Baptists and the American Civil War: December 5, 1861

Civil War Hospital

Civil War Hospital

Southern women, living in a male-dominated culture, play limited – but important – roles during the war. From theĀ  home front to the hospitals near the battle fronts, women maintain their families and farms and assist in doctoring and offering comfort to soldiers. Baptist women are involved in the latter as much as are other Confederate women.

An unnamed eyewitness, “a gentlemen writing from one of the hospitals,” declares: “The field of labor opened here for the accomplishment of good is beyond measure; an Angel might covet it.”

Another unnamed observer writes from the Confederate hospital at White Sulphur Springs, Virginia:

The influence of the ladies here is seen and felt by all. Until they came — if I am correctly informed — the hospital more resembled a vast charnel house than the home of the sick. But woman came, and soon all was changed. The wards were cleaned, the rooms ventilated and the sick provided with suitable nourishment, those little delicacies such only as they can prepare. My admiration for the sex could not but be increased as I saw their fair forms flitting through the halls — now standing by the bedside of one, all silent — now laying her white hands on the brow of another. Here a kind and there a tender look. A light finger softly presses the arm — the hot, blood stained dressing is soon replaced by a better — the sick man gives a gentle thanks, turns upon his side and sinks into a quiet rest. Day by day, night by night, unremitting in care, unwearied in watching, so cheerful in mien and gentle of hand, these ladies perform their angelic duties.

Source: “The Army Hospital as a Field of Spiritual Labor” and “The Ladies in the Hospitals,” Biblical Recorder, December 4, 1861 (link); photo of the interior of a Civil War hospital (link)