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[340] articles of food or of clothing, was almost sure to be promptly answered, while Government supplies were to be procured only on requisition, and necessarily passing through several hands, were sometimes much delayed. With the resulting lessening of the burden upon the energies of the commission, its activity was much broadened.

A ‘home’ was established in Washington to give food and lodging and proper care to discharged soldiers. Those in charge were always ready to help soldiers to correct defective papers, to act as agents for those too feeble to present their claims at the pension office or to the paymaster, and to protect them from sharpers and the like. Lodges were established near the railway stations to give temporary shelter. Two nurses' homes were established, but these were largely used as temporary shelter for mothers or wives seeking their wounded sons or husbands.

In the West, a home was established by the Chicago branch at Cairo, Illinois, which was one of the main gateways through which soldiers passed, going toward or returning from the army. Rations were issued by the Government, and the building was furnished for the most part by the commission which assumed the management. It was, in effect, a free hotel for soldiers, and thousands were looked after and kept from harmful associations. Later it was much enlarged by order of General Grant, who instructed the officer commanding the post to construct suitable buildings. Much of the money raised by the Sanitary Commission was by means of fairs, some of which became national events, and lasted for weeks. During its existence the Sanitary Commission received $4,924,480.99 in money and the value of $15,000,000 in supplies.

No such well-organized instrumentality as the Sanitary Commission existed in the South. There were many women's-aid societies, and some of those in the seaport towns performed valuable services. The one in Charleston devoted its energies largely to procuring through the blockade the much needed

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