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. E. J. RUSSELL.

WE have spoken in previous sketches of the faithfulness and devotion of many of the government nurses, appointed by Miss Dix. No salary, certainly not the meagre pittance doled out by the government could compensate for such services, and the only satisfactory reason which can be offered for their willingness to render them, is that their hearts were inspired by a patriotism equally ardent with that which actuated their wealthier sisters, and that this pitiful salary, hardly that accorded to a green Irish girl just arrived in this country from the bogs of Erin, was accepted rather as affording them the opportunity to engage more readily in their work, than from any other cause. In many instances it was expended in procuring necessary food or luxuries for their soldier-patients, and in others, served to prevent dependence upon friends, who had the disposition but perhaps hardly the ability to furnish these heroic and self-denying nurses with the clothing or pocketmoney they needed in their work.

It is of one of these nurses, a lady of mature age, a widow, that we have now to speak. Mrs. E. J. Russell, of Plattekill, Ulster County, New York, was at the commencement of the war engaged in teaching in New York city. In common with the other ladies of the Reformed Dutch Church, in Ninth Street, of which she was a member, she worked for the soldiers at every spare moment, but the cause seemed to her to need her personal services in the hospital, and in ministrations to the wounded o sick, and when

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