Welcome to the Falmouth Library's page designed to shed light on the role women played in the American Civil War. As we approach the Sesquicentennial of the War, we will be sharing resources and information about this topic, focusing specifically on the role Maine women played during the war.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Amy Morris Bradley

Amy Morris Bradley was a school teacher from Vassalborough, Maine. She volunteered first as a field nurse with the 3rd and then the 5th Maine Infantry Regiments before becoming an agent for the U.S. Sanitary Commission. She served aboard hospital ships, ran a Soldiers' Home in Washington, D.C., before taking charge at Camp Convalescent of the distribution of supplies, helping soldiers get honorable discharges, back pay, and transport home when needed. She even began a camp newspaper, The Soldiers Journal, to which President Lincoln and V.P Hamlin subscribed.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Louisa Titcomb of Stroudwater

Louisa Titcomb, of Stroudwater, Maine, was only one of at least 14 women from Maine who volunteered to work as a nurse at the Naval School Hospital in Annapolis. She worked there from August 1863 until May 1865, The hospital, pictured on the left, appeared on stationary she sent Rebecca Usher in April of 1864. While at the Naval School Hospital, she became editor of the hospital's newspaper, "The Crutch," which was created to keep hospitalized soldiers informed of events.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rebecca Usher of Bar Mills, Maine

Rebecca Usher grew up in a large brick house on the Saco River. Her father had made his fortune in the lumber industry and she and her sisters were all very well educated and involved in the community. It is not surprising that she and her sisters Ellen, Martha, and Jane all did volunteer work to aid the Maine soldiers. What is surprising is that Rebecca left her home and family to become a nurse during the Civil War. She worked first at what she called the Chester School Hospital and later she worked for the Maine Camp Hospital Association at City Point, outside of Petersburg, Virginia. She had met President Lincoln on her second trip south. When she learned of his death, she wrote, " I could not believe it at first, but when the terrible truth was forced upon me, I was almost paralyzed. It seemed as if the sun would never shine again."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mrs. Harriet Eaton, of Portland, Maine, was a widow with three children by the time the Civil War began. When Mrs. Isabella Fogg asked for assistance in the war effort, Harriet signed up, leaving her two younger children with friends. Her son had already enlisted in the army. The two women faced extreme hardships as they traveled through the war-torn country-side in the vicinity of Virginia and Maryland, distributing supplies sent from home. They visited regimental encampments and hospitals throughout the area and were constantly apalled by conditions they found. Harriet wrote in her journal, " Oh these poor men! They have to dress their own wounds, wash themselves if they are washed at all and eat -- I wish I could attach one of their rations to this book that it might be seen at home... It is discouraging to go into this Hospital for the poor men are most starved I have not a doubt of it. " The two women struggled on and did what they could. After the battle of Chancellorsville, where the hospital she was working in came under attack, Harriet returned home to her children, and worked with the Maine Camp Hospital Association in Portland. In 1864 she returned to work at City Point, Virginia, very close to where the Union Army was laying siege to Petersburg, Virginia and remained several months at the "Maine Agency" until Mrs. Mayhew, from Rockland, Maine, relieved her.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Isabella Fogg, a seamstress from Calais, Maine, was one of the first Maine women to volunteer as a nurse for Maine soldiers. After spending several months in Washington D.C. in 1861 and 1862 nursing fever-ridden soldiers, she returned to Maine to request supplies and support for her efforts. The appeal resulted in the creation of the Maine Camp Hospital Association, which became one the best organized Soldiers' Aid Societies in the North. She left Portland for the "Front" with supplies and Mrs. Harriet Eaton, the widow of the late minister of the Free Will Baptist Church in Portland. Arriving shortly after the battle of Antietam in the fall of 1862, their supplies and help were desperately needed. Together, not always in harmony, the pair did their best to help sick and wounded soldiers until shortly after the battle of Fredericksburg in 1863, when Harriet returned to Maine and the care of her children. Isabella Fogg continued to labor in the field, following the Army of the Potomac to which many Maine soldiers were attached. Colonel Joshua Chamberlain of the 20th Maine Infantry Regiment wrote, "I consider Mrs. Fogg one of the most faithful, earnest, and efficient workers in the humane cause in which she has been engaged for the last 3 years that I have ever seen in the field."