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

HELEN LOUISE GILSON.

MISS HELEN LOUISE GILSON is a native of Boston, but removed in childhood to Chelsea, Massachussetts, where she now resides. She is a niece of Hon. Frank B. Fay, former Mayor of Chelsea, and was his ward. Mr. Fay, from the commencement of the war took the most active interest in the National cause, devoting his time, his wealth and his personal efforts to the welfare of the soldiers. In the autumn of 1861 he went in person to the seat of war, and from that time forward, in every battle in which the Army of the Potomac was engaged, he was promptly upon the field with his stores and appliances of healing, and moved gently though rapidly among the dead and wounded, soothing helpless, suffering and bleeding men parched with fever, crazed with thirst, or lying neglected in the last agonies of death. After two years of this independent work performed when as yet the Sanitary Commission had no field agencies, and did not attempt to minister to the suffering and wounded until they had come under the hands of the surgeons, Mr. Fay laid before the Sanitary Commission, in the winter of 1863-4, his plans for an Auxiliary Relief Corps, to afford personal relief in the field, to the wounded soldier, and render him such assistance, as should enable him to bear with less injury the delay which must ensue before he could come under the surgeon's care or be transferred to a hospital, and in cases of the slighter wounds furnish the necessary and attention.

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