crowded around the table of the committee; and offers of money were made faster than it could be received.
Remarks like these were frequently made: ‘This is my thank-offering.’ —‘We must take care of the boys who fight for us.’—‘If you want any more, call on me.’
Contributions soon began to come in to the committee by mail from different parts of the Commonwealth
, and continued coming until one hundred and sixty-five thousand dollars were received.
The employes in the Charlestown Navy Yard
sent in a collection amounting to $6,432.26; and it is related that ‘an old lady of eighty years, who lived in Amherst
, and supported herself by sewing, walked four miles to carry to her pastor five cents, that he might send it to aid the suffering soldiers.’
Several instances are mentioned in these pages of aged women who spent the working hours of each day in knitting socks and mittens for the soldiers, and of young girls who gave their leisure time to scraping lint and making bandages for use in the hospitals.
Many of the unfortunate inmates of our lunatic asylums made up underclothing, and otherwise labored in behalf of the Union
soldiers; and several cases are related, in the first volume of this work, of schoolboys who spent their vacations in picking berries in the woods and pastures, which they sold, and forwarded the entire proceeds to the Christian
and Sanitary Commissions.
In view of these and many other facts which are related in these pages, it may well be said that when the rich and the poor, the aged and the middle-aged, the youth and children of both sexes, the sound in mind and those whom God hath suffered to be afflicted, unite as one in the support of a great cause, it cannot be otherwise than just, and cannot fail in the end to be successful.
The chief purpose of this volume, however, is to show what was done by each of the cities and towns in this Commonwealth, in their corporate capacities, to recruit and sustain our armies in the field, and to provide for the comfortable maintenance of the families of the soldiers and sailors when absent, and, when disabled, after their return home.
To do this correctly, and to make each record complete, we believed it proper, as it was most certainly just, that the names of the gentlemen who were Mayors, Aldermen
, Clerks, and Treasurers of our cities, and