Two Nurses - Two Experiences - One Civil War
Blue, Gray and Red presents the hard reality of the Civil War. There are no stirring bugle calls, only the calls of the wounded. There are no battlefield heroics, but there is also no lack of heroism. It presents the suffering and courage of both sides, as written by two people—two nurses—who lived through it.
Not many people realize that Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women, was also a Civil War nurse. While serving at the Union Hospital in Washington DC, she wrote a series of letters to her family describing her experiences. These were published in Commonwealth magazine and eventually became the basis for Hospital Sketches—the book that is presented here.
In 1862 Kate Cumming volunteered to be a nurse for the Confederacy and saw duty until the end of the war in 1865. During that period she kept a journal, which was later turned into a book called A Journal of Hospital Life in the Confederate Army of Tennessee. This was later re-edited and published as Gleanings from Southland, which is the version used here. Her account is made all the more tragic by the fact that she was not only reporting on the horrors of the battlefield, but on the horrors of a country that was literally being dismantled around her.
No understanding of the Civil War can be complete without appreciating this side of the war as well.
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Blue, Gray, and Red
This is an intriguing eye-opener of the accounts of living through the secrssion era and tending the war casualties. I didn't want to put the book down. An essential read for anyone interested in Civil War history.