Thursday, September 15, 2011
I recently reviewed the book My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira and was surprised and chagrined to almost immediately receive 2 comments that pointed out my error concerning the staffing of the hospital. One comment came from the author of the book! I knew that Hannah Ropes and Louisa May Alcott both served at the hospital at the same time, so I mistakenly assumed the fictional Mary Sutter was there, as well. Alas, I didn't check my dates before hitting the "publish" button. My critics were correct, of course. The fictional Mary Sutter was decidedly at the hospital and gone before Hannah (and then later) Louisa May showed up. Robin Oliveira's research was impeccable.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
On June 18, 1861, President Lincoln signed a bill making the United States Sanitary Commission an official government agency to see to the welfare of the troops. Even as he signed it, he had his doubts. He was afraid that the Sanitary Commission could well become the "fifth wheel to the coach," obviously not convinced of the need for the relief efforts advocate Henry Bellows outlined. Lincoln would soon change his mind. During the next four years the volunteer work of thousands of women, many working with the U.S. Sanitary Commission, would cut the disease rate of the Union Army in half, and raise more than twenty-five million dollars in money, goods and services to support the Northern war effort. In a nation that had no medical association, no nursing schools, and suddenly a huge strain on all medical and hospital services, the US Sanitary Commission proved indispensible as it mobilized resources on behalf of the troops. But in the beginning, it was a struggle. The agency had no real authority. It was an uphill battle to convince military officials and the medical department, such as it was, to even admit that they needed help.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
At a church service at the start of the Civil War, the Reverend Edward Beecher, brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, read a letter from a doctor describing the deplorable conditions in the hospital at Cairo, Illinois. Soldiers were dying of disease before ever entering the fighting due to lack of supplies and care. “What man can we send?” he asked, but he was greeted by silence until a woman suggested Mary Ann Bickerdyke. “If you’re willing to take care of my boys, I will go,” she said.