Woman's Work in the Civil War: A Record of Heroism, Patriotism and Patience

By L. P. Brockett; Mary C. Vaughan | Go to book overview

WOMAN'S WORK IN THE CIVIL WAR.

INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER.

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

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

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