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. ANNIE WITTENMEYER.

MRS. ANNIE WITTENMEYER, who, during the early part of the war was widely known as the State Sanitary Agent of Iowa, and afterward as the originator of the Diet Kitchens, which being attached to hospitals proved of the greatest benefit as an adjunct of the medical treatment, was at the outbreak of the rebellion, residing in quiet seclusion at Keokuk. With the menace of armed treason to the safety of her country's institutions, she felt all her patriotic instincts and sentiments arousing to activity. She laid aside her favorite intellectual pursuits, and prepared herself to do what a woman might in the emergency which called into existence a great army, and taxed the Government far beyond its immediate ability in the matter of Hospital Supplies and the proper provision for, and care of the sick and wounded.

Early in 1861 rumors of the sufferings of the volunteer soldiery, called so suddenly to the field, and from healthy northern climates to encounter the unwholesome and miasmatic exhalations of more southern regions, as well as the pain of badly-dressed wounds, began to thrill and grieve the hearts which had willingly though sadly sent them forth in their country's defense. Mrs. Wittenmeyer saw at once that a field of usefulness opened before her. Her first movement was to write letters to every town in her State urging patriotic women in every locality to organize themselves into Aid Societies, and commence systematically the work of supplying the imperative needs of the suffering

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