Who will help the ladies?
Editors of Dispatch:
--We have seen in print the great success of the government hospitals at Culpeper Court-House.
A share of this success is due without doubt to Dr. Green
and his assistants; but the writer hereof, lately and for some months a patient there, has no hesitation in asserting that another, and no small share, is due to the ladies who, without recompense, minister to the suffering soldier like sisters of Charity.
These ladies (and we use the word "ladies" expressly) give not only their time and labor gratis to the sufferers; but they give their own private purses daily to the same cause.
The patients there after a nice meal of some delicacy, quite foreigner to a governmental commissariat, have often breathed their satisfaction at having a government so parental as to provide them with such; but have been both surprised and pained, when convalescent enough to get about and peer behind the curtain, to find that all those delicate extras came not from the commissary, but from the pockets of those noble women who had surely done enough in attending their bedsides without thus depleting their own purses.
Had they, in doing thus, have but shared
with the sick soldier, they would have merited the gratitude of himself and the country; but when in doing so they have dieted themselves upon the coarse fare of the commissariat, they deserve all that a country and a people (and history too) can award them.
Now, the writer hereof knows
of his own knowledge, that the several ladies connected with the great Smith Hospital, and its branches at Culpeper
, have, for months past, been purchasing delicacies for the sick and wounded with their individual funds, while they, themselves, in that drear old dining room of theirs, have been pining on mean baker's bread, poor fresh beef, and common coffee — the latter, generally, without milk, and very often without even the dirty, black sugar, doled out to the hospitals by a restricted commissary.
He has seen butter milk, sweet milk, butter, honey, custards, pies, tarts, preserves, pickles, &c, brought in occasionally from the generous farm-house matrons of the country, and he has messed with the ladies, at the next meal thereafter, in fond hope of getting a share of these, but has always been disappointed.
Experience and observation hath taught him, that in the paucity of even the best such supply, none but the bed-ridden soldier gets a share.
Now to you, gentlemen and ladies of the city and the plantations — you who are paid for your labors; who risk not your lives amid disease; who retire to rest disrobed, because you expect not a dozen wakings during the night to traverse an hundred yards of open air space, perchance in rain, to visit a dying man in distant wards; you who have something better to eat than such as we have described, and who have a change of even such good food; to you it may at first blush seem strange that these noble women may want say a dish of oysters.
and the Peninsula
oysters are no rarity, but it is a fact that these ladies at Culpeper
have yet to see the first oyster upon their table. "But why don't they buy them?" you ask. We reply that in the first place they may not be quite so wealthy as Miss Burdette Coutts
; in the second what few bivalves ever reach that town sell at about seven hundred percent. advance upon city prices, and in the third, what few they can get they give as a treat to some poor patient.
Such being the fact, will not each one who reads this bring or send to the clerk's desk of the Dispatch
a sum which, in the aggregate, will enable him to send these good women a weekly treat of oysters?
The writer is conscious of the certainty that said ladies will deprecate this appeal when they see or hear of it; but he braves the situation because they can't guess who he is, and because their health demands a change of food.