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[295] be spared, and having had it carefully washed and repaired, distributed it to the wounded, who were in great need of additional clothing. The arms left on the field were also picked up by her corps of contrabands and delivered over to the Union quartermaster. Not long after she was put in charge of the Gayoso Hospital, in what was formerly the Gayoso Hotel, one of the largest hotels in Memphis. Here she was in all her glory. It was her ambition to make her hospital the best regulated, neatest, and most comfortable in Memphis or its vicinity, and this, in such a building, was not easy. She accomplished it, however. It was usual in the hospitals there as elsewhere to employ convalescent soldiers as nurses, ward masters, etc., for the drudgery of the hospital; and as these were often weak, and occasionally peevish and ill-tempered from their own past or present sufferings, it may be imagined that they did not always make the best of nurses. Mrs. Bickerdyke substituted negro women for these duties, and the improvement was speedily manifest. Herself a skilful and admirable cook, she superintended the preparation of all the food for the sick or wounded, and often administered it in person. Nothing displeased her so much as any neglect of the men on the part of the surgeon or assistant surgeons. On one occasion, visiting one of the wards at nearly eleven o'clock A. M., where the men were very badly wounded, she found that the assistant surgeon-in-charge, who had been out “on a spree” the night before and had slept very late, had not yet made out the special diet list for the ward, and the men, faint and hungry, had had no breakfast. She at once denounced him in the strongest terms.

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