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[296]

He came in meanwhile, and on his inquiry, “Hoity toity, what's the matter?” she turned upon him with, “Matter enough, you miserable scoundrel! Here these men, any one of them worth a thousand of you, are suffered to starve and die, because you want to be off upon a drunk! Pull off your shoulder-straps,” she continued, as he tried feebly to laugh off her reproaches, “pull off your shoulder-straps, for you shall not stay in the army a week longer.” The surgeon still laughed, but he turned pale, for he knew her power. She was as good as her word. Within three days, she had caused his discharge. He went to headquarters, and asked to be reinstated. General Sherman, who was then in command, listened patiently, and then inquired who had caused his discharge. “I was discharged in consequence of misrepresentations,” answered the surgeon, evasively. “But who caused your discharge?” persisted the general. “Why,” said the surgeon, hesitatingly, “I suppose it was that woman, that Mrs. Bickerdyke.” “Oh,” said Sherman. “Well, if it was her, I can do nothing for you. She ranks me.”

Some months later, the chief surgeon of the hospital, a martinet in discipline, was dissatisfied at Mrs. Bickerdyke's innovations, though he acknowledged the admirable order and neatness of the hospital; he knew that she valued highly her well trained corps of negro women employed as nurses, etc., in the hospital, and he, therefore, procured from the medical director an order that none but convalescent soldiers should be employed as nurses in the Memphis hospitals. The order was to take effect at nine o'clock the following morning. Mrs. Bickerdyke heard of it just at night. The Gayoso Hospital

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