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

MARGARET E. BRECKINRIDGE.

A TRUE heroine of the war was Margaret Elizabeth Breckinridge. Patient, courageous, self-forgetting, steady of purpose and cheerful in spirit, she belonged by nature to the heroic order, while all the circumstances of her early life tended to mature and prepare her for her destined work. Had her lot been cast in the dark days of religious intolerance and persecution, her steadfast enthusiasm and holy zeal would have earned for her a martyr's cross and crown; but, born in this glorious nineteenth century, and reared in an atmosphere of liberal thought and active humanity, the first spark of patriotism that flashed across the startled North at the outbreak of the rebellion, set all her soul aglow, and made it henceforth an altar of living sacrifice, a burning and a shining light, to the end of her days. Dearer to her gentle spirit than any martyr's crown, must have been consciousness that this Godgiven light had proved a guiding beacon to many a faltering soul feeling its way into the dim beyond, out of the drear loneliness of camp or hospital. With her slight form, her bright face, and her musical voice, she seemed a ministering angel to the sick and suffering soldiers, while her sweet womanly purity and her tender devotion to their wants made her almost an object of worship among them. "Ain't she an angel?" said a gray-headed soldier as he watched her one morning as she was busy getting breakfast for the boys on the steamer "City of Alton." "She never seems to tire, she is always smiling, and don't seem to walk--she flies,

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