Civil War Nurse from Pennsylvania

At the outbreak of hostilities, Lydia Parrish was living at Media, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. Her husband, Dr. Joseph Parrish, was in charge of an institution for mental patients there. Lydia was one of the first women to volunteer her services on behalf of sick and wounded Union soldiers. She visited Washington, DC while the army was still in the area. Dr. Parrish had become connected with the newly organized U.S. Sanitary Commission, and Lydia worked …Read More...

Civil War Nurse

Helen Louise Gilson was a native of Boston, but moved in childhood to Chelsea, Massachusetts. She was the niece of the Honorable Frank B. Fay, former Mayor of Chelsea, and she was his ward. Mr. Fay took an active interest in the Union cause during the Civil War, devoting his time, his wealth and his personal efforts to the welfare of the soldiers.

Image: Civil War Field Hospital

Beginning in the autumn of 1861, Gilson's uncle Frank …Read More...

Civil War Nurse in Virginia

Phoebe Yates Levy was born on August 18, 1823. She was the fourth of six daughters of a prosperous and socially prominent Jewish family in Charleston, South Carolina. Her father was a successful merchant and her mother was a popular actress.

Members of Phoebe's family were quite active in public life during the war. Her sister Eugenia Levy Phillips, a Confederate spy, was banished to an island. Her brother Samuel was the highest ranking Jewish …Read More...

Civil War Nurse and Female Physician

Mary Jane Safford is best known for nursing wounded Union soldiers on battlefields and hospital ships on the Mississippi River during the Civil War, an experience that influenced her to pursue a career in medicine. After the war, she earned her medical degree, established a practice, and taught at the Boston University Medical School.

Early Years
Mary Jane Safford was born December 31, 1834 in Hyde Park, Vermont, but her family moved to …Read More...

Civil War Nurse

At the beginning of the Civil War, the United States Government was not prepared to offer its soldiers adequate medical care. To fill that need, they created the United States Sanitary Commission on June 18, 1861, to support sick and wounded soldiers of the U.S. Army during the American Civil War. It operated across the North, raised its own funds, enlisted thousands of volunteers and was run by Frederick Law Olmsted.

The Peninsula Campaign of 1862 lasted …Read More...

Civil War Nurse from New York

When the Civil War began, Jane Stuart Woolsey was 31 years old and living in New York City with her eight siblings and her mother. Woolsey participated in the first meetings of the Women's Central Relief Association, a precursor to the acclaimed U.S. Sanitary Commission. In 1863 she became Superintendent of Nurses at Fairfax Seminary Hospital, and served there until the end of the war.

Jane Stuart Woolsey was born in Connecticut in 1830, …Read More...