Mehitable Ellis Woods

Union Civil War Nurse from Iowa During the Civil War, Mehitable Ellis Woods worked for the Ladies’ Aid Society of Fairfield, Iowa, delivering supplies to hospitals and the front lines, and nursing the sick and wounded wherever she was needed. In 1863 this brave lady made her first trip down the Mississippi into the heart of the Confederacy and returned many times. She was twice under fire, but escaped uninjured and lived for many years after the war. Mehitable Owen was born on the banks of Lake Champlain in Chittendon County, Vermont, on September 28, 1813, the youngest of five children born to Julius and Hettie Cassel Owen. Her father was a native of Salisbury, Connecticut, and an uncle of…

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Susan Landon Vaughan

Founder of Decoration Day Image: Confederate Monument This monument on the grounds of the Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson, Mississippi sits about 60 feet high with a life-sized statue of a Confederate soldier on top of it. Inside the monument is a plaque that reads: It reeks not where their bodies lie By bloody hillside, plains or cave; Their names are bright on famous skies, Their deeds of valor live forever. Decoration Day Originated in Jackson, Mississippi, April 26, 1865 By Sue Landon Vaughn Susan Hutchinson Adams was born on October 12, 1835, in St. Charles, Missouri, on the Missouri River northwest of St Louis. She and her sister Sallie were the daughters of John and Margaret Ann Gill Adams….

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Hannah Ropes

Head Matron at Union Hotel Hospital When her husband abandoned her, Hannah Ropes did not despair. She raised her two children, became an abolitionist and activist for social reform. She volunteered as a nurse during the Civil War and used her prominent social position to obtain enormous amounts of supplies for ill and wounded soldiers. Early Years Hannah Anderson Chandler was born June 13, 1809, in New Gloucester, Maine, the daughter and sister of prominent Maine lawyers. Hannah developed strong beliefs during her early years. Her religious faith was very strong, and she was passionately opposed to slavery. Hannah married educator William Ropes in 1834; they lived in Waltham, Massachusetts. Hannah gave birth to four children, two of whom lived…

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Laura Jackson Arnold

Sister of General Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson Laura Jackson Arnold and her famous older brother were very close until the Civil War intruded in their lives. Laura was a staunch and unapoligetic supporter of the Union, while her brother became one of the most beloved generals in the Confederate Army. Their relationship was destroyed by the war, and they never saw each other again. General Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863. Laura Ann Jackson was born March 27, 1826, in Clarksburg, [West] Virginia, along with her sister Elizabeth (1819), brother Warren (1821) and brother Thomas Jonathan (1824). Their parents were attorney Jonathan Jackson and Julia Beckwith Neale Jackson. Elizabeth (age 6) and Jonathan Jackson…

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Mary Dabney

Civil War Nurse in Mississippi Of all the families in Raymond, Mississippi, during the Civil War, one of the most affected was that of Augustine and Elizabeth Dabney. Augustine was a probate judge and worked hard to support his family of ten children. His wife and daughters helped to nurse the wounded soldiers following the Battle of Raymond on May 12, 1863. Image: Mary Dabney and Big Black River Station Photo superimposed by James Drake In August 1863, Mary Dabney went to Vicksburg to apply for a share of the livestock and supplies that had been confiscated by the Union army on their march to Vicksburg, which was being given away by General Ulysses S. Grant. The following is Mary’s…

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French Mary Tepe

French Mary Tepe

Civil War Vivandiere and Nurse French Mary Tepe, a Civil War Vivandiere, was a French immigrant who married the Philadelphia tailor, Bernardo Tepe. Vivandieres were a combination nurse, cook, seamstress, and laundress who travelled with the Zouaves. They usually adopted the style of clothing of her regiment, but with men’s pants under a knee-length skirt, and carried a cask that was generally filled with water, brandy, or wine. Mary Tepe was certainly the most famous of those ladies. Image: French Mary Tepe stands on Cemetery Hill at Gettysburg, where she served as a nurse at the field hospitals in July 1863. Mary (Marie) Brose was born on August 24, 1834 in the village of Brest, France. Her mother was French…

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Ellen Mitchell

Civil War Nurse This lady, better known as Nellie Mitchell, was at the opening of the war a resident of Montrose, Pennsylvania, where she was surrounded by friends, had a pleasant home, was amiable, highly educated and accomplished. Her family was one that was often named as “our first families.” Image: The Dying Soldier Miss Mitchell left her home in Montrose early in May 1861, and went to New York City, where she took a course in surgical nursing at Bellevue Hospital, to prepare for assuming the duties of an army nurse. The terrible sights she witnessed there so impaired her health that after six weeks she went to Woodbury, Connecticut, where she remained with friends while awaiting orders, and…

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Dorothea Dix and The Civil War

Founder of the First Mental Asylums in the U.S. Dorothea Dix Superintendent of Union Nurses Dorothea Dix was one of the most influential women of the nineteenth century. A noted social reformer, she also became the Union’s Superintendent of Nurses during the Civil War. The soft-spoken yet autocratic crusader spent more than 20 years working for improved treatment of mentally ill patients and for better prison conditions. Early Years Dorothea Lynde Dix, daughter of Mary and Joseph Dix, was born in the tiny village of Hampden, Maine, on April 4, 1802. Her father, an itinerant preacher and publisher of religious tracts, had married against his parents’ wishes. He had left their home in Boston to settle in what was then…

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Isabella Fogg

Civil War Nurse from Maine In the spring of 1861, when men were called to join the Union army and fight for their country, Isabella Fogg of Calais, Maine felt that she was called also. She felt compelled to leave the quiet and seclusion of her home, and do all that a woman could do to sustain the hands and the hearts of those who had the great battle of freedom to fight. About this time, changes occurred in Fogg’s family, which seemed to release her from pressing obligations to remain at home. Isabella Fogg followed her son Hugh, a member of the 6th Maine Regiment, to Washington, DC, and she soon volunteered to work for the Maine Camp and…

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Mary Ann Bickerdyke

Civil War Nurse Mary Ann Ball was born on July 19, 1817, near Mount Vernon, Ohio. Her mother died when Mary Ann was just seventeen months old. Mary was sent to live with her grandparents, and when they died she went to live with her Uncle Henry Rodgers on his farm in Hamilton County, near Cincinnati. She received only a very basic education. When Mary Ann was just sixteen she moved to Oberlin, Ohio, and possibly worked in a professor’s home. She enrolled at Oberlin College, one of the few institutions of higher education open to women at that time in the United States, but did not graduate. She later returned to live with her uncle again, worked as a…

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