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[405]

Final Chapter: the faithful but less conspicuous laborers.


So abundant and universal was the patriotism and self-sacrifice of the loyal women of the nation that the long list of heroic names whose deeds of mercy we have recorded in the preceding pages gives only a very inadequate idea of woman's work in the war. These were but the generals or at most the commanders of regiments, and staff-officers, while the great army of patient workers followed in their train. In every department of philanthropic labor there were hundreds and in some, thousands, less conspicuous indeed than these, but not less deserving. We regret that the necessities of the case compel us to pass by so many of these without notice, and to give to others of whom we know but little beyond their names, only a mere mention.

Among those who were distinguished for services in field, camp or army hospitals, not already named, were the following, most of whom rendered efficient service at Antietam or at the Naval Academy Hospital at Annapolis. Some of them were also at City Point; Miss Mary Cary, of Albany, N. Y., and her sister, most faithful and efficient nurses of the sick and wounded, as worthy doubtless, of a more prominent position in this work as many others found in the preceding pages, Miss Agnes Gillis, of Lowell, Mass., Mrs. Guest, of Buffalo, N. Y., Miss Maria Josslyn, of Roxbury, Mass., Miss Ruth L. Ellis, of Bridgewater, Mass., [406] Miss Kate P. Thompson, of Roxbury, Mass., whose labors at Annapolis, have probably made her permanently an invalid, Miss Eudora Clark, of Boston, Mass., Miss Sarah Allen, of Wilbraham, Mass., Miss Emily Gove, of Peru, N. Y., Miss Caroline Cox, of Mott Haven, N. Y., first at David's Island and afterward at Beverly Hospital, N. J., with Mrs. Gibbons, Miss Charlotte Ford, of Morristown, N. J., Miss Ella Wolcott, of Elmira, N. Y., who was at the hospitals near Fortress Monroe, for some time, and subsequently at Point Lookout.

Another corps of faithful hospital workers were those in the Benton Barracks and other hospitals, in and near St. Louis. Of some of these, subsequently engaged in other fields of labor we have already spoken; a few others merit special mention for their extraordinary faithfulness and assiduity in the service; Miss Emily E. Parsons, the able lady superintendent of the Benton Barracks Hospital, gives her testimony to the efficiency and excellent spirit of the following ladies; Miss S. R. Lovell, of Galesburg, Michigan, whose labors began in the hospitals near Nashville, Tennessee, and in 1864 was transferred to Benton Barracks, but was almost immediately prostrated by illness, and after her recovery returned to the Tennessee hospitals. Her gentle sympathizing manners, and her kindness to the soldiers won for her their regard and gratitude.

Miss Lucy J. Bissell, of Meremec, St. Louis County, Mo., offered her services as volunteer nurse as soon as the call for nurses in 1861, was issued; and was first sent to one of the regimental hospitals at Cairo, in July, 1861, afterward to Bird's Point, where she lived in a tent and subsisted on the soldiers' rations, for more than a year. After a short visit home she was sent in January, 1863, by the Sanitary Commission to Paducah, Ky., where she remained till the following October. In February, 1864, she was assigned to Benton Barracks Hospital where she continued till June 1st, 1864, except a short sickness contracted by hospital service. In July, 1864, she was transferred to Jefferson Barracks [407] Hospital and continued there till June, 1865, and that hospital being closed, served a month or two longer, in one of the others, in which some sick and wounded soldiers were still left. Many hundreds of the soldiers will testify to her untiring assiduity in caring for them.

Mrs. Arabella Tannehill, of Iowa, after many months of assiduous work at the Benton Barracks Hospital, went to the Nashville hospitals, where she performed excellent service, being a most conscientious and faithful nurse, and winning the regard and esteem of all those under her charge.

Mrs. Rebecca S. Smith, of Chelsea, Ill., the wife of a soldier in the army, had acquitted herself so admirably at the Post Hospital of Benton Barracks, that one of the surgeons of the General Hospital, who had formerly been surgeon of the Post, requested Miss Parsons to procure her services for his ward. She did so, and found her a most excellent and skillful nurse.

Mrs. Caroline E. Gray, of Illinois, had also a husband in the army; she was a long time at Benton Barracks and was one of the best nurses there, an estimable woman in every respect.

Miss Adeline A. Lane, of Quincy, Ill., a teacher before the war, came to Benton Barracks Hospital in the Spring of 1863, and after a service of many months there, returned to her home at Quincy, where she devoted her attention to the care of the sick and wounded soldiers sent there, and accomplished great good.

Miss Martha Adams, of New York city, was long employed in the Fort Schuyler Hospital and subsequently at Benton Barracks, and was a woman of rare devotion to her work.

Miss Jennie Tileston Spaulding, of Roxbury, Mass., was for a long period at Fort Schuyler Hospital, where she was much esteemed, and after her return home busied herself in caring for the families of soldiers around her.

Miss E. M. King, of Omaha, Nebraska, was a very faithful and excellent nurse at the Benton Barracks Hospital.

Mrs. Juliana Day, the wife of a surgeon in one of the Nashville [408] hospitals, acted as a volunteer nurse for them, and by her protracted services there impaired her health and died before the close of the war.

Other efficient nurses appointed by the Western Sanitary Commission (and there were none more efficient anywhere) were, Miss Carrie C. McNair, Miss N. A. Shepard, Miss C. A. Harwood, Miss Rebecca M. Craighead, Miss Ida Johnson, Mrs. Dorothea Ogden, Miss Harriet N. Phillips, Mrs. A. Reese, Mrs. Maria Brooks, Mrs. Mary Otis, Miss Harriet Peabody, Mrs. M. A. Wells, Mrs. Florence P. Sterling, Miss N. L. Ostram, Mrs. Anne Ward, Miss Isabella M. Hartshorn, Mrs. Mary Ellis, Mrs. L. E. Lathrop, Miss Louisa Otis, Mrs. Lydia Leach, Mrs. Mary Andrews, Mrs. Mary Ludlow, Mrs. Hannah A. Haines and Mrs. Mary Allen. Most of these were from St. Louis or its vicinity.

The following, also for the most part from St. Louis, were appointed somewhat later by the Western Sanitary Commission, but rendered excellent service. Mrs. M. I. Ballard, Mrs. E. O. Gibson, Mrs. L. D. Aldrich, Mrs. Houghton, Mrs. Sarah A. Barton, Mrs. Olive Freeman, Mrs. Anne M. Shattuck, Mrs. E. C. Brendell, Mrs. E. J. Morris, Miss Fanny Marshall, Mrs. Elizabeth A. Nichols, Mrs. H. A. Reid, Mrs. Reese, Mrs. M. A. Stetler, Mrs. M. J. Dykeman, Misses Marian and Clara McClintock, Mrs. Sager, Mrs. Peabody, Mrs. C. C. Hagar, Mrs. J. E. Hickox, Mrs. L. L. Campbell, Miss Deborah Dougherty and Mrs. Ferris.

As in other cities, many ladies of high social position, devoted themselves with great assiduity to voluntary visiting and nursing at the hospitals. Among these were Mrs. Chauncey I. Filley, wife of Mayor Filley, Mrs. Robert Anderson, wife of General Anderson, Mrs. Jessie B. Fremont, wife of General Fremont, Mrs. Clinton B. Fisk, wife of General Fisk, Mrs. E. M. Webber, Mrs. A. M. Clark, Mrs. John Campbell, Mrs. W. F. Cozzens, Mrs. E. W. Davis, Miss S. F. McCracken, Miss Anna M. Debenham, since deceased, Miss Susan Bell, Miss Charlotte Ledergerber, Mrs. S. C. Davis, Mrs. Hazard, Mrs. T. D. [409] Edgar, Mrs. George Partridge, Miss E. A. Hart, since deceased, Mrs. H. A. Nelson, Mrs. F. A. Holden, Mrs. Hicks, Mrs. Baily, Mrs. Elizabeth Jones, Mrs. C. V. Barker, Miss Bettie Brodhead, Mrs. T. M. Post, Mrs. E. J. Page, Miss Jane Patrick, since deceased, Mrs. R. H. Stone, Mrs. C. P. Coolidge, Mrs. S. R. Ward, Mrs. Washington King, Mrs. Wyllys King, Miss Fales, since deceased.

The following were among the noble women at Springfield, Ill., who were most devoted in their labors for the soldier in forwarding sanitary supplies, in visiting the hospitals in and near Springfield, in sustaining the Soldiers' Home in that city, and in aiding the families of soldiers. Mrs. Lucretia Jane Tilton, Miss Catharine Tilton, Mrs. Lucretia P. Wood, Mrs. P. C. Latham, Mrs. M. E. Halbert, Mrs. Zimmerman, Mrs. J. D. B. Salter, Mrs. John Ives, Mrs. Mary Engleman, Mrs. Paul Selby, Mrs. S. H. Melvin, Mrs. Stoneberger, Mrs. Schaums, Mrs. E. Curtiss, Mrs. L. Snell, Mrs. J. Nutt and Mrs. J. P. Reynolds. Mrs. R. H. Bennison, of Quincy, Ill., was also a faithful hospital visitor and friend of the soldier. Mrs. Dr. Ely, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, efficient in every good work throughout the war, and at its close the active promoter and superintendent of a Home for Soldiers' Orphans, near Davenport, Iowa, is deserving of all honor.

Miss Georgiana Willets, of Jersey City, N. J., a faithful and earnest helper at the front from 1864 to the end of the war, deserves especial mention, as do also Miss Molineux, sister of General Molineux and Miss McCabe, of Brooklyn, N. Y., who were, throughout the war, active in aiding the soldiers by all the means in their power. Miss Sophronia Bucklin, of Auburn, N. Y., an untiring and patient worker among the soldiers of the Army of the Potomac, also deserves a place in our record.

Cincinnati had a large band of noble hospital workers, women who gave freely of their own property as well as their personal services for the care and comfort of the soldier. Among these were, Mrs. Crafts J. Wright, wife of Colonel Crafts [410] J. Wright, was among the first hospital visitors of the city, and was unwearied in her efforts to provide comforts for the soldiers in the general hospitals of the city as well as for the sick or wounded soldiers of her husband's regiment in the field. Mrs. C. W. Starbuck, Mrs. Peter Gibson, Mrs. William Woods and Mrs. Caldwell, were also active in visiting the hospitals and gave largely to the soldiers who were sick there. Miss Penfield and Mrs. Elizabeth S. Comstock, of Michigan, Mrs. C. E. Russell, of Detroit, Mrs. Harriet B. Dame, of Wisconsin and the Misses Rexford, of Illinois, were remarkably efficient, not only in the hospitals at home, but at the front, where they were long engaged in caring for the soldiers.

From Niagara Falls, N. Y., Miss Elizabeth L. Porter, sister of the late gallant Colonel Peter A. Porter, went to the Baltimore Hospitals and for nineteen months devoted her time and her ample fortune to the service of the soldiers, with an assiduity which has rendered her an invalid ever since.

In Louisville, Ky., Mrs. Menefee and Mrs. Smith, wife of the Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church for the diocese of Kentucky, were the leaders of a faithful band of hospital visitors in that city.

Boston was filled with patriotic women; to name them all would be almost like publishing a directory of the city. Mrs. Lowell, who gave two sons to the war, both of whom were slain at the head of their commands, was herself one of the most zealous laborers in behalf of the soldier in Boston or its vicinity. Like Miss Wormeley and Miss Gilson, she took a contract for clothing from the government, to provide work for the soldiers' families, preparing the work for them and giving them more than she received. Her daughter, Miss Anna Lowell, was on one of the Hospital Transports in the Peninsula, and arrived at Harrison's Landing, where she met the news of her brother's death in the battles of the Seven Days, but burying her sorrows in her heart, she took charge of a ward on the Transport [411] when it returned, and from the summer of 1862 till the close of the war was in charge as lady superintendent, of the Armory Square Hospital, Washington. Other ladies hardly less active were Mrs. Amelia L. Holmes, wife of the poet and essayist, Miss Hannah E. Stevenson, Miss Ira E. Loring, Mrs. George H. Shaw, Mrs. Martin Brimmer and Mrs. William B. Rogers. Miss Mary Felton, of Cambridge, Mass., served for a long time with her friend, Miss Anna Lowell, at Armory Square Hospital, Washington. Miss Louise M. Alcott, daughter of A. B. Alcott, of Concord, Mass., and herself the author of a little book on “Hospital scenes,” as well as other works, was for some time an efficient nurse in one of the Washington hospitals.

Among the leaders in the organization of Soldiers' Aid Societies in the smaller cities and towns, those ladies who gave the impulse which during the whole war vibrated through the souls of those who came within the sphere of their influence, there are very many eminently deserving of a place in our record. A few we must name. Mrs. Heyle, Mrs. Ide and Miss Swayne, daughter of Judge Swayne of the United States Supreme Court, all of Columbus, Ohio, did an excellent work there. The Soldiers' Home of that city, founded and sustained by their efforts, was one of the best in the country. Mrs. T. W. Seward, of Utica, was indefatigable in her efforts for maintaining in its highest condition of activity the Aid Society of that city. Mrs. Sarah J. Cowen was similarly efficient in Hartford, Conn. Miss Long, at Rochester, N. Y., was the soul of the efforts for the soldier there, and her labors were warmly seconded by many ladies of high standing and earnest patriotism. In Norwalk, Ohio, Mrs. Lizzie H. Farr was one of the most zealous coadjutors of those ladies who managed with such wonderful ability the affairs of the Soldiers' Aid Society of Northern Ohio, at Cleveland. To her is due the origination of the Alert Clubs, associations of young girls for the purpose of working for the soldiers and their families, which rapidly spread thence over the country. Never flagging in her efforts for [412] the soldiers, Mrs. Farr exerted a powerful and almost electric influence over the region of which Norwalk is the centre.

Equally efficient, and perhaps exerting a wider influence, was the Secretary of the Soldiers' Aid Society at Peoria, Ill., Miss Mary E. Bartlett, a lady of superior culture and refinement, and indefatigable in her exertions for raising supplies for the soldiers, from the beginning to the close of the war. The Western Sanitary Commission had no more active auxiliary out of St. Louis, than the Soldiers' Aid Society of Peoria.

Among the ladies who labored for the relief of the Freedmen, Miss Sophia Knight of South Reading, Mass., deserves a place. After spending five or six months in Benton Barracks Hospital (May to October, 1864) she went to Natchez, Miss., and engaged as teacher of the Freedmen, under the direction of the Western Sanitary Commission. Not satisfied with teaching the colored children, she instructed also the colored soldiers in the fort, and visited the people in their homes and the hospitals for sick and wounded colored soldiers. She remained in Natchez until May, 1865. In the following autumn she.accepted an appointment from the New England Freedman's Aid Society as teacher of the Freedmen in South Carolina, on Edisto Island, where she remained until July, 1866; she then returned to Boston, where she is still engaged in teaching freedmen.

But time and space would both fail us were we to attempt to put on record the tithe of names which memory recalls of those whose labors and sacrifices of health and life for the cause of the nation, have been not less heroic or noble than those of the soldiers whom they have sought to serve. In the book of God's remembrance their names and their deeds of love and mercy are all inscribed, and in the great day of reckoning, when that record shall be proclaimed in the sight and hearing of an assembled universe, it will be their joyful privilege to hear from the lips of the Supreme Judge, the welcome words, “Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye did it unto me.”

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