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The Role of Women In The Civil War

Nurses for the Sick

Nurses for the Sick

To the Reading Public, and All in Authority.


Feeling an intense interest in the health and welfare of the First Regiment of Volunteers now about leaving our State for the seat of war, I would suggest not only the propriety, but the absolute necessity of a body of nurses. I know I speak the sentiment of every mother who has sons among the number. Many of them are very young, and all unused to hardship and exposure, and who will, if not cared for at first, soon be down with sickness. Never was the old adage, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," of more force than now. The lives and health of every one of these volunteers is sacred. They have offered themselves as a sacrifice to be immolated on the altars of their country, if need be, and a grateful people should do everything for their comfort that is possible. Some of these volunteers expended their last dime in procuring their uniforms. They have given their all, even themselves. Shall proper care be withheld from them? In a land of plenty they need not be kept on short allowance, nor pay out their stipulated wages in advance to keep from starving.

A few good discreet nurses under the management of one of their own sex, and she herself cooperating with, and under the direction of the Surgeon, seems imperatively needed. A mother's hand to smoothe the fevered brow, and administer food, would be of more avail than an army of mere surgeons without them.

Generous people of Vermont, will you inaugurate this movement and provide for your own sons? All who are skilled in nursing, and perhaps are the best skilled, are not able to furnish themselves for the expedition, and should be provided for, just as much as the volunteer soldier. They give themselves also, to a task laborious, self-denying and it may be dangerous. But, fraught with whatever it may be, I am ready to go the moment the way is opened.

L. M. Bowditch

Fairfax, May 9, 1861

Source: The Burlington Free Press, May 17, 1861, Page 1
Contributed by Denis & Karen Jaquish.