Friday, March 6, 2015

Women in History: Army Nurses

There's a great book you can find on The Internet Archive or Google Books called Our Army Nurses. It includes a photo of each nurse and their personal recollections of their service during the Civil War. Mrs. Ruth Helena Sinnotte was from Illinois and spent time as a nurse on several hospital boats. She described the time she saved a patient suffering from typhoid fever:

Genealogy Publications"I got a little chicken broth, and alternated every fifteen minutes, a few drops of brandy, then of the broth. I stood over him for hours. After awhile I noticed a change for the better. He could swallow, and his pulse was quite perceptible. Finally it beat as quick as I wanted to feel it. After midnight I became quite faint; I had not eaten. I could not stop for supper. I called the best nurse on the boat to relieve me. I went to my quarters, but could not undress. I unfastened my shoes, then fell into a faint, or dead sleep. Did not awake until the sun called me, shining through the slats of my door. I went to my patient. He looked up and smiled. The doctor soon came along, and said, 'Why, ain't he dead yet?' The sick man whispered, 'She,' pointing to me. The doctor asked me what I had done. I said, 'I attended to him as though he were my own, and in our own home.' I asked if I could have him in my ward. He said, 'Yes; you deserve to have him.' When he got to St. Louis he walked the length of the boat between two men, shook hands with me, and said: 'God bless you always. You have saved me to my wife and five children.'"

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