Civil War nursing
March 27, 2012
Two of the newest acquisitions in the Rare American Literature collection are memoirs by Civil War-era nurses. These books complement the memoirs of more famous Civil War nurses in Special Collections, including Louisa May Alcott and Walt Whitman.
Notes of Hospital Life is an anonymous work which relates the experience of a Union nurse working in a Philadelphia army hospital in 1862 and 1863. The narrative ends with the arrival of the wounded and dead from Gettysburg. Mrs. Anna M. Holstein’s Three Years in Field Hospitals of the Army of the Potomac relates some of her experiences as a battlefield nurse. She began her duties in a field hospital during the aftermath of the Battle of Antietam (Oct. 1862), and served as a nurse at Gettysburg and other battlefields for the duration of the war. She also nursed former prisoners of war after they were released by the Confederacy.