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

Excerpt

A record of the personal services of our American women in the late Civil War, however painful to the modesty of those whom it brings conspicuously before the world, is due to the honor of the country, to the proper understanding of our social life, and to the general interests of a sex whose rights, duties and capacities are now under serious discussion. Most of the women commemorated in this work inevitably lost the benefits of privacy, by the largeness and length of their public services, and their names and history are to a certain extent the property of the country. At any rate they must suffer the penalty which conspicuous merit entails upon its possessors, especially when won in fields of universal interest.

Notwithstanding the pains taken to collect from all parts of the country, the names and history of the women who in any way distinguished themselves in the War, and in spite of the utmost impartiality of purpose, there is no pretence that all who served the country best, are named in this record. Doubtless thousands of women, obscure in their homes, and humble in their fortunes, without official position even in their local society, and all human trace of whose labors is forever lost, contributed as generously of their substance, and as freely of their time and strength, and gave as unreservedly their hearts and their prayers to the cause, as the most conspicuous on the shining list here unrolled. For if

"The world knows nothing of its greatest men,"

it is still more true of its noblest women. Unrewarded by praise, unsullied by self-complacency, there is a character "of no reputation," which formed in strictest retirement, and in the patient exercise of unobserved sacrifices, is dearer and holier in the eye of Heaven, than the most illustrious name won by the most splendid services. Women there were in this war, who without a single relative in the army, denied themselves for the whole four . . .

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