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
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MISS HATTIE WISWALL.

MISS HATTIE WISWALL entered the service as Hospital Nurse, May 1, 1863. For the first five or six months she was employed in the Benton Barracks Hospital at St. Louis. At that time the suffering of our boys in Missouri was very great, and all through that summer the hospitals of St. Louis were crowded to overflowing. From one thousand to fifteen hundred were lying in Benton Barracks alone. Men, wounded in every conceivable manner, were frequently arriving from the battle-fields, and our friend went through the same experience to which so many brave women, fresh from the quiet and happy scenes of their peaceful homes, have been willing to subject themselves for the sake of humanity. Sensitive and delicate though she was, she acquired here, by constant attention to her duties, a coolness in the presence of appalling sights that we have rarely seen equaled even in the stronger sex, and which, when united with a tender sympathy, as in her case, makes the model nurse. The feeling of horror which shrinks from the sight of agony and vents itself in vapid exclamations, she rightly deemed had no place in the character of one who proposes to do anything. So putting this aside she learned to be happy in the hospital, and consequently made others happy. Never in our observation has this first condition of success in nursing been so completely met. It became so intense a satisfaction to her to lessen, in ever so slight a degree, the misery of a sick or wounded soldier that the horror of the case seemed never

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