Question of the Week: 3/4-3/10/19

Who is your favorite Civil War nurse? Why?

(And don’t forget both men and women served as nurses in Civil War hospitals.)

9 Responses to Question of the Week: 3/4-3/10/19

  1. Clara Barton and Walt Whitman! She was an amazing woman and medical leader in a man’s 18th century world. Whitman, America’s greatest visionary poet, cared and wrote letters for wounded and dying soldiers. Both Clara and Walt nursed the CW soldiers in their own unique and powerful ways.

  2. Annie Etheridge. She was excellent in handling a horse, and used to go out onto battlefields to tend to wounded troops. She had horses shot out from under her a few times. She was awarded a decoration called the Kearny Cross for her heroism in the face of the enemy, one of only two or three women to be so decorated and honored.. When she died, she was buried as a veteran.

  3. As much as I want to say Walt Whitman, etc. I think Dorothea Dix is seriously underrated. Yeah, she was a difficult personality in some ways, but her life’s work was amazing.

  4. African-American, Susie King Taylor (1848-1912), who was born into slavery. She illegally risked punishment or even worse by becoming educated during her time as a slave. She became the first African-American teacher for freed slaves after escaping North and used her education to open up a school for both children and adults.
    Susie married a sergeant with the 33rd United States Colored Infantry Regiment, and traveled with them as a volunteer nurse. In Beaumont, South Carolina she met and worked with Clara Barton.
    After the Civil War she self published her own book. In her memoirs, Susie would say she was grateful that her efforts were appreciated. For four years and three months, she served without pay of any kind
    She served the war veterans by organizing the Women’s Relief Corps #67 in Boston, eventually becoming president and working for them the rest of her life.
    Despite all her work and personal sacrifice given to American veterans, both before and after the war, she was denied a military pension.
    She is buried next to her second husband in an unmarked grave in Mount Hope Cemetery in Roslindale, Massachusetts. Perhaps some day Susie King Taylor will get the recognition she deserves for her service to her country and at least receive a memorial marker in her honor.

  5. I am so glad you posted–I was going to say something similar, but you did it better. Huzzah!

  6. Harriet Dame (called Aunt Harriet by her men). She was intensely patriotic and signed up with the Second New Hampshire at age 46 in response to the first call for volunteers in spring of 1861. She defied Dorothea Dix to nurse (and mother) the Second New Hampshire at the front, marching alongside them and suffering the same privations–much to the disgust of Miss Dix. I really admire Harriet’s determination, grit, and appreciation that there were things more important than a clean skirt. She gave her boys (and all the boys of New Hampshire) hope and was credited with saving so many who figured they were doomed until they came under her care. She was also incredibly brave and stood strong under fire–men were credibly reported to have hidden behind her on occasion. The State of New Hampshire thought so much of her that her portrait hangs in the state house in Concord. After the war, she eventually received a pension after a prolonged effort that included political influence and the support of her Second New Hampshire boys. She also worked for the Treasury Department in DC after the war, where she enjoyed the comradery of a contingent of New Hampshire veterans. Harriet Dame never married and didn’t have children to keep her memory green, so hope this little blurb helps more of us remember her.

    1. Forgot to mention…Harriet Dame also took Dorothea Dix’s position after Dix retired, and provided national leadership in nursing.

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