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

MRS. STEPHEN BARKER.

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

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

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

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

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