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.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Emily's family owned property in Falmouth, Maine, and she spent many summers there. Emily never married and inherited the family home on Waites Landing Road in Falmouth where she spent her final years. She died January 27, 1929 and is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Portland.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Maine's Attorney General issued detailed reports throughout the war. The reports chronicled what each Maine reginent was doing and included comprehensive lists of the soldiers who enlisted. Information about each soldier included their name, age, town, marital status, rank, and sometimes other notes. There were also reports about various agencies that supported the troops including the Maine State Agency, for which a number of Maine women worked,
The 1863 volume said this about the Agency, "For the last year the agency has been, and is now, under the control of L.Watson, Esq., of Wilton, and Mrs. C.A.L.Sampson of Bath. Their labors extend to visiting all the hospitals in and about Washington, and after ascertaining the needs of our soldiers not provided for by the United Styates authorities, communicating at once the fact to their families or friends at home, or to the proper departments at Washington, and, when put in possession of such relief as is provided, dispensing it with promptitude and care.The invaluable labors of Mr. Watson are chiefly devoted to receiving and distributing donations, and in other ways showng every possible attention to the wants of the soldiers....Mrs. Sampson visits every hospital to minister to those in a helpless condition. She causes medical examinations to be made of all applicants for furloughs or discharges, and if granted obtains their pay, allowances and transportation tickets. She also attends personallu, in providing all invalids returning home suitable clothing and sufficient food to last during their journey." Maine Adjutant General's Report, 1863, pg. 49.