The Letter From Home, from “Campaign Sketches”
Nursing was one occupation in which many women served in the mid-nineteenth century. Of the 620,000 soldiers who died during the Civil War, approximately half of them did so from disease or disease caused by a wound. The high casualty rate put a strain on what few hospitals there were and caused a demand for volunteer nurses.
Women from all economic classes, both black and white, Southerner and Northerner, served as volunteers in hospitals for wounded and sick soldiers. They were a vital part of the war effort, providing comfort and care for the wounded and dying, and keeping morale up. The wounded were often placed in makeshift tents near army barracks, or housed in public building, train stations, or large private homes near battlefields.
In this scene from a warehouse in Washington, a well-to-do woman helps a soldier write a reply to a letter from home. Such service helped keep up a soldier's morale. In fact, many army songs were composed in praise of such service on both sides.
Artform: GRAPHIC ARTS, Pre-20th Century
Artist: Homer, Winslow
Artist Dates: 1836-1910
Country/Culture: United States
Period: 19th century
Medium: lithograph on paper
Size: sheet 36.3 x 28 cm
Museum: Cleveland Museum of Art
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