“During all periods of the (Civil) War, cases of women is found in the ranks, as the fight against the common soldiers, their sex yet unimagined, and the special motivation in each case, often unknown” . F. Moore, 1866
Nurses – Dorothea Dix, Sally Louisa Tompkins, Mary Todd Lincoln, Mary Ann Ball Bickerdyke, Mary Jane Safford, and Clarrisa (Clara) Barton – angels of the Civil War battlefields.
Dorothea Dix was sixty years when the Civil War began, regarded by some as “too old” to “do no good” for the sake of the North. However, Dorothea was a veteran of hospitals, having devoted his life to reforming the insane asylums. Despite his age, was elected to head the nursing staff assigned to medical facilities in the North. Assertive and dominant, Dorothea was the importance of his appointment to the heart and immediately set rigid standards for nurses, issuing this call for volunteers: “No women under the age of 30 need apply to serve in public hospitals. All nurses needed to be plain-looking women.
Their clothes must be brown or black, no bows, no curls, no jewelry and no hoop skirts. ” This expectation of hard work soon gave him a reputation for reliability among the wounded. And although his Dorothea pushed nurses, asked nothing more of them made of herself and often opened his home to the tired nurses to enable them to stay closer to hospitals.
Sally Louisa Tompkins lives in Richmond, Virginia in the outbreak of war, when Richmond was flooded with casualties who filled sufficient capacity beyond hospitals. Sally, an influential woman in Richmond, no small reputation, persuaded a judge in Richmond to leave his home in the interest of war. Sally turned it into a private hospital, staffed with his friends and slaves of their home. As the matriarchal head of care, Sally at the prospect of cleaning is different from other hospitals.
While on the battlefield, the same surgery tools were used without washing between patients; Sally’s encouraged cleaning techniques as part of treatment for the wounded. Sally’s hospital gained a reputation for saving lives. In fact, most Confederate soldiers returned to the battlefield of Sally hospital in Richmond than any other medical facility in the south. During the 45 months that Sally’s hospital was in existence, countless soldiers were sent to her. Only 73 were lost to death. Confederation President Jefferson Davis granted the rank of captain Sally and a hospital official in the army-supported medical service. It was renamed Robertson Hospital and was led by “Captain Tompkins” for the duration of the war.
Because Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of President Abraham Lincoln, was born in southern heritage, this caused some suspicions about his loyalty to the start of the Civil War. However, Mrs Lincoln proved herself a loyal union and a nurse of great endurance. She frequented hospitals, feeding, cleaning, and consoling the wounded. The story is told of the First Lady’s visit to Campbell Hospital shortly after a number of limb amputations had been carried out. The stench was unbearable and amputees lay gemido of anguish. Many of the volunteers left, overcome by the smell and noise. Mary stayed Lincoln, holding the hands of people who suffer from bathing and its fevered brows with wet rags.
Mary Ann Ball Bickerdyke was known throughout the world as a Galesburg, Illinois native as “Mother” Bickerdyke, so it was no surprise when asked to take supplies to the northern hospital in Cairo, Illinois, a walk several hours. Mary Ann was appalled by the filth that was present in the hospital, launching his own campaign to clean up the hospital in Cairo and hospitals on the battlefield as well.
Mary Ann often walked the battlefields after sunset, in search of wounded who might have been overlooked by the brigades stretcher. General Ulysses S. Mary Ann Grant asked to join the campaign in Atlanta as a hospital volunteer. Because Mary Ann fought for a better hospital, she offended hospital staff and doctors. But she was loved by the soldiers. When a doctor informed Mary General Sherman, his response was to dismiss the complaint with these words: “She outranks me. You’ll have to see President Lincoln in this regard.”
Mary Jane Safford served as a nurse under the indomitable Mary Ann Bickerdyke. Although she was small and fragile, Mary Jane Mother Bickerdyke adopted the rules and she also walked the Union battlelines at night, looking for wounded. Mary Jane nursed the sick and wounded in the battles of Belmont, Missouri and Fort Donelson, Tennessee.
The story is told that Mary was once so close to enemy lines Confederates who shot her. She made a white flag of his white Petticoat and a branch and continues to nurse the sick. Mary Jane accepted duties aboard the Union ship “of the city of Memphis,” to make five trips before subsequent collapse of exhaustion. When the Civil War has ended, Mary Ann Safford studied medicine and became one of the first female surgeons in the United States.
Clarrisa (Clara) Barton, attributed to the founding of the American Red Cross, began her nursing career when Union soldiers arrived in Washington, DC, after being brutally by secession supporters. She met baskets of food and supplies for their own home and the homes of friends and donations to these bloody regiment. This opened a new service area – the collection of supplies for the wounded. Clara is credited with what bandages and dressings for surgeons in the Battle of Cedar Mountain, Virginia, as well as the hospital ran out of supplies. Once there, Clara delivered supplies and brought food and water to the men lying wounded on the battlefield. It was there that the surgeon James Dunn considers its “angel of the battlefield”, a name that stayed with Clara Barton since then.
Dorothea Dix, Sally Louisa Tompkins, Mary Todd Lincoln, Mary Ann Ball Bickerdyke, Mary Jane Safford, and Clarrisa (Clara) Barton – some of the northern states of the south and some – but all on the battlefield.