The Civil War Presented
The Civil War presented many revolutionary opportunities for women to expand their roles in society and prove they were capable and equal in what was considered a man’s world. To help with the war cause and finances, Indiana women organized benefits, created soldiers’ aid societies, conducted bazaars, helped the needy families of soldiers, carried out family businesses, and took on jobs that were previously reserved for men.
When reports of widespread disease in military hospitals and camps reached these women, they saw it as an opportunity to prove themselves and took advantage of it in every way possible. In March of 1862, Governor Oliver P. Morton created the Indiana Sanitary Commission which encouraged women to take on the adventure of war and work as nurses in military hospitals. At the end of the war, it was reported that the sanitary commission sent about two hundred and fifty women to serve as nurses; however, at one point during the war, there were so many women working that an order was issued for some to leave and nurses be approved and only serve at base hospitals. She Went to War: Indiana Women Nurses in the Civil War gives many names of the women served as nurses during the war without any preparation for the hardships they faced.
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Despite the women’s efforts, historians have largely excluded them from published reports of the conflict.
Many women found it difficult to serve, but those who were relatives of the afflicted soldiers readily traveled to the hospitals and served as nurses. I think that for some of the women, the hardships and brutality of the war were too hard to endure; however, for family members of stricken soldiers, it was easier to help because they wanted to see their family members get well. Because nursing schools had not yet been established, nurses were chosen based on age, appearance, and reputation. They used independent routes to their experiences because they had no education.
This made things harder because they did not know the correct and best ways to treat the affected soldiers. Being a nurse in the world we live in today is not the easiest job; however, I cannot imagine how hard it must have been during the Civil War. In the end, these women had shown heroism equal to that of the soldiers. For many, their experiences were stepping stones to new opportunities.
She went to war: Indiana Women Nurses in the Civil War focuses on the roles women played during the Civil War. The author, Peggy Brase Seigel, focuses her article particularly on the women from Indiana who served as nurses during the four years. Although we have not yet discussed the Civil War in this class, it is a very important part of American history that we will be discussing at a later date according to the syllabus. Even though this article only talks about a certain group of people who played a role in the Civil War, it is very beneficial to the course because it provides background knowledge about the subject and details about a specific group that played a vital part in the war.
I enjoyed reading this article because I felt it had a lot of important information about the history of nursing and America. I’ve never been one who was very interested in history, but with my desire to be a nurse, I think it is interesting to know what being a nurse was like before nursing schools were established and technology was developed.
She Went to War: Indiana Women Nurses in the Civil War is a very good article for nursing students and current nurses to read. Someone not going into the nursing field probably would not find it very interesting; however, if it is someone who enjoys history and wants to know more details about the Civil War, this would be a very good article to read. Until I read this article, I never knew the impact these nurses had on the war was so large. I also never realized how much women were looked down on because men believed women were not capable of performing the same jobs they were. In today’s society, men and women are looked at as equal. For these women to have entered the war field without any previous preparation for what was to come, it shows how brave they must have been. I recommend this article for anyone interested in nursing or learning more about the Civil War.
Peggy Brase Seigel wrote this article to show how big of an impact women in Indiana, but also women in general, had on the Civil War. Because so many historians have largely excluded these women, they have not been recognized for the hardships they endured and the risks they faced serving in the war. Seigel includes many names of the women who helped in the war efforts as nurses to give them the recognition they deserve. Seigel did an excellent job in accomplishing her goals for writing this article with all of the descriptions and details she provides about these women nurses and the things they endured throughout their time serving in the war.