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Regular DOC
12-19-2008, 09:46 PM
No I am not starting another female nurse discussion.

Having said that I was going over my copy of Life In Mr. Lincoln's navy when I ran across a pay reference of nurse being paid 14 dollars a month. The only two rates in the navy according to the book and what I have read and researched who were paid equal to or less were Landsmen(think new recruits to the army) and ships boys. That leads me to wonder who were these men who were considered no better then recruits to be lumped at the bottom of the pay ladder.

Ross L. Lamoreaux
12-19-2008, 10:21 PM
http://www.tfoenander.com/empay.htm Here's a link to a copy of said pay scale, circa 1864. I believe the difference is justified by the fact that a naval nurse was nothing more than the modern equivilant to a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA). They emptied bedpans, mopped decks (floors), scrubbed bulkheads (walls) and assisted the surgeons and stewards with menial tasks. The term "nurse" is a little misleading because we are using today's standard to judge a totally different job from back then. They often had no training, formal or otherwise, and didn't provide a valuable trade or skill like a ships carpenter, a sailmaker, etc.

Regular DOC
12-19-2008, 10:28 PM
http://www.tfoenander.com/empay.htm Here's a link to a copy of said pay scale, circa 1864. I believe the difference is justified by the fact that a naval nurse was nothing more than the modern equivilant to a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA). They emptied bedpans, mopped decks (floors), scrubbed bulkheads (walls) and assisted the surgeons and stewards with menial tasks. The term "nurse" is a little misleading because we are using today's standard to judge a totally different job from back then. They often had no training, formal or otherwise, and didn't provide a valuable trade or skill like a ships carpenter, a sailmaker, etc.
Yes but nore did a coal heaver. Yet they earned more pay. And as a current navy sailor I do know what a bulkhead,deck and hatch is. Remeber their were nurses on board the Red Rover and other Naval Hospital ships. Since other surgeons assistants were taken from able bodied crewmen who earned 16 dollars the nurses most likely were recruited elsewhere. I have to believe that the position of Nurse was not on board the combat vessels but restricted to the second teir vessels.

Ross L. Lamoreaux
12-19-2008, 11:03 PM
I placed the terms in parentheses for those who may not know naval terminology and by no means was I implying that you didn't (it was just made for general knowledge). I sincerely apologize if I offended you for that. As for their station, I believe you are correct, as I've found no listing of "nurse" on the rolls of any combat vessel of the East Gulf Blockading Squadron, the largest area of study that I have attempted, and feel that the position was probably on the land hospitals and not on sea or combat zones. A coal heaver would be considered much more important to a vessel, as he was helping the vessel move, thus more pay. I do know from previous research that the position of nurse was considered menial and unskilled, and was often given to those that they had sought out, i.e. recruited off the street or in an operational area who possesed no other trade or skill.

Regular DOC
12-19-2008, 11:39 PM
I placed the terms in parentheses for those who may not know naval terminology and by no means was I implying that you didn't (it was just made for general knowledge). I sincerely apologize if I offended you for that. As for their station, I believe you are correct, as I've found no listing of "nurse" on the rolls of any combat vessel of the East Gulf Blockading Squadron, the largest area of study that I have attempted, and feel that the position was probably on the land hospitals and not on sea or combat zones. A coal heaver would be considered much more important to a vessel, as he was helping the vessel move, thus more pay. I do know from previous research that the position of nurse was considered menial and unskilled, and was often given to those that they had sought out, i.e. recruited off the street or in an operational area who possesed no other trade or skill.


No harm no foul;) Not offended just wanted to point out I had navy knowledge. my thanks for using the correct terms though remember a hatch goes through a deck a door goes through a bulkhead. The term nurse when it comes to the navy may be even more tricky then it is for the Army. The support ships such as the Hospital Ships had nurses who fulfilled the same tasks as stewards. IE food service etc. Some even including nuns(Red Rover being some of the first use of females) which is why I feel the pay discrepanicy truly lies. You would not see nurses on combat vessels cause they may have not been true combatants ranging from uncommited men to some(again a select few) women. Though I have found the quotes and letters from the hospital ships and land hospitals be more from women then men. But you are right in that the combat vessels would not have the nurse position be they able bodied men or the few women who took to sea on US Naval hospital vessels.(I don't include SanCom vessels). However the same task being performed on combat vessels by Surgeons Stewards or Pharmacists Mates(Take a look at Yellow Flag) warrented pay above that of even able bodied seamen.

I have to find the quote from one of the 5th NH Infantry histories saying how one nurse complained that the Coronel kept asking for eggs when he was woundded on board one of the hospital ships after the Pennisula campaign. Now that may have been a SanCom ship which may make the reference more confusing. Makes for an interesting history.

Like I said makes me wonder why they would pay so little for what was a task carried out on other vessels by ordinary seamen. I think we both agree the position in question was not a normal naval vessel position but restricted to hospital ships and land hospitals.

Regular DOC
12-20-2008, 08:51 AM
Ross

Do you think they may have also filled the post with blacks? As I said I am just trying to figure out why the pay discrepancy?

Blair
12-20-2008, 12:23 PM
Brian,

I think this is based more on a working knowledge of servicing the ship than anything else.
Boy, Landsmen, and in your search "Nurse", as ratings would not have aquired the knowledge/skill to sail and/or fight the ship. The more duties a crewman could preform made that individual more valuable to that ship. The pay would reflect those duties and value.
A Ships Boy was often a young person who wished a life at sea but either didn't have the knowledge or strength yet to preform the normal duties of a Seaman.
A Landsmen had no ship board skills of any kind but could take orders and do the work.
These are usually the lowest paid because they have the least skills to offer the ship. Yet, their pay is often higher than a Private in the Army.
Blair Taylor

Regular DOC
12-20-2008, 04:16 PM
Brian,


These are usually the lowest paid because they have the least skills to offer the ship. Yet, their pay is often higher than a Private in the Army.
Blair Taylor
That was what I found interesting that even the lowest skilled were payed better then the Army. Would have made me want to enlist in the Navy vice the Army.

Union Navy
12-23-2008, 03:25 PM
Here is a link to an article on this subject. Mark Jeager sent me the whole article a while back, but it exceeds the size limit for this forum. A number of these positions were filled with "contrabands."

http://www.jstor.org/pss/2649029