Gender During Wartime

Nurses and Others

Nurses and officers of the U.S. Sanitary Commission at Fredericksburg, Va. Photograph by James Gardner. Created May, 1864. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, DIGITAL ID cwp 4a39585

"During three or four months past many kind-hearted women, zealous in good works, have devoted their time, influence and energies to organizing Soldiers Aid Societies and collecting and preparing articles for our sick and wounded soldiers in the hospitals. . . .

"All at idea seems to have struck our State authorities....There is a chance for salaries and fees in carrying out this benevolent measure which may be parcelled out to the wealthy men of the State. . . .

"A Sanitary Commission has been constituted. . . .

"This Commission have issued a circular to the women of Iowa, in which they ignore the existence of any Soldiers' Aid Society, and scold because nothing has been done in the State by the ladies to relieve the sick and wounded soldiers. And we presume that the gentlemen constituting that Commission have taken so little interest in the subject that they were substantially in entire ignorance of what has been done.

"We trust that the Honorables and their graces, and the Reverends and the Bankers who constitute the Sanitary Commission, will 'post up,' roll up their sleeves and 'pitch in,' and show the women how matters ought to be done. We should be right glad to see them take a personal interest in the matter and make a personal effort, or else get out of the way and not stand as an obstruction in the way of the women of Iowa, who would do this thing up much better without them."

Qtd. in The Civil War Chronicle, edited by David Rubel and Russell Shorto (Crown, 2000), 120-21.

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