New York: Anson D. F. Randolph, 1863. Item #435
12mo. 137 x 120 mm., (5 1/4 x 4 1/2 inches). 24 pp. Drop-title. Stitched as issued. Very good copy.
First published edition originally issued for private distribution in a few copies. Heartfelt narrative of the impact of battle on the town of Gettysburg and its inhabitants, from the point of view of a volunteer nurse who aided wounded soldiers during the first weeks of the bloody war. This short text describes her work as a nurse and the work of many local women of Gettysburg who helped manage the care of the wounded and the dying who were carried to the hospital during the conflagration. Union and Rebel soldiers alike had their wounds cleaned, bodies bathed and offered food and water by the women of the hospital. Woolsey’s pamphlet is a testament to the nurses, cooks, and aids who cared for the men and boys who suffered. According to this account, most of the cooks were Free Blacks, who unable to fight, joined the ranks of the Sanitation Commission and supported the Union cause.
“Four thousand soldiers, too badly hurt to be moved, were still left in Gettysburg, cared for kindly and well at the large, new Government hospital, with a Sanitary Commission attachment. Our work was over, our tents struck, and we came away after a flourish of trumpets, from two military bands who filed down to our door and gave us a farewell, ‘Red, white and blue’.”
Georgeanna Woolsey (1833-1906) was the fourth daughter of Charles William and Jane Eliza (Newton) Woolsey. Charles was a prosperous East Boston sugar refiner. The large family, firmly abolitionist, included seven daughters and the youngest, a son. All seven daughters served as nurses during the Civil War. At the outset of the War, Georgeanna and two older sisters worked with Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell to create the Women's Central Association of Relief, which later became an integral part of the U.S. Sanitary Commission.
Over the next two years Georgeanna assisted in fitting out ships transporting wounded soldiers from the Peninsular Campaign and worked in hospitals in Rhode Island, New York City, Maryland and Virginia.
A note on the title reports: "This unpretending sketch of the labors of two ladies among the wounded, after the Battle of Gettysburg, was originally printed for private distribution among a few of the soldiers' aid societies. It is now...reproduced for a more general circulation..."
Notable American Women, III, pp. 665-68. Rare pamphlet; OCLC cites two copies of this edition (Cornell and East Carolina University) and no copies of the privately printed text. Rare in the market see Rare Book Hub, ABE and Bookfinder.