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 Posted: Fri Jun 12th, 2009 07:37 pm
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GeorgeM
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Can someone tell me what the organizational structure was for Confederate nurses in the CW?  Also, did some serve like medics or corpsmen like in the armies of today?  I had a g.g. grandfather who was in the 45th Alabama Infantry and was wounded at the Battle of Nashville.  I don't know if he served on the front lines, was in a field hospital, or a regular hospital in the rear.  Any information would be appreciated.  Thanks.  George



 Posted: Fri Jun 19th, 2009 06:23 am
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cklarson
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I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't know of the existence of a Confederate nursing service that was the equivalent of the US Army nursing service, heading by Dorothea Dix.
To my knowledge the main Confed. hospital was Chambarrozo (sp?) in Richmond that was mammoth. Sally Tompkins, I believe, was the matron and a commissioned captain.

There was an Alabama woman who also established their state hospital near Richmond, I think. A few other women also set up their own hospitals. Otherwise, given the invasion of US troops it would have been difficult to establish secure base hospitals. As far as I know, most Confederate wounded were farmed out to private homes and boarding houses. Perhaps the most famous Confed. nurse memoir is that of Fannie Beers..

There were a number of mostly "Mothers" of regiments who traveled with the troops. Rose Mooney of an LA regt. being one. There were a number of women Confed. soldiers, but right off the top of my head, I can't think of one the equivalent, say, of Annie Etheridge of the 5th MI or Marie Tebe of a PA regt. who were battlefield medics.

You should take a look at my friend's Richard Hall's Women on the Civil War Battlefront. He lists women by state in the back.

C. Kay Larson, independent scholar/author



 Posted: Fri Jun 19th, 2009 01:59 pm
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Old North State
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GeorgeM,
Also there is "Kate: the Journal of a Confederate Nurse" by Kate Cumming, edited by R.B. Harwell and published by the LSU Press. Kate Cumming served as a hospital matron for the Army of Tennessee.
This book is available in paperback form and in many libraries.



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 Posted: Fri Jun 19th, 2009 03:16 pm
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GeorgeM
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Thanks for the information on nurses in the Civil War. I will do some reading in that area. To clarify my original question, my g.g. grandfather was designated as a nurse in the 45th Alabama Infantry (Cleburne's Division). I don't know if he served as a nurse/medic and infantryman or just as a traditional nurse.

George



 Posted: Fri Jun 19th, 2009 06:25 pm
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Old North State
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Kate Cumming, whom I referred to earlier, speaks of nurses almost always as being male, when they are working on the wards.  Her hospital experience was with the Army of Tennessee in which Cleburne served.  I'm guessing that her descriptions would give you some idea of your ancestor's service.  It sounds as if there was quite a bit of variation in how things worked.  She does mention an officer being nursed by "one of his men" and that might imply an enlisted man in his regiment.



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 Posted: Fri Jun 19th, 2009 09:08 pm
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GeorgeM
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Thanks for the information and insights.  I will have to read that book. 

George



 Posted: Sat Jun 20th, 2009 07:33 am
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cklarson
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Dear George M.,

I've done a little further research. Per Male Nurse magazine in the Confederate Army 30 men were assigned as nurses per regiment. My error: Phoebe Yates was the matron at Chimborazo (sp?) hospital and Sally Tompkins set up her own hospital eventually treating 1400 men, of which only 73 died.

You might want to obtain a copy of Joseph J. Woodward's Hospital Steward's manual for the Union Army, It's been reprinted. Also see my "Springing to the Call" at http://www.nymas.org -- for Union nurse accounts and a Fannie Beers excerpt--right sidebar, scroll down.

It is my understanding that in the US Army at least, enlisted nurses were normally recuperating wounded. Also obviously Confed. hospitals would have been short of supplies such as ether, chloroform, morphine, and particularly quinine (a big smuggling item). From another Union medical manual, it appears that medical personnel recognized the need for cleanliness, good diet and ventilation. They had microscopes and could see germs, but didn't quite understand what they meant. They knew there was an association of proximity to water and malaria, but not its cause. As you wll read from the US nurse accounts, the women relied heavily on diet and home remedies, which seemed very successful. I've read 2 accounts of women run Confed. hospitals which had relatively low mortality rates. The general "rap" on male doctors and nurses in the US Army was that they were too quick to amputate and the enlisted male nurses neglected their patients.

Hope this helps.

Kay Larson



 Posted: Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 03:07 pm
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GeorgeM
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Kay,

Thanks for the new information.  It is a big help.  I will read more on that subject too.

George



 Posted: Mon Oct 10th, 2011 06:16 pm
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The Daughters of Charity operated independently for the most part. They had hospitals in Louisiana, Portsmouth, Richmond and served in battlefield hospitals where needed and requested. Once the sisters were not able to move back and forth between the Union and Confederacy, Sis. Euphemia Blenkinsop was given the charge of coordinating the Southern Daughters of Charity. Her title was Visitatrix. Sisters who had charge over a hospital were usually called the hospital Superior.

James Rada, Jr.
Author of Battlefield Angels: The Daughters of Charity Work as Civil War Nurses



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