Civil War - Nursing Care of the Wounded
Impact of War
Approximately two thousand women, North and South, served as volunteer nurses in military hospitals during the American Civil War. In the antebellum north and south women had “a duty to care” and were expected to nurse ill members of their families and neighbors .
The American edition of Florence Nightingale’s book Notes On Nursing was published in 1860 and Godey’s Lady’s Book (2) wrote of her experiences in the Crimean War. When war was declared and their men went off to war, women on both sides of the conflict went to their respective army hospitals to offer their services some as volunteers, some as paid nurses. Reverby credits the Civil War for bringing the attention of the American public, as the fighting in the Crimea had for the British, the dangers of a disorganized hospital and sanitary services.
Civil War Nurses - Union
Civil War Nurses - Confederate
At the onset of the Civil War and in ensuing battles, Clara Barton mobilizes popular support for wounded and poorly equipped Union soldiers and realizes that to be most effective, she needs to be on the front lines as well. For a You Tube Video about Clara Barton Click Here
For additional information regarding Clara barton and her role in the civil war, visit
African American Nurse - Susie Taylor King
Susie King Taylor, Civil War Nurse
Born into Slavery, taught to read and write she cared for the wounded and taught other freedmen to read and write.
Excerpts from Her Memoirs - Reminiscences of My Life in Camp published in 1903.
Catholic Nursing Sisters
in the Civil War
Role of Catholic Nursing Sisters in the Civil War
“The Daughters of Charity at their provincial house in Emmitsburg, Md., could hear the cannons of Pickett's Charge 10 miles off. They helped their chaplain pack a wagon with medical supplies and, when the cannons were silenced, a dozen sisters rode with him to tend to the wounded."
The Daughters of Charity tended to the wounded on both sides of the conflict, Excerpt from DEPAUL University Vincentian Heritage Journal.[i]
[i] McNeil, Betty Ann. The Daughters of Charity as Civil War Nurses, Caring without Boundaries,, Fall 10-1-200, DEPAUL University, Vincentian Heritage Journal, Vol.27, Issue 1; volume 26.2,27.1
Battlefield Care of the Wounded
Civil War Medicine
Physicians and Surgeons
Dr. Blackwell organized the Women's Central Association of Relief, and worked with Dorothea Dix to train nurses for service in the war.
Prepared for the Use of the Confederate States Army
Published by: Richmond: Ayres & Wade, 1863. The only edition.
Description: With 30 drawing plates and 174 individual figures, this was the first of only two illustrated military surgical manuals (one by Moore and one by Chisolm) to have been compiled and printed in the Confederacy. During the Civil War, Dr. Moore was the surgeon general of the Confederate States Army Medical Department.
Field size manual: 7 x 4 1/2 x 1 in. Original marbled boards, and cloth spine. Original stiff paper binding.
Smoketown Tented Hospital
Dr. Jonathan Letterman, a surgeon and medical director for the Army of the Potomac, established for the first time during the Civil War a system of tented field hospitals. One such city of white tents was erected at Smoketown, one mile north of the Antietam battlefield.