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The Role of Women In The Civil War


The Women of Essex, Vermont
During the Civil War

Nor would this Memorial be complete without allusion to the patriotic efforts of the Ladies of the Town to supply those delicate necessities to the sick and wounded soldier which the gentle hand and tender heart of woman alone can supply. The Medical Department of the army was taxed to its utmost in the earlier periods of the war, to supply the more common wants of the thousands of sick and wounded thrown upon its hands. The tender delicacies of the sick room or the well-regulated hospital it did not attempt to provide. These were sent in great part from the homes of the soldier, and were all the more grateful and acceptable because coming from warm and sympathizing hearts far away, around the family fire-side. In procuring, preparing and sending these, the Ladies of the Town took the lead. Before any organization was made sundry boxes of lint, bandages and various delicacies were sent, in some instances direct to the soldiers themselves, in others through the Sanitary Commission. Some time during 1863 the Ladies Soldier's Aid Society was organized, and the sympathies of the Ladies general in Town were enlisted in the object. Collectors were appointed in each School District, and contributions solicited in money or in such necessaries as any chose to give. Meetings were held from time to time-social gatherings at which all these contributions were prepared in the manner thought to be most convenient and useful. In this way one or more album quilts were made, several bed-quilts, numerous cotton and flannel drawers and shirts, pillows, towels, socks, handkerchiefs, pin-cushions, slippers, napkins, bandages in rolls, wine of home manufacture, dried fruit, maple sugar-in fine, every thing which the ingenuity and sympathy of the ladies could devise, as being conducive to the comfort or necessities of the solder wounded on the battle-field or sick in the hospital. These articles were mostly forwarded to the Christian Commission, through which organization they found their way speedily to their intended destination. The whole amount of these benefactions it is impossible now to determine, as little pains were taken to preserve any record of them, further than to know that they were duly received. Probably they amounted to several hundred dollars.

L. C. Butler, M.D., The Memorial Record of Essex, Vermont, (R. S. Styles, Burlington, 1866), pp. 52-3.