARMY A^URSES. 



there, and was assigned by the medical staft', as hospital nurse, to 
duty in Camp B, outside of Frederick City, among wounded and sick 
soldiers, removed thither from South Mountain and Antietam. The 
service she rendered there is gratefully remembered by many a 
veteran, and has probably been mentioned at many a 'camp fire' 
since the close of the war. Notwithstanding that her service Avas 
without pay, and her expenses, including her board outside of the 
hospital, at her own cost, she frequently bought and furnished to 
convalescent, and other sick and wounded soldiers, necessaries for 
Avhich army regulations did not provide. The exposure incident to 
camp life and her untiring work impaired her health, and necessi- 
tated her return, after eight months of service." 

Yours in F., C. and L., 

Mks. Daxiet. Schram. 

Four Plain, N. Y. 




National Cemetery, Gettysburg, Penn. 



308 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



m 




NANCY M. GROSS. 



J 



]Sr February, 1890, Kepresentative Seth L. Millikin, 
of Maine, introduced into Congress a bill grant- 
ing a pension to Nancy M. Gross, of Bucksport, 
a nurse in the Second and Sixth Regiments. 
The bill was referred to the Committee on Invalids' 
Pensions. The evidence submitted was such that a 
most favorable report Avas given, and the bill passed 
without opposition, giving to the deserving lady a 
pension, — a help and comfort in her declining years. 
Mrs. Gross filed a large number of letters gladly 
written by the comrades who Avere familiar with her 
brave career. 

The following is one of many : — 

"I would most respectfully call your attention to the fact that 
Mrs. Nancy M. Atwood-Gross went out with the Sixth Maine 
Regiment Volunteers as a nurse, and served in that capacity in the 
field and hospital, caring for our sick and wounded with untiring 
zeal, and participating in our long and weary marches by day and 
niglit, through the dark days of the Rebellion ; often standing by the 
side of some dying comrade who gave his life for the country we so 
much love, blending her tears and prayers that those comrades be 
enrolled in the great army of which God is the supreme commander. 
Believing that this good woman's health was impaired by this 
arduous duty, and untiring energy and zeal to render assistance to 
her country in those days of bloodshed and hardship, we ask that 
the Government, now in the zenith of its prosperity, render her a 
compensation for her services from 1861 to 1863, believing her 
most deserving. Respectfully, 

Louis P. Abbott, 

Late Go. L, 6th Ifaine Volunteers. 

Now (1895) District Chief Engineer Boston Fire Department." 



310 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

Mrs. Gross writes : — 

*"" I was born in Montville, Me., in 1834:, the dangh- 
ter of John Yerplast, a farmer. 

"When the war broke ont I was a widow with one 
child, and living in Bangor, where I was earning my 
living as a seamstress. I had had consideral^le experi- 
ence in nursing, and, with good health and strength, 
I felt it my duty to do what I could to help the 
Union cause by ministering to the sick and wounded. 
Accordingly I enlisted as a field nurse, under the 
name ^Nancy Atwood, and left Bangor for the front, 
under Colonel Knowles, in May, 1861. The only 
other nurse in the regiment was a Mrs. McDonald, 
from a neighboring town, — Corinth, I think. 

"We were in Hancock's Corps, and went into camp 
at Chain Bridge, Ya., v\^here I remained until after the 
first battle of Bull Run. During this time we were 
in close proximity to the rebels' line. Times without 
number the camp was thrown into confusion by skir- 
mishes, and we were driven into the swamps. The 
weather was severe, and my tent was often flooded 
or blown away. There was much sickness in the 
regiment. The measles broke out, and I Avas con- 
tinually employed among the afflicted. 

"At the fii'st battle of Bull Run I had my first 
experience with wounded men. My brother was 
injured, and I was transferred to his regiment, the 
2d Maine, and entered the field hospital at Fort 
Cochrane, on Gen. Robert Lee's farm, on Arlington 
Heights. Here great hardships were endured, 
many of the wounded from the battle of Bull 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



311 



Klin having been broug-lit thei-e; and I worked 
almost day and night to lessen their snfferings. 
Mrs. Hartsnn Crowell, of Bangor, Me., was the only 
nnrse besides myself in the hospital. 

"^ We were in this camp abont five months, when the 
regiment advanced to Hall's Hill, where the winter 
was spent. Here, in addition to my duties as nurse, 
my trade as a seamstress came into play, and I 
repaired or made over hundreds of overcoats and 
blankets for the men. 

"On the 14:th of March, 1862, the regiment was 
ordered to Alexandria, and I was transferred to the 
Seminary Hospital, at Georgetown, D. C. Here I 
remained nearly a year; then my health began to 
fail, and I received an honorable discharge." 

This is the story of the brave Maine woman, 
briefly and modestly told; but the boys who wore the 
blue can read volumes between the lines. 

Her address is 

^ANCY ]Vr. Gross. 

BUCKSPORT, MaINK. 




1st Maine Cavalry. 
National Cemetery, Gettysburg, Penn. 



312 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 





SUSAN COX. 



JWEXT into the service from Knox Comity, 111., 
and served with the 8od Illinois Infantry, at 
Fort Henry, Fort Donaldson and Clarksville, 
from October, 1862, until June, 1864. This 
regiment was garrisoned at Fort Donaldson the 
greater part of the time I was with, them, so my 
experience was less varied than that of many others. 
Once when my husband had gone with most of the 
company thirty-iive miles up the Cumberland River, 
to guard a boat, we Avere surrounded, and a fight 
occurred. The INJ^orthern women were ordered on 
board a boat that was to drop down the river. 
"While on the way to the landing the shot and 
shell w^ere flying all around us, and I saw one of 
our boys lying dead, having been fearfully mangled. 
One of our soldiers w as condemned for desertion, 
and I saw him shot in the presence of the whole com- 
mand. The men were formed in a hollow square, so 
that all could see very plainly. He stood in the 
center with the nine men, Avho aimed their guns at 
his breast, and eight bullets pierced his body within 
a circle of six inches, ^ine more guns were in 
reserve; bat ah! they Avere not needed. 

Yours in F., C. and L., 

Susan Cox. 

Tecumseh, Nkb. 



314 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MISS ELIZABETH WHEELER. 




)FTER looking over some old army letters, I 
find my memory so refreshed that I have con- 
clnded to try to comply with yonr request 
that I write a sketch of my experience as an 
army nnrse. 

When the first company enlisted from Worcester, 
and my brother went with them, my whole soul was 
aroused, and had I been a man I should have counted 
one of the number. Soon word came that the 6th 
had been attacked while going through Baltimore, 
and that one of our men was killed. This caused 
great excitement, for that was not supposed to be 
rebel ground. I think all the women felt like learn- 
ing to use firearms. I did, at least, but did the next 
best thiug, which was to offer my services in case the 
men should be sick or wounded. It was a three- 
months' regiment, as that was supposed to be a long 
enough time in which to end the war; and my 
services wei'e not needed by them. But after the 
battle of Gettysburg, when so many wounded were 
sent to McDougal Hospital, Fort Schuyler, where 
several ladies from Worcester had already repaired, 
I received a summons and pass to go thither. It 
admitted of no retreat on my part; if it had my 
courage would have failed, so much did I shrink 
from going amidst such suffering. However, there 
was nothing for me to do but go forward; and I 



315 



316 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

think it was July 5th, Avitli only one day's notice, 
that I started, feeling very Aveak in myself, yet 
'^ strong in the Lord," 

When we arrived at the fort it was a strange sight 
to see so many scores of men in white garments 
lolling on the ground and fences. They had been 
ordered to exchange their woolen clothing for cotton, 
which seemed almost murdei-ous, as they had worn 
nothing: but Avoolen all throuo'h their term of service. 
This resulted in colds, coughs, and inflammation of 
wounds. 

Each nurse had a ward of about fifty men. I tried 
to put on a brave front and imagine all as bi'others, 
and in that spirit commenced my duties. That night 
I heard sounds that told of ague chills ; and the next 
morning went to inquire who it was, and found it to 
be a young man who had lost his right arm in battle. 
He asked me for a woolen shirt, and I succeeded in 
getting one, although they were very scarce. But it 
was too late ; the chill had done its work. As I went 
around with the doctor to see the patients, I noticed 
his arm, which was unbound. The loosely hanging 
flesh looked very dark, and the bone could be seen. 
I thought it was gangrene, and asked the doctor if 
they would not have to amputate again in order to 
save his life; but received no answer. I showed that 
I was green by speaking to a doctor in that manner. 
He was a young cadet, put there for practice, the 
men said ; and it was very hard for them to submit 
to being treated by one who did not know his busi- 
ness. The same wash-basin and sponges were used 



0('R ARMV NUJ^SES. 317 

for all, and as a result gangrene got into the wounds, 
and that with the colds made quick work with the 
most of them. When I next went to the young man 
who had lost his arm, he was restless and in a high 
fever. He told me how his twin brother had been 
killed in battle two Aveeks before, and that his father 
was dead, and he was all there was left to his mother. 
He was only twenty -four years old, but said, " I have 
been a very wicked young man." Then I spoke of 
our Heavenly Father's love, and asked him if I might 
read him the story of the Prodigal Son, telling him 
that God comes to meet us as soon as we have a 
desire to retnrn from our wanderings, and that he 
was just the one Jesus died to save. I saw that in a 
few hours the end would come, so I repeated some 
of the precious promises, and asked him if he could 
not trust in Jesus. " Yes, I do ; I Avill," he replied. 
I tried to comfort him with the assurance that the 
Lord will forgive all who repent, and he seemed 
satisfied. Later in the day he became delirious. 
The night watch came. In the morning I found 
that he had hngered through the night, but at 10 
A. M. he died, and was buried with four others that 
afternoon. Oh, it seemed so sad when I thought of 
the friends at home ! The men said he was a brave 
soldier, and that he would have li\ ed if he could 
have been sent home, which would have cost the 
Government no more than to keep him there. It 
was dreadful to see so many die, and be buried in a 
few hoiu's, and know that somewhere there were 
friends who loved them. And it was truly surpris- 



318 OCR AR3iy NURSES. 

ing how the men could be yo cheerful, joking- and 
throwing their crutches at each other, while they 
longed to be at home or back on duty. Those who 
coukl read spent much time in that way; others 
played games. Some had a habit of sitting at the 
head of the ward and playing cards. It a\ as near my 
room, and as I went in and out I would often hear 
an oath. One day I said, "Boys, I never knew 
people to pray so much over their cards as you 
do." They looked up in astonishment, and said they 
did not know they prayed. " Well," I replied, "if I 
should ask God to Ness as much as you do to curse, 
I should call it praying." I think I never heard 
swearing there again, except from visitors from other 
wards. 

I had a rich experience one Inspection Da}. It 
always came Sundays, — I suppose, to give the men 
more to do. There was a new order for " no boxes 
or books on the tables," so all such things were put 
in my i-oom, as there was no other place. I had long 
wanted to get hold of those boxes, and now was my 
time. The reason was this: the boxes were often 
open when I went to dust, and on the lids were cheap 
pictures. I had ready many pictures of battles and 
generals, which I pasted over the ones on the lids, 
and they were all dry by the time they Avere carried 
out. When I went around the next morning it did 
me good to see the queer looks, though nothing was 
ever said. 

I will close with two letters written while in the 
hospital : — 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 319 

Fort Schuyler, September 27. 
Dear Mother : — 

I have received tlie boxes. That drum of figs from Mrs. Eldred 
it did not take me long to dispose of. I so much enjoy having a 
luxury to give the men. Please to tell the lady how much it was 
appreciated. I received a letter from Mrs. G. in behalf of the 
Sanitary Commission, saying she had that day forwarded two boxes 
of jelly. It is so good of them ! I like to be the almoner of their 
bounties, and show the soldiers how Massachusetts gives. I hope the 
next will be a box of woolen shirts. 

The men in my ward are all getting along nicely, and until to-day 
I have had no very bad cases for a long time. One poor boy had 
his leg amputated. He is from Pennsylvania. He was wounded at 
Fort "Wagner, and taken prisoner by the rebels. His foot Avas taken 
off by disjointing it at the heel. He had suftered terribly all the time, 
and now has to go through it all again. His groans are dreadful to 
hear ; he does not bear it like many, still, we know it must be hard. 

I have spent the day in my ward instead of going to the chapel. 
This man's name was John Conners. He was a little fellow, 
under twenty years of age, and veiy active, but he can neither read 
nor write. I have been trying to teach him both, but he will suffer 
so much that there will probably be a pause in the reading. It would 
have done you good to see the interest he manifested when I read to 
him in the Testament. I read nine chapters right along. If I went 
to stop he would say : "• But there is more yet ; keep on. It seems 
like an interesting story." I presume he had never heard it read 
before. I explained as I went along. To-day when he was in so 
much pain he would become quite quiet as soon as I commenced 
reading, and go to sleep. To-night I told him to think about Jesus 
suffering for ns (I had read the crucifixion to him), and asked if he 
would not try to bear it silently. He said he would, and now he is 
sleeping quietly. I never had such satisfaction in speaking or read- 
ing to any one. It all seems new. E. 

Dear Friends at home : — 

I have ventured to do another thing. There is a young man by 
the name of K. I'm afraid he has been a bad young man. He 



320 OUR ARM)' NURSES. 

was sick awhile ago, — the result of having a ball cut out of the side 
of his neck. I took care of him ; he had hardly got well, when I was 
walking out, and saw him sitting on the ground with four others, 
playing cards. I was satisfied they were gambling. While he was 
sick I opened a letter for him from his mother, in which she sent him 
five dollars, and one of the men said she sent him a letter that morn- 
ing with ten dollars in it, telling him he should have the last cent 
she had. I thought I would make an effort to save him. I invited 
him to come into my room this Sunday morning, telling him I 
wished to talk with him for liis good, and hoped he would take it 
kindly. He promised, and when I asked about his home friends, he 
told me he had a mother, one sister, and two little brothers. His 
father was killed in battle, nearly six months before. I asked if he 
did not feel that a great deal devolved upon him to help to be a 
guide to those little brothers, and his mother's stay. After talking 
seriously with him of the effect upon his life, I asked him to spend 
the Sabbath in thinking what he would do. I told him I thought 
there was no one thing that would so harden tlie heart toward all 
one's friends as gambling ; that I thought it would lead one down 
until he would take the last cent from a widowed motlier, or from a 
hard-working sister ; that it made one break all of God's com- 
mandments, and hate His laws. " Every word you say is true," 
he said. I gave him an interesting book to read, and asked him to 
think it all over and tell me, wlien I came to the ward that night, 
what he had decided, — whetlier to leave it off or keep on. When I 
passed through the ward at noon he was busy reading, and I think 
he was all day. As I went to my room at night, I said, " What is 
your decision? " " I have decided to leave it off," he replied. " I 
think it best for me." He remained two or three weeks, then was 
sent to the front. God only knows whether he Avas able to keep his 
promise. 

Miss Elizabeth AYhp^eler. 

43 Orchard Strkkt, Worcester, Mass. 



322 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MRS. MARY E. PERKINS. 



J HAVE to inform you that Maiy E. Perkins is 
now deceased; but, as her husband, I will 
try to supply what you require regarding her 
services in the hit6 war, having known her 
from childhood. 

I assure you I am in full sympathy with all move- 
ments to perpetuate the history of whatever pertains 
to that struggle, having been a participant therein; 
but especially the memory of those noble, self-sacri- 
ficing women who left friends, and home with all its 
comforts, to endure the hardships of camp and hospi- 
tal, and to minister to the wants of the sick, wounded 
and dying. It was through their heoric efforts that 
many are calling them blessed to-day. 

Yours in F., C. and L., 

AxDKEW F. Pp:rkixs. 

711 4th Street, South St. Cloud, Minx. 

Mary E. Perkins (formerly Chamberlain) was born 
May 5, 1839, at Brewer, Me., where she resided 
until she was seven years old; then removed to 
Enfield, Me., where she lived until the bi'eaking out 
of the war in 18(31, when she volunteered her services 
to the 11th Maine Yolunteer Infantry, as nurse. She 
was accepted, and accompanied the regiment to Wash- 
ington. Soon after arriving there she entered Camp 
Stone Brigade Hospital, on Meridian Hill, where she 
remained attending the sick until the regiment went 



323 



324 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

to the Peninsula, in March, 1862. Following the 
fortunes of the regiment, she embarked with them for 
Fortress Monroe. On arriving there it was found that 
orders had been issued that no nurse be allowed at 
the front. She then sought and gained permission to 
enter Hygeia Hospital, at Hampton, Va. 

About two weeks after. Miss Dix arrived at the 
hospital, and seemed very loth to accept her as a 
nurse, on account of her age ; but upon the earnest 
solicitation of the surgeons and nurses, telling of her 
qualifications and zeal in the work, Miss Dix mus- 
tered her into the service. Here she remained, at- 
tending the sick and wounded of McClellan's army 
during the Peninsula Campaign. 

After the battles of Seven Pines and Fair Oaks, 
she was detailed on the hospital boat that went to 
White House Landing, to receive and care for the 
sick and wounded. Twice after this she was detailed 
on the same errand. 

Sometime in September the Hygeia was broken up, 
and she was transferred to the temporary hospital 
near Fortress Monroe, where she remained until the 
last of October, when she went to ]S^ew York, to nurse 
an only brother who had been disabled in the service. 
When he could travel, she procured her discharge 
and went home. 

Testimonials of her high character, her sympathy 
for the patients, and the efficiency with which she 
performed her duties while in the service, from all the 
surgeons under whom she served, show how nuich 
her efforts were appreciated. Hers was a nature 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 325 

that could see no suffering or distress without doing 
the utmost to alleviate it. 

In April, 1865, she was married to Andrew F. 
Perkins, of St. Cloud, Minn. :N'ov. 18, 1893, she 
died, beloved by all who knew her. 



MEMORIAL DAY. 

'Tis meet that loyal hearts unite 

And homage pay the nation's brave. 
Nature herself joins in the rite, 

Not one neglected, lonely grave, 
But all her choicest tributes share — 

Memorial lays that song-birds sing, 
The aromatic laden air — 

Sweet resurrecting breath of spring. 

What shall our fit memorial be? 

What added lustre may we shed 
Upon the sacred memory 

Of our beloved and honored dead ? 
Not martial strain nor fairest flower 

Are worthiest tokens we may give. 
They die as dies the passing hour, 

Some tribute seek we that shall live. 

Some heart made light by gift of love 

In memory of a dear one's name — 
May this not worthy tribute prove 

E'en to a hero's cherished fame? 
Then pause not long by flower-strewn grave. 

On human shrines our emblems lay. 
So shall we render to our brave 

Fit tokens of " Memorial Day." 



326 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MARTHA F. JENNISON. 



JF I should midertake to wi-ito all T knew about 
war times and the boys hi blue it would require 
a large volume to hold it; but I will tiy to give 
you a few items. 

I was born in Templeton, Mass., but we had gone 
to the "West, and were in Fort Madison, Iowa, when 
the war broke out. 

My eldest son felt he must go into the army, and 
at first it seemed to me that I could not spare him; 
but he went, and was in many battles during the four 
years he was in the service, and the Lord heard my 
prayers and returned him to me to tell what he had 
been through during the cruel war. 

My other son was in school in Boston ; but as soon 
as he was graduated he went into the navy on the 
steamer ^' Lillian." He, too, was in many battles, and 
sometimes sick, but God spared his life. 

A mother can judge what were my feelings, with 
my husband dead and my sons engaged in such a 
perilous undertaking. 

In 1862 I went to Keokuk to spend the winter 
with Mr. and Mrs. Samuel F. Miller; and whether it 
was in March or April I cannot tell, but the Govern- 
ment took a large hotel for a hospital. Mrs. Miller 
and I went in when the men first arrived; and oh, 
such suffering! It was fearful to see! 

The surgeon-general came to me with a roll of 
bandages and a bundle of lint, and said, " Mrs. Jenni- 

327 



328 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

son, will you go with me and help to dress the poor 
boys' wounds?" I did not feel that I had the nerve 
to go through it; but after I had helped with ten or 
twelve brave fellows, and saw how much there was 
to do, and so few to do it, I felt it my duty to stay 
and help. I thought perhaps if I did what I could 
for them, some one would care for my sons. 

I boarded with Judge Miller, but used to go every 
day to the hospital, and I found plenty to do there. I 
carried my tablet, pen, and ink, and often wrote letters 
for the boys who were too sick to do it for them- 
selves, or had, perhaps, lost the right arm or hand. 

I think there were a thousand men here. There 
were fifty in one large hall with only a chair between 
the cots. I have known fifteen to die in one day; 
but oh, they were so brave to the end ! 

I used to read to them a great deal when they were 
in such agony that nothing could do them any good, 
and that seemed to quiet them moi-e than anything 
else. Many a night I have sat by sick and. dying 
soldiers. 

I went into the hospitals to try to help, not for 
pay; on the other hand, I spent time, money, and 
health, working with my head as well as my hands. 
In about six months I was taken with the typhoid 
fever, and was carried to my home in Fort Madison, 
where I was sick for a long time. I had a book in 
which I kept the names of officers and many inter- 
esting facts, but during my sickness it was lost. 

Martha F. Jennison. 

Weston, Mass. 



330 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MRS. M. J. BUNCHER. 




'GREEABLE to your request, I will try to give 
some account of the hospital to Avhich I was 
called, and in which I served as a nurse 
during the last year of the war; or, from 
October, 1864, to September, 1865. 

In the fall of 1864 the hospitals along the frontier 
had become overcrowded, and a question arose in the 
minds of the public-spirited men of our State in 
regard to providing a hospital for the sick and 
wounded of our own State. Yery little time was 
lost before a well-equipped United States building 
was established in Manchester, I^. H., receiving the 
name, '' AYebster Hospital." It would accommodate 
six hundred patients, and during the time of its 
existence, sixteen hundred were admitted and cared 
for; quite a number from Maine and Massachusetts, 
as well as from ^ew Hampshire. 

The working force consisted of Col. Alex. T. 
Watson, surgeon in charge, and seven or eight 
assistant surgeons, four medical cadets, and four 
stcAvards, five nurses, and an extra woman of all 
work. Four convalescent soldiers wei-e detailed to 
render such assistance as we needed. Our assio-ned 
work was in the Extra Diet Department, and we 
were ajDpointed l)y Miss Dix. The nurses were 
Mrs. Eliza P. Stone (deceased) and Mrs. Mary 
J. Buncher, of Manchester (sistei-s) ; Miss Mary 



332 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

J. Knowles, Miss Elizabeth J. Dudley, and Mrs. 
Moore (deceased). 

The responsibility rested more especially upon my 
sister and myself; the duties devolving upon us 
included the supervision of preparing the diet and 
stimulants for all the sick and wounded needing 
special care, visiting them, and administering such 
comfort and cheer as we could. The other nurses 
had their full share of the labor of love in preparing 
all the httle delicacies foi- the sufferers, from whom 
we all received ample comj^ensation in their grateful 
expressions of thankfulness. We saw much suffer- 
ing bravely borne. Thirteen deaths occurred from 
various causes, — the first five of as many different 
nationalities. Those wei-e very solemn occasions. 
Another sad scene came when the convalescents 
were sufficiently strong to return to the front; 
also, when more wounded ones were brought to us. 

But there were many pleasant things connected 
with our hos])ital life. The people of the city and 
state were deeply interested in the work. The 
pastors took turns in coming each Sabbath. The 
large " mess hall " w as arranged for an audience 
room, and we had excllent discourses delivered 
there. The singing by the soldier boys was fine. 
Colonel Watson permitted them to have many kinds of 
amusement, in which all who were able participated. 
They frequently gave concerts of no mean order, to 
which many were invited from the city. The young 
ladies also gave a fair, and the proceeds were devoted 
to the purchase of a nice little library, which gave 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 333 

the men a good selection of books, and they were 
greatly appreciated. 

Colonel Watson always maintained the same strict 
discipline as was observed at the front : only special 
days were allowed for visiting ; no one could enter or 
leave the grounds without a pass ; and after the even- 
ing guard went on duty we could not go into any of 
the wards without giving the countersign. 

Gifts of all kinds sent to the sick ones were 
delivered at our quarters, to be dispensed according 
to the judgment of their physicians. Thanksgiving 
Day, I remember, a bountiful provision was made for 
all those who were able to partake. 

That year at Webster Hospital will ever remain a 
bright spot in memory, notwithstanding the many 
painful scenes we were called upon to witness ; and I 
rejoice that I was permitted to share in the services 
rendered by so many noble-hearted women to the 
brave and heroic sufferers, the defenders of our 
beloved country. I possess many tokens of kind 
rememberance from those who were under our 
care, — letters, photographs, etc., — and as the years 
go by, they seem more and more valuable. Quite 
a number of those who were then young men, now 
occupy very responsible positions. 

I have an excellent photograph of the hospital 
and grounds, taken before the buildings were 
removed. It was presented to my sister and myself 
by Colonel Watson, and I prize it very highly. 

My dear sister, Mrs. Eliza P. Stone, died seven 
years ago. Her experience at the hospital was 



334 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

identical with my own ; but her sweet Christian 
character, and strong faith, impressed itself upon 
the hearts of many suffering and dying ones, and 
gave consolation to many in their hours of trial. 

MkS. M. J. BUNCHEK. 

182 Main Stueet, Nashua, N. H. 



LIVE. 

" Live for good that you may do — 
For the errors you may fight, 
For the aid that you can give, 
For the needs you can relieve, 
For the wrongs that you may right 

" Live afflictions to console — 

Giving strength unto the weak, 
. Giving hope to dumb despair, 
Like an answer to a prayei- ; 
Be a help to tliose that need. 

" Live to say, ' Thy will be done ! ' 
Even though it seem unjust 
To your dim, imperfect sight ; 
What He doeth must be right : 
Keep a iirm, unwavering trust. 

" Live the seed of good to sow ; 
Live to sweeten sorrow's cup. 
And to lift the fallen up ; 
Live in fellowship and love. 
And so live when called above." 



336 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MARGARET HAMILTON. 



J WAS born in Rochester, :N'. Y., Oct. 19, 1840; 
and being an only child I a\ as well cared for, 
and knew very little of life's care until the 
death of my dear mother, in 1857. After that 
I became very restless and unhapj^y; and as I had 
always been religiously inclined, I thought I should 
like to become a Sister of Charity, as I had been 
trained in their schools, and thought they did a great 
deal of good among the sick, the poor, and the 
orphans. I met with great opposition from my 
father, who could not bear the thought of giving 
me up to that life; but finally my pleadings won his 
consent and in 1860 I entered the Orj^han Asylum, 
an aspirant for the Order of Sisters. This was a 
favor granted to my father, as a mark of respect, for 
he had been a good friend to the church and the 
asylum. 

After three months' probation I was sent to the 
Mother House in Emmitsburg, Md., where I remained 
six months under their instruction, learning their 
methods. Finding me qualified, they gave me the 
habit of the Order, and sent me to the Orphan 
Asylum in Albany, ]!Sr. Y., to teach a class. 

Here I will state that one is not required to make 

final vows until she has been in the Order five years. 

This was the autumn of 1861, — a critical time in 

the history of our country ; when peaceful homes had 



337 



338 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

to part with loved ones who went forth to battle, that 
the United States might live undivided, one great 
and glorious nation. Almost every letter from home 
brought news of this or that one of my relatives who 
had enlisted, and I began to regret that I was unable 
to do anything for the cause. But early in the spring 
of 1862, an order came from the Mother House for 
for three other Sisters and myself to go to the 
Satterlee United States Military Hospital, in West 
Philadelphia. I shall never forget the great feeling 
of true haj^jDiness I experienced when the order was 
made known to me ; but I dared not let any one know 
how I felt, for fear they might not send me if I 
seemed too anxious to go, as that is a part of the 
discipline. However, I determined that if I was not 
sent I should leave the Order, and offer \\\y services 
in the great struggle. 

A¥e went early in May, 1862, and found a few other 
Sisters at the hospital; among them a niece of 
General Beauregard, — a Miss Boulina from Louis- 
iana. She was a student in the academy attached to 
the Mother House, and became infatuated with the 
Sisters; so she joined them, very much against the 
Avishes of her ftimily, Avho were far from being recon- 
ciled to her nursing Union soldiers. She herself 
did not relish it, and after working about eight weeks 
we suddenly missed her, and never learned what 
became of her. 

We were appointed by Secretar}^ Stanton. Dr. I. 
I. Hayes, the Arctic explorer, was the surgeon in 
charge, assisted by Dr. James Wihiams and many 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 339 

others; among them Dr. John S. Billings, of medical 
fame, who at present resides in Georgetown, D. C. 
This hospital was built to accommodate five thousand 
patients, besides the corps of surgeons, nurses, etc., 
and was opened the 1st of May, 1862. 

I remember that we fared poorly for some time, as 
the commissary department had not been established; 
neither had we conveniences to work with. Doctor 
Hayes bought our first " rations," sending his regrets 
that we should have been inconvenienced in that 
respect. 

A day or two later hundreds of our brave boys 
arrived from the Chickahominy Swamps. Dozens of 
them were already dead when taken from the ambu- 
lances, and many others were just breathing out their 
brave lives. The ward surgeons, medical cadets, and 
the commissary department arrived with them. Now 
began in earnest the work of real hospital life. The 
first week after the arrival of these wounded and 
fever- stricken boys, we had scarcely time to eat, rest, 
or sleep. Our corps of nurses was insutficient for 
the demand made upon their time by the terrible 
sufferings of the sick and dying. Many of the 
Sisters were unable to endure the hardships of such 
a life, and were taken from us, so that oui' work was 
greatly increased. From constant standing and 
walking I soon was afflicted with bhstered feet, 
from which I suffered greatly, but my services 
were unremitting. I shall never forget one of my 
next experiences. I had heard of the pi-overbial 
"grayback," but my first intimation of his actual 



340 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

presence was an itching sensation. I looked to 
discover the cause, and saw ever so many of them 
preying upon my flesh. I was " all of a shiver/' and 
so disgusted that I thought I would leave. But my 
better nature and common sense came to my rescue, 
and consideration for my personal comforts was put 
aside as I thought what the soldiers were suffering 
so bravely and patiently for the dear country we all 
loved so well. After this, be the duty ever so hard 
or unpleasant, I did it cheerfully. 

During the battles that followed in 1862, 1863, and 
1861, our hospital was constantly filled. 

At the battle of Gettysburg more soldiers were 
received from the field than ever before; the wards 
were overcrowded, and tents were erected on the 
grounds to accommodate two thousand, the most of 
these being colored troops, who, when convalescent, 
made it lively with camp-meeting hymns and prayers, 
which greatly amused some of the boys, but caused 
others to use unmentionable words. 

The weather was extremely warm, and the vast 
number of the wounded made careful attention to 
their wounds impossible; and upon their arrival at 
the hospital many wounds were full of vermin, and 
in many cases gangrene had set in, and the odor was 
almost unbearable. The demand on our time and 
labor was so increased that the number of nurses 
seemed utterly inadequate, and the hospital presented 
a true picture of the horrors of war. The poor boys 
were maimed and mangled in a terrible manner. 
Readers, try to impress these truths on your memo- 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 341 

ries, and never forget what the soldiers of the 
RebelHon sacrificed and suffered that this nation, 
born of God, miglit live, and that her glorious flag 
should be respected by all the nations of the earth, 
both on land and on sea, and that the terrible curse 
of slavery should be abolished. 

I remember one poor felloAv who had been struck 
by a bullet in such a way as to take out both eyes, 
without touching the brain. He recovered, but only 
to live out his days in a realm of darkness. 

Amid such scenes of dreadful suftering, borne so 
uncomplainingly, my life as an army nurse was 
passed. Yet it is with feelings of thankfulness to 
God that I recall those times, and know that I was 
permitted to give almost three years of the best of 
my life to the country I love, and to her brave 
defenders. 

We received a large number of wounded after the 
battle of the Wilderness, and among them was a 
young woman not more than twenty years of age. 
She ranked as lieutenant. She was wounded in the 
shoulder, and her sex was not discovered until she 
came to our hospital. It appeared that she had fol- 
lowed her lover to the battle; and the boys who were 
brought in with her said that no one in the company 
showed more bravery than she. She was discharged 
very soon after entering the ward. 

On my return from the N^ational Encampment in 
Washington, September, 1892, I had the great 
pleasure of visiting Doctor Baldwin, who served in 
the Satterlee Hospital from June, 1862, until the w ar 



342 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

ended. He was a man of sterling woi'th, and a 
warm friend of the soldiers. It is needless to say 
that we had a most enjoyahle time talking over the 
days of the war. We spoke of the great fright we 
had when General Early made his raid on Chambers- 
bnrg, and fired it; and how the brave boj^s who were 
just getting about, forgot their weakness and were 
ready to take up arms; how the places of business 
were all closed in Philadelphia, as the owners were 
off to defend the city. 

After leaving the service, on account of poor 
health, I was married to a soldier of the 19th 
Maine Volunteers, and of this marriage eight 
children were born, seven of whom are now living, 
and they are a great blessing and comfort to me. I 
have taken pleasure in instructing them in the great 
principles of patriotism, and it is a standing joke 
among them that they have '"'Civil War for break- 
fast, dinner, and supper."" 

I left the Catholic Church, and have been a 
Baptist for fifteen years. I am trusting only in 
Christ. And I now send u]) a prayer to our 
Heavenly Father to preserve in my children true 
loyalty to our country, — the dearest and best in the 
the world. 

Yours in F., C. and L., 

Margaret HAMLLTOisr. 

70 Elm Strekt, Wakkfikld, Mass. 



344 



OUR ARMY hWRSES. 





MARGARET A. WEED. 




MARGARET A. EDGAE was born in 1838, 
and reared and edncated at Lockport, 111. 
When the Rebellion broke out she felt it 
her duty to do all she could for her country; 
so when the call came for nurses she immediately 
offered her services, and, with her sister Ellen, 
started for her first field of labor, Oct. 9, 1861, 
and soon arrived at Jefferson City. Mrs. Liver- 
more and Mrs. Hoag gave these two girls com- 
missions, and Doctor Beck assigned them work in 
different wards, under an older lady as matron. 

The hospital was a large, four-story building, which 
had formerly been used as a ladies' academy. Here 
were wounded men, cases of measles, typhoid fever, 
scarlet fever, and indeed all the diseases that followed 
the army. There were from thirty to forty men in 
each ward, and the work was not as systematic as it 
was later in the war. Surgeons, nurses, and soldiers 
were alike ignorant of hospital service, and it is a 
wonder that so much was accomplished when we 
think that they did the cooking, kept the wards and 
patients clean, superintended the entire housekeep- 
ing arrangements, beside having the responsibility of 
preparing the diet. 

The hospital was always full, and in spite of all 
that could be done, many died. The summer was 
hot, the autumn pleasant, and the winter severe, — the 
changes greatly affecting the patients. 



346 OUR ARAfV NURSES. 

Occasionally an incident would occur that greatly 
amused the boys. One day a soldier from Missouri 
came in from camp very sick, and as he grew worse 
and worse, we sent for his wife. She was dressed in 
a linsey-woolsey suit, and rode an old white horse. 
She had lived in the backwoods all her life, and of 
course saw many strange things at the hospital. 
Soon after she arrived an engine came puffing up 
the track, hauling a train. " Oh my! What is that?" 
she cried. On being told she replied, " My ! I never 
seed a car in my life before ! " This amused the 
sick men, and did them as much good as a dose of 
medicine. She would sit by her husband's cot and 
smoke hour after hour. Finally he died, and she 
went home. It would take a volume to record the 
suffering and death, the joys and sorrows, and the 
many interesting incidents which occurred at this one 
hospital, where Miss Edgar remained until it was 
closed, in 1862, and the nurses ordered to other 
places, wherever they were most needed. 

After the battle of Fort Donaldson there was a 
great demand for help, and the medical director 
ordered her to report at Paducah, Ivy., where she 
was detailed to service Jan. 23, 1863, and assigned 
to Hospital No. 1, under Major II. P. Stearnes. 
This hospital was a large, four-story structure, that 
had previously been used as a warehouse. She was 
placed in a surgical ward, where she had men from 
Corinth, Vicksburg, and second Donaldson; and here 
she found all she could possibly do, day and night. 
It would be impossible for her to say how many 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 347 

passed through her ward during the two and a half 
years she was there, as she kept no record. 

The hospital had been conveniently fitted up at 
great expense to the Government, but it came to 
sudden destruction. On the 25th of March, 1864, 
the enemy under Generals Forrest, Harris, Buford, 
and Thompson, made an attack on Paducah. The 
rebels tore down the fence around the hospital, took 
possession, and filled the building with sharpshooters. 
As the hospital stood on higher ground, this gave 
them a chance to shoot our men in the fort. Miss 
Edgar relates her experience there in the following 
words: "As I was leaving the hospital I met a 
rebel soldier, who brought his gun down with 
authority, saying, ^Halt,' and then ordered me to 
fall into line. On going a little farther. Miss 
McLeary was ordered to fall in, and he marched us 
into the open field between the rebels and our fort; 
but the balls flew harmlessly above our heads. Mean- 
time our guns were under the necessity of shelling the 
hospital, in order to rout the rebels, who were killing 
the men in the fort. 

" While we were in the field a rebel officer rode up 
and asked, ^Ladies, how came you here?' "We told 
him it was the order of one of his men ; whereupon 
he told us to get down on the ground, or we would 
be killed. We met a rebel soldier, and Miss McLeary 
said, 'I thought my time had come.' He repHed, 
* You should always be ready to die.' We were so 
frightened that we could tell nothing about time. 
Near by us a cow was grazing. A ball struck her; 



348 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

she jumped high in the air, and with a loud bellow 
retreated in good ordei'. We momently expected 
the same fate, but in spite of our fears we laughed 
at our strange condition. This was my first experi- 
ence in raid or battle. Soon we saw the rebels 
retreating, loaded with plunder; but they also 
carried many dead and dying men, among them 
the lifeless body of General ThomjDSon, covered 
with blood. 

" As we were moving off the field a rebel, carrying 
a flag, said, ^Have you many Yanks?' ^Yes, sir!' 
I replied. ^ Reinforcements are coming down the 
river.' This was repeated, and passed along the 
line, ^Reinforcements are coming!' 

" Forrest sent in a flag of truce for a surrender of 
the fort; meanwhile we escaped as best we could, and 
made our way to the Ohio River, and crossed into 
Illinois. We were not allowed to return until the 
next day; then it was to learn that the hospital, with 
all its contents, had been burned." 

Miss Edgar was next assigned to Hospital JN"©. 4, 
and found all she could do there, as there were moi'e 
victims from the attack on Paducah. Forty-six 
Union men and a thousand rebels had been wounded. 
The work continued until late in August, 18G4. 
Then she returned to her home for a short time, to 
rest; but was soon requested to report to H. P. 
Stearnes, surgeon in charge of the Joe Holt, United 
States General Hospital at Jefl'ersonville, Ind., where 
she was detailed to service Oct. 3, 1864, in the hnen 
department. This hospital was a little city in itself. 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



3^19 



It Avas iitsually crowded, and fii'teen hundred men 
were in it now. There was a diet kitchen, con- 
valescent dining room and kitchen, commissary, 
bakery, and a hirge, elegant drug store. The laun- 
dry was run by machinery, and a Mr. Hamilton did 
the heavy lifting and kept the books. The linen 
room was on the plan of a large dry-goods store. 

While in this hospital Miss Edgar was married to 
Alexander G. Weed, who was hospital steward of 
the 24th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantiy. She was 
honorably discharged in the fall of 1865, and returned 
to private life. 

She has many letters dating from 1862 to 1892, 
which express gratefulness and appreciation for her 
services. 

Thirty years have flown since those days; she is 
now "gray," and inclined to live in the past, and 
think over the scenes of war-times. She has been a 
widow since 1891. Her address is 

Margaret A. Weed. 

Russell, Kan. 



350 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 





ELIZABETH LUCAS. 



J WAS born in Darlington, Ont., in May, 1835. 
My father was a firm friend of Wm. Lyon 
McKenzie, and both grandfathers were among 
the early settlers of Connecticut, and served 
with General Washington. Both were with him the 
night he crossed the Delaware. I was married to 
William Lucas, Sept. 28, 1852, and we moved to 
Michigan. 

He enlisted in the 4th Michigan Cavalry, Jan. 
5, 1861, and was sent to Atlanta. Late in the fall 
his regiment returned to Louisville, to recruit. My 
husband was sick, and I went to him there ; and when 
the regiment went to the front I accompanied it, for 
I thought he would soon have to go into a hospi- 
tal. About the 1st of January, 18G5, I went into 
Brown Hospital, where I served in the linen room. 
Then my husband had his leg broken, and w^as sent 
to Tennessee; but I had him transferred to Brown 
Hospital, where I could care for him. He had a long 
run of typhoid fever, so he was under my care some 
time. My daughter was with me, but was too young 
to be allowed to nurse, so she served in the linen 

room. 

When the hospital broke up I was discharged, in 
August, 1865, and came to the little farm where I 
still live. I recall an incident that occurred when I 
was on a United States steamer going from Cincin- 



352 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

nati to Louisville. Just at evening the guerrillas 
lired upon the boat, breaking windows and frighten- 
ing every one generally. The soldiers on board 
returned the fire, but it was so dark that they could 
not see even the banks Avhere the guei'rillas were 
hidden. Then the captain ran the boat so fast that 
we were more afraid the boiler would burst or the 
boat run aground, than we had been of the enemy. 
We reached Louisville in safety, however, and 
remained on board until the next morning. 

Elizabeth Lucas. 

Swan Creek, Mich. 



" Waiting through days of fever, 
Waiting through nights of pain, 

For the waft of wings at the portal, 
For the sound of songs immortal. 
And the breaking of life's chain. 

" There is little to do for the soldiers. 

Only to watch and pray 

As the tide is outward drifting. 
As the gates of heaven are lifting, 

And its gleam is on the way." 



854 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MARY F. KNOWLES. 



\ I /^-^^-'^-^^ ^^^''^' fi^'^ women in the AVebstei- United 
4\(s States Hospital, where I served, in Manchester 

N". H., bnt only three of us are noAv living-, 

Mrs. Buneher, Miss Dudley, and myself; I do 
not know where Miss Dudley is at present. Mrs. 
Buneher had charge of the Diet Department, and my 
work was to prepare food for the sick and wonnded 
who were not able to go into the general ''mess 
hall." 

I went from Nashua, :N'. H., to the hospital in 1864, 
and came out in I860; was there just abont a year. 
We nnrses did what we conld for the ''boys in blue" 
who were under our charge; but I have always been 
sorry that I did not follow a regiment, as I think that 
perhaps, in that way, I could have made myself more 
useful. 

Maky F. Kxowles, 

Derry, N. H. 




356 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



ti** 



-fis^ 




BETSEY A. COOK. 



# 



i 

J^ 1861, .^iien every heart that beat in unison for 
the proteetion of our country and the dear old 
flag- was filled with patriotism, we were living 
in Augusta, 111. My husband enlisted in July, 
in the 2d Illinois Cavalry, and went to the army, 
while I"*tetin'ned to my father's, in Jackson. In 
September my husband wrote, asking me if I would 
go there as nurse in Delanoe's Dragoons. I replied 
that I would, and soon received an appointment 
and transportation. I went from Grass Lake to 
Fort Halt, Kentucky, across the river from Cairo, 
arriving there about the middle of October. Doctor 
Kendall was in charge of the hospital, and I served 
under him all the time I was with the army. 

We all lived in tents, and used one for a hospital, 
imtil !N^ovember, when they built cabins for winter 
quarters. A room was prepared for the sick, and we 
got along very well till some time in January, when 
the water rose and covered the ground so that no one 
could get out at all who did not wear cavalry boots. 
So we were obliged to leave our comfortable quarters, 
and move to higher ground. AVe went up the Ohio 
River three or four miles, to a place called Camp 
Pain. I stayed there until the last of February, and 
then went home to Michigan, where I remained until 
November of 1862, when I resumed my duties as 
nurse at Island No. 10. Doctor Kendall was in 

357 



'358 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

charge, and glad to have iiiv help, as" there was 

not another white woman on the island nntil I had 

been there some time. I took charge of all the 

clothing and hospital supplies, and prepared the 

food that was carried to the sick. My husband 

was detailed there as hospital cook, and they were 

using baker's bread, which I must say was not very 

good. Soon after I arrived I asked him if that was 

the best bread they could get; and when told that it 

was, I said if I. could get some flour I would make 

some bread that I thought would be better. As 

there was no j^east I tried the old Yankee way of 

" salt raising." The bread was good, and I made 

from it some toast to send to the sick boys. The 

man Avho carried it to them soon returned, and said 

they wanted to know if I lirought that all the way 

from Michigan, and if they could have a little more, 

for it was the best they had tasted since the}^ had 

been in the army. I told him they could have all 

they wanted, and from that time I made all we used. 

About the last of Aj^ril, Doctor Kendall was 

relieved, and sent to Columbus, Ky., and Doctor 

Kelson took his place. Soon a large number of 

contrabands were brought in, and the ablebodied 

men were drilled there in camp for awhile, then taken 

to Columbus, and formed in a company. Soon the 

necessity of forming a colored military hospital was 

felt, and my husband was relieved from duty at 

Island Ko. 10, and ordei-ed to Columbus. I went 

there in June, 1863, and stayed until the last of 

August. My duties were to oversee the cooking 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



351) 



and hospital supplies. After a time Doctor Iven- 
dall was taken sick, and went home; then all the 
officers were changed, — my husband ordered to his 
company, and I returned to my home in Augusta, 
where I kept house until Mr. Cook was discharged 
and came home. 

While I was an army nurse I had many pleasant 
and many sad experiences, which I should be glad to 
tell you, but I am old, and it is hard for me to write. 
A year ago I made application for a pension, but it 
was rejected, on the ground that Mrs. Yates was not 
legally authorized to appoint me. But if I never 
receive any pay, I have the satisfaction of knowing 
that I did what I could to help in the great struggle 



for Union and the flae:. 



Lamar, Mo. 



Yours in F., C. and L., 

Betsey A. Cook. 










360 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 






EUNICE M. BROWN. 



JAM glad that I belong- to a band of army nurses, 
and proud that I sprang fi'oni a patroitic race. 
AYhen the Civil War broke out I was anxious 
to start, but impossibilities hedged the Avay 
until June, 1864. I then went from Windham, 
Portage County, Ohio, to Camp Chase, near Colum- 
bus, and at once began yisiting the General Hospital, 
and doing for our sick soldiers such things as read- 
ing, writing, etc., in company with Major Albert 
Longwell's wife. "We continued this delightful work 
nntil Augnst, when Sui-geon Longwell had orders to 
open a temporary Post Hospital, till the completion 
of one in the course of construction. Owing to " I'ed 
tape " we could not draw any delicacies from the 
Government for our sick ; only soldiers' rations were 
available while we occupied this temporary building 
nor could nurses draw pay or rations. I Avas informed 
of these regulations, and asked if I would take the 
position of nnrse under such conditions. I cheerfully 
replied that I would. 

A three-months' regiment came in at this time, 
bringing their sick and wounded. There was not a 
pillow, blanket, or coat for the poor fellows; nor a 
delicacy, with the exception of a few that we ladies 
furnished from our quarters. We just had to put 
the brave men on the bare floor, and when our store 
was exhausted, feed the sickest from our tables. 

361 



362 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

They were patient and thankful, and this paid ns 
well, — better than money. They said, "We thought 
when we got to God's country, we should have 
something to eat." We applied to the Soldiers' Aid 
Society, and received word: " Ohio must take care of 
her soldiers. Our supplies must go to the front." 
We went with our ambulance among the farmers, 
soliciting food, only to be told at nearly every house, 
"If you wish provisions for the iwisoners you can 
have all you want; but not one thing for the "blue 
coats." With heavy hearts we would i-eturn to our 
boys with only a few supplies, wishing we were not 
subject to the " powers that be." I struggled along 
this way until Dec. 24, 1864:, when we moved; after 
which we had full supplies for our sick. I was 
then mustered into the 88th Ohio Yolunteer Infantry, 
by Surgeon Longwell, under whom I had served all 
this time, and continued until his death, in April, 
1865. After this I served under Dr. II. E. Warner, 
successor to Dr. Longwell, till at the close of the 
war I was mustered out, in July, 1865. I remained 
on duty until August, when new hands were capable 
of caring for those who were unable to leave camp. 
I served as nurse the entire time. 

My experiences are varied. My husband. Surgeon 
James F. Brown, was assigned to duty among the 
prisoners, numbering live thousand. This gave me a 
chance to see the care that was bestowed upon the 
Confederates. Many of the same farmers we had 
called on brought from their storehouses an abund- 
ance which was not needed; for "Uncle Sam" took 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 363 

good care of the rebels, putting them in condition to 
fight ns again. As I visited their commissary, and 
saw the supphes in nntold quantities, — dried fruits by 
the barrel, sugar by the hogshead, canned and fresh 
fruits, butter, eggs, meats, etc., in proportion,— 
I thought of our empty commissary, and my 
indignation was great. I wished for an equal 
division. 

One day, at my husband's request, I cooked a 
delicacy for five little sick boys, not over four- 
teen years old. As I fed them I asked each, " How 
came you here, so far away from home and mother?" 
The answer was in a whisper, " We were pressed 
into the service." They did not dare say this aloud, 
havino: been commanded not to tell. Dear little 
fellows! Ere nightfall three had gone beyond the 
roar of battle. The others died the next day. 

We had men among those prisoners who were 
loyal to the flag of our Union. This was proved 
at an exchange of prisoners. Eighteen hundred 
at one time refused to go on the exchange, saying: 
"We were pressed into service at first, and if 
we leave here we shall have to take up arms against 
the N^orth again. Our prison life is preferable to 
that; our fare is better than your men get, we are 
sorry to say." 

I witnessed a regiment of prisoners as they left 
our camp. IS'ot all looked happy, but most looked 
healthy. The feeble ones were taken in ambulances, 
all had well-filled haversacks, and were clothed well. 
Each had a double blanket rolled over his shoulder. 



364 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

Now I will tell you how our men looked when they 
came hito camp. All were ragged, some hatless, 
many shoeless, more stockingless; not one blanket, 
not even so mnch as a ragged one, no haversacks, all 
walking skeletons. Those unable to walk were borne 
on the shoulders of some a little sti'onger. Most all 
prostrated themselves on the ground ; some going to 
the garbage barrels for food before lying down to 
wait to be assigned to their quarters. I said all were 
ragged; I mistake there. One, by the name of 
Bradley, was well clothed, had a good single 
blanket, and was a picture of health. I asked: 
" How is this, Bradley, that you have come back in 
so much better condition than your comrades? Did 
you have your money concealed? " He replied: "I 
was stripped like the rest, but after being put in 
prison, when hungry all I had to do was to step on a 
stump and make a speech for the South. This always 
gave me a good square meal, and anything else I 
wanted. Mrs. Brown, you ai-e told the reason our 
men fare so hard in the South is a lack of j^rovisions. 
It's not true, and don't you believe it. There is 
no scarcity if you have money, or cater to the 
South." 

I can give you no idea of the condition our poor 
men were in when released from their prisons. One 

of the worst cases was that of Mr. , who was 

of fine physical build and of superior talents, but had 
scurvy when he returned to us, and his sores were 
full of vermin. All we could do did not save him, 
and we were thankful when he was at rest. 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 365 



THE HUCKSTER. 



I referred to being unable to get supplies for our 
camp of the farmers in a "Secesh" county. There 
was a certain huckster, a woman, who called daily at 
the prison with a load of pies. We appealed to her 
for her fruit and eggs, offering to pay cash. Her 
reply was, " ]!^o ' blue coat ' gets anything from me." 
About this time a regiment returned to Camp Chase 
for muster out. The officers went to Columbus for 
money to pay their men, forgetting to return for 
three days. The men, famishing on the third day, 
asked the huckster to sell out to them, saying, 
"We have no money to-day, but will pay you 
to-morrow." She said : " You old ^ blue coats ' ! If 
you had been fighting for the South you might have 
had my whole wagon-load of pies. N^ow you shall 
not have one." At this the soldiers said, " We'll 
see ! " and gathered round the wagon, some holding 
the horse. She raised her whip, saying, "Ge up, Jim! 
Ge up, Jim!" One soldier caught the lash while she 
still cried, " Ge up, Jim." The dear, hungry boys 
devoured every pie with a relish, saying: "Mother, 
how good your pies are ! The best we have had for 
a long time. Call around to-morrow and get your 
money." Then releasing the horse they said, "Ge 
up, Jim! " I could not help shouting, " Glory! " and 
did not feel conscience smitten eithei-. The old lady 
looked daggers at me, and I was glad I was not in 
range of that whip; but felt sorry for "Jim," on 
whom she vented her spite. 



366 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

MY TWO BOY PATIENTS. 

I want to tell of my two boy patients, named 
Henry, because I found such remarkable faith in 
Christ's promises in one, and in the other such 
patriotism. One morning, in the rounds of my 
wards, as I opened the door of Ward 2, a pair of 
beautiful brown eyes met mine. The face wreathed 
with smiles, and the lovely brown ringlets covering 
his pillow , made a pictm*e wondrously fair to behold. 
On my going directly to him he extended a thin, 
trembling hanrl, saying, ''Good morning, mother!" 
I said, "I have a little boy patient." "Yes'm." 
"How came you to call me mother?" " O, the 
boys told me you would care for me." " Have you 
a sick father here you came to see?" "Xo'm; I 
have no father." " Have you a soldier brother here, 
then?" "I have no brother, or sister, or mother; 
she died when I was eight years old. I have no 
home, either." "You are a little boy now,"" I said. 
"Ho w^ came you here?" "After mannna died, jiapa 
was drafted; he was too poor to hire a substitute, 
and I had no one else to stay with me, so I asked 
the officei's to take me as their drummer boy. I 
have been in the service three years and three 
months." "Pray tell me how old you are." "Eleven 
years and nine months. Three months ago my father 
was killed in battle at Antietam, and the same ball 
that killed him, wounded me in the hip. The surgeon 
says there is so much scrofula in my system that I 
am a cripple for life." I said: "My little Henry looks 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 367 

.very hapjDj for one with no home or relatives that he 
knows of. How is this?" For reply he ran his 
emaciated fingers beneath his pillow, drawing there- 
from a small copy of a well-thumbed Bible, and 
holding it up with trembling hand, sparkling eyes, 
and glowing countenance, he said: "Mrs. Brown, this 
book tells me, ^ When thy father and mother forsake 
thee, the Lord will take thee up.' If I get well, and 
try to be good, I shall have a home somewhere here; 
if I don't get well, I know I have one ^ over tliere^ " 

As we had eager listeners, I questioned him more 
closely, saying: "Dear child, the war will soon break 
up. Where will you go?" "I don't know, mother. 
I am trying to be good; God will not leave me with- 
out a home." In my astonishment, knowing his 
mother had been dead over three years, I said, " My 
boy, who taught you such faith in God? " "My dear 
mamma, until she died; then my paj3a." 

In the course of time the child limped around the 
ward, saying one Sabbath moi-ning, " I wish I could 
go to Sunday school." Two of our ward attendants 
said, " Get the child read}^, and Ave will take him." 
These men formed a seat with crossed hands, and I 
placed him thereon; Heniy putting an arm around 
the neck of each, and they bore the happy child 
away, while he cried, " Good-bye every one." He 
was carried this way during his stay in camp, thus 
getting different ones to church and Sunday school 
who were not in the habit of going to either. All 
loved the child, and he led some to Christ: thus ful- 
iilling the scripture, "A little child shall lead them." 



368 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

At the close of the war, word came from head- 
quarters to put all of our patients not able to leave 
camp into Ward 1. In going to do this I found the 
attendants l)usy obeying the oi'der, some patients 
packing their haversacks, preparatory to going 
home. Judge of my surprise when I found our 
Henry one of them. I said, " Where are you go- 
ing, child? " I supposed one of the boys was to take 
him, knowing all wanted to do so. The little one 
answered, " I don't know, mother, but God will send 
some one for me; I will go into Ward 1, and wait 
till he comes." Sequel: The next day our hospital 
steward, Dr. George Austin, came to me with a 
gentleman, saying: " This man is seeking for a 
soldier orphan boy to adopt. He had no son to give 
foi" his country's cause, and he wishes to do some- 
thing in this way. Tell him all you know of 
Henry." I told him the above, adding: "The child 
is a great reader, but despises story newspapers, and 
all trashy works. He thirsts for an education, but 
Avill never be able to do much physical labor. He is 
a remarkable boy in every respect." His eyes filled 
with tears as he said : " Thank God, T have found the 
boy I was seeking ! Wife and I are childless, but 
have enough of this world's goods and to spare. 
Camp Dennison being nearer, we had planned to 
go there for our boy; but we both dreamed, on the 
same night, that we should go to Camp Chase 
instead. I can see God has led us. I am glad the 
child wants an education; he shall have it. I don't 
care for his physical labor, only so far as necessary to 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 369 

his health. If the boy is wilhng- to go, with your 
consent (referring to Surgeon Warner and steward) 
I'll take him now." 

He left with the steward, and after a little I went 
to the ward and found the child on the lap of the 
man, Avith his arms twined lovingly around his neck. 
On seeing me he came, and with tears trickling over 
his happy face, he said: ^'Didn't I tell you, Mrs. 
Bi'own, that God had a home for me? I am so 
glad, so happy!" 

As soon as he was prepared for travel, that wealthy 
gentleman lifted him tenderly and bore our lovely 
child to a cab; his laughing eyes tm^ned kindly on 
us as he said, ""^ Good-bye all; I love you." That was 
the last we heard of him, only that he was happy in 
his new home. The gentleman and his wife had 
legal adoption papers made out for him. Owing to 
sickness I lost their address, but hope this may fall 
under the eye of Henry, or some one else there, and 
trust I may hear from him again. I should be very 
glad to hear from any one of the joatients or attend- 
ants. I had a noble corps of helpers; all were very 
good and helpful; not one unkind word did I hear 
during my stay. Better cooks or housekeepers I 
could not have had than I found in those men. 
Too much credit cannot be given our surgeons 
and wives; many sacrificed their lives for om' sick. 
Those who did survive have broken constitutions. 

My other Henry was from Kentucky, and was 
sixteen years old. He had a widowed mother and 
one sister, and both were loyal to our flag. Hemy 



370 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

obtained his mother's consent to vohmteer in his 
country's service, promising never to desert, and 
that he would prove true to the hist. He was in 
one battle and was wounded in the lung and brought 
to our camp with consumption; was sick a long time. 
I had a quilt sent to me made of a flag, with the 
request that it be given to the sickest loyal soldier. 
Henry was that one. I spread it on his cot when he 
was asleep. On awakening he was so delighted! He 
could not express his joy in the thought of dying 
under the stars and stripes, saying: '"'"Pain will l)e less 
now, and, Mrs. Brown, when I am placed in my cofRn 
will you promise that I shall have the quilt placed 
over me? Cover my face and body with it. I want 
my precious mother to know I remained firm to the 
last. Mother said if I died in the Korth, my body 
w^as to be brought home. When the casket is 
opened, she will see her boy was true to the flag!" 
The dear fellow's request was granted, and the 
mother was proud of her son. 

JOSEPH AND HIS FATHER. 

Permit me to add another pathetic incident that 
came under my personal observation. There was a 
prisoner named Joseph, returned from Andersonville. 
He was near death, and wishing to die under the 
parental roof, asked me to write home for some one 
to come for him, as he was too weak to travel alone. 
In an incredibly short time I noticed an aged gentle- 
man trying to climb the steps of the ward. As I 
sprang to his aid he remarked : "' I came for my son 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 371 

Joseph. I started in just twenty minutes after 
reading your letter." I escorted this father of 
eighty years to his son's cot, and they clasped 
hands in happy greeting. Then the old man 
exclaimed, "There is some mistake; this is not my 
Joseph!" His disappointment was so great that he 
would have fallen if we had not caught him. We 
tried hard to convince him, but the tears kept rolling 
down his wrinkled cheeks while he repeated over and 
over, " l^o, no ; my son was a large, fleshy man, six 
feet two; " and he paced to and fro saying, " l^o, no; 
it's not my Joseph." With tears in his eyes the 
poor soldier began to call up home scenes; still the 
father could not be convinced, until he said: "Father, 
don't you remember how I was converted after T 
enlisted ? You were praying for me, kneeling on one 
side, with your hand on my head, mother on the 
other side, when the Lord spoke peace to me. My 
dear mother said, ^ jS^ow, father, we can let our only 
child go.' " At this recital the father said, " Yes, 
yes; I know now you are my son." - The scene drew 
tears from many an eye. The next morning we pre- 
pared cordials and everything necessary for two 
feeble invalids during a tedious journey, fearing 
neither would reach home. Joseph died the next 
day in his mother's arms, and the aged father and 
mother soon followed him to the " Golden Shore." 
Yours in F., C. and L., 
Eunice M. Brown, nee Fairbanks. 

Ill Arlington Street, Cleveland, Ohio. 



372 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MRS. ELVIRA MASON. 




RS. ELVIRA MAS0:N" was assigned to duty 
December, 1864, at Dale, United States Hos- 
pital, Worcester, Mass., upon application of 
C. ]Sr. Chamberlain, surgeon in charge; and 
received an honorable discharge, Sept. 20, 1865. 

She writes: — 

I did not go into the field, so of course I did not 
endure the suffering and privation that others did. 
I went from the town of Si)encer, Mass., and retui-ned 
there when my labors at tlie hospital wei-e ended. If 
I were well enough to write, I should be glad to tell 
of many incidents that came under my observation. 
I consider the ten months in the hospital the most 
interesting part of my life. My duty was mostly to 
look out for the extra diet of those who were not 
able to go to the mess table. In spite of my weak- 
ness I will note one little incident. 

One day the orderly came to tell me there was a 
new patient in Ward 6, a prisoner from Anderson- 
ville, and that he was a mere skeleton. I thought I 
would take him a good dinner, so I went to the 
Extra Diet Kitchen and prepared a piece of beefsteak, 
some mashed potato, a slice of nicely browned toast, 
and a mug of tea. He was sitting about midway of 
the ward, and I went immediately to him, saying: 
"Good morning, my poor fellow! I have brought 
you a nice dinner." He gave it one glance, then 

373 



374 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



turned his head away, saymg-, " Oh, don't, don't !'^ 
''Don't what'?" said I. "Arn't you hungry?" 
"Don't bring me so mueh. It makes me sick!" I 
understood tlie situation and carried the food away, 
bringing back only a httle on a small plate. "I 
think I can eat that," he said. Every day I 
increased the amount until he could eat a full 
ration. His eyes began to brighten, and soon he 
could go about the wai'd with the other boys ; but I 
shall never forget the look he gave that plate of 
dinner. 

I wish I were able to write more but cannot. 
Yours in F., C. and L., 

Mrs. Elvira Mason. 

West Pullman, III. 



376 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




JANE M. WORRALL. 




'T the commencement of the late Rebellion I 
resided with my husband and two children 
in Sonthwestern Yirginia, but the feeling- of 
the Southern people toward Union sympa- 
thizers was such that we returned to Boston, 
Mass., the journey requiring two weeks. 

Business soon called Mr. Worrall back to Yirginia? 
where he was taken prisoner. After undergoing 
many hardships he escaped, and made his way to 
Boston, where he at once enlisted in the 24th 
IMassachusetts Yolunteers. In 1863 he reinlisted 
for three years more; serving in all four years 
and eight months. I then decided to enter the 
service as an army nurse, commissioned by Miss 
D. L. Dix. I was first assigned to the Columbia 
College Hospital, "Washington, D. C, and imme- 
diately took charge of a Avard of twenty-five cots, 
some of the patients very sick, some badly wounded. 
The hospital stood upon a little eminence, and as I 
wended my way toward it I met a funeral procession. 
Instantly the tears of sympathy stole to my eyes as 
I thought of the brave heart now cold and still. He 
had fought and died for his country. Suddenly I 
dried my tears, saying : " If I am to be of any use 
I must learn to control myself. I am here to cheer, 
not to sadden, the lives of my patients." After I 
arrived the matron escorted me through the ward 

377 



378 OUR AR3fV NURSES. 

of .suffering, dying men. I shed no tears, and when 
we had completed the ronnd the matron said: "Mrs. 
TVorrall, of all the nurses we have had, you are the 
only one who has refrained from crying when going 
through the ward the first time. I know you will 
make a good and true nurse." 

At the exjjiration of my term of duty here, there 
was a call for nui'ses at Fortress Monroe, and I 
learned with pleasure that I was to go there. We 
were met and escorted to Chesapeake Hospital by a 
delegation of convalescent soldiers. I was assigned 
to AYard 1, containing sixty-five cots. All were 
officers, some suffering greatly^ but I felt that 
with the help of my Heavenly Father I could do 
the work. I remained there about six months, 
and during that time acted as special nurse to 
the Confederate General Walker, of South Caro- 
lina. He was badly wounded, and was taken 
prisoner by Mr. Worrall's company. On the way 
he asked for water, and as Mr. Worrall gave it to 
him he said, " Is it possible that you, a Northern man, 
will show kindness to a Southerner ? " " Certainly," 
was the reply. "You are now a wounded man." I 
did what I could for him, and assisted in dressing his 
wounds for a])out three months; then he was 
exchanged. I was also special nurse to Captain 
Small and Captain Babb, both Union men. There 
was only one death in my ward while at Fortress 
Monroe; that was a lieutenant from Connecticut, 
shot through the body. He was a great sufferer, 
and died of internal hemorrhage. I did not leave 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 379 

him day or night, only to attend to the wants of 
the other patients. I sent for his father, who was 
with him when he gave up the "battle of life." 

At last my health began to fail, and I told the 
surgeon in charge I should have to go home for 
awhile, or be assigned to lighter duties; but Doctor 
McClennen said I could not be spared, so for a week 
I gave up my work. Then came a call for nurses at 
West Building Hospital, Baltimore, and I went there 
to take Ward 4, of thirty-five cots. I remained until 
the hospital closed. There were some severe cases 
of shot and shell wounds, but after a time my ward 
became convalescents, and were assigned light duty. 
Then the cots were filled with rebel prisoners, badly 
wounded, who in turn were exchanged for Union 
men from Libby Prison. A more distressing sight 
could not be imagined. They were in a dying condi- 
tion, nearly starved. Five died within twenty-foui* 
hours. Those who could talk told me they had not 
had water to wash their faces and hands for three 
months; and if a bone was thrown to them they 
would fight for it like dogs. They were all brought 
on stretchers, and it was only with the best of care 
that any of them were saved. 

While there I had a very singular case. The sur- 
geon said he had never seen anything like it. A 
Confederate boy only sixteen years of age, and very 
ignorant so far as book-learning was concerned, was 
brought to the ward A\ath a field amputation; but his 
doom was sealed. He had the lockjaw, and lay for 
twenty-four hours, when all I could do for him was 



380 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

to wet a piece of linen in brandy and lay it across his 
mouth, so he could breathe the moisture from it. He 
came out of that dreadful state perfectly rational, 
and after taking some nourishment, asked me to pray 
with him. I did so, and read the fourteenth chapter 
of St. John, which I read to all my patients who 
would listen to me. Then he talked about two 
hours, — using the most beautiful language about 
the Bible and the glories of heaven. He certainly 
was inspired. Everybody who could do so came to 
hear him. At last, addressing me, he said: ^^ Mother, 
don't you see the angels coming ? They are holding 
out their hands to take me home." Then he dropped 
away like a child going to sleep. 

Just before the hospital closed five typhoid fever 
cases were brought to the ward. One died, and I 
contracted the fever in its worst form ; and although 
everything was done for me I barely escaped, and 
have never been well since. I feel that my Heavenly 
Father blessed me all through my work, and carried 
me through my sickness. I was in the service a year 
and a half, and have the honor of being breveted 
major. 

Jane M. Woeeall. 

9 Warrex Place, Roxbury, Mass. 



382 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




FANNIE A. HARPER. 



J IS" the winter of 1862 and 1863 I Avas called to the 
hospital at Le Senr, to see my hnsband, who 
was seriously ill with erysipelas. The doctors 
had given up hope, and no one expected to see 
him out again ; but I took care of him from that time, 
and he came out all right. 

There were twenty-four sick soldiers, and no 
woman to nurse them; so I volunteered, for they 
were sadly in need of some one. I remained about 
five months, during which there were five deaths. 
The sickness was mostly pneumonia and typhoid 
fever; one died of heart disease. The hospital 
steward died on his way home on a sick fui-lough, 
and was laid to rest in Mound City. 

I had a little son born in April, 1863. He was 
baptized by our chaplain, Ezra Lathrop. I went with 
the connnand when it was ordered to Memphis, 
Tenn., where I entered the field hospital. During the 
warm weather there was a large amount of sickness 
and death, sometimes two or three funerals a day, 
though our quarters were very comfortable, and our 
boys received good care; besides which, the Chris- 
tian and Sanitary Commissions brought many luxu- 
ries for the soldiers. 

How well I remember when Forrest came with 
his men to take Memphis ! He was met by a strong 
force of the "boys in blue," and driven back; but 



383 



384 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



they made a raid on our hospital, and killed lots of 
our sick in their bunks. 

Later I had fever and ague, and left just before 
the battle of N^ashville. I did not return, as the war 
had closed before I regained my health. 

I belonged to the hospital of the 10th Minnesota 
Infantry, First Brigade, First Division, 16th Army 
Corps. Commanded by Gen. A. J. Smith. 
Yours very truly, 

FajStnie a. Habper, 

RosKMOUNT, Minx. 






386 OUR ARMY NURSES. 





ELIZABETH O. GIBSON. 



/^N the first day of October, 1861, I received 
11 orders from Washington, through Miss Doro- 
^^ thea Dix, to report for duty at St. Louis, 
immediately. Uj^on my arrival I was detailed 
to duty October 2d, in the surgical ward of Fifth 
Street Military Hospital, St. Louis, where I served, 
under Di-. John T. Hodgen, twenty-one months. 
Then patients and nurses were removed to Jeffer- 
son Barracks, Missouri, twelve miles down the river. 
Dr. John F. Randolph, of the regular army, was in 
charge there. My detail of service to that hospital 
was dated July 24, 1863. 

October 26th I received orders to report for duty 
at Harvey Genei-al Hospital, Madison, Wis., and 
Oct. 13, 1865, received my discharge from hospital 
service, and returned to Cincinnati; my discharge 
being signed by Dr. Howard Culbertson, who was 
in charge at the Harvey Hospital. 

To write a sketch of that four years would require 
more space than you could give, but I must say this : 
I count it a high honor to have been an army nurse, 
and a great privilege to have ministered to the noble 
men of the volunteer army. I was also especially 
blessed in having for head surgeons such noble men 
as Doctor Hodgen and Doctor Culbertson. The 
lives of both were shortened by their devotion to 
suffering humanity. 



387 



388 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

Mary A. Livermore spent a part of one day in the 
surgical ward of the Fifth Street Hospital, and has 
given a vivid description of the sufferings of the men 
who were wounded at Fort Donaldson. She has also 
told how she finally nerved herself to endure the 
horrible sights and sounds, and so be enabled to 
alleviate the suffering; and her experience was 
that of hundreds of sensitive Avomen who entered 
the hospitals during the war. In this ward that 
she describes I was on duty foi-ty-two nights in 
succession, and at any time afterwards when critical 
cases needed a woman's watchfulness. 

In the four years of service I fainted only once, 
but many and many a night I have thought I could 
not live until morning, so intense was my sympathy 
with the soldiers ; and not until I join the " silent 
majority " shall I be free from bodily suffering 
caused by my Avar experiences. 

I was allowed to go to the battlefield of Shiloh, 
because I could dress wounds; also to Yicksburg 
during the siege. From Shiloh our boat took four 
hundred and thirty-nine men. They were the last 
on the field, and many of them were mortally 
wounded. From Vicksburg the boat carried less 
than from Shiloh, but on the return trip we had 
the experience of being fired upon by the rebels. 
The gunboat that was guarding us soon scattered 
them, however, and we were not molested again. 
Yours in F., C. and L., 

Elizabeth O. Gibson. 

849 Appleton Stiieet, Appletox, Wis. 



390 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



^ 




MATILDA E. MORRIS. 



i 



ARLY in the war I conceived the phm of going 
^ into some hospital as a nurse; but my friends 
would not listen to my plan, saying there was 
^ work enongh to do at home In spite of this, 
I conld not feel that making shirts, bandages, etc., 
was all I ought to do. My mother finally gave her 
consent, and I wrote to David Todd, then Governor 
of Ohio, to see if I could get a pass. In about a 
week came a reply, containing pass and transporta- 
tion to Washington, D. C. I was not long in 
making my preparations, yet it seemed a great un- 
dertaking, as I was not accustomed to traveling 
alone. It was one morning in August, 1862, that I 
left my home in Randolph, Ohio, leaving my two 
dear little daughters in the care of their loyal grand- 
parents, Avho bade me Godspeed in my undertaking, 
though it was a sad joarting, — for God alone knew 
whether we should meet again on earth. I took the 
train at Atwater, Ohio, Aug. 20, 1862, and at Wheel- 
ing, W. Ya., our trouble began. A dispatch had 
been received before our arrival, warning the officers 
not to start any train for Washington until further 
notice was given, as the rebels were making a raid 
on every train on the B. & O. R. R. One thousand 
soldiers were sent to clear the way, and the next 
morning word came that the train could start. We 
knew it was still a perilous undertaking, yet we were 



391 



392 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

glad to take some risk rather than wait any longer. 
Here I had been befriended by a f\imily of Quakers, 
who were waiting for the same train. The gentle- 
man had been over the road a great many times, so 
he could point out all the places of interest. He 
had been employed by President Lincoln as a scout 
all through those mountains, and was only taking his 
wife and sister to Baltimore, then would start on 
another scouting expedition. He gave much valu- 
able information, and a letter of introduction to some 
friends of theirs in Washington. We did not see 
anything of the enemy, but heard occasional firing, 
and of course knew what that meant. We parted at 
Annapolis, never to meet again ; and that evening I 
arrived in Washington, but it was too late to see my 
husband, who was wounded and in a hospital there. 
I was very tired, and glad of a good night's rest at 
the hotel. When I awoke I could scarcely believe 
that I was at the Capital of the United States (or, 
rather. Divided States, just then). At nine o'clock I 
went to Armory Square Hospital, and found my hus- 
band's wound much worse than I had expected. I 
will not try to tell you how we felt, to meet again 
after so long a time, although under such trying 
circumstances. 

When the surgeon came to make his morning call 
I told him why I was there, and what I wanted to do, 
and learned that there would soon be need of more 
nurses. The next morning I reported to Doctor Bliss, 
and we had a long talk, which ended by his engaging 
me to begin my duties as soon as more patients came. 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 393 

He told me to remain until he needed me, but I 
was not idle very long. 

One day I saw Doctor Bliss coming up the walk 
in great haste. "Ladies," he said, "it* you have 
anything in particular that you wish to have done, 
do it now, for your ward will soon be full, and there 
will be plenty of work for us all. The enemy are 
coming this way, and there will be a big fight to 
keep them from entering the city." This was 
August 27th. Then came the Second Battle of Bull 
Run. The excitement in Washington was intense. 
We could hear the cannonading constantly. There 
were only a few patients left in our wards, and we 
put everything in readiness. We were near both of 
the river depots, where the wounded would be landed. 
Soon we heard a great commotion outside, and, 
looking, I beheld what I never wish to see again. 
A sadder sight one could not imagine than those 
loads of wounded men. That day my life as a hos- 
pital nui'se commenced. Our hearts and hands were 
full, tending to so many. Some died before they 
reached the building. Each ward had fifty beds 
and two nurses; but at home we think it hard 
work to care for one patient. It was a hard day 
for us all. First we gave each a drink of cold water, 
as that was their only cry. I shall never forget one 
poor fellow who was lying near an old building. He 
looked as if he were dead, but I stooj^ed to make 
sure, and thought I saw Ms lips move. The man 
who was carrying the pail cried : " Come along ! He 
is dead, fast enough." "^No; wait a minute," I 



394 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

replied, and began to wet his lips. Very soon I 
had him revived so much that he could drink out 
of my cup. He was a ^ew York Zouave. The next 
time I saw him he was on his way to his regiment. 
After water had been given to all we w^ent around 
with bread and butter and coffee. Oh, how the poor 
hungry fellows did relish it! I had many a "God 
bless you " that day. A great many had been 
carried into the wards while we were working out- 
side, and we next procured washbasins, soap and 
water, and went to w^ashing the blood from their 
faces, — a work that was very grateful to the men. 
This occupied the time until midnight. 

I might write volumes about what happened in this 
one hospital, but shall have to pass over a great 
many events. 

One battle followed another, and each furnished 
Avounded soldiers. I remained until after the battles 
of the "Wilderness and of Spottsylvania Court House. 
I have a little Testament that one of my boys gave 
me. He picked it up in the Wilderness. Poor 
fellow, he died on the way home. His father 
came for him, and stopped in Pliiladelphia to get 
another son who was so badly wounded that he was 
not expected to live many days. Another son w^as at 
the front. The father wrote to inform me of his 
boy's death, and he said that the mother's heart 
was almost broken. And so it was all through the 
war: fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, — 
all suffering for the same cause. 

After being in Armory Square Hospital a long 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 395 

time I was transferred to Fiiidley Hospital, also 
situated in Washington, where I remained several 
months nnder Doctor Pancoast. We did not have 
much to do, and I made up my mind to go to the 
front. The doctor said he would like to have me 
stay, but finally made out my discharge papers. He 
also gave me a splendid recommendation. I feel 
very proud of these papers, as I do also those given 
me by Doctor Bliss. 

In order to go to the front I had to enlist with 
Miss Dix. After going through with considerable 
red tape she employed another nurse and myself, and 
had us sent to Sandy Hook, near Harper's Ferry, 
where we reported to Surgeon Barnes, in October, 
1864. He told us there was not much to do, as he 
had just sent away a lot of wounded men; but we 
had better stay, and perhaps there would be more 
in soon. I said, "]^^o; let us go farther down into the 
valley." So he gave us passes and transportations 
to Harper's Ferry. They were made out to take us 
to Winchester, Va., but we could not go for several 
days, as General Sheridan was there with his cavalry. 
We all remember the battle, and the victories he 
achieved in the valley of the Shenandoah. In 
October, when things became a little more quiet, 
we started for Martinsbarg. We had not gone 
more than half way when we had quite a thrilling 
adventure. Suddenly our train came to a standstill. 
The rebels had been there the night before and torn 
up the track for miles, and wrecked and burned the 
train ahead of ours. There we were in a barren 



396 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

country, not a house in sight, and with the enemy 
all around us. The rebels had made a mistake, and 
they were wild with disappointment. It was our 
train that had the pay-car attached, and that was 
why we had so many soldiers aboard. 

Report said that a lady had been burned; and as 
Miss Evans and myself were walking- along the track, 
I found a piece of partly burned hair that surely had 
come from some woman's head. There was melted 
glass and iron all around, — ruins everywhere; and 
we were glad when the road was repaired and we 
could leave that awful place, the sight of which 
made us nearl^^ sick. AVe reached Martinsville late 
at night, very tired and hungry. The next day we 
started for AVinchester, and oh, how it did rain ! But 
we never stopped for rain in war times. At the 
station was an ambulance train to take us the 
remainder of the distance. I think there must 
have been a thousand soldiers to guard the stores, 
for an officer "had said, " The rebs are thick as flies 
in Ausrust alono^ that route." General Custer was 
with us, and several other oflficers whose names I 
did not learn. It was a dreadful march. The boys 
waded through mud and water the livelong day, but 
not a murmur could we hear. At noon we halted at 
a place called Bunker Hill. There was wood on one 
side and an open field on the other. It was a dreary- 
loolring place. Soon after the train stopped we saw 
two men riding into the woods, and supposed they 
had gone as scouts. In a few minutes we heard a 
shot at no great distance, and soon saw the same men 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 397 

returning with a pig across the back of one of the 
horses. I never saw anything prepared to cook as 
soon as that pig. They did not stop to scald it, 
as the farmers do, but pulled off the whole skin, and 
in a short time the animal was in slices. In the 
meantime a fire had been started, and soon the 
cofFee-kettles and frying-pans were on. I told Miss 
Evans I was going to have some of that meat for oui- 
dinner. She skeptically inquired how I should get it. 
I took a can of condensed milk and some salt, and 
soon made a trade. The boys seemed to enjoy the 
fun, and some of them carried ns some coffee. 

It was a cold, dreary ride, but after a great many 
halts and skirmishes we arrived in Winchester about 
midnight. The next day Ave reported to Doctor 
Hayden, at Sheridan Hospital, which was composed 
entirely of tents, some so low that we had to stoop to 
enter; but they were all full of badly wounded men. 
If the scene at Armory Square was dreadful, this 
was a thousand times more so. Here the men lay 
on the bare ground, with knapsacks, boots, or any- 
thing for a pillow that w^ould raise the head. Pas- 
sing along, I saw things that made me sick at heart. 
A young man not more than eighteen had both legs 
shot off. He could not live, yet he seemed cheerful. 
We did what we could for them with our limited 
means; but finally our supplies gave out, and even 
hard-tack became a luxury. We were told to care 
for the Confederates as we did for our own, and we 
obeyed orders; but deep in my heart I could not 
feel the same. 



398 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

We remained there until it was safe to move the 
men to Baltimore. 'Wq had hospital cars, which are 
a little wider than ordinary ones, and are placed on 
springs. They have on each side three tiers of 
berths or cots, suspended by rubber bands, and so 
arranged as to yield to the motion. I made two 
tri^DS with this train, and the men said it went like a 
cradle. It was a pleasure to take care of so cheer- 
ful a company. My journey lasted two days and 
nights, and I think I never passed forty-eight 
hours so fraught with both sad and pleasant 
memories. 

We rej^orted again to Miss Dix, who sent us back 
to Findley Hospital, where I remained until April, 
1865; then went into the city to stay with some 
friends named Edson. One of them was (Miss) 
Dr. Susan Edson, who Avith Doctor Bliss were 
prominent figures during President Garfield's sick- 
ness. 

One day I saw an immense crowd gathered in 
front of the War Department. Secretary Stanton 
was reading a dispatch from General Grant, — 
" Richmond and Petersburg are ours. " This 
caused great rejoicing, which deepened when the 
news of the capitulation of the rebel army was 
flashed over the wires. The next night we went 
to the W^hite House, to hear the President speak. 
I shall never forget how his face lit up with joy. 
But ah, this Avas his last speech! A fcAV brief days 
o£ wild i-ejoicing followed; then the bright future 
was suddenly overcast as Treason guided the assas- 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



399 



sin's hand in its deadly work. The mighty liad 
fallen, — Abraham Lincoln, the noblest of mar- 
tyrs, to a noble cause! 

While I was at Armory Square Hospital he visited 
it several times. And how the boys would rally if 
we told them "Uncle Abraham" was coming. He 
would go down one side of the ward and up the 
other, shaking hands with every one, and spealdng 
a kind word. He would then shake hands with me, 
ask me about my work and my home, and charge me 
to be good to "his boys," I have often seen the 
tears roll down his careworn cheeks while he was 
talking with some Avounded soldier. 

After the funeral I went with fi-iends to Rich- 
mond, and visited many places of interest. Among 
them, that terrible death-trap, Libby Prison, and 
do not understand how any of our men came out 
alive. I saw the basement floors paved with cobble 
stones, and a little straw was thrown here and there. 
The floor was so slimy we could hardly walk; yet 
here our men had to eat and sleep. 

I saw Sheridan's army pass through the place on 
its way to Washington. The men had many strange 
pets on their shoulders. Some had owls, others 
coons, and one had a bantam rooster, that crowed 
several times in my heai'ing. It took two days for 
them to pass, and we carried barrels of water for 
them to drink. The Secesh were surprised to see 
so many left to go home. I was talking with 
one of Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry men, and told him 
that was only a small branch of our army. He 



400 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

replied, " Madam, we are beaten, but not con- 
quered." 

May 18th I started for Washington. I reached 
the boat in good season, and supposed I was all 
right, but a colored man soon came to me and 
said, "How came you on this boat ?'' I told him and 
showed my pass. " Oh, you are all right, madam, so 
far as that goes; but we never carry passengers on 
General Grant's private boat." I said I was exceed- 
ingly sorry for the mistake, and he could put me off 
at the next landing. Dui'ing the conversation a 
military-loolving man had seated himself near us, 
and seemed to be reading; but I knew he heard 
every word, and I also knew very well who he 
was. He soon laid down his paper, saying, " Sam, 
what is the matter?" "Dis lady is on your private 
boat, sah." He came to me and said, "Madam, will 
you please to tell me all about it? " I did so, and he 
answered: "I don't see anything very serious about 
this mistake; there is room for us all. Make your- 
self pei'fectly at home. We only go to City Point, 
but you can change boats there," Then turning to 
the waiter he told him to " make the lady comfortable 
while she remains on board." This gentleman was 
our good General Grant. 

At City Point we shook liands, he bade me good- 
bye, and I thanked him again for his Idndness, then 
continued my journey. In the meantime my husband 
had secured his discharge papers, and we bade adieu 
to our associates. 

Peace reigned once more. All that remained to 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 401 

be (lone was to go home and make glad the hearts of 
tliose from whom we had been parted so long. M}^ 
father was at the same station where I left him 
almost three years before. Soon we met mother, 
sisters, and our own dear little girls. 

This was a great many years ago, and those girls 
have children of their own now, and we are grandpa 
and gi-andma. They often coax me to tell a story of 
the war. My father and mother have long since 
gone to the home to which we must soon follow; 
but it is a pleasure to recall the fact that I had a 
part in the beneficent work in which it was woman's 
peculiar privilege to serve her country. I feel 
abundantly rewarded by the knowledge of having 
done something to alleviate the suffering of those 
who gave health and worldly j^rospects, ties of home, 
and even life itself in the perilous service. 

Sweet flowers and tender plants creep over the 
graves that were made so long ago on many a 
field and hillside; and thus tender memories arise 
to enwrap the gaunt figure, and veil the grim 
visage, of "War, that must forever stand a central 
object ujDon the canvas that portrays the history 
of those memorable years. 

I thank God for all his mercies and blessings 
during all these years. It was He who led us 
through; and if we love and obey Him, He will 
take ns nnto Himself, Avhere all will be joy and 
'peace, forever. 

Matilda E. Mokris. 

112 Harbor Strket, Clf-vkland, C)hio. 



402 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MRS. CECILIA WHITE. 



J HAD transportations furnished me by Mrs. 
Wittenmeyer, to go to St. Louis. Then Presi- 
dent Yeatman provided me with transportations 
to Memphis, Tenn., where I was assigned to 
Washington Hospital, going on duty about the 15th 
of SejDtember, 1863, and remaining until September, 
1864. 

After I had been there a couple of weeks Doctor 
Wright came to me one morning to know what I was 
doing for the sick in my ward. " Doctor, I am doing 
all there is for me to do. You restrict us so that 
there is nothing for us to do." "In what way, 
madam?" "We are not allowed to prepare any- 
thing nice for the very sick ones, and they cannot eat 
the food from the kitchen." He made no reply; but 
that afternoon the steward put a nice cooking stove 
into an empty room, also the necessary supplies. In 
the morning the Doctor said, " Come with me, and I 
will show you your kitchen." I assure you we made 
good use of it, and it was very pleasant to hear the 
soldiers say, "That makes me think of home and 
mother," when they ate the little delicacies we 
j)repared. 

I often think how little the people at home knew 
of what was going on in the hospital or on the battle- 
field. It seemed very sad to me to see men carried 
to the dead-house day after day, and know that some 



403 



404 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

poor mother, wife, or sister would mourn for each 
dear one. 

One day the doctor told me of a young lieutenant 
at the hotel, and asked me to carry him something, 
and try to comfort him. He had been badly wounded 
through the right lung, in a skirmish the day before. 
I went as the doctor requested, bathed the poor fel- 
low's face and hands, and combed his hair; but he 
was too sick for me to talk to him much then. 
Later, I said to him one morning, "War is a ter- 
rible thing!" "Yes," he answered. "If it hadn't 

been for that man who was put in the chair, 

we should not have had this dreadful war." "I 
beg leave to differ with you," I replied. " I believe 
he was a man of God's own choosing; he raised him 
up for this very purpose." I never enjoyed visiting 
him after that, and was glad when his friends came, a 
week later. 

Our nurses did nine months' hard work, cooking in 
the kitchen in addition to their other duties; then 
Mrs. Wittenmeyer and her assistants established a 
branch of the Christian Commission, and we soon 
went home. 

I was forty-six years old when I went into the hos- 
pital, and now I am rapidly nearing the time when 
my years will number fourscore. 

Mrs. Cecilia White. 

868 North Strekt, Buklixgton, Iowa. 



406 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MRS. L. H. HUSINGTON. 



J WAS enrolled under the name of Lauretta H. 
Cutler. I went from West Williamsfield, 
Ohio, May, 1864, and entered the service at 
Hospital !N^o. 1, Chattanooga, Tenn., commis- 
sioned by James E. Yeatman, acting agent of Miss 
Dix. I remained there in Nos. 1 and 2 until I was 
released, in June, 1865. 

During the first few weeks I worked in the 
kitchen, visiting the wards a little while each day; 
then I became a regular nurse. JSTo. 1 Hospital was 
composed partly of framed buildings, formerly used 
as a hospital by Bragg; the remainder of tents. If 
my memory serves me well, its capacity was six 
hundred; and when I went there it was full of 
sick and wounded soldiers. Here it was that I 
first began to learn the lesson (that difficult lesson 
that all nurses had to learn) to govern, or, I would 
better sa}^, battle against my feelings, and work with 
a will for the sufferers. I also learned how little I 
could do in comparison to what was needed to be 
done, and often I could do no more than give a kind 
look or word to show that I would do more if it 
were in my power. 

Alas ! how degradingly cheap is human life in time 
of war, when our fathers, husbands, brothers, and 
sons must deliberately kill each other, and call it a 
victory. I recall a young soldier who was brought 



407 



408 OUR ARMY' NURSES. 

in with an unjointed shoulder, — pale, excited, and 
delirious. As I approached his cot he said : " O 
mother, I have just been home, and saw you on the 
lawn with the young folks, but you would not speak 
to me. l!^ow you are here, can't you give me some 
lemonade?" But when I took it to him he cheer- 
fully gave it to another, who was in a dying con- 
dition. 

It is only those who have experienced life in a 
hospital, who can get a clear picture from a 
description in words. It must all be seen and felt 
to be known; even then, in my case, at least, much 
has faded from my memory in the lapse of thirty 
years. 

I look to my diary half in vain, for much of it is 
filled with orders from the surgeon, like this: 
Division 1, Ward 3, bed 35, milk; bed 33, milk 
and fruit. Ward 8, bed 10, beef tea, toast, and 
peaches; bed 15, arrowroot. AVard 2, fever case, 
raspberry vinegar. Ward 5, bed 6, mush and milk; 
bed 1, oysters. 

There were many letters to write, and sanitary 
things to distribute, — writing paper, stamps, and 
comfort bags. 

There was one called the typhoid fever ward. I 
went there, and carried cooling drinks and brushed 
out the flies. I often looked ujd their comrades in 
some regiment, or sometimes relatives, whom I would 
find, perhaps, in the erysipelas ward, with faces so 
swollen that they could not see; then carried mes- 
sages between them. At length I caught the fever. 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 409 

but the intelligent care I received saved my life. 
Then I Avas allowed to spend a few weeks on Look- 
out Mountain, with my first colaborer, Miss Bal^cock, 
who had been assigned to duty there. On my 
return I was ordered to ^o. 2, at the request of 
Surgeon Collins. The i^risoners' ward was here. 
They had their prayer meetings, and prayed to the 
same Saviour for their cause, just as our men did. 
But oh, the horrors of war ! May such things never 
be seen again. 

Once we had a large quantity of grapes sent to us; 
and these my orderly and I distributed to all who 
were able to eat them. I distributed many pocket 
handkerchiefs, too, which were thankfully received, 
sometimes with tears; for you who read this will 
remember that those handkerchiefs were "home- 
made," and so were doubly valuable to the boys. 

In the camp were various diseases, small-pox 
among the rest. Some poor fellows were home- 
sick, and this malady one must experience in order 
to know how easily it may become fatal. I remem- 
ber one such case. The surgeon said: "I cannot 
rouse him. Do what you can." His eyes seemed 
set, his limbs cold, and finger-nails somewhat dark. 
Working upon the supposition that he was home- 
sick, I commenced to talk of home, his mother, and 
other loved ones. He listened, but could not speak 
for some time. Finally I asked him what his mother 
would give him in such a sickness as this. After 
several attempts he said, brokenly, "Brandy and 
peaches." I assured him he should have them; 



410 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

then requested the nurse to heat bricks and put 
around him; his hands and feet were well rubbed, 
and I gave him whatever he thought he would have 
had at home, and he was saved. 

Later, another poor boy was brought in from the 
convalescents' camp; he was near his end from the 
same cause. His request in broken German was for 
" The Lord's Supper." He said, " Please give it to 
me, for I cannot die without it." After some delay 
and much anxiety I succeeded in having it adminis- 
tered to him. 

Thanksgiving Day, 1864, we had a Thanksgiving 
dinner. This was like an oasis in the desert to us 
all. Among the guests were several military officers 
of high rank. Our own Ex-President Harrison 
(then a young man), being the brightest, was called 
w\)Ow for a speech, and introduced as the grandson 
of a former President. In reply he said, " I dislike 
to be introduced by a reference to relatives who are 
dead: the inference is that, like a potato, the best 
part of me is underground." How well I remember 
my anxiety to have the parade over, so the boys in 
the wards could have their dinner. 

Dear reader, I have tried to tell you some few 
things about the work, but a thousandth part of the 
patient, uncomplaining suffering in field and hospital 
can never be told. That such scenes may never be 
re-enacted, is the earnest prayer of an army nurse. 

Mrs. L. H. Husington. 

{Formerly Nurse Cutler.) 
Box 126, RocHKLi.E, III. 



412 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




ADELIZA PERRY. 




)DELIZA PERRY, army nurse at Fort Schuyler 
and Balfour Hospitals, to the dear boys who 
are left, their old nurse sends loving greetingSo 
And with those beloved comrades who went 
forth from our midst, over whom together we wept 
and strove, oh ! so vainly, to hold back, hopefully we 
will look forward to a joyous reunion. 

OUR HEROES. 

Think of President Garfield, — think of Ex-Presi- 
dent Grant! Words cannot express our admiration 
for the heroism and fortitude with which they endured 
their sufferings and met the end. But what have we 
for those others, the most of them mere boys, with all 
of life's promise and high hopes before them, far 
away from familiar faces and the ministrations of 
loving hands, bearing up under the agonies of mortal 
sickness, looking forward to, and meeting, the dread 
messenger without a murmur? In my hospital ex- 
perience I could number such by hundreds, — yes, 
I think by thousands. I cannot recall a case, as long 
as the mind of the sufferer remained clear, where he 
was not bravely cheerful and intrepidly resigned to 
move on, obedient to the last call. 

A Wisconsin boy, wounded, and suffering from 
malaria, was in a ward of half convalescents, of 
which, true to his fun-loving nature, he was the very 
life. We had thought he was on the road to recovery. 



414 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

I was busy in another part of the building, one morn- 
ing, when word was brought that he was worse, and 
wished to see me. A hospital nurse learns to read 
the signs of approaching dissolution unerringly. The 
luster had gone out of his young, joyous eyes, but he 
was smiling. I laid my hand npon his forehead, 
already clammy with the damps of approaching death. 
"Oh, that is so good!" he said; '''that is like my 
mother's hand." He stopped now to recover the 
gasping bi-eath. " Couldn't you," he went on, after a 
moment's struggling, oh! so pitifully, to keep up his 
voice, " briug — me some — floAvers? " I flew to the 
hospital I'eception-room, and clipped every bit of 
bloom from our few window plants. " Thank yon," 
he gasped, with his beautiful, boyish smile, as I 
laid them upon the fast-stiffening fingers. " ^ow — 
couldn't you get — get — something to tie — them 
tofrether, — so I can — hold them?" The voice was 
hardly audible. I cut the tape that held my scissors, 
and secured them; then he looked entirely gratified. 
" Thanks ! " I just caught the word before the smil- 
ing lips fell apart, and the labored breathing ceased. 
In another ward, at this time, there lay a New 
Hampshire boy, quietly awaiting the last summons 
which he knew was surely close at hand. One day, 
as I was waiting at his bedside, he whispered: "Put 
your hand under my pillow. You will find a wallet 
with a ball of yarn in it; it is wound round a fifty- 
dollar bill. Please to hide it; it isn't safe here. As 
soon as I am gone send it b}^ express to my folks. 
The address is in the wallet." His manner was as 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 415 

composed, and his voice as calm, as though he were 
contemplating an ordinary journey. He was " gone " 
before the end of another twenty-four hours; and it 
was not until after I had expressed the parcel that I 
learned that I had violated a rigid rule of the service, 
which forbade every hospital attendant taking charge 
of property of any kind belonging to a patient. 

At one time a large number of sick and wounded 
men were brought into our hospital, all in such a state 
of exhaustion that the surgeon in charge gave me 
permission to deal out among them some delicious 
home-made wine, which had been sent me from 
Massachusetts. How glad I Avas that it seemed to 
carry comfoi't and reviving energy, until I reached 
one more prostrated, I thought, than any to whom I 
had ministered. "What is it?" he asked, feebly, 
wistfully lifting a pair of mild brown eyes. I ex- 
plained, and he shook his head, oh, I felt through all 
my being, so reproachfully ! " I promised my mother," 
the poor lips had barely vigor to articulate, then 
rested. After a time the four noble words were 
repeated, — no more. Then the eyelids fell, and he 
dropped asleep. Before morning he was dead. How 
I wished then, how I wish to-day, that I could see 
that young man's mother and clasp her hand. How 
the memory of " mother " or some other beloved one 
at home, mingled itself with the last earthly thought. 

One day while passing between the cots the hand 
of a mature man clutched my dress. He was wildly 
delirous, and dying. " I have two beautiful little 
girls," he held me long enough to say. The expres- 



416 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

sion of the wasted face seemed to radiate light, — a 
light that did not leave it even after the featnres had 
settled into the tranqnility of death. 

" Don't tell them how had off I am," wonld be the 
entreaty when I wrote "the letter home/' "It wonld 
Avorry them. Say I'm better, — getting on slowly.'' 
Oh how niany, many times I have taken snch letters 
to my room to add the grief-carrying postscrij)t that 
it seemed to me a cruelty to withhold ! On one such 
occasion I met the large-hearted surgeon, who 
counseled me not to do it. "Send it as it is," he 
said. "There may yet be a change; who knows?" 
But the " chang-e " removed the sufferer to the 
spiritual world. Meantime the letter, speeding to 
its destination, summoned the anxious mother to the 
hospital, but, alas ! only to see her son's grave. The 
remembrance of her agony wrings my heart to-day. 
She had brought slippers, in which to move lightly 
about the bedside of the loved one, and the photo- 
graph of his sister, to gratify the fond brotherly eyes. 
These she put into my hands, ^o, no; she could not 
take them back! The pretty home picture I still 
keep by me, — a sacred memento wliich admits me, as 
it were, into membership with a dear family circle. 

But why multiply relations? We know that the 
records have all been kept, ^o individual has been 
overlooked; no iota of character, of aspiration, or 
affection, of all the throngs who were under my care, 
in the all-fostering Divine thought, has ever missed 
its quota of recognition and protecting love. 

Adeliza Pp:kry. 

15 GouLDiNCr Street, Wokcesteh, Mass. 



418 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MARY E. DARLING. 



TJpY husband and myself moved from Wisconsin 
|fl to Missouri in 1860. When the war broke out 
I ^ he was compelled to hide in corntields imtil 
^ '^ he could join a regiment. But it was not the 
men only who were in danger; even the women and 
children had to flee for their lives. He enlisted at 
Memphis, July 20, 1861, and I went into the regiment 
in October. They were then home guards, but were 
mustered into United States service in December, and 
went immediately to Hannibal, Mo. There Doctor 
Wyman hired me for the Regimental Hospital. I 
was to have twelve dollars a month (I did not receive 
a cent, however). I remained there until April. 
After the troops left, I had to remain until the sick 
could be moved; then I went on with all the supplies, 
the wounded having been sent to general hospitals. 

As there was no real nursing to do, my duty was 
to bake light bread for the convalescents, in accord- 
ance with the doctors order; and I often used fifty 
pounds of flour a day. 

When the army was advancing to Corinth, the 6th 
Division Hospital was started, near the battleground 
of Shiloh. I remained there until after Corinth was 
evacuated, making soups, etc., for the sick, besides 
carrying water half a mile for them to drink. The 
regiment had to move off without me, but sent a 
team back twenty miles, saying I could not be spared 



420 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

any longer. After joining them I had a hospital tent^ 
where I resumed my old occupation of nursing and 
cooking for the sick. I stayed there until after the 
battle of Corinth, in October. Then the regiment 
left me and Avent home to Missouri, on a recruiting 
furlough, where they remained until November, 1862. 

In December my husband was taken with the 
typhoid fever, and was sent to Mound City Hospital, 
111., where he remained until March, 1863, and during 
all this time I heard nothing from him. Then I 
received a pass, and word that he was back with his 
regiment, and needed my care. I stayed there until 
they moved to Memphis, Tenn., where they remained 
until the winter of 1864. 

I did not go into the hospitals after this, but waited 
upon the sick in tents. When the regiment went to 
Vicksburg I returned to Benton Barracks, where I 
lived until my husband was discharged. He had 
continued on duty although he did not speak a word 
aloud for four years after having the fever. 

My nursing was over, but I did some cooking at 

the barracks for paroled soldiers from Southern 

])risons, who were not able to cook their rations for 

themselves. 

Mary E. Darlikg. 

San Diego, Cal. 



422 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




HANNAH E. STARBIRD. 



J ENLISTED in August, 18(34, under my maiden 
name of Hannah E. Judkins, from Skowhegan, 
Maine, under Miss Dix, who had charge of all 
the regularly enlisted nurses. I reported at her 
house in Washington, and was sent to Carver Hos- 
pital immediately, where I first ministered to the 
wounded and afflicted soldiers. I remained there 
only three weeks, and was then transferred to St. 
John's College Hospital, Annapolis, Md., where Dr. 
G. S. Palmer was surgeon in charge. I was there 
until the hospital was broken up, July 15, 1865. It 
accommodated about twelve hundred patients, and 
sometimes there were fourteen nurses. It was a post 
for paroled prisoners, who were our patients. Pen 
cannot describe the first boat-load of half-starved, 
half-clothed, thin, emaciated forms whose feet, tied 
up in rags, left footprints of blood as they marched 
along to be washed and dressed for the wards. In 
many cases their minds were demented, and they 
could give no information as to friends or home, 
and died in that condition, their graves being 
mai'ked " Unknown." 

The stories related by sick and dying soldiers of 
their suffering in prison, corroborates what I have 
seen in print, ouly one half cannot be told! The 
patience, bravery, and fortitude of our soldier com- 
rades will ever be cherished in my memory. 

IIaxxah E. Starbird. 

No. 1 Gothic Place, 22d California Street, 
Denver, Col. 423 



424 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MRS. M. J. BOSTON. 



J WAS born in Philadelphia, Pa., July 17, 1837, 
but at the breaking out of the war, in 1861, was 
living at the home of my husband's parents, in 
Baltimore. Father Boston was one of the 
"Eagle Artillery," — one of Baltimore's defenders in 
1812. My own father, James Butler, was also an 
old defender in 1812, on the United States ship 
"Independence." On April 19, 1861, I inquired of 
both brave parents on which side they stood. Both 
answered : " The Government we fought for ! Our 
flag can never be conquered ! " My reply was, " Be- 
neath the same sheltering folds I shall stand, and if 
I can be of any assistance to our Union soldiers I 
will do what I can." Well, the opportunity came. 

In June, 1863, Gettysburg was to be the scene 
of fierce struggle, and great preparation must be 
made. Orders were sent from headquarters for every 
hospital to be put in readiness, convalescents were 
transferred to other points, and a temporary hospital 
was secured on Central Avenue; while on account of 
the railroad coming directly from Gettysburg, a long 
row of two-story houses close at hand was vacated, 
and here the soldiers could be washed and dressed 
before being sent to the different hospitals. Then 
came a call for physicians and nui-ses. A brother-in- 
law had been used ujd and discharged at Fredericks- 
burg, and a brother would be at Gettysburg; so my 



426 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

heart went out to poor mothers, wives, and sisters 
whose loved ones would be exposed to shot and shell 
in that fierce struggle, and I said, " Yes, I will go ; 
and just as I bind up the wounds of strangers, per- 
haps some one will care for my dear brother." An 
appeal for supplies was next published in the daily 
papers, and received a hearty response. In a few 
days everything was in readiness, and some one 
placed over each department. One took charge of 
the lint, another of bandages, others the giving of 
supplies. Some of stronger nerve were the nurses. 
I was on hand to wash and dress wounds, though 
wholly inexperienced. I am sorry to say there was 
no one to book the names. Such a thing was not 
thought of in those hurried and exciting scenes. I 
worked with others, sewing bandages and preparing 
places for supplies. At night my very dear friend 
and co-worker, Mrs. Wallace, and myself went solicit- 
ing cake, jellies, and fruits. All promised a large 
supply when our men arrived, and the promise was 
faithfully fulfilled. 

July 1st, 2d, and 3d, 1863, will never be forgotten 
by me. Dispatches came: '"''The great and terrible 
battle has begun ! Many have fallen ! " July 4th 
freight trains loaded with wounded arrived. Oh 
what a sorrowful scene it was ! Guards were 
stationed at each of those houses, to prevent sight- 
seers from entering. All workers wore a miniature 
flag, pinned on the left breast. Three of these were 
given to each, so if one was lost another was at hand. 
A physician came to me on the arrival of the first 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 407 

train and said, "Can yon dress wonnds?" "If 
instructed I can," was my reply. lie then sent 
me for two buckets of water, two sponges, shirt, 
drawers, handkerchief, stockings, bandages, pins, 
and lint. Off I went, trembling and nervous at the 
first sight of the horrors of war, and procured the 
supplies. " ^N'ow, Mrs. Boston, give particular atten- 
tion to the cleansing of the wound;" and the doctor 
showed me just how nuich blue-stone to drop into a 
bucket of water. The other bucket was for bathing: 
the face and hands and cleansing the person. Our 
first patient was wounded on the foot; and when the 
medical treatment was over and a sheet thrown over 
him, he thanked me so kindly! I had an assistant, 
who was then to bring a sandwich, slice of cake, and 
cup of coffee; and while he ate she was to fan him. 
I thought the men had eaten " salt-horse and hard- 
tack " long enough to have something better on their 
an-ival in Baltimoi-e. As we turned away, the doctor 
said, " ^N'ow, Mrs. Boston, I have initiated you into 
the work." Then to the soldiei's awaiting their turn: 
"I leave j^ou in this lady's care. May God bless 
you ! Now don't any of you flUl in love with her, 
for she has a husband and children." Everything 
was said to cheer the poor sufferers. In a few short 
days blood-poison had done its work, and they were 
laid to rest. Rebel bullets were poison. 

On recovering from my first trial dressing wounds 
my nerves were strong, and I washed and dressed 
them as quickly as possible, day and night. Always 
on leaving a very weak patient I gave him a glass of 



428 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

brandy or wine, bathed his face and hands in bay 
rum, and put a sheet over the stretcher. With tears 
in their eyes tliey would thank me, and ask me to go 
to see them. I often promised, and meant to go, but 
my time was so occupied I could not, though I 
sometimes heard from them. They would often 
inquire my name and I'esidence, and give me 
theirs; but in my haste I kept no list, though I 
remembered many a long time. They sometimes 
kept a memorandum, so I have no doubt some 
have my name now; if not, reading this may 
freshen the memory of some one who will remem- 
ber me. 

I was called to one who said, " I don't want to be 
taken to the hospital." "Where are you wounded?" 
"In the leg." " Can you lift it?" "No." "I will 
send for the surgeon." "Oh no!" he ci'ied; "send 
for my brother." So I saw a friend who had her 
parlor furniture removed, and he was taken there. 
His brother arrived the next day, and the poor 
soldier's joy was great at having home attention, 
and a dear brother at his side. Soon that brother 
had to take his lifeless body to his parents. I also 
attended J. Edward Lawrence. He, too, was anxi- 
ous to have private care, so a good home place was 
secured. He was wounded in the side, and the 
doctor had probed, but could not find the ball. 
"If that man has any family," he said, "notify 
them at once. He cannot live many hours." I 
inquired for his wife, and finding out her address, 
telegraphed for her. Speedily came the reply. 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



429' 



"Shall leave immediately." '^Mi-s. Boston, did you 
ask the doctor about my case?" he soon inquired; 
and I had to tell him his true condition, and that his 
Avife was on her way to see him. By the time she 
arrived his remains were in the cemetery. I invited 
Mrs. Lawrence to Father Boston's, informed the 
authorities at West Hospital, secured the necessary 
clothes for the burial, and on his left side pinned the 
little flag I had worn; another I tacked on the coflin, 
so there should be no mistaken identity, and gave 
the third to his poor broken-hearted wife, who died 
in less than two years. 

Oh, how many times I have been called upon for 
deeds of mercy! As Mrs. "Wallace and I were 
leaving the cemetery, after Mr. Lawrence's body was 
put in the vault, a gentleman came to us and said: 
"Ladies, I belong in Georgia. This body is my 
brother." Then to Mrs. Wallace, "Won't you stand 
by the grave to represent my mother?" and to me, 
"Won't you come and represent my sister?" So 
that brother, the minister, the grave-digger,Mrs. 
Wallace and myself stood together a few minutes- 
beneath the beautiful trees in the grounds appor- 
tioned to the Confederate dead. I can never 
forget such scenes, though I forget hundreds of 
names. 

One of our ladies took her daughter with her, who, 
having pricked her finger while pinning a bandage, 
contracted blood-poisoning while washing a womid. 
The hand was amputated, but to no avail, and she, 
died. 



430 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

I assisted a physician in one severe case. A 
soldier had been withont attention for his wonnded 
arm for ten days, and it was in a terribly decomposed 
condition. As he stood up and I removed the 
blanket from his shoulders, the odor was something 
terrible. The doctor cut the flesh from the arm and 
it fell to the pavement. It soon cleared the crowd 
away from in front of the hospital. By standing 
beside the doctor I inhaled the full odor, and was 
attacked by fainting. The doctor ordered brandy, 
but I did not take it. A soldier took my place, and I 
went home a very sick person, but soon returned to 
my duty, though I continued to feel a stinging sen- 
sation in my nose, and it swelled at times. After 
all had been removed from the scene of carnage at 
Gettysburg, orders came to take the names of the 
workers, but it was too late. Some had already gone 
home; others did not consider it important, as the 
work there was done. Then followed a veiy sick 
time for me; my nose and face were a sight! The 
doctor attending me said, " You have contracted 
blood-poisoning, while dressing wounds, and must 
stay away now." ^N^evertheless I went to Patter- 
son Park Hospital, and worked there and for the 
superintendent in charge. When asked for my 
name, to enter on his books, I said : " !No, I do not 
want any pay for my services. I only try to do all I 
can for the sokliers." " You had better give me 
your name," he said; "it may be of use to you some- 
time." "iNTo, sir! I don't work for pay or popu- 
larit}^, but I am always ready to do anything I can 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



431 



for a sufferer." So although my name does not 
appear on the roll in the War Department, it is 
engraved on the memory of hundi-eds of wounded 
men who will never forget those trying scenes. And 
my prayer is that when the soldiers of the G. A. E,. 
shall have their hearts cleansed by the precious blood 
of Jesus, when they have taken their last march on 
earth, and entered victorious the City of God, that 
army nurses, soldiers, their families and friends, may 
meet to rest " forever with the Lord." 

I am, very respectfully, 

Mks. M. J. Boston. 

1221 Tatxal Street, Wilmixgtox, Del. 



432 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MRS. REBECCA POMROY. 




RS. REBECCA R. POMROY, of Chelsea, 
Mass., was a woman peculiarly fitted to minis- 
ter to the needs of the soldiers during the late 
Rebellion. At forty years of age she was lefc 
a widow. Her life up to that time had been filled 
Avith sorrow, leaving her almost hopeless; when at a 
gathering at which she was present, through the 
earnest solicitations of her friends, she providentially 
met an aged lady who spoke the word that proved 
the touch-stone to her life, and she went from the 
place with renewed faith. 

" Let thy gold be cast in the furnace, 

Thy red gold, precious and bright, — 
Do not fear the hungry fire, 

With its caverns of burning light, — 
And thy gold shall return more precious. 

Free from every spot and stain ; 
For gold must be tried by fire, 

As a heart must be tried by pain. 

' ' In the cruel fire of sorrow 

Cast thy heart ; do not faint or wail : 
Let thy hand be firm and steady ; 

Do not let thy spirit quail ! 
But wait till the trial is over, 

And take thy heart again ; 
For as gold is tried by fire. 

So a heart must be tried by pain ! 

433 



434 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

I shall know by the gleam and glitter 

Of the golden chain you wear, 
By your heart's calm strength in loving, 

Of the fire they have had to bear. 
Beat on, true heart, forever ; 

Shine bright, strong, golden chain ; 
And bless the cleansing fire. 

And the furnace of living pain ! " 

Ah! it was indeed a "furnace of pain'' in which 
the heart of Mrs. Pomroy had been purified; and now 
she had grown cahn and strong. The kind eyes 
could look out upon the world once more, and see 
God's providences in their true proportions. The 
Spirit of the Infinite had met her troubled, world- 
weary soul after years of half-rebellious suffering, 
and at last she had laid the burden down, and was 
willing to face life, — only it must be a more complete 
and perfect life of service. 

"When the war broke out she had been a widow two 
years. One son was all that had been spared to her 
by the cruel hand of death, and he soon enlisted. It 
was not long before she prayerfully questioned, 
"Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" for she felt 
that God was calling her to some larger work. 
Back upon her soul surged a tide of assurance that 
she should go as an army nurse. Knowing how frail 
she was, friends and physicians endeavored to per- 
suade her not to go; but it was useless. She would 
answer, "I want to be a mother to those wounded and 
dying soldiers." In September, 1861, she started 
alone from Chelsea, Mass. 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 435 

Upon her arrival in "Washington, Miss Dix went 
Avith her to visit the places of interest in and around 
tlie city. When they entered the Georgetown Hos- 
pital she fonnd that a nurse had become exhausted, 
and she decided to leave Mrs. Pomroy to fill the 
vacant place; so she assumed charge of a ward con- 
taining fifty typhoid patients. 

At the close of that first day she found herself 
strusrs-ling- a«:ainst such w^eakness that it seemed she 
must succumb to it. Excusing herself, she managed 
to reach her own room, where she sank upon the 
rude cot, and poured out her soul in prayer for 
Divine strength and guidance. We cannot but be- 
lieve that prayer was answered, for she soon was 
able to rise and resume her duties, working part of 
the night. 

A boy had been in a dying condition for several 
hours, and as she bent to give him the last stimulant, 
he threw his arms around her neck, crying, " Oh my 
dear mother ! " Death sealed that clasj), and it re- 
quired two attendants to release her. This, and 
other strange experiences, marked her first night in 
the service of her country. 

In a few days she was transferred to Columbia 
College Hospital, where we gleam from one of her 
letters that she became familiar with death and suf- 
fering, and could pass through all that was required 
of her by relying upon the unseen Hand that she felt 
fed her with the bread of heaven. Often during the 
long nights, she stood alone beside some dying soldier, 
soothing and sustaining him in those " last moments," 



436 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

SO fraught with awe and sadness. The kind, motherly 
heart conld not forget tliose scenes, and many of her 
hospital experiences have become familiar household 
stories. Perhaps one of the most beautiful is that of 
the bugler of the 11th Maine. 

The poor fellow had lingered week after week, be- 
coming fearfully emaciated. At the very last he 
was conscious of his condition, and said to Mrs. Pom- 
roy, "Mother, may I have my bugle? " She sent for 
it immediately, but his poor, nerveless hands were too 
weak to hold it. An attendant, comprehending the 
unspoken, yet eloquent appeal, placed it to his lips. 
For a moment his face was transformed by some- 
thing of the old-time enthusiasm, as he concentrated 
all the energy of that wasted frame for the supreme 
effort. Tavo or three quivering notes wavered and 
died upon the air, then the lifeless hands fell. The 
last bugle-call had been sounded! 

Mrs. Pomroy was a friend indeed to the soldiers 
under her care, and her efforts met a grateful appre- 
ciation. But few realize how much we as a nation owe 
her for helping to sustain President Lincoln and his 
family at a time when that strong man was almost 
overcome by the sorrow that shrouded his home. 
The burden of the year's war lay so heavily upon his 
heart that he seemed almost crushed by the weight. 
Then Willie, his second son, died, after a short sick- 
ness. Ilis youngest son was expected to die at any 
time, and Mrs. Lincoln, too, was very sick. At this 
juncture Miss Dix called to see if she could render 
any assistance, and he asked her to i-ecommend a 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 437 

nurse. She selected " Auntie Pomroy," who reluct- 
antly left her boys, not realizing what an opportunity 
was hers in thus being permitted to learn, as few 
others could, the honest, manly fiiith of our great- 
hearted President, and at the same time to render the 
human sympathy and helj) he so much needed. His 
own words, and the strong friendship he ever after- 
wards manifested toward her, show how grateful to 
him were her ministrations. 

"While she was still a member of the President's 
family, two young ladies offered to assist her in 
carrying on a prayer meeting in her ward. The 
officers in the hospital were mostly Catholics, and her 
first venture in that line had been followed by strict 
orders that it should not be repeated. Now she 
obtained the President's permission, and by the aid of 
the Misses Pumsey and Mr. Fowle of the Soldiers' 
Free Library, the meeting was established. 

At last she returned to her boys; but the sym- 
pathetic relations between her and the President's 
family could not be lightly set aside, and she was a 
frequent visitor at the White House. During one of 
these visits Mr. Lincoln said he wished to do some- 
thing for her very much, and urged her to be per- 
fectly frank and tell him what she wanted most. 
She was surprised by so generous an offer, and could 
not think of any personal wants; but like an inspira- 
tion came the thought of his visiting her patients at 
the hospital, and she proffered that simple request, 
which he gladly granted, to the great delight of the 
boys, whose enthusiasm knew no bounds. She said 



i38 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

that one poor fellow refused for days to wash the 
hand that had grasped the President's. 

It was characteristic of Mrs. Pomroy that she sent 
to the kitchen for the colored help, as she wanted all 
to share in this happy reception. They stood by her 
side as Mr. Lincoln was passing ont. " And who 
are these?" he asked. "This is Lucy, formerly a 
slave in Kentucky. She cooks the imrses' food ; " and 
Lucy received the same w^arin hand-clasp that had 
been given to others. "And these?" "This is 
Garner, and this Brown. They are serving their 
country by cooking the low diet." Their radiant 
faces attested their appreciation of the greeting they 
received. When he had gone, Mrs. Pomroy was 
severely criticised for introducing " niggers " to the 
President. So much was said that she felt saddened, 
though firm in her convictions of right; but the 
gratitude of the colored people did much toward 
healing the sting of the sharp words, " Lub ye, 
missus, long as 3^e lib ! IS^ebber spec such a t'ing." 
At her next visit to the White House she asked the 
President if his feelings were hurt by being intro- 
duced to the colored help. "Hurt? ^o, indeed! 
It did my soul good. I'm glad to do them honor," 
was the hearty rej^onse. Later, when Mrs. Lincoln 
was severely injured during an accident to the 
carriage, caused by some enemy, he went for Mrs. 
Pomroy at once, and for three weeks she watched 
by her bed. 

Then came a time when the President expected to 
be attacked personally any day. When the news 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 439 

came of the battle of Port Hudson, he walked the 
floor in an agony of distress, saying : " The Lord 
have mercy on those poor fellows. This is a 
righteous war, and God will protect the right. 
Many lives will be sacrificed on both sides, but I 
have done the best I could, trusting in Grod." " Mr. 
Lincoln," she answered, "prayer will do what nothing- 
else will ; can you not pray? " The tears were drop- 
ping over that worn face as he said, " Yes ; I will. 
Pray for me, too ; " and he went to his room. 

At midnight a messenger rode rapidly toward the 
White House with a telegram. Mrs. Pomroy was 
sitting in the sick-room when the Pi*esident entered, 
crying: " Good nevs, good news! Port Hudson is 
ours! God is ^ood!" Mrs. Pomroy answered, 
" There is nothing like prayer in times of need." 
"Yes, oh yes! But praise, too; for prayer and 
praise go together." 

Occasionally a rebel would fall to her care; but 
she confessed to an inability to feel toward them as 
she did toward Union men. One who had been in 
her ward some days asked if he might call her 
" Mother," as the other men did. " I^o," was her 
reply ; " not while you are cherishing rebellion in 
your heart." She spoke with him on the subject 
from time to time, and he took the oath of allegiance 
before leaving the hospital. 

She served three years and seven months, then re- 
ceived an honorable discharge, April 1, 1865; and as 
she went to seek to regain her health after a serious 
illness, she wrote to a friend thus : — 



440 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



'^ Taking all things, I have passed through ti'ying 
exjDeriences, but this morning the sun shines just as 
bright as ever. God is still good to us, and may 
it never be in my heart to complain or murmur while 
my experience is so full of God's unbounded love." 




442 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




SOPHRONIA E. BRECKLIN. 



Q]S^ the 17th of September, 1862, I started, unat- 
tended, for the seat of war, and three days 
later arrived at the front. The order given 
by my commander, Miss D. L, Dix, was await- 
ing me, so I was immediately taken to the Judiciary 
Hospital, on Four and a Hay Street, and my labor as 
an army nurse began. 

After three months' service I was ordered to the 
Baptist Church, where I took care of a sick nurse 
and her ward for a month ; then was sent to Point 
Lookout, at the entrance to Chesapeake Bay, where 
I remained all through that cold, dreary winter, with- 
out fire, caring for wounded men brought from 
Fredericksburg, from Bull Run, and from Antietam. 
Oh, what suffering, what heroic courage for this 
lovely country of ours ! ]N^o language can describe it ! 
In March I was sent to Alexandria, Ya., and 
remained there until the battle of Gettysburg; there 
I was the first nurse in the field hospital, and Miss 
Plummer and myself were the last to leave. 

From there I went to Stoneman's Cavalry Hos- 
pital, six miles from Washington, D. C, where I 
remained seven or eight months. In the winter of 
1863 and 1861: 1 had the fever, and a council of the 
hospital surgeons gave me up to die; but my work 
was not yet done. After recovering sufficiently I 
was sent to Whitehouse, to care for the wounded 



444 



OUR AR]\n NURSES. 



brought from Cold Harbor, and i-emained there 
until the army swung round in front of Peters- 
burg. Then we went to City Point, and five 
months later to the Point of Rocks, and were there 
when Petersburg was taken and General Lee sur- 
rendered; remaining until our beloved Lincoln was 
assassinated. Then, and not till then, could I get 
my own consent to return to the home I had left 
nearly three years before. I could not leave my 
post while there was one of my country's noble- 
men to claim my care. 

SoPHKOXiA E. Brecklin. 

Cor. of Tioga and Fall Streets, 
Ithaca, N. Y. 



446 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




ELIZABETH A. HYATT. 



JN 1861 my husband enlisted at Chilton, Wis., in 
Co. K, 4th Regiment, Wisconsin Volnnteers, 
and joined the other companies at Racine in 
June. I went to bid my husband good-bye 
before he marched to Dixie, and found plenty of 
work there to do in camp and hospital. Some of 
my neighbors were sick, and I did not wait for an 
invitation, but cooked, nursed, and did whatever I 
saw to do rmtil the regiment received orders to go 
South; then packed my grip to go home. But when 
I went to bid the doctor good-bye, he said: "O no, 
Mrs. Hyatt; you can't go. Don't think of such a 
thing. You are just the kind of a woman we need." 
He asked me to walk over to see the colonel with 
him. The matter was soon decided, and I went to 
Baltimore with them. I then received a certificate, 
and served in Patterson Park Hospital, in Ward 11, 
where I had twenty-two soldiers under my charge. 
When General Dix and General Wool exchanged 
places, General Wool went to Baltimore, and Gen- 
eral Dix to Fortress Monroe ; so Fort McHenry was 
firing salute after salute. In Ward 12 was a nurse 
who roomed with me. She was one of the blue kind, 
always down-hearted, with never a smile on her face; 
always expecting trouble. Well, she went over to 
our room and neglected to call for me, so I thought 
I would go to her ward and cheer her boys a bit. I 

447 



448 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

went in and looked aronnd, just as if I expected to 
find her there. Then I said: ^^ Boys, do you know 
what that firing means? Has your nurse told you?" 
"]^o; she never tells us anything. What is it?" 
" Why, Jeff Davis is captured, the South is whipped, 
peace is declared, and the war is over; so every man 
who is well enough to travel, will be on his way 
home as soon as he can pack his knapsack. So, 
boys, hurrah for home and loved ones!" Such a 
shout as went up! The ward-master came to see 
what was the matter. I told him I thought I would 
go in and cheer them up a little. He said, "Well, I 
think you have done it with a vengeance, by the looks 
of the room." They had thrown their bedclothes, 
knapsacks, boots and pillows around, and what a 
looking place it was! I ran down and told my 
boys all about it, and they had a hearty laugh. 
The nurse had heard the noise, and knew some- 
thing wrong was going on in her ward, so 
hurried back; and what a sight she beheld. It 
took her two hours to straighten things around in 
order. She came to see me with such a sad face, but 
found Ko. 11 a very cheerful place, — every man was 
smiling. She said, " Mrs. Hyatt, I will pay you for 
this." I assured her that she did not owe me any- 
thing; that I would do it any time, as it was not one 
bit of trouble, and it would do them lots of good. 

After this I accompanied the regiment for a time ; 
but when it was ordered to Ship Island, I concluded 
to return to Patterson Park Hospital. I left the 
" Constitution " at Fortress Monroe, saw the fight be- 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 449 

tween the "Monitor" and the ■'Merrimae,'' then went 
to Baltimore, where I resumed charge of AVard 11, 
in March, 1862. In August I went to Virginia, to 
try to see my brother. While passing Mt. Vernon 
the bell tolled; the gentlemen raised their hats, and 
all talking ceased. I went to AYarrington, and ate 
supper with rebel guards. The next day I dined 
with Union officers, and there was not a rebel to be 
found in the place. 

I started for Fairfax Court House, but the rail- 
road was torn up, so I called on General Banks for 
a horse. He sent one to me, and as I could ride 
very well I soon reached Centerville, where the 
battle had been fought. Here I found Colonel 
Andrews with ambulances, but many of the drivers 
had left the teams to go on the field. I tried to 
cany water to the wounded, but I felt so sick that 
I was about to leave the place, when Colonel 
Andrews asked me if I could drive a team. 
AYhen I assured him that I could, he asked me to 
drive an ambulance to Fairfax Court House. There 
were four wounded men, and before I started, 
another, slightly wounded on the head, begged to 
go too. So I had him strapped on the seat. The 
road was smooth, and I told the men if they could 
bear it to let me trot the horses forty minutes, I 
could pass the long train, avoid the dust, and 
could have them unloaded before the others arrived 
and took the most comfortal)le places. They told 
me to drive on. 

I turned out and cracked the whip. The horses 



450 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

started on a good round ti'ot. Every ambulance I 
passed, the driver would call to me to stop trotting 
and drive slowly, or I would kill the men. I ]3aid no 
attention until one called me a " Secesh."' Tlien I 
told the man who was strapped on the seat to call 
them something. He did, and shaking his list, told 
them to keep still or they would smell powTler. 

When I had left the train a mile behind I halted, 
and gave the men a driuk. I cheered them what I 
could, telling them I would a'o to AVashiniifton and 
try to get them fui'loughs to go home, then drove on. 
When the men w^ere comfortably settled and fed, I 
started on the return, and soon met the train. The 
drivers called to know how I got through, so f(^r fun 
I told them I hadn't a live man left. Hoav they did 
swear, and call me a rebel. I made no reply, for I 
was in a hurry to get another load. They apologized 
wdien they found I was the 4:th "Wisconsin woman. 
They said they had talked with the men, who enjoyed 
the ride, and were ver}^ glad I was plucky enough to 
keep on. 

I called on the Provost Marshal for a place to 
sleep. He sent me to a room on the second floor, 
where there were three telegraph operators. I par- 
titioned off a room with a long table in it, then asked 
if there were no other women to occupy that big 
place with me. He sent for one, and I soon went to 
sleep. 

The next day I went to Washington with the sick 
men, but could not procure furloughs. Then I 
returned to my twenty-two boys in Ward 11. 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 451 

They were very g'lad to see me, and liegged me 
not to go away again. They said it was lonesome, 
and no one tokl them any news. I remained there 
until December, 18G2. 

Ah, how many sad things hapjiened! 

One night at six o'clock I left one of my boys ever 
so much better than he had been. The next morn- 
ing a man met me with the news that Willie was 
dead. I went to the dead-house to see him. A 
doctor was thei'e, who told me the l)oy was poi- 
soned. A soldier in the ward said that a woman 
came in with chocolate, and that Willie drank a 
cupful, but none of the rest would. I felt very 
badly. That was the only death \\\ my ward. 

I nursed the soldiers carefully, cheered them nil 
I could, and would see that they had plenty of good 
food, even if I had to jnit my hand in my own 
pocket to pay for it. 

Elizabeth A. Hyatt. 

NoKTuviLLE, Wayne Co., Mich. 



452 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




KATE M. DUNCAN. 



J SERVED one year at Patterson Park Hospital, 
Baltimore, Md., beginning in September, 1862. 
My husband was wonnded in tlie neck and went 
home. He was sick eighteen months; then I 
went with him wlien he returned to duty. The first 
six weeks I nnrsed in Ward 15. They had seventy 
men, — the worst cases of typhoid fever. I sat up 
every other night, gave medicine, washed and fed 
the patients, etc. Doctor Knowles did not hke 
women, and ahhough the surgeon in charge put 
me there, he did not use me very well for a time. 
But he soon trusted me to give medicine and see to 
everything, and made me sit up nights, because he 
would not trust the male nurses. This was too hard 
for me, and the surgeon changed me to Ward 1 of 
snrgical cases. Autand was the name of the French 
surgeon who had charge of that ward. His Avatch- 
chain was hung with medals from the Crimean War. 
He had me assist him on his morning rounds, dress- 
ing wounds, and did not think anything was too bad 
for me to see. I had to dress four cases, each with 
an amputated arm, one wounded through the neck, 
two through the hip, and one who was wounded nine 
times, in the lungs and different parts of the lx)dy; 
yet he recovered, and went home at last. 

I was there when the battle of Gettysbnrg was 
fought, and did not have my clothes off for a week 
after the Avounded began to arrive. 

Emmetsburg, Iowa. KaTE M. DuXCAX. 

4o3 



454 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 





ADELAIDE E. SPUKGEON. 




ALMOST before the echoes of the gun which 
marked the commencement of hostihties 
between the North and the Sonth had died 
away, Hon. Henry J. Raymond, of the 'New 
York Times, with that keen foresight which marked 
his career as a newspaper man, had formed the idea 
of organizing a band of hidies to proceed to Wash- 
ington to act in tlie capacity of nurses, should they 
be needed. Several meetings were held, either at 
the Cooper Institute or the Woman's Library, under 
the auspices of Miss Elizabeth Powell, who was 
selected for this purpose by Mr. Raymond. 

At the final meeting, many of those who were 
confidently expected to go, declined; their enthus- 
iasm, which had worked itself to fever heat at the 
commencement, having died out, and they decided to 
remain with the "home guard." Six names were 
called as they had been selected, and when my 
own, Adelaide E. Thompson, was pronounced and 
I arose (I being very slightly built at that time), a 
gentleman in the hall inquired what she expected to 
do with that little creature; to which Miss Powell 
responded, " That ' little creature ' is one of the reli- 
ables." 

On the morning of May 3, 1861, we boarded the 
train at Jersey City. It was loaded with troops on 
their way to defend the flag. Our progress was very 



456 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

slow. At Havre de Grace V\ e embarked on board a 
steamer for Baltimore, thinking to hasten onr jonrney 
in this way, as it was expected the train wonld be 
detained some time at that place. I shall never 
forget that journey. The boat, which was small, 
was crowded with the roughest class of citizens of 
" Maryland, my Maryland," whose sole amusement 
was playing cards, expectorating huge streams of 
tobacco juice, and cursing the Yankees. 

A terrible storm came up, and, to make it more 
interesting, all of our party except two were affected 
with that ailment which must be felt in order to be 
fully appreciated; viz., seasickness. One other lady 
and myself escaped, and we w ere obliged to leave the 
close, dirty little cabin every few moments, to obtain 
a breath of fresh air; preferring to be drenched by 
the spray which washed over the deck, to being 
stifled by tobacco smoke. 

On the evening of the third day we reached Bal- 
timore, and proceeded to Barnum's Hotel, where 
every attention was paid to us; as the i-ails, which 
had been torn up during the riot when the Massa- 
chusetts troops passed through Baltimore, had not 
yet been relaid. The next morning an omnibus was 
chartered, and at about sundo\\m on the evening of 
our fourth day from ^NTew York, dirty and weary, we 
reached the Mecca of our hopes, Washington, then, 
comparatively speaking, a mud-hole, but now trans- 
formed by Xorthern enterprise and industry into one 
of the most l^eautiful cities in the -world. 

AVe took apartments at the Kirkwood House, 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 457 

remaining there three days, and then removed to 
a boarding-honse kept by Miss Bull, a daugh- 
ter of Judge Bull, located on Twelfth, be- 
tween E and F Streets. But here a new 
trouble arose. Our baggage was somewhere be- 
tw^een Washington and ^ew York, but just 
where no one could tell; and all inquiries, both 
verbal and by telegraph, failed to solve the mys- 
tery. After all this travel we were with abso- 
lutely nothing except what VvC stood in; but at 
this crisis a good genius appeared, in the person of 
E. Z. C. Judson, better known as "Ned Buntline." 
I had knoAvn him in ]N^eAV York, and learning that I 
was in the city, he had searched me out. 

I must here say that some years before, when he 
was imprisoned on Blackwell's Island, for alleged 
complicity in the Astor House riots, I assisted him 
in hauling up the Stars and Stripes to the top of the 
boat-house, having been invited over there by him 
for that purpose. I sometimes think that people love 
the old Flag better since they have had to fight for it. 

Mr. Judson succeeded in unearthing the baggage, 
and Ave were enabled once more to indorse the decla- 
ration that " cleanliness is next to godliness." 

Our leader, Miss Pow^ell, then started out on a 
tour of inspection. The Union Hotel, in Georgetown, 
was being fitted up as a hospital, but was not yet 
ready to receive patients. The surgeon-general 
finally informed her that there was only one hos- 
j)ital open in the city, and that was the small-pox 
hospital; and as they could get no one to go there, a 



458 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

nurse Avas badly needed. Miss Powell returned 
almost in despair. She related the situation to the 
ladies, but no one responded. One pretty little 
woman, the youngest of the party, whose husband 
was here in one of the regiments, declared she could 
not think of such a thing, for if she took the disease 
and got her face all marked up, her husband would 
never forgive her. It is but justice to say that she 
proved herself very efficient in another place. The 
oldest lady said she could not think of such a thing, 
for she had not felt well since she left New York, 
and she only felt able to read the Bible; and the 
poor fellows must be so sick that reading would only 
weary them. The others being of the opinion that 
" silence is golden," remained silent. To me, any- 
thing was better than inaction, and I volunteered 
my services. They all endeavored to point out to 
me the risk I w as running, and the hard work before 
me; but I was firm, and after a mournful dinner with 
my comrades' I took my little bundle of clothing, and, 
accompanied by one of the ladies, departed for the 
hospital. My friend bade me good-bye on the oppo- 
site side of the street, and with some little trepidation 
I crossed over and entered the building. I was met 
by the physician. Dr. Kobert I. Thomas, from Iowa. 
I handed him the letter from the surgeon-general, 
appointing me a nurse in the small-pox hospital ; and 
thus as the first nurse in the District of Columbia, on 
the 1 6th day of May I entered upon my duties. 

The hospital was a small two-story and basement 
brick building, located on First Street east, between 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 459 

B and C north. It contained six rooms and a 
niediuni-sizcd closet, which was fitted up as a sort of 
dispensary. Tlie front basement was used as a 
dining-room for the steward, a rattle-brained South- 
erner, who had taken the place as he had nothing- 
else to do. The doctor remained but a few hours 
daily, and as soon as he left, the steward generally 
started for the city, and returned somewhere in the 
small hours, grossly intoxicated. The only other 
inmates who were able to walk around were an Irish 
woman, who pretended to wash the clothing, and 
another to cook. The cookins: and washing: were 
both carried on in one room, by means of a small 
stove, which one of our Yankee housewives would 
have considered fit only for old iron. 

Fortunately there was not much to cook. I say 
fortunately, because the old woman could not be 
persuaded that sick men did not like greasy food, 
or that broth would be more palatable without the 
huge piece of fat bacon which, in spite of all my 
remonstrances, she would persist in putting into 
the kettle. But one day the doctor happened in 
when the boys were being fed, and saw them put- 
ting the greater part of their soup into the cuspidors. 
He called her up, and in terms more emphatic than 
polite, informed her that if he saw any more such 
cooking he would throw it out of the door, and then 
throw her after it. This was too much for the old 
lady, and she stood out upon the order of going, but 
finally went. 

My first move after her departure was to consign 



460 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

the laundry work to the stable, at the back of the 
yard. We had ])lenty of flour, and I proceeded to 
make up a large Ijatch of bread, which was greatly 
relished by the boys; but as- to the meat, — here 
words fail me. Never before, or since, have I 
seen such meat. It would have required the power 
of a Hercules to masticate it. The sugar was of the 
consistency of mud, and about the same color, and 
tasted more like salt than sugar. Butter was not 
to be thought of, and vegetables of any kind were out 
of the question. No dishes; nothing but tin cups 
and tin plates, and so few of them that the food of 
two or three men had to be served u]3 on one plate. 
There was no money. No hosjDital fund had accu- 
mulated, and the entire building was the picture of 
misery, with nothing to make the boys comfortable. 
Of course nothing could be done. For about ten 
days I did the cooking, in addition to my other 
duties. At the end of that time our old cook, 
whose injured dignity Avas somewhat more serene, 
decided to come back, and leave the bacon out of 
the soup, — as the doctor hinted that he might place 
her under arrest if the offense w^as repeated. 

At this time I determined to take a trip to New 
York, and get conti'ibutions from my friends. I 
accordingly applied to Judge Holt, who referred me 
to Hon. Edwin M. Stanton; who, in turn, gave me a 
note to General Mansfield. With some nervousness 
I stood before the old general at his headquarters on 
17th Street. He looked up from a desk at which he 
was writing, and said in a sharp tone, "Well?" I 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 461 

handed him the note from Mr. Stanton, and at the 
same time said, " General, I want to get a pass to go 
to ^ew York." '^ What do j^ou want to go to Xew 
York for? " '^ To get some things for the boys." 
" What boys? " " The boys in the small-pox hospi- 
tal." "Are you the nurse there? " "Yes, sir." " Get 
paid?" "IN'o, sir." "Volunteer nurse?" ''Yes, 
sir." ''Afraid of taking the disease?" '^^o, sir." 
He wrote a few lines, which he handed me, remark- 
ing: " AYell, you are a plucky little woman. Here is 
your pass, good for three days, and you ought to 
ride over any railroad in the country free of charge 
as long as you live." He shook me by the hand, 
and said, " Good-bye; don't forget to come back to 
the boys." That night, with a large, empty trunk, I 
started for ;N"ew York. The train was filled with 
soldiers going home; some discharged for disability, 
some returning from sickness ; one poor boy, crazy 
from fever, declaring that he could whip the whole 
Southern army, individually or collectively, if he 
was given half a chance. I returned in three days, 
my ti-unk well filled with needed articles; also a large 
box, and a bottle of powerful disinfectants prepared 
for me by Mr. Green. 

I found many additions to our number on return- 
ing. As the doctor did not come I placed a cot in 
a corner of his office, where I could obtain two or 
three hours' sleep during the night. I have passed 
many nights entirely alone in the building, except for 
the sick men; sometimes three or four bodies lay in 
the adjoining room, waiting for the morning light to 



462 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

bring the undertaker. The first man died from 
blood-poison, caused by impure vaccine put in his 
arm before he left Michigan. The weather was 
warm, and before his comrades arrived to bur}^ him, 
the body burst. We Avei'e obliged to remove all the 
sick men to a tent in the adjoining lot, while the 
house was flooded with water. Every train that 
came in brought more ; and as they came pouring in 
after the first battle of Bull Run, we were obliged to 
take another house a short distance away. A large 
mansion was secured on what is now known as 
AYashington Heights. One of the convalescent 
patients volunteered his assistance, and we were 
constantly alternating between the two houses. 

It is impossible to describe the horrors of that long, 
hot summer. There was no Potomac water in the 
city at that time, and the pump near the house would 
become dry every few days. Then a new difficulty 
arose. The authorities refused to allow any more 
bodies to be buried in Potter's Field, as they were 
fearful of spreading the contagion. Three coffins 
were placed on trestles some distance from the 
house, where they remained a day and 2)art of the 
next night. Some colored men were then hired to 
carry them over into a gully, and one of our hosj^ital 
men held a lantern wdiile the graves were dug; and 
there amid the silence and darkness of midnight they 
were laid to rest. I believe some arrangement was 
made later by which they could again be buried in 
Potter's Field. 

I do not know the date of oui' removal, as I paid 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



463 



110 attention to anything bnt the wants of the sick, 
beheving in the Scripture injunction, '^Whatsoever 
thy hand fincleth to do, do it with thy might." Time 
passed unnoticed, and I never supposed any of those 
things would be noticed, except by the i-ecordino- 
angel. '^ 

The same old laundry woman moved with ns into 
our new home, and died at her post from overwork; 
but the cook was replaced by a man. 

At last I broke down, and contracted blood-poison- 
ing, from which I have never fully recovered. The 
doctoi- ordered my removal, as it was impossible for 
me to be any better while I remained in that 
])oisoned atmosphere. I went to the home of a 
friend, and commenced a course of arsenical treat- 
ment, which gave me gi-eat i-elief. I still held my 
commission as a nurse, and was sent for repeatedly, 
but the medical director thought it unsafe in the 
diseased condition of my blood; so I reluctantly 
abandoned the vocation I loved so well. 

I then entered the secret service at the provost 
marshal's headquarters. I was sent for one day by 
the judge advocate, who wished me to interview 
two parties who had been taken out of the ranks as 
a regiment was mai-ching up the avenue. I went 
into a back room, where I saw two boyish-lookino- 
persons in uniform. * 

After a short conversation they owned up to beino- 
of the gentler sex; but the deception was perfect. 
One was the wife of one of the men, and the other 
Mas engaged to one. They had traveled hundreds 



464 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

of miles with the regiment, and would probably have 
gone to the front but for the rascally behavior of 
one of the lieutenants, wdio was in the secret. He 
offered some insult to the young wdfe, which she re- 
sented, and in a spirit of revenge he signaled the 
provost guard, and had them taken out of the ranks. 
They both wept bitterly, not only at the disgrace, 
but at being obliged to return to their homes, leaving 
their loved ones, perhaps never to meet them again. 

AVith some difficulty clothing w^as procured, and 
they wei'e sent home very much wiser women than 
when they left. 

I have not space to recount all of my adventures 
while I was in the service ; wdierever I w\as requested 
to go I went. Once I managed to get into the Old 
Capitol Prison, l^y order of a stripling army officer, 
but was promjjtly released on his being told by the 
judge ad\'ocate that I was entitled to enter any place 
of confinement in the discharge of duty. I kept no 
dates, but was given credit on my papers for two 
years. 

Before closing I will relate a little incident, one of 
the laughable things which occurred among so many 
sad scenes. One day I went into the Central Guard 
House, to identify some of our boys who had over- 
stayed their passes and been arrested as deserters. 
While there six Zouaves, who were the terror of the 
city, were brought in for some breach of discipline, 
and ordered to be shower-bathed. !N^ow, this shoAver- 
bath was no light punishment, the hose being about 
the size of the ordinary street hose. 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



465 



A yonng lieutenant, who was sti'utting about in 
all the dignity of a new uniform and untarnished 
shoulder-straps, said he was going to see the lun. 
In about ten minutes he came out thoroughly 
drenched, and the most demoralized-looking man to 
be found. The Zouaves had overix)wered the guard, 
and turned the hose on the lieutenant. He had seen 
the fun to his heart's content. 

In conclusion, I will state that my eldest brother 
responded to the first call for troops at Kew Haven, 
Conn., WT-nt through the war until the army dis- 
banded, but died of consumption shortly after. Two 
sisters, one having two little children, the other a 
bride of a few months, bade their husbands God- 
speed, and never saw them again; while my fair- 
haired ''baby brother," as we called him at home, 
died from a disease contracted from infected clothing 
at Kewbern. They will all sleep sweetly in South- 
ern soil, with thousands of others, until the Great 
Commander shall order the last roll-call, and the 
grand army of this famous Republic shall hear from 
His lips the welcome words, ^^Well done, good and 
faithful servants." 

Adelaide E. Spurgeon. 

42 H Street, N. E., WashinCxTON, D. C. 



466 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



~ --afap 




MRS. FANNY H. TITUS -HAZEN. 

6i Oxford Stkeet, Camuridge, Mass. 



J WAS born in Vershire, Vermont, Maj 9, 
1840. Lenox Titus, my great-grandfather, 
was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. 
At the outbreak of the Rebellion, in 1861, 
when the whole country was alive with patriotism, 
it seemed the greatest misfortune of my life that I 
was born a girl. My eldest brother, then only seven- 
teen, enlisted in the -1th Yermont Infantry. I went 
home to bid him ^' good-bye " and " God bless you." 

The people of the town gathered in the town hall 
to receive their citizen soldiers on the eveninof 
before the departure of Company K, to join the 
4th Regiment. 

As the boys in blue marched through the hall, I 
would have given years of my life could I have 
taken a place in the ranks with my brother. 

Two 3^ears later, in 1863, two younger brothers, 
one eighteen, the other not seventeen, enlisted. I 
could not rest; it seemed that I 7nust go to help care 
for the brave defenders of our country's flag. 

I went to both Sanitary and Christian Commissions 
to go as nurse under their auspices, but the answer 
was the same, "You are too young." I also went 
to Doctor Hayward, in Hayward Place, Boston, who 
sent nurses to Miss Dix. He also said: "You are 
too young; it wall be of no use to send you. Miss 
Dix Avould send you right back." 

Believing if the wish of my heart was ever accom- 

407 



468 OL'R ARMY NURSES. 

plishecl, I should have to do it independently, I 
decided to go to Washington, and was soon ready. 
Thinking letters of reference might be of service to 
me, I received one from Rev. George H. Hepworth, 
pastor of the Chnrch of the Unity, West Kewton 
Street, Boston (whose church I attended) ; also one 
from Doctor Steadman and from Doctor Willard. 
Thus equipj^ed I went to Washington, the last 
of March, 1864. I called on Surgeon- General 
Hammond, who told me it would be of no use to 
go to Miss Dix, but if any sui'geon in charge of a 
hospital would give me a position as nurse, he would 
indorse my name, which would place me on record 
as a regularly enrolled army nurse. 

First of all I visited Armory Square HosjDital, in 
charge of Doctor Bliss. He would give me a ward 
as soon as the new barracks were built, each ward 
then having a nurse. Doctor Bliss sent me to Doctor 
Caldwell's, on the " Island," where Sanitary Commis- 
sion people, army nurses, mothers, and wives of 
soldiers could remain a short time free of expense. 

I remained at Doctor CaldwelFs two weeks. 
During this time I had an opportunity to go to the 
Demar (officers) Hospital; also to work in the linen 
rooms of several hospitals. The surgeons would tell 
me, " Miss Dix is the proper person for you to go to, 
but it will be of no use ; you are too young." How- 
ever, I went to Miss Dix; she received me kindly. 
I spoke of my brothers, — the eldest had given his life 
for his country, the other two were with the Vermont 
Brigade in Virginia ; that I, too, was most anxious to 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 469 

serve my country by caring for the sick and wounded 
soldiers; told her my age, regretting that I was not 
older, and gave her the letters of reference. 

She inquired where I was stopping, how much bag- 
gage I had, etc. I said, "A large and a small valise.'' 
She commended the good sense evinced in taking so 
little baggage, and said: "Child, I shall not say no, 
though it is entirely against my rules to take any one 
so young. I believe your heart is in the work, and 
that I can trust you. I shall send my ambulance 
to-morrow morning, at ten o'clock, to take you to 
Columbian Hospital, there to remain in quarters till I 
send you to Annapolis. In the meantime you will 
be under the training of Miss Burghardt. I have so 
instructed Major Crosby." (She wrote while she was 
talking.) 

April 19, 1864, I went in Miss Dix's ambulance 
to Columbian Hospital, Fourteenth Street, Washing- 
ton, in charge of Dr. Thomas R. Crosby, formerly 
professor of surgery in Dartmouth College. Doctor 
Crosby asked me to take charge of the linen room; 
but nothing less than active work in a hospital ward 
would satisfy me. 

Miss Burghardt needed rest; a furlough was 
granted, leaving me to care for her ward. The 
ward surgeon, Dr. F. E. Marsh, of Michigan, will 
ever be remembered, not only by the nurses, but by 
all the boys who knew him; so l^right, cheerful and 
breezy, his coming was like sunshine: just a walk 
through the ward would make the boys feel better. 
Doctor Crosby, in the meantime, requested Miss 



470 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

Dix to let me remain at CoUmibian, and on Miss 
Bnrghardt's retnrn gave me "Ward 2, left vacant 
by the resignation of Mrs. Knssell, Avhere I remained 
till Jnne 27, 1865, when the hospital was closed. 

My experience through that dreadful summer of 
186^ cannot find expression in words. The hospital 
was filled in May with wounded f r(^m the AYilderness ; 
then came the battle at Spottsylvania, and June 1st 
the battle of Cold Harbor. From the latter battle- 
field my youngest brother was brought to my ward. 
At the time I was so rejoiced to see him alive, I did 
not feel sorry that he had been wounded. 

After each arrival from the front, all who could be 
moved were transferred to hospitals more remote, to 
make room for the next arrival from the battlefields; 
till at last the wards were filled with very 1)adly 
wounded men, some soon crossing to the other 
shore, others lingering for uiontlis, suffering untold 
agonies, ere the longed-for rest came; still others 
lived to carry, through life crippled bodies. Many 
were the letters written for those unable to write 
to the dear mother, father, brother, sister, or sweet- 
heart, and many the letters received witli thanks fi-om 
the absent fi'iends. 

The bodies of some were sent home for burial. I 
never failed to place by the heart of each silent 
soldier a bouquet of the florist's choicest flowers 
that the dear mother might feel assured that an 
earnest, sympathetic heart had ministered to her 
son. One young boy, from the Pennsylvania 
" Biicktails," was shot through the left lung at 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 471 

Spottsylvania. He lived foni- months. The bulle- 
tins of President Garfield's sufferings were the 
exact counterpart of Eddie Mullan's. I often 
spoke of it during the dreary days of watching 
and praying for the restoration to health of our 
beloved President. Eddie Mullan had a most 
lieautiful and noble face; visitors passing through 
the hospital would stoop and kiss his fair forehead, 
saying, " For your mother." 

During the summer, June, July, August and Sep- 
tember, our heads, hands, and hearts were taxed to 
the utmost; so much to do, so many claiming our 
sympathy, so many to tell that soon they must 
answer the last bugle call, and cross to the beau- 
tiful shore. Then it was I realized how utterly 
insignificant were all my greatest efforts. I seemed 
like an atom, or drop of water; ten pair of hands 
could not do what one pair would willingly have 
done. Telling one l)oy that he could never go 
home, he said: "Why? I shall get well." I 
asked, " Would you be afraid to die '? " He hesi- 
tated, then said, '^ Yes ; " in a moment, " No. Does 
Doctor Marsh say I can't get well ? " I answered, 
"Yes." "Please pray for me." I knelt by his cot 
and prayed with him; he became reconciled. In 
the morning he called Doctor Marsh, saying, "O 
doctor, Miss Titus told me I could never get w^ell, 
and prayed with me just as my sister would! " Every 
night for the three weeks that he lived I knelt by his 
cot and prayed. There were many deaths at this 
time, ea?h one as the last hours came, saying, " O 



472 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

please, Miss Titus, stay with me ; it will be but a short 
time ; " and, " You seem so like a sister ! " 

So, hour after hour, through those nights of death, 
I watched the life-light flicker and die of many noble 
men whose lives were a sacrifice for their country. 
Weeks seemed months, and months like years, that 
ages had passed since my hospital w ork commenced ; 
and yet the day was not long enough to finish all 
one would like to do. Later we had our bright days, 
too, when wit and song prevailed, and occasionally 
had time to make (as the boys said) " pies and other 
things like what we had at home." The boys would 
bring the tables from the rooms, placing them end to 
end through the hall, making a long table, where all 
the men able to leave their beds sat down to a home- 
like meal. 

In the spring of 1865 we had a boy. Sergeant Eli 
Hudson, of Sheshequin, Penn., a veteran volunteer, 
having served over four years, who was wounded in 
the left knee.. He had been several months in the 
ward. The surgeons had held many examinations; 
he was failing rapidly ; could not retain anything, even 
cold water causing hemorrhage of the stomach. One 
morning I asked, "What is the verdict, doctor?" 
He replied, " He can live but a few^ days at longest, 
and may die in a few hours." " Then, doctor, please 
let him have what he wants while he does live." "I 
give him into your hands. Miss Titus ; do what you 
please for him." The bandages were at once 
removed, as he had complained that they were 
uncomfortable. As soon as the patients were all 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 473 

cared for, I went to a market garden and bought 
a head of cabbage. He had often said he wanted 
something green, if only '^boiled grass." When the 
cabbage was cooked I carried him some with cider 
vinegar, and fed him. 

He ate all on the plate, asked for more, which was 
brought, and still a third and fourth plate, till he ate 
the whole cabbage. From that dinner in May he 
began to improve, and the 14th day of June I 
started with Sergeant Hudson on a stretcher for his 
home in Sheshequin, Penn., as his life even then 
dejDended ujDon his diet, and such meals as he ate 
would make a well man sick. He recovered, but 
had a stiff knee. 

In the winter of 1865 we had but feAV wounded 
men, and the hospital was filled with sick men from 
Point Lookout. 

We needed lemons, cordials, farina, arrowroot, 
corn-starch, jellies, in fact everything, for the sick 
list had nearly every disease. The demand was such 
throughout all the hospitals that the Sanitary and 
Christian Commissions' supplies were exhausted. 
Pemembering what Rev. Mr. Hepworth said, " If 
ever you need hospital supplies, let Mrs. Bird, 
chairman of the Aid Society, know what is needed, 
and we will send direct to you." I wrote Mrs. 
Bird, who received my letter Saturday evening, and it 
was read in church Sunday morning. Before night 
three (3) large boxes were filled and started for 
Washington, containing $300 (three hundred dollars) 
worth of supplies ; enough not only for my boys, but 



474 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

for all the wards of Columbian Hospital. The Aid 
Society also sent beautiful flannel shirts, socks, 
towels, and everything to fit out all my boys when 
able to return to the front: a mother could not more 
carefully have provided for a son. The girls of the 
Everett School, Boston, sent two barrels of books, 
throngh one of the teachers, Mrs. Emma F. W. Titus ; 
many of them new publications, })urchased expressly 
for the soldiers. After the close of the war the 
books were given to the chaplain in charge of the 
Freedman's Camp, as a nucleus for a lil)rary. 

Friends in Lawrence sent all the popular periodi- 
cals and magazines; also several leading weeklies. 
They were eagerly welcomed by the boys, and 
passed on from ward to ward. 

Miss Dix visited the hospital every month, calling 
all the nnrses to meet her in the matron's room. She 
always came for me, saying: "Child, go qnickly as 
possible; tell the nurses I wish to see them without 
delay." She was kind and thonghtfnl for all, but 
very strict in enforcing all her rules and regulations. 
She never wasted a minute, and had no patience with 
those who were slow. I shall ever remember Miss 
Dix with the warmest love and gratitnde, and with 
the greatest reverence decorate her grave in Mount 
Anbnrn every Memorial Day. My hospital memories 
are among the most pleasant of my life, — pleasant 
in that I was doing what the Master would approve : 
" Inasmuch as ye did it nnto one of the least of 
these, ye did it mito me." 

Mrs. Fanny H. Titus-Hazen. 



476 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MRS. DELIA BARTLETT FAY, 

Upper Jay, Essex Co., N. Y. 




)RS. DELIA BARTLETT FAY was one 

more of the noble women who gave ser- 
vice in our country's need on battlefields, 
in hospitals, and the Christian Commission 
work. She volunteered her services to the 118th 
Regiment, ji^ew York State Volunteers. Her hus- 
band, Willie Fay, enlisted in Company C of this 
regiment. 

They proceeded at once to Plattsburg, and were 
stationed at the old stone barracks, to await further 
orders. Their first move from there was to Fort 
Ethan Allen, near Washington, the object being to 
strengthen the defense of the National capital; there 
the regiment remained nntil 1863. The camp was 
called Camp Adirondack, as the men of the regiment 
were largely from the Adirondack region. The 
regiment did duty at all Government buildings ; the 
men also did camp and picket duty. From this 
place the regiment was ordered to Suffolk, where 
they engaged in their first action. Mrs. Fay was 
present at this siege, which lasted several days. 
Many a poor victim of shot and shell breathed his 
last under the tender care of this noble, self-sacri- 
ficing woman, sometimes just where they had fallen. 
She knew no fear of the rebel fire when her services 
were needed to hold up the fainting, battle-scarred 



478 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

hero. Many were the tender messages intrusted to 
her keeping for delivery to loved ones at home. 
After the siege at Suffolk the regiment was 
ordered to Yorktown, and were kept on the move, 
for the jDui'pose of surprising the enemy and to 
attaek them from unexpected som-ces. About the 
last of June the regiment was again ordered to 
Suffolk, where the 118th and two companies of the 
99th regiment had an engagement with the rebels, in 
which a large number were made prisoners. During 
all the marches Mrs. Fay shared the lot of the 
soldier, marching the same number of miles, carry- 
ing her load at all times, and sometimes the load of 
some sick boy, who would have been compelled to 
drop out by the wayside but for friendly aid; and 
as soon as camp was struck she Avould go al:)out the 
preparation of sick diets, to tempt the appetite of the 
sick and wounded. 

Mrs. Fay had great influence Avith the colored 
people. She obtained abundance of stores, which 
would have been beyond the reach of any other 
one of the regiment. It can be said of Mrs. Fay 
that her cheerfulness and heroism under all trying 
conditions gave life and animation to the homesick 
and weary ones. She was on one occasion detailed 
to go on a scouting expedition to locate the rebel 
forces. She was very successful, and rej^orted her 
information to the satisfaction of her captain. While 
the regiment was at Camp Barnes, near the city of 
Norfolk, they encountei'cd a stanch rebel, — Doctor 
Wright. He had repeatedly avowed that if he ever 



OUR army nurses. 479 

saw a white man drilling the negroes he would shoot 
him on the spot. One day when he was on his way 
from his house to his office he saw his man. A lieu- 
tenant had been detailed to drill a company of 
negroes. The old doctor retraced his steps to his 
house and procured his revolver. His daughter asked 
what he was going to do. He explained in a few 
words. The daughter said: "That is right, father; 
shoot the dirty Yankee. They dare not do anything 
to you." He proceeded again to where he had seen 
the lieutenant, and deliberately shot him dead. 
Doctor Wright did not escape; he was captured 
not ten j^aces from where he fired the fatal shot, 
was tried by court-mai-shal, and sentenced to be 
hung in six days. While in prison a very clever 
piece of strategy was concocted by his daughter, 
which nearly resulted in his escape. The daughter 
visited the prison every day, always wearing a large 
bonnet, closely veiled. One day when she came out 
from his cell the guard thought he detected a change 
in her appearance. She had passed the first guard; 
there were two more to pass before she could be 
free. She had nearly reached the second when the 
first guard rushed up behind her and divested her of 
her bonnet and veil ; the action exposed to view the 
old doctor's face. After all hope of escape was 
abandoned, the daughter was married in the cell of 
her father the day preceding the execution. The 
next day he was led to the scaffold, the noose placed 
about his neck, then asked if he had anything to say. 
He said he had not, only that he did not regret what 



480 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

he had done, and would do it again nnder the circum- 
stances. 

Thi'oughout the three years of her service, Mrs. 
Fay did her part as only a true and kind nature can 
do; and after the fall of Richmond, she, with her 
husband, journeyed homeward in the same steamer 
that they went to service in three years before. 



BETWEEN THE LINES. 

Between the lines the smoke hung low, 
And shells flew screaming to and fro, 
While blue or gray, in sharp distress. 
Rode fast, their shattered lines to press 
Again upon the lingering foe. 

'Tis past — and now the roses blow 
Where war was waging years ago. 
And naught exists save friendliness 
Between the lines. 



482 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




EANDMOTHER Ts'EAYCOMB was not second 
in many respects to Mother Bickerdyke. She, 
also, gave f onr years to the care of our wonnded 
and sick sokliers. Although not present in 
so many battles, she labored bravely for our fallen 
heroes. 

She tells us : " At one time while the boats were 
loading with wounded to go up the river, there was 
a boy who had his furlough and ti-ansportation, but 
when he applied for passage the captain refused, as 
he had too many already. The poor boy called out 
to me : ^ Take me, too ! Let me go home to die ! ' I 
ran down the plank to him, and in some way I got 
him ou the boat." How it was done is told in the 
following verses : — 

" Grandmother Newcomb of Illinois, 
Known to hosts of the army boys 
For nmnberless deeds of kindness done ; 
AYidowed at bloody Donelson. 
She took far more than her husband's place 
In the conquering march of the loyal blue, 
In deeds of mercy and motherly grace, 
To the blue-coats first, — but the gray-coats too. 

"Grandmother Newcomb of EfBngham, 
That July day, when the great boats swam 
At the foot of Vicksburg's yellow bluff', 
When the stars and bars had fluttered low, 
And the stars and stripes were fluttering high, 
And for one day there was glory enough, — 

483 



484 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

Grandmother Newcomb, out of the fjlow 
Of jubilant triumph, heard the cry 
Of one of her wounded soldier boys : 
' Take me back to my Illinois ; 
Take me back to my home to die ! ' 

"Onward swinging, the huge boat's prow 
Slowly swinging, a moment more 
Had left the agonized boy ashore, 
In all the frenzy of wild despair. 
To die in this far, hot land of sands ; 
And his cool green prairies even now 
Stretching their myriad healing hands 
To gather, and shelter, and heal him there. 

" 'No soldier can come aboard this boat,' 
Hoarsely its sullen captain said, 
In a growl from the depths of his bearded throat, 
With an angry shake of his vicious head. 
' Dying or living, you stay ashore. 
We have one load, and we'll take no more ! ' 
And at his command the long stage plank 
Slowly rose from the sandy bank, 
And, rending the air with a pitiful moan. 
The sick boy sank to the ground like a stone. 

" How she did it nobody knew, — 
And nobody knew it less than she, — 
But right in the face of the wondering crew, 
Right in the teeth of the angry mate. 
As the plank came up, she walked elate. 
Bearing the wounded boy somehow. 
In the burst of indignant ecstacy. 
Into the midst of the cheering crew. 

* There ! ' said she, as she laid him down, 

And facing the mate with a threatening frown, 

* You throw him out, and you throw me too.' " 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



485 



"Cheer after cheer went up from the bank ; 
Cheers from the boats, crew after crew, 
As the great boat, slowly hauling its plank, 
Northward into the channel drew ; 
And happy visions of prairies bright, 
Happy visions for one of the boys, 
Taking his hopeful homeward flight. 
Under the more than motherly care 
Of the Dorian matron standing there, — 
Grandmother Newcomb of Illinois." 




486 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




.-,* 




M. V. HARKIN. 



J LEFT Fond Du Lac on the 12th of February, 
1862, and arrived in Madison the same day. 
The 13th I went to the State House, where my 
commission as a vohinteer nurse awaited me; 
and on the llrth went into a hospital, where I received 
my first lessons in nursing. My mother, Mrs. Sarah 
A. M. Kenna, and myself, with several other nurses, 
were attached to the 17th Wisconsin Volunteer 
Infantry, and we were all very eager to go to the 
front. While we were in Madison the barracks 
caught fire, and two soldiers were burned to death. 
In March we started for St. Louis. All along the 
line the ladies were out in full force to welcome us, 
and at every station men, women, and children vied 
with each other in seeing who could do the most for 
the soldier ladies. In Chicago they treated the boys 
to cake, coffee, and fruit, while we nurses were almost 
smothered with flowers. 

In due time we arrived in St. Louis, and as we 
went into Benton Barracks the brave 14th Wisconsin 
Volunteer Infantry marched out, cheering us as they 
passed. 

How little the noble fellows realized of the fierce 
struggle in which they were about to participate! 
And how many who were now so full of life and 
hope, would soon lie low on the bloody field of 
Shiloh! 

In the meantime we were getting our hospital in 

487 



488 OUR ARiMY NURSES. 

order. Soon we had plenty of work, for the measles 
attacked the boys, and we lost several. One Fond 
Du Lac boy, Charles Daughei'ty, had the measles hi 
a very light form, and the doctor thought there was 
no danger; but the young man expected to die, and 
calling me to him one evening, said: "I am going 
now. I wanted to help my dear country in her strait, 
but I know it is ordered otherwise. Let my friends 
know that I died thinking of them, and of my 
brother Johnny, who is on a gunboat. He will 
never reach home. I am all ready, and willing to 
die," I told him that the doctor said he would 
recover. He replied: "^ot so. Go, now, and come 
again in half an hour." I went for the doctor, who 
at once saw a great change, and tried in every w\ay 
to restore him, but he was sinking rapidly, and in an 
hour he was dead. 

Another case that I shall always remember was 
that of a i)oor Indiana boy, "the only son of his 
mother, and she was a widow." Oh, how he strug- 
gled for his life ! He would say : " I cannot die, for 
who will take care of my poor mother? She is old, 
and she has only me." But in spite of our care the 
noble fellow died, after undergoing tei-rible suffering, 
and I wi'ote the sad tidings to his mother. 

At last the news came that there was every pros- 
pect of a fight at Pittsburg Landing, or Shiloh, as it 
is sometimes called, and the 17th was ordered to be 
ready at a moment's notice. Our woi'st cases wei-e 
sent to the General Hospital, and everything was 
put in order. Then we were commanded to embark 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 489 

for Pittsburg' Landing. There was wild cheering 
and waving of hats. All were anxious to go, and 
good-byes to Benton Barracks and St. Louis 
resounded on every hand. There was a poor old 
woman selling apples, and as she tried to cross the 
plank to go on board the steamer, she missed hei" 
footing and fell. Alas! there was no hope of rescu- 
ing her, for the great wheel dashed her under the 
water, and she was lost to our sight foi-ever. 

This event cast a gloom over us for some time, and 
to intensify the feeling a man walked overboard in 
his sleep the first night, and was drowned. Along 
the Tennessee shore we watched for a masked bat- 
tery, but, fortunately, we were not disturbed. 

When we reached Savannah we could hear the 
noise and fuss of the hospital that they had close by 
the shore. 

Here we heard of the battle of Shiloh. The next 
morning we sighted the Landing, and disembarked 
about noon. 

Our soldiers were detailed at once to help buiy the 
dead, the steamer Avas used as a hospital, and we 
were set to work. The doctors pitched hospital tents, 
also. Here we saw some of the horrors of war. 
There were wounds of every description, and many 
a brave young life went out on the amputation table. 
The battlefield looked as if it had been ploughed m 
deep furrows; for every inch, north and south, had 
been contested stubbornly ; and the white wood was 
laid bare on every tree, as if it had been peeled by 
hand. 



490 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

After all of the brave dead had been buried in 
" their graves in company," and the gronnd made 
as clean as possible, we began to send ]N^orth those 
who were able to move; some to Padncah, some to 
Savannah, and others to Cairo. We had great hard- 
ships to contend against. There was great lack of 
hospital stores, and we were all on short rations. On 
account of the masked batteries we fonnd it hard to 
get supplies, and for one week all we nurses had to 
eat was hard-tack. ISTot one of us would touch the 
small store that we had for the sick, and we were 
nearly stai'ved at the end of that time, when a large 
steamer Ijrought an abundance of provisions, sent by 
AVisconsin for her soldiers. Then followed long, 
weary days, and night watches Avith poor suffering 
men. There was almost every form of sickness, 
and we had to do all the cooking, and we had to 
keep the soldiers clean and the hospital in order. 

Soon a sad time came to us. Mrs. Anna McMahon, 
a noble nurse, was taken with the measles. We 
watched over her with the deepest anxiety, for we 
felt that we could not spare one of our little band; 
but after five days of suffering she raised her lan- 
guid eyes and asked, " Have I done my duty? " 

The doctor assured her that she had; then with a 
weary sigh she said, " Good-bye; I will go to sleep." 
She slept, but it Avas never to wake. That was a sad 
day for us. We could not pi-ocure a coffin, but a 
soldier carpenter took some cracker boxes, from 
which he made as decent a one as possible. We 
wreathed it in flowers from the battlefield, and 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 491 

buried her beneath thi'ee hirge trees that grew on 
the bank of the Tennessee River. A rude boai-d 
head-piece, bearing her name, Avas erected, and we 
left her there to take up onr work as best we coukl. 
As the weather grew warmer sickness increased. 
The water was not very good, and the men lacked 
such food as would keep them in good health. The 
ground on which they had to sleep, with just a 
blanket wrapped around them, was damp and reek- 
ing with vile odors, and it was no wonder that so 
many died. Could the 3^oung who now eye the old 
soldiers so coldly, look into the past, and see how 
they marched away to fight for their country and for 
unborn generations, could they see the suffering and 
hardships that were borne almost without a murmur, 
they would give the soldiers a larger place in their 
hearts than they occupy to-day. But it is beyond 
the comprehension of any one who was not actually 
present. 

We had moved about half way from the Landing 
to Corinth, when a call came for two nui-ses at the 
General Hospital. My mother and I went, and Avhen 
we returned, at the end of a week, we found Mrs. 
Thurston, another of our nurses, sick unto death. 
Many, many were the tears that we shed for her, 
and the soldiers, too, wei-e not ashamed to weep. 
May the sods lie lightly over her sweet face ! Sleep 
well, beloved friend. 

At this place the soldiers of the 15th Michigan 
Yolunteer Infantry had laid out a nice graveyard, 
and at every grave a board was erected, bearing the 



492 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

soldier's name and regiment. Near this spot we had 
fonnd a young man who must have been one of the 
out&ide pickets at the battle of Pittsburg Landing, 
and been captnred and tied to a tree. We had him 
taken down and buried, but never learned his name 
or command. He was one of the ^^ missing." 

At Corinth things were much better. We had a 
large house for a hospital. It is wonderful how 
much quicker a person will get well when sur- 
rounded by the comforts of a home, although every 
day we were looking for a battle. 

Here I came very near making the acquaintance of 
a Southern prison. The troops were stationed about 
three miles from Corinth, and the little toAvn was all 
quiet. There were not many patients in the hospital, 
and no dangerous cases, so I asked the doctor's per- 
mission one day to go for a ride. He warned me not 
to go f\u-, as there was danger; but I was well 
mounted, and feeling that there could be no danger, 
I wanted to. enjoy my liberty to the utmost. So away 
I went, with my little orderly at my side. I soon 
turned onto a pleasant road, shaded with beautiful 
trees, and leading almost north. My horse was fresh, 
and eager to go, and we dashed on. At last we saw 
soldiers ; but they were our own men, and of course 
I was not afraid of them. As I flew past, as fast as 
my horse could go, I thought I heard voices calling, 
but paid no attention, and rode on for as much as 
two hours ; when I came to a large ravine, that cut 
the road in two. I stopped, looked down into the 
dark gully, then raised my eyes to the opposite hill. 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 493 

where I saAv a rude farm-house, and a white cow 
grazing in tlie field. I thought I would cross the 
gully and see if I could buy a drink of milk, I had 
gone about half way down the hill, when at the 
bottom I saw five men in the well-known "butter- 
nut " uniform. My breath almost left my body as 
the foi'emost said : " Halt ! You are my prisoner." 
He walked toward me, and in another minute would 
have had my horse by the bridle. " I will die first," 
was my thought as I jerked the rein, and my dear 
old horse turned with a jump. "Shoot the spy!" 
they shouted. I was in truth flying for dear life. 
They fired three shots after me, but I must have 
gone like the wind, for I heard no more from them. 
When I reached the picket lines the little orderly 
was almost sure I w\as ""'gobbled," as they called 
being taken prisoner. The officer gave me a scold- 
ing, and told me how three of our men were killed 
thei'C a short time befoi'e. I found my father and 
mother very anxious about me, and I myself was 
almost sick with fright. 

Soon a soldier was taken with small-pox, and put 
in a tent by himself. My mother and I took turns 
caring for him. The poor fellow took cold in the 
tent, and became deaf, but recovered his health, and 
we procured his discharge. 

As the very warm weather came on my own health 
Avas poor, and my mother wanted me to go home. I 
could not go as long as I could stand at my post; 
but at last I was threatened with tyi)hoid fever, and 
as my mother was to accompany some sick to the 



494 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



Xorth, she persuaded me to go with her, pi-omising 
that I should go back with her the next time ; but 1 
w^as not able, and she returned to Corinth without 
rae; then went to Memphis, Avhere she did good work 
in Overton Hospital. Dear mother died Aug. 15, 
1893. She was a member of George A. Custer 
Kehef. Corps, :N"o. 78, Ashland. 

Yours in F., C. aud L., 

M. \ . Hakkix. 

Marshfikld, Wood County, Wis. 




National Cemetery, Gettysburg, Penn. 



496 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MRS. J. T. RICHARDS. 



¥(9TITEX the Civil Wai* broke out my home was 

lAl with my parents, on a farm in Southern 

/^^ Wisconsin. My name was Selener J. Bray. 

^^^^ We had but one brother at home, and it was 

not nntil the second call for "three hnndred thonsand 

more " men rang out over the jSTorth, that my brother 

felt it his dnty to go. 

In those days the love of countiy was as strong in 
the hearts of the loyal girls as in that of their 
brothers. AYe were ]:)roud to do as mnch of their 
work as possible, feeling that thns we were helping 
to put down the rebellion. But all work grew into 
mountains in those troublesome times, and yet we 
wanted to do more to help save the country. It was 
found that not only could women care for the sick 
and wounded, but that they were needed to prepare 
food suitable for the sick. To meet this want light 
Diet Kitchens were organized, and two Christian 
women placed in each kitchen, with power to draw 
needed sujDplies from the Commission, and it was 
their duty to see that the food was well prepai-ed. 
The slaves were freed, and we had all the help 
required. My sister and I had charge of the light 
Diet Kitchen in McPherson Hospital, in Vicksbm'g, 
Miss. W^e went there in February, before the war 
closed, and remained until July. Our work before 
that was in Memphis, Tenn. There my sister was 



498 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

very sick with fever. As we look backward, over 
time in its flight, and remember what we did, we are 
g-lad to be able to place our names among the helpers 
in our great Civil War; and if we did not tend the 
boys in the wards, we feel comj^ensated in knowing 
we made many of the poor, half -dead, exchanged 
prisoners feel ncAV springs of life running through 
their veins from the food we prepared for them. Yet 
many of them were past recovery; no effort could 
bring back the natural look from the vacant stare of 
that glazed, wondering expression in the eyes of our 
starved boys who came to our hospital in such large 
numbers from Southern prison pens. The average 
death rate for many weeks reached six a day — poor, 
starved boys! Their coffins were white pine, and 
many of their names unknown. Here Mrs. Witten- 
meyer had the superintendence of Sanitary Christian 
Commission work, where she nobly performed her 
part. I have always cherished with delight the 
thought that I had done something. 

Mrs. J. T. Richards. 

206 Washington Avenue, Mason City, Iowa. 

[We congratulate Mrs. Richards upon the important part of her 
nursing ; no less a nurse because of her superintendence of the Diet 
Kitchen. — Mary A. Gardner Holland.] 



500 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 







MARY E. BELL. 



AVAS born in Hillsl)oroiigh, Highland Connty, 
Ohio, Jnly 28, 1840. I went from my home 
in Bellefontaine, Ohio, in September, 1863, to 
begin my work in the wai- at Covington Bar- 
racks, Kentucky. My husband, A. O. Hartley, was 
hospital steward, and I assisted him in caring for the 
sick of the regiment at that place. In ISTovember 
we Avere ordered to Munfordsville, Ky., and went 
into winter quarters there. A post hospital was 
immediately established, and I was appointed ma- 
tron by the surgeon in charge. Here the sick of 
these regiments, and also the sick and wounded who 
were brought in to us, received the most careful 
treatment. Everything was done that would add to 
their speedy recover}^ or their comfort. 

I had special care of the low diet for the very sick 
patients, but my care extended to all in the hospital. 
Many were the letters written for sick and dying 
soldiers; many the sad messages sent to bereaved 
ones at home. 

AYe remained there until May, 18G1:; then came 
marching orders, " To the front." The sick and 
wounded were sent to other places, and very soon 
the hospital that had been our home for months, was 
deserted; but, with other ladies of our regiment, I 
failed to obtain permission to go to the front, so I 
came Xorth, and remained until 1865, when I entered 



501 



502 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



the work again at Jeffersoiiville Hospital for three 
months. 

At Chattanooga, Tenn., on April 15, 1865, mj 
husband died, from injuries received in the service. 

At the close of my hospital work I was com- 
missioned to teach the Freedmen. I taught one 
3^ear in the Fisk University, at ]S"ashville, Tenn., 
and three years in other parts of that State. 

Mary E. Bell. 




7th New Jersey Infantry. 
National Cemetery, Gettysburg, Penn. 



504 



OUR ARBIY NURSES. 



j^-^. 




MRS. HELEN E. SMITH. 




^RS. HELE^" E. SMITH was residing in 
Worcester, Mass., when the war l^roke out, 
and with many others did what slie conid to 
assist those wdio were taking part in the 
great struggle. In 1862 she had married "Wood- 
bury C Smith, wlio had enhsted in the 34:th Regi- 
ment Massachusetts Yohmteers, then in camp in 
that city. After the departure of the regiment for 
the seat of war she visited her home, and then 
accepted a position in the hnen department of 
McDougak- Hospital, Fort Schuyler, Xew York 
Harbor. Here she remained three months. 

In July, 1861:, she was ajDpointed as a nurse b}^ 
Miss D. L. Dix, and ordered to report for duty at 
United. States General Hospital, Hilton Head, S. C. 
She was placed in charge of the linen room until 
the matron went home, on account of ill health, when 
she was appointed matron, remaining in charge 
until the end of the war. 

In June, 1865, she joined her husband, Capt. 
Woodbury C. Smith, 35th Regiment United States 
Cavalry Troops, at Charleston, S. C, where he 
remained in the service for a year after the war 
ended. Mrs. Smith had two brothers in the war, also. 
Her present address is AVorcester, Mass. She is a 
charter member of George H. Ward Woman's 
Relief Corps, IS'o. 11. 



506 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

Of her hospital experiences she writes as follows: 

It is difficult to select incidents, as every day was 
so full of joy and sadness, — sadness that we felt on 
thinking of the suffering of those around us; joy 
that we could do something to help the soldiers. 

One of the saddest things I saw was near the 
close of the war, when the " Andersonville Pen " 
was broken up, and some five hundred men who 
had been imprisoned there were sent to Hilton 
Head Hospital, to be clothed and await transporta- 
tion ]!^orth. How can I describe them? It is 
beyond description! Had my husband or my 
brother been among them I could not have recog- 
nized either. Emaciated, void of expression, clothed 
in rags, they excited not only the deepest sympathy, 
but also the deepest indignation of all who saw 
them. It was a fearful thing that they should 
have been so inhumanly, so brutally treated. 

They learned that we had some slippers at the 
linen room. The men were barefooted, and their 
feet were so swollen that they burst, and were sore 
with scurv} , so they almost fought for the slippers, 
as there were not enough to go around, and we 
had only small sizes. But the men would not 
be contented until they had tried to jDut them on. 

They asked for handkerchiefs; we had none, but 
we had several hundred print dressing-gowns sent by 
the Commission at home. Not a soldier would wear 
one if he could get one of Uncle Sam's blue and gray 
regulation gowns; and as the war was nearly closed 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 507 

we should not need them, so we obtained permission 
to cut them into handkerchiefs for the men. We 
liad enough for all, and the day they were to sail 
they marched to the veranda of the linen room, and 
colored boys and girls gave one to each of them. 
And how that piece of calico was appreciated! 

It has been said of the war drama " The Drummer 
Boy " that the prison scene is exaggerated. It is 
not. It cannot be. 

Our surgeon in charge, Dr. John H. Huber, was a 
kind and true friend to the sokliers, always thought- 
ful of their welfare. So, also, was his first assistant, 
Dr. J. T. Reber, and the executive officer. Dr. Wm. 
H. Balser. It seemed like a family. The chaplain, 
Mr. Van Antwerp, of Pennsylvania, was always 
ready to do what he could to alleviate the physi- 
cal suffering or minister to the spiritual wants of 
the soldiers. 

One Saturday afternoon a woman came to my 
quarters with a permit to remain with me until the 
next steamer sailed. She was from Central ]!*^ew 
York, and this is her story: Word was sent that 
her son was very sick on Tolly Island. She wanted 
to go to him at once, and soon procured the neces- 
sary pass, l)ut there was a delay of weeks before she 
reached the place; then it was only to find that he 
had been sent to Hilton Head Hospital. When she 
arrived her son had been dead a week. Sick from 
the red-tape delays, and almost heart-broken at the 
loss of her boy, she was a sad picture to me; but I 
did what I could to make her comfortable. We 



508 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

Fisited the wards, where she talked with the sol- 
diers, who strongly felt her motherly presence. She 
Avanted to carry the body of her son home. On 
Sanda}^ we drove to the jSiational Cemetery, and 
when we showed her his grave she said, " ]^o, no ; 
I cannot disturb him ! " and seemed content to leave 
him there in those beautifid grounds. 

In the winter of 1864 and 1865 there were betAveen 
two and three hundred rebel prisoners encamped in 
an open field a short distance fi-om the hospital. 
There were many boys not more than twelve or 
fifteen years old among them. So as the sick 
from this camp Avere brought to our hospital, it 
chanced that one little fellow, not more than four- 
teen, sick with typhoid fever, came under my care. 
He Avas delirious, and called piteously for his mother; 
so his nurse called me, and as I sat by his side he 
opened his eyes and exclaimed, "Mother!" then 
thrcAV his arms around my neck. I soothed his 
fcAA" last hours, and alloAved him to think that I 
Avas his mother. And thus such incidents might 
be multiplied. 

Only those who ha\^e had experience in the hospi- 
tal, or prison, or on the battlefield, can realize hoAv 
barbarous and cruel a thing is war. With the 
increase of liberal thought, and the broader A^iew 
of the value and responsibility of life, war between 
civilized peoples should be w^ell-nigh impossible. 
"May we never have another!" is my earnest 
prayer. 

Mrs. Helen E. Smith. 



510 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




MOTHER RANSOM, OF INDIANA. 



THE SINKING SHIP, 

**1Rortb Hmerlca." 

J HAD been appointed aid to our physician, Dr. 
McCIintock, in charge of a large numl^er of 
sick soldiers, who were to be transported to 
their homes or to Northern hospitals. In mak- 
ing preparations I came to a poor fellow whose wan, 
appealing face touched a tender cord of my being, and 
I said, "Are you going to start North to-night?" 
He turned wearily, and said, " I fear I am too weak 
to endure the vo^^age, unless there were some one on 
whom I could depend." I said, " I may go." " Oh ! 
then I will venture," his face beaming" with gladness. 
The preparations were all made, and we sailed in 
the Government transj^ort " IS'orth America," com- 
manded by Captain Marshman, of Philadelphia. We 
started on the evening of December 16, 1864, at six 
o'clock. The ship was manned by forty-four men. 
There were twelve passengers, and two hundred and 
three enlisted sick soldiers bi'ought fi'om Dallas, 
Hermitage, Manning, and Baton Rouge, and four 
women besides the stewardess: one a lady return- 
ing from ISTew Orleans with her sick husband; an- 
other, Miss Fowler, with her brother; and one a 
passenger who had nothing to do with the arm}'. 
"We had pleasant weather until the night of the 20th. 



512 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

We buried one of our brave soldier boys in the sea, 
little thinking that ere we reached ]^ew York one 
hundi-ed and ninety-four of our dear soldiers would 
find a watery grave. On the morning of the 22d, 
just off the coast of Florida, the steamer was i*e- 
ported leaking forward. Effort was made to stop 
the leak, but all in vain, and there seemed no hope. 
However, a soldier who had been a sailor before the 
war reported a sail. It proved to be the " Mary E. 
Lil)l)y," from Cuba, laden with molasses, for Port- 
land, Maine. She answered our signals of distress, 
and when she came alongside, the seas were so 
heavy the vessels collided, and for a time it was 
hard to tell which vessel would go down first. 
AYhen the vessels struck, one of our firemen jumped 
for the deck of the ''Libb3\'' and was lost between 
the vessels. The fireman and the purser were the 
only men of the crew that were lost. At five o'clock 
on the morning of the 23d the first boat left our 
sinking steamer. The vessel was pitching and toss- 
ing about, and I was so sick I felt I could not utter 
one word, but in my heart I prayed, *"' Father, if my 
work is done, and Thou seest it best for me to find a 
grave in Old Ocean's bosom, Amen.'' I pulled myself 
to the deck as best I could, having a life-preserver 
on over cloak and shawl. I was confronted on the 
deck with that large number of soldiers, all crying 
and praying, and there I saw the soldier boy who 
said, " If you are going I Avill venture.'' My dear 
soldier boys, God's power in the elements forbade 
me doing, oh! what my heart and hands would so 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 513 

gladly have done. And they were taken, and 1 was 
saved, which for months seemed to me such a 
mystery. Those noble young men who had been 
disabled in our country's interest, they represented 
fifteen regiments, the greater part of them from 
Illinois, but some from the East, and fifty men of 
Scott's nine hundred, of the Eleventh ^ew York 
Cavalry. I asked Dr. McChntock, "AYho is pre- 
paring our sick soldiers who are in the steerage?'^ 
I knew there were six or nine unable to get up alone. 
He replied, " We shall do the best we can for the 
soldiers.'' " But, Doctor," I said, " who is helping 
them?" I did not then realize that two feet of water 
was at that time their winding sheet, which was the 
case, as 1 afterward learned. I can never efface from 
my memory that great number of men crying and 
praying on the deck and stairway. The second boat 
to the " Libby " had on board Miss Fowler and her 
brother. She had refused to go in the first boat with- 
out him. Eight loads were attempted to be transferred, 
but one which was manned by the purser and two 
assistants was swamped, and all lost. The boat I went 
in came near being swamped. Two men manned the 
oars ; a third gave the command, his voice so solemn 
and terror-stricken it was enough to pierce the 
hardest heart. The storm was so severe, and the 
waves rolling so fearfully, each word echoed over 
the sea and back into our hearts: "Row, boys, row, 
row, row ! " I can never forget the solemnity of that 
hour while memory holds her seat, those words roll- 
ing up from the depths of the ocean, " Row, boys. 



514 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

row, row, row! " Captain Libby had a heart as large 
as a human l^od}^ could hold. He and his crew did 
all they could do in their cramped condition to care 
for so many. Fortunately for us and the " Libby '" a 
steamer from Hilton Head, bound for Kew Yorlv, 
overtook us on the morning of the 30th, and con- 
veyed us to !New York, arri^ ing in the night. 

Doctor McClintock sent me to the State Sanitary 
Commission, and as soon as they kncAV of the terrible 
disaster I had passed through, they presented me 
with fifty dollars and took me to the New England 
Rooms, a temporary hospital, where I was cared for 
as if I had been a princess. For wxeks this terrible 
scene was kept fresh in my mind by one and another 
inquiring for friends. It was almost beyond my 
power of endurance to recount that heart-rending- 
scene. Our dear soldiei-s on that sinking ship; one 
hundred and ninety-four went down w ith her ! 

^ ' Shall we meet beyond the river, 
Where the surges cease to roll? 
Where, in all the bright forever, 

Sorrow ne'er shall press the soul ? " 

Mother Raxsom, of Ik^dia:n^a. 



516 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



tH^ WK 




MRS. M. A. BICKERDYKE. 



J SERVED ill our great Civil War fi-om June 
9, 1861, to March 20, 1865. I did the Avork 
of one, and tried to do it well. I was m 
nineteen hard-fought battles, in the depart- 
ments of the Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland 
armies. Fort Donelson, February 15th and 16th, 
was the first battle to which I was eye-witness; 
Pittsburg Landing, April 6th and 7th, the second; 
luka, September 20th, the third; and Corinth, Octo- 
ber 3d and 4th, the fourth. 

In January, 1863, we went fi-om Corinth to Mem- 
phis, and from January to October, 1863, passed 
63,800 men through our hospitals. 

During the siege of Yicksburg I made several 
trips from that city with wounded soldiers to the 
Memphis hospitals. 

On the 2Tth of October I received orders to report 
at Chattanooga, and arrived in time to see the battle 
of Lookout Mountain, — that famous "battle above the 
clouds." I Avatched the dreadful combat until the 
clouds hid all from view. Li fancy I can hear 
General Hooker's artillery noAV. 

Our next fearful struggle Avas Missionary Ridge. 
This point Avas strongly fortified, the rifle-pits Avere 
closely arranged, and Avith the artillery belching forth 



518 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

fire and death, it seemed impossible for our men to 
take it. The night before the battle was bright 
moonlight, and all night long the troops marched 
to their positions. In the morning they presented a 
solid wall of blue. IS'ever were men more hopeful, 
and yet it looked so terrible, so appalling, — that 
dangerous route np the rough and jagged moun- 
tain side. I was in the second story of the hotel. 
My duty was to receive the gifts from the soldiers to 
their friends, if, to use their own expi'ession, they 
''bit the dust." These gifts consisted of farewell 
letters, watches, money, and any little things they 
wanted sent " home " if they never returned. 

The order to march was given between eleven and 
twelve o'clock. Amid the din and roar of shot and 
shell, and the commands of the officers, it was almost 
impossible to distinguish any j^articular sound; yet 
General Osterhaus's thrilling commands could be 
heard with startling distinctness. It was his artillery 
that sent the first shell through General Bragg's 
headquarters. 

The men mai'ched up that stony precijDice so 
rapidly that even the officers were amazed. General 
Grant asked, " Who gave that command ?" General 
Thomas repHed, " They gave it themselves." In one 
short hour that desperate battle was fought and won ; 
General Bragg was in full retreat, and his aimy 
closely pursued. Was not the ^' God of Battle " 
there? 

The Stars and Stripes floated from one end of 
Missionary Ridge to the other. Seventeen hundred 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 519 

men were killed and wounded in the loth Army 
Corps alone. Our wounded were kept at the foot of 
Missionary Ridge five weeks, and then they were 
removed to Chattanooga in time for the coldest 
stoi-m on record; but none of our patients froze 
to death. 

The first of March found us in Huntsville, 
Alabama, getting ready for the spring campaign. 
Resaca, early in May, was our first battle, — and a 
bloody and hard-fought one it was, too. ]!^ow 
comes a constant roar of artillery for one hundred 
days, until Atlanta was taken, and many were the 
battles in this campaign. Kennisaw Mountain was 
where we dislodged Gren. Joseph Johnston. Then 
came Mt. Hope, Big Shantee, and on, and on, until 
the fall of Atlanta. Here we had the worst hospitals 
of the war. Kingston, then Altoona Pass, then on 
to Marietta, where, while the shooting of both blue 
and gray went on, in Sherman's army we had at one 
time twenty thousand wounded soldiers. The 
exhaustion and suffering of that Georgia campaign 
can never be told ! 

Here is where I saw General Kilpatrick and his 
seven thousand cavalrymen swinging around Atlanta, 
burning and destroying everything they could lay 
hands on, swimming the Black Warrior with the 
enemy close behind them. This stream takes its 
name from the Creek Indians, who, closely pur- 
sued, preferred death to surrender; and plunging 
into the turbulent waters were drowned: hence the 
name, " Black Warrior." But General Kilpatrick's 



520 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

work was not in vain. Atlanta surrendered, and we, 
the army nurses, ti'eated the general and his worn- 
out troops to bread and butter and coffee. 

The surrender of Atlanta marked the close of my 
work in the Georgia campaign. 

Mrs. M. a. Bickerdyke. 

The work of " Mother Bickerdyke " is so widely 
and well known, that the above article from her pen 
cannot fail to be greatly appreciated; but realizing 
that one by one our comrades are ci'ossing the river, 
and that to the rising generation the Civil War is 
already like a half-forgotten story, aside from the 
lessons of patriotism it teaches, we have gathered a 
few of the details of this most remarkable woman's 
work, and re-tell them, hoping that a measure of her 
si^irit of whole-souled devotion to country and to 
sufltering humanity may find lodgment in the heart 
of every reader. 

After the surrender of Sumter her heart, which had 
been burdened with a mother's solicitude for the boys 
she had seen march away, could no longer endure the 
dreadful suspense, and the still more dreadful con- 
firmation of her fears that daily met her eye as she 
glanced over the crowded colinnns of the papers. 
Her clear judgment did not admit of her failing to 
realize the horrible sights and the hardships she 
would have to undergo at the front; but by the 
force of her indomitable will, the lesser evil would 
be lost in the greater, and she would unfalteringly 
tread the path of duty, outwardly unmoved by envi- 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 521 

roiiments that must have nnnerved a less-determined 
person. 

Many stories have l)een told of the half-frenzied 
search for friends and relatives among the slain, 
Avhen tortured love lent an almost superhuman 
fearlessness that enabled the seekers to endure the 
strain of their ghastly surroundings; but perhaps no 
single incident in the life , of Mrs. Bickerdyke por- 
trays her large-heartedness, in fact the motherly care 
that she felt for the wounded soldiers, than the 
following: I Tlie victory had been gained at Fort 
Donelson, and the glad news carried with it great 
]*ejoicing; meanwhile the soldiers who had won that 
victory were suffering more than tongne can rehite. 
Their clothes often froze to their bodies, and as there 
were no accommodations for so many, hundreds 
perished wholly without care. Mrs. Bickerdyke had 
witnessed her first battle with a courage equal to 
every demand. That fearful day was at last ended, 
and darkness settled over the deserted field, where 
the dead still lay awaiting burial. 

The night grew darker and darker. The strange, 
weird silence, after such a day, produced an inde- 
scribable feeling of awe. At midnight an ofiicer 
noticed a light moving up and down among the 
dead, and dispatched some one to see what it meant. 
The man soon returned, and told him that it was 
Mrs. Bickerdyke, who, with her lantern, was examin- 
ing the bodies to make sure that no living man 
should l)e left alone amid such surroundings. She 
did not seem to realize that she was doing anything 



522 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

remarkable, and turning from the messenger, con- 
tinned her search over that awful field, actuated 
simply by her love for humanity. 

Many Avounded of the rebel army, who had been 
deserted, were the recipients of her care. As a 
mangled arm was being dressed for one, he felt 
instinctively the deep sympathy-^or his suffering, 
and said, " That arm would not have done such 
service if I had known what sort of people I was 
fighting." 

-^ Her work was varied: now on the field of battle: 
now on board a boat, caring for a load of soldiers in 
transit; now in the hospital; and now engaged in 
more general sanitary duties. Thus many phases of 
a soldier's life came under her observation. — """^ 

Often young boys found their way into the ranks, 
and it was infinitely pathetic to reaUze their position, 
and picture in imagination how they had been loved 
and cherished at home. Ah, how many of them 
to-day fill heroes' graves! One mentioned by Mrs. 
Bickerdyke was a boy about nineteen years of age, 
but large and manly for his years. During his 
infancy his mother died, leaving him to the almost 
idolizing care of father, brothers, and sisters. He 
entered the army a happy, half-willfnl boy, looking 
upon his position in the hopefnl, confident manner of 
youth. kSlowly, but surely, he was transformed into 
the grave patriot, ready to give his life wherever it 
should be needed most; no longer looking forward 
to battle, but anticipating his first active service with 
an ever-increasing self-surrender. He was at Pitts- 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 523 

burg Landing, in General Prentiss's division, and 
when they were surprised, about sunrise, he was 
among the first ones ready to repulse the attack. 
Soon he was wounded, and while being carried from 
the field another ball struck him; but he had time to 
say, " Tell my friends that I died on the field." 

While the battle Avas raging, Mrs. Bickerdyke was 
attending an officer who had been wounded at 
Donelson, and could live only a shoi't time. Ah, 
how it thrilled her heart and awakened her deepest 
admiration to see how he longed to be with his regi- 
ment, when he had already given so much! And 
when it seemed that our men must be defeated, he 
cried : " It can't be ! Those brave troops will never 
siu-render! They will fight to the last, and conquer! 
Oh that I were with them ! " He Avas with many of 
them soon, beyond the tumult of war. 

Mrs. Bickerdyke did not see all of the horrors of 
that field, as her heart and hands were full in caring 
for the wounded. But in connection with this battle 
she has said : " The saddest thing in my experience 
was receiving their last messages, and little treasures 
to be sent home to their families when death came 
to relieve them from pain. Such cries as '^AYhat 
will become of my children? ' were hardest of all 
to bear." Yet few realized how deeply she felt 
for those around her, for she was so habitually 
strong and cheerful, inspiring others with the same 
feeling. 

One night she was making her usual round of the 
ward. The lights were turned down, and many of 



524 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

the soldiers were sleeping, while here and there a 
restless snfferer counted the lagging seconds, and 
longed for the morning. Passing along, she minis- 
tered to each as occasion demanded, nntil one asked, 
"Are yon not tired. Mother Bickerdyke?" I^ot for 
a moment did she think of claiming sympathy, hnt 
replied in her usual brisk way: "What if I am? 
That is nothing. I am well and strong, and all I 
want is to see you so, too." 

In a few moments more she Avas at her place by the 
table, to assist the surgeon in an amputation; then 
received the patient into her own care; and as she 
gave him a restorative he whispered, " Take a mes- 
sage from me to my poor family; I shall surely die." 
How her heart ached for him in his weakness and 
suffering! But there was no change in her calm, 
cheerful manner as she replied : " jSTow do not talk. 
You are going to take all your messages to them 
yourself, for I know you have a splendid chance to 
get well."- 

Her only purpose during those trying seasons was 
beautifully expressed in her OAvn simple words, "I 
keep doing something all the time to make the men 
better, and help them to get well," and her name was 
spoken with gratitude by numberless soldiers. 

In September a battle was fought at luka. Here 
Mother Bickerdyke again walked over a blood- 
stained field to save many a life fast ebbing away 
for want of immediate aid. She deftly stopped the 
flow of blood from wounds that must otherwise have 
proved fatal. The numl^er of wounded swelled to 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 525 

nearly fifteen hundred. The accommodations were 
crowded, and the wounded were sent to Corinth as 
fast as tlieir condition wonld permit. Mrs. Bicker- 
dyke not only went with them, to alleviate suffering 
on the painful journey, but did much to prevent 
waste. Owing to limited time and means of trans- 
portation, soiled clothing, and things that were not 
especially needed to fit up the place to which they 
were going, were to be left behind. But prudent 
Mother Bickerdyke had all articles packed closely, 
and when she saw that they were to be left, exclaimed 
in surprise : " Do you suppose that we are going to 
thi'ow away those things that the daughters and 
wives of our soldiers have worked so hard to give 
us? I will prove that they can be saved, and the 
clothes w^ashed. Just take them along;" and the 
order was obeyed. 

A mother kneeling by the cot of her son, who was 
scarcely seventeen years old, said : " It is no wonder 
that you are called ^ Mother ' here, for you treat all 
these men with such kindness and patience. I owe 
to you the preservation of my darling's life. Oh, it 
would have broken my heart had I found him dead!" 
With that thought she burst into a passion of sobs, 
and buried her face in the pillow. He smoothed her 
silver hair with one hand (he had lost the other) , and 
tried to comfort her. Such scenes aroused feelings 
in the heart of Mrs. Bickerdyke for which she could 
find no expression save in work. 

The large hospitals in Memphis had not been 
prepared in vain, and she was often seen among the 



526 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

patients in the different wards, besides performing 
her dnties as matron of the Gayoso. 

She was always planning for more and better food 
for her sick boys. Fresh milk and eggs were sup- 
plied in scant quantities, and were very poor at that. 
She declared that it was a nuisance to pay forty 
cents a quart for chalk and water. She wanted 
something nourishing. Her plan was at first 
deemed impracticable, but after consideration it was 
conceded that her judgment was not at fault. The 
sanction of her plan was gained from proper authori- 
ties, and just as Spring was preparing to welcome 
Summer, she started upon her famous " cow and hen 
mission." Her object was to obtain one hundred 
cows and one thousand hens, to be cared for on an 
island in the Mississippi, near Memphis. The l)egin- 
ning of this mission was distinguished by more than 
one hundred crippled soldiers accompanying her as 
far as St. Louis. There was not one of the poor 
maimed fellows who did not bless her when she saw 
them all safely in a hospital there. 

As soon as she made her plans known in Jackson- 
ville, 111., a wealthy farmer, aided by a few of his 
neighbors, gave her the hundred cows; and as she 
proceeded, chickens were cackling all about her. 
She procured the desired one thousand, and her 
arrival at Milwaukee was heralded by the lowing 
of cows and the sprightly song of hens. 

She visited Chicago, where she was entertained by 
Mary A. Livermore, of the Christian Commission. 
It was a Sabbath afternoon, and the family were 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 527 

preparing to attend the marriage of a friend; and 
althongh Mrs. Bickerdyke had taken no rest since 
her ari'ival, she preferred to join them rather than to 
retire. The ceremony was a quiet one, performed in 
the bride's home. A young officer in his bright 
uniform was the bridegroom: and when he intro- 
duced thfc^ white-robed girl as his wife to Mi's. 
Bickerdyke, she was surprised by his telhng her 
they had previously met at Fort Don el son. Then he 
reminded her of an officer there who had been 
wounded by a minnie-ball, appealing in vain to a 
surgeon to save his leg. She induced the surgeon 
to wait until morning, when it was found that he 
could recover without losing the limb. " I never can 
express my gratitude to you " he concluded. " You 
have been to me a mother indeed." 

She had accompanied the soldiers to Farmington, 
whence they removed to Corinth, to secure bet- 
ter accommodations. Here she established a Diet 
Kitchen and a laundi-y. The great bundles of soiled 
and blood-stained clothing were sent to the woods, 
where colored men washed them, superintended by 
Mrs. Bickerdyke. She rode a white horse, the 
distance being nearly two miles from camp. 

One of her best-known acts is an " interference " 
that gained for her the title of "' General." It was at 
the time when the Confederates attempted to re-cap- 
ture Corinth, and attacked the defense Oct. 3, 1862. 
The hospital work was so well organized that it 
could be done very quickly, and Mrs. Bickerdyke 
found some time to study the progress of the battle. 



528 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

The whole action was rapid and concerted. The 
Board of Trade Regiment, twelve hundred strong, 
had marched twenty-four miles to enter the conflict, 
and only four hundred returned. The steady roar 
of artillery drowned all other sounds. Toward 
evening she saw a brigade hurrying forward, and 
learned that they had been marching since noon, 
and were about to join in the struggle. The officer 
in command was requested to let them rest a few 
moments, but refused. The men were passing the 
hospital when a strong voice cried, •'' Halt! " Instinct- 
ively they obeyed, and attendants began to distribute 
soup and coffee; meanwhile their canteens were 
filled, and each received a loaf of bread. " Forward, 
march ! "" came the order in a very few minutes, the 
time lost being more than compensated by the 
renewed courage of the men, who had no other 
chance to rest until midnight. Mrs. Bickerdyke 
had given the order to halt herself, when she found 
that no one else would do it, and her '^ interference " 
was deeply appreciated; for in spite of her efforts, 
many died from hunger and thirst during that 
battle. 

She experienced some difficulty in getting trans- 
portation for her stores to Resaca, but finally arrived 
while the hospital tents were being pitched. All 
around lay the womided, who, one by one, were 
being carried to the operating tables, by the sides 
of which were heaped those ghastly piles of human 
flesh. Turning from such fearful sights she began 
to work among the men, binding up a wound here. 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 529 

straightening a limb there, and again bending to 
bathe a quivering, ngonized face. 

Thus day after day the fearful work went on, and 
day after day Mother Bickerdyke passed in and out 
among the soldiers, ministering to needs of both 
mind and body, as only a strong, loving woman 
could do. She had given herself unreservedly to 
the work, and to such a nature as hers retreat would 
be impossible. Sickness, sorrow and danger of every 
kind must necessarily come, but she would meet them 
as the soldiers did, — as obstacles that must be over- 
come ; for the path of duty lay clearly marked out 
before her and she could not turn aside. For herself 
she would accept nothing; if her boys could be 
comfortably cared for she was happy. She was a 
capital forager, and for the sake of the sick soldier 
she would brave any danger. She was once present 
at the Chamber of Commerce in Milwaukee, with 
the Ladies' Aid Society of the IS^orthwestern Sani- 
tary Commission. The President of the Chamber, in 
his blandest tones, informed the ladies that the 
Chamber had considered their request, but that 
they had expended so much in fitting out a regi- 
ment that they must be excused from making further 
contributions. Mrs. Bickerdyke asked the privilege 
of saying a few words, and for a half hour she held 
them enchained. She described in plain, simple lan- 
guage the life of a soldier, — his privations and suf- 
ferings, the patriotism which animated him to suffer 
and to dare without murmuring. She contrasted this 
with the love of gain, and such an excuse for making 



\ 



530 OUR ARMY NURSES 

no further donations. " Yoii rich men are living at 
your ease here in Milwaukee, dressed in your broad- 
cloth, knowing- so little of the sufferings of these 
soldiers writhing in pain, cold, hungry, many of 
them finally meeting death, — and all that you and 
your little ones, your wealth and your homes, may 
be saved to a future republic. Shame on you, 
cowards ! " The Chamber of Commerce was not 
prepared to be thus rebuked. They reconsidered 
their action, and made an appropriation. 

Though Mrs. Bickerdyke was always neat and 
cleanly in her dress, she was indifferent to its 
attractions; and amid the flying sparks from open 
fires her calico dress would take fire, and was often 
full of little holes. Some one asked if she were not 
afraid of being burned. " Oh," she replied, " my 
boys put me out!" With her clothing in this 
condition she visited Chicago late in the summer 
of 1863. The ladies replenished her wardrobe, and 
soon after sent her a box of nice clothing for her own 
use. Some of the articles were richly trimmed, 
among them two nightgowns. She traded off the 
most of the articles Avith the rebel women of the 
])lace for eggs, butter, and other good things for her 
sick soldiers. She was soon to go to Cairo, and she 
thought the nightgowns would sell for more there; 
but on her way, in one of the towns on the Mobile 
and Oliio Railroad, she found two soldiers who had 
been discharged from the hospitals before their 
wounds were healed. The exertion of travel had 
opened them afresh. They were in an old shanty, 



OUR ARMY NURSES. ^31 

bleeding, hiingiy, penniless. Mrs. Bickerdyke took 
them at once in hand, washed their wounds, stopped 
the flow of blood, tore off the bottoms of the night- 
gowns and used them for bandages. Then as'^the 
men had no shirts she dressed them in the fine night- 
gowns, ruffles, lace, and all. They demurred a little, 
but she told them if any one spoke about it, to say 
they had been in Seceshville. 

Some soldiers in fresh uniforms waited upon her, 
one sunny morning, and tendered her a review. She 
smilingly consented, donned her sun-bonnet, and per- 
mitted herself to be stationed in a rude, elevated 
position. Then the fine old cows who had supplied 
them with milk filed past her. Each one had been 
smoothly curried, their horns had been ])olished, and 
their hoofs blackened. The favorites were decked 
with little flags, and a lively march was played as the 
<iueer procession filed past. Many of these cows had 
marched a long distance with the army. They were 
a treasure to Mrs. Bickerdyke, as she could make 
custards and other delicacies for her sick soldiers. 
This boyish prauk, ''The Cows' Review," was a 
pleasant incident which she greatly enjoyed. 

When the army was ordered to Washington for 
the grand review, and the soldiers realized that they 
were soon to meet the loved ones at home, they 
l)ecame as light-hearted as boys, and the march 
from Alexandria was a joyous one. Mrs. Bicker- 
dyke accompanied them, i-iding her glossy horse. 
She wore a simple calico dress and a large sun- 
bonnet. She crossed the Long Bridge in advance 



532 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

of the 15th Army Corps, and was met by Dorothy 
Dix and others, who came to welcome her to the 
capital. This was a triumph snch as few Avomen 
have ever achieved; and during the weeks follow- 
ing she was everywhere treated with great i-espect 
and consideration. 

The calico dress and snnbonnet Avere sold for one 
hundred dollars, and preserved as relics of the Rebel- 
lion. This money she spent at once, for " the boys 
needed so many things." 

At last the great war was over. Peace Avas 
declaimed, and the j^ation aAvoke to the fact that it 
had on its hands a mighty ai-m}^, — A^ictoj-ious, it is 
true, but with many of the men destitute, and bearing 
the marks of the four years' struggle. In a short 
tim@ that army disappeared in a manner that has been 
the Avonder of every nation. 

But where had they gone, and under Avhat circum- 
stances? Those soldiers could never be anything 
but " her boys " to Mother Bickerdyke, and she 
could not desert them noAv, Avhen maimed, and 
broken in health and fortune, they must go back 
to the old homes, or wander about in search of 
new ones. From that time until the present day 
she has been constantly interested for their welfare. 
In the old ^N'ew England homestead, in the sunny 
valleys of California, or on Western prairies, Avher- 
ever the soldiers have made their homes, the name of 
Mother Bickerdyke will be spoken with reverential 
love, until her boys are mustered out, and their 
tongues are silent in death. 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 533 

She is now eighty-two years old, and very smart 
for one of that age. She keeps a secretary to 
conduct her large corresiDondence, coming from 
soldiers in all parts of the country. 
^Her son, Prof. J. B. Bickerdyke, lives in Russell, 
Ivansas, and with him his honored mother finds a 
pleasant retreat in which to pass the sunset of her- 
long and useful life. 







534 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




HELEN GILSON. 



3 



y^ELE^ L. GILSO^, of Chelsea, Mass., had 
been for several years head assistant in the 
Phillips School in Boston, bnt ill health ol)liged 
^-^ her to leave it. She had been teaching the 
children of Frank B. Fay, Mayor of Chelsea. On 
the breaking out of the wai- she had an ardent desire 
to become an army nurse, but did not succeed until 
June, 18G2, when she took a position on one of the 
hospital boats of the Sanitary Commission, just after 
the evacuation of 1 orktown. She continued on hos- 
pital boats between White House, Fortress Monroe, 
Harrison Landing, and Washington. She reached 
the field of Antietam, Sept. 18, 1862, a few hours 
after the battle, and remained there and at Pleasant 
Valley till the wounded had been gathered into gen- 
eral hospitals. In November and December, 1862, 
she worked in the camps and hospitals near Fred- 
ericksburg, at tlie time of Burnside's campaign. In 
the spring of 1863 she was again at that point, at 
the battle of Chancellors ville, and in the Potomac 
Creek Hospital. When the army moved she joined 
it at Manassas ; but finding that her special diet sup- 
j^lies had been lost on the passage, she returned to 
Washington, and went on to Gettysburg, arriving a 
few hours after the last day's fight. She worked here 
till the wounded had been sent to Base Hospital. In 
October, JN^ovember, and December, 1863, she worked 



536 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

in the hospitals on Folly and Morris Islands, Sonth 
Carolina, when General Clilmore was besieging Fort 
Sumter. Early in 1864: she joined the army at 
Brandy Station, and in May went with the Auxiliary 
Corps of the Sanitary Commission to Fredericksburg, 
when the battle of the Wilderness was being- fouo^ht. 
AVm. Howell Reed, of Boston, who joined the Auxil- 
iary Corps at this point, in his Avork " Hospital Life 
in the Army of the Potomac," thus describes the 
condition of things at Fredericksburg: — 

"The buildings were rapidly appropriated by the 
medical director as temporary hospitals, including 
public edifices, private dwellings, storehouses, sheds, 
and churches. But the wounded were arriving in 
such numbers that man}^ were laid on the streets and 
sidewalks to wait for shelter, five hundred in one 
train being laid out in the open field. One of the 
buildings taken was the Marie Mansion." 

It was here he first met Miss Gilson, and he thus 
described the meeting: — 

"One afternoon just before the evacuation, when 
the atmosphere of our rooms Avas close and foul, and 
all Avere longing for a breath of our cooler Northern 
air, Avhile the men were moaning in pain or Avere 
restless Avith fcA^er, and our hearts Avere sick Avith 
pity for the siifiierers, I heard a light step upon the 
stairs ; and looking u]) I saw a young lady enter, Avho 
brought Avith her such an atmosphere of calm and 
cheerful courage, so much freshness, such an expres- 
sion of gentle, Avomanly sympathy, that her mere 
presence seemed to revive the drooping spirits of the 



tv 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 537 

men, and to g-ive 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 sufierer, 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 build- 
ing:. Soldiers with less severe wounds, from the 
rooms above, began to crawl out into the entries, and 
men from below ci'ept 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. 1 did not know who she was, but I 
was as much moved and melted as any soldier of 
them all. This is my fii'st reminiscence of Helen L. 
Gilson." 

It became necessary to evacuate the town, and the 
wounded were sent away. The steamei-, wi<^h the last 
of the wounded and the members of the Auxiliary 
Corps, left just in season to escape the guerrillas, who 
came into the town. Mr. Keed says : " As the boat 
passed down the river the negroes, by instinct, came 
to the banks and begged, by every gesture of appeal, 
not to pass them by. At Port Royal they flocked in 
such numbers that a Government barge was appro- 
priated to their use. A thousand were stowed upon 



538 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

her decks. They had an evening service of prayer 
and song, and the members of the corps went on 
board to witness it. When their song had ceased, 
Miss Gilson addressed them. She pictured the reahty 
of freedom; told them what it meant, and what they 
would have to do. Xo longer would there be a mas- 
ter 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 owu infii'm ; but all this was 
to be done under new conditions. jSTo overseer was 
to stand over them with the whip, for their new mas- 
ter 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 lan- 
guage she explained the difference between their for- 
mer relations with the then master and their new 
relations with the N^orthern 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 
di-aw near to Him in prayer. But rememl3er that this 
is not all of religion. You must do right, as well as 
pray right. Your lives must be full of kind deeds 
toward each other, full of gentle and loving affec- 
tions, full of unselfishness and truth : this is true piety. 
You mu.st make Monday and Tuesday just as good 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 539 

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 this exquisite hymn by Whittier: — 

'O, praise an' t'anks, — de Lord he come 
To set de people free ;' etc." 

After working among the wounded at Cold Har- 
bor the boat went on to City Point. Miss Gilson, 
with Mrs. General Barlow, at once went to the front 
of Petersburg, where the Second and Eighteenth 
Corps had been fighting. She returned to the Base 
Hospital at City Point, and remained several months. 

Mr. Reed tiius describes Miss Gilson's work at the 
Colored Hospital at this place : — 

"Up to this time the colored troops had taken but 
a passive part in the campaign. They were now first 
brought into action in front of Petersburg, when the 
fighting was so desperately contested that many thou- 
sands were left upon the field. The wounded were 
brought down rapidly to City Point, where a tempo- 
i-ary hospital had been provided. It was, however, 
in no other sense a hospital, than that it was a depot 
for wounded men. There were defective manage- 
ment and chaotic confusion. The men were neglected, 
the hospital organization Avas imperfect, and the mor- 
tality Avas in consequence frightfully large. Their 
condition was horrible. The severity of the cam- 
paign in a malarious country had prostrated many 



540 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

with fevers, and typhoid, in its most malignant forms, 
was raging with increasing fatahty. 

" These stories of suffering reached Miss Gilson 
at a moment when the previous hibors of the cam- 
paign 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 had to be created, and 
this required all the tact, finesse, and dijDlomacy of 
which a woman is capable. Official prejudice and 
professional pride had to be met and overcome. A 
new policy had to be introduced, and it had 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 had to be organized upon her 
method of special diet ; nurses had to learn her way, 
and be educated to their duties; while cleanliness, 
order, system, had 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 Avas lessened, and the hospital 
was soon considered the best in the department. 
This was accomplished by a tact and energy Avhich 
sought no praise, but modestly veiled themselves be- 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 541 

hind 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 brouo'ht her into personal intercourse with 
every patient, and she knew his special need. At 
one time nine hundred men were supplied from her 
kitchen." 

"The nurses looked for Miss Gilson's word of 
praise, and labored for it ; and she had only to sug- 
gest a variety in the decoration of the tents to stimu- 
late a most honorable rivaliy 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 wo- 
man's tenderness, a woman's delicacy and tact; it 
required such nerve and moral force, and such execu- 
tive power, as are rarely united in any woman's charac- 
ter. 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 



542 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

follow her with their eyes, attracted by the grave 
sweetness of her manner ; and when she stopped by 
some bedside, and laid her hand npon 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 lip qniver, as he tried to speak or 
to tonch the fold of her dress, as if appealing to her 
to listen while he opened his heart about the mothei', 
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 onr camj) conld afford, — 
with her eyes open and Avatchfnl, and her hands ever 
ready for all those endless wants of sickness at 
night, especially sickness that may be tended nnto 
death, or nnto the awfnl struggle between life and 
death, which it was the lot of nearly all of ns 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 trem- 
bling in the balance between earth and heaven, wait- 
ing 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 Avay 
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 recog- 
nitions of her ministry. Absorbed in her work, un- 
conscious of the spiritual bea'uty 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 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 543 

soldier, whispering of the higher reahties 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 where the men have craved 
some simple religions service, — the reading of Scrip- 
tnre, 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 tonching simphcity of 
her eloquence. 

" These were the tokens of her ministry among the 
sickest men; but it was not here alone that her in- 
fluence 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 w as 
there hardship or discontent, the knowledge that she 
was sharing the discomfort too, was enough to com- 
pel patient endurance until a remedy could be pro- 
vided. And so through all the war, from the seven 
days' conflict ui)on the Peninsula, in those early 
July days of 1802, through the campaigns of 
Antietam and Fredericksburg, of Chancellorsvihe 
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 laboi-ed stead- 
fastly on until the end. Through scorching heat and 
pinching cold, in the tent or upon the open field, in 



544 OUR ARMY NURSES. 

the ambulance oi' on the saddle^ throngh rain and 
snow, amid nnseen perils of the enemy, nnder tire 
upon the field, or in the more insidious dangers of con- 
tagion, she worked quietly on, doing her simple part 
with all womanly tact and skill, until now the hospi- 
tal dress is laid aside, and she rests, with the sense 
of a noble work done, with the blessing and prayers 
of hundreds whose sufferings she has relieved or 
whose lives she has saved, being, 

' In the great history of the hind, 
A noble type of good 
Heroic womanhood.'" 

From City Point she went to a hospital at Rich- 
mond, after the evacuation, and remained until 
June, 18G5. 

During the following years, she spent some months 
in Richmond, working among the colored and white 
schools, but with declining health she returned to 
Massachusetts, and died in April, 1868, and was 
buried in AVoodlawn Cemetery, Chelsea. A beauti- 
ful monument with an appropriate inscrij^tion was 
erected over her grave by the soldiers, which is 
decorated each year liy Grand Army Posts and 
Women's Relief C<jrps. 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



545 




< Ul 






546 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 




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'OHX B. MARSH, a prisoner in Yicksburg 
Jail, had been forced into the Kebel army, 
and hi an attempt to join the Union forces 
was recaptnred, and condemned to be shot. 
Just before his execution he managed to get the fol- 
lowing note into the hands of a Union soldier : " If 
you reach our lines have this put into the Northern 
papei'S so that my father, the Rev. Leonard Marsh, 
who lives in Maine, may know what has become of 
me. I am to be shot for defending my country. I 
love it, and am willing to die for it. Tell my parents 
I am happy in the Lord. My future is bright." 

One of the guards said that after young Marsh 
was placed in position, he was told that he could 
speak if he desired to do so. Looking calmly over 
the crowd for a moment he cried in strong, clear 
tones, "Three cheers for the flag and the Union!" 
There was no response from the croAvd, Avho watched 
him with almost breathless interest, as, standing fear- 
lessly before them, he faced the muskets that in a few 
seconds of time should prove the key that would un- 
lock to him the doors of eternity, and shouted 
"Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!" The volley struck 
him m the breast, and the beating of that noble, 
patriotic heart was stilled forever. 



547 



548 



OUR ARMY NURSES. 



In that calm world whose peopling is of angels, 

Those I called mine still live and wait for nie : 
They cannot redescend where I lament them ; 

]\Iy earthbound grief no pitying angel shares, 
And in their peaceful and immortal dwelling 

Nothing of me can enter but my prayers ! 
If this be so, then, that I may be near them, 

Let me still pray unmurmuring, niglit and day. 
God lifts us gently to His world of glory. 

E'en by the love we feel for things of clay, 
Lest iu our wayward hearts we should forget Him, 

And forfeit so the mansion of our rest. 
He leads our dear ones forth, and bids us seek them 

In a far-distant home, among the blest. 
So we have guides to heaven's eternal city ; 

And when our wandering feet would backward stray, 
The faces of our dead arise in brightness. 

And fondly beckon to the holier way." 







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