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Thread: Field nurse

  1. #1
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    Default Field nurse

    My 18 year old daughter wants to do more than just sit with the spectators. Here in Northwest Georgia we have not been able to find anything in writing about nurses at reenactments (dressed as women), but she was "told by someone" that she could not participate until she turned 24. If she wanted to dress as a man, she could have been on the field last year. Any suggestions?
    Thank you,
    Bill H.

  2. #2
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    Alot will depend on how history heavy the events are. If they are simply theme camping, nurses at events or women poorly dressed as men will be seen...

    If you are concerend with history and authenticity, then women nursing the woulded would be foud at general hospitals very far from the battle or in private homes days after the battle. Civilians tended to flee battle areas for obvious reasons. If she wants to serve as a male, then she could serve as an orderly or litter bearer (litter bearers require strength and stamina and are not a job for those who can't work hard carrying a grown man on a litter). But she shopuld be able to really pass as a man. If she looks like a woman dressed as a man, she should think about just portraying a woman. And as the best women reenacting as men will tell you, if you dress as a man, don't even think about going to the ball as a woman. Some women can do a great job passing as a man, so if she can pass convincingly as a man and wants to she could think about it.

    As for reenacting age, that sounds like a unit requirement. Shop around, other units may tell you otherwise...
    Harry Aycock

    Medical Director Bee's Brigade - 150th First Manassas
    Medical Director Evans' Brigade - 150th Leesburg
    Medical Director Valley District - 150th McDowell
    Chief Surgeon of Division - 150th Seven Pines/Seven Days
    Chief Surgeon of Division - 150th Sharpsburg
    Chief Surgeon Heth's Division - 150th Gettysburg

    Chief Surgeon
    Southern Division

  3. #3
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    Default Sanitary Commision

    Have you thought of a Sanitary Commision Impression or the Christian Commision Impression?
    David Meister

    Surgeon C.S.A.

    1st Assistant Surgeon 108th Regt. Ills. Vols.

  4. #4
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    I concur with Dave. Sanitation Commision or Christian commission for someone that age would be a more appropriate impression and would have been near the battlefield though not directly on it. The few female nurses who did see battlefield hospitals even during the battle such as Harriet P. Dame of the 2nd New Hampshire were spinsters in their late 30's usually. I can recomend numerous sources for the Sanitation commision.

  5. #5
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    Default Field nurses

    Realistically, using Dix's criteria for nurses and the amount of reading I've done on the subject of women nurses. I've yet to come across a nurse that young who was actually travelling with the troops. For your daughter to be a nurse...it would be a more realistic portrayal for her to be a civilian helping in the aftermath of battle.

    Quote Originally Posted by hta1970
    If you are concerend with history and authenticity, then women nursing the woulded would be foud at general hospitals very far from the battle or in private homes days after the battle.
    I'm going to respectfully disagree with this generalization. There is documentation depending on the scenario for women to be at field hospitals and hospital transport ships. One nurse that I've done a pretty fair amount of research on is Harriet Patience Dame of the Second New Hampshire Infantry. She was with HER boys through much of the war except when the unit was sent home on furlough. Marie Tepe was wounded in the ankle at Fredericksburg (I am including her because one of the duties as a vivandiere would be to nurse the sick and wounded).

    Civilians tended to flee battle areas for obvious reasons
    Again respectfully disagreeing. It depends on the scenario. Given the amount of journals and diaries documenting the civilian experience at Gettysburg you have to consider the scenario instead of hard and fast generalizations.
    Kimberly Schwatka

  6. #6
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    My point is there is no place for ice angles and women on the battlefield running about 10 yards from the line of battle.

    The battlefield was no place for women in the 19th century. Like it or not my attitude towards this is a very 19th century attitude. It was quite common for surgeons to voice their displeasure at the prescence of women in the hospitals serving as nurses. And Dix had many many critics in the US Medical Department. She was far from poular with surgeons in her day.

    Also a nurse in the 19th century had very different duties than in the 21st century. Many duties today performed by nurses were in fact performed by medical officers in the 19th century.

    Yes I spoke in generalizations. In most cases what I have said is true. What you have stated are the exceptions and the rare cases, not the common instances.

    A nurse in the 19th century was commonly a man, not a woman. We would be better served education the public on what was the norm first before we try to find the exception to the rule.

    I know this excludes women from getting out there and getting dirty. But if we can't first show the plain everyday common, the public will believe that the exception was in fact the rule.

    I would certainly though encourage you to please share with the forum here, perhaps in a separate topic, women's service in the medical department with references (which you are by ther way always good at providing and always helpful to those looking to read more). I think this is an area which women can properly mentored and , as you say, i"n the proper situations" be used correctly to educate the public and the reenactor. I myself am looking into a general hospital event where I would really like some dedicated and well educated women to participate education the public on the role of women in hospitals during the war. If you are interested, I'd love to caht further and send me an e-mail.

    I think we are both looking to do the same thing here, improve the authentiucity of medical reenacting and educating the public. Sorry if I started off on a high horse, but I always worry the effect of the exception to the rule has upon less than authentically minded medical reenactors.
    Last edited by hta1970; 12-14-2008 at 06:44 PM.
    Harry Aycock

    Medical Director Bee's Brigade - 150th First Manassas
    Medical Director Evans' Brigade - 150th Leesburg
    Medical Director Valley District - 150th McDowell
    Chief Surgeon of Division - 150th Seven Pines/Seven Days
    Chief Surgeon of Division - 150th Sharpsburg
    Chief Surgeon Heth's Division - 150th Gettysburg

    Chief Surgeon
    Southern Division

  7. #7
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    Mar 2008
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hta1970
    My point is there is no place for ice angles and women on the battlefield running about 10 yards from the line of battle.

    The battlefield was no place for women in the 19th century. Like it or not my attitude towards this is a very 19th century attitude. It was quite common for surgeons to voice their displeasure at the prescence of women in the hospitals serving as nurses. And Dix had many many critics in the US Medical Department. She was far from poular with surgeons in her day.

    Also a nurse in the 19th century had very different duties than in the 21st century. Many duties today performed by nurses were in fact performed by medical officers in the 19th century.

    Yes I spoke in generalizations. In most cases what I have said is true. What you have stated are the exceptions and the rare cases, not the common instances.

    A nurse in the 19th century was commonly a man, not a woman. We would be better served education the public on what was the norm first before we try to find the exception to the rule.

    I know this excludes women from getting out there and getting dirty. But if we can't first show the plain everyday common, the public will believe that the exception was in fact the rule.

    I would certainly though encourage you to please share with the forum here, perhaps in a separate topic, women's service in the medical department with references (which you are by ther way always good at providing and always helpful to those looking to read more). I think this is an area which women can properly mentored and , as you say, i"n the proper situations" be used correctly to educate the public and the reenactor. I myself am looking into a general hospital event where I would really like some dedicated and well educated women to participate education the public on the role of women in hospitals during the war. If you are interested, I'd love to caht further and send me an e-mail.

    I think we are both looking to do the same thing here, improve the authentiucity of medical reenacting and educating the public. Sorry if I started off on a high horse, but I always worry the effect of the exception to the rule has upon less than authentically minded medical reenactors.


    Answer this my friend the 1861 regs made a point to include Female Nurses and Matrons in the regs. While they may have not been the norm they were there. Females among the Hospitals were not uncommon immeadiately after the battle. Had it not been for some members of the support commisions of different states many of which were female the hospitals at Gettysburg would have been in a world of hurt. I don't mean to be offensive but the staement they have no place to me is uninformed. I point you to Grappling with Death. Ms Handcock features very heavily in the book. She was not a sobnote or minor player she was featured extensively.
    Last edited by Regular DOC; 12-14-2008 at 07:01 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by hta1970
    My point is there is no place for ice angles and women on the battlefield running about 10 yards from the line of battle.

    Now dealing with this statement ice angles may be not in your view of authentic but with the number of reenactments stopped because of overheating individuals they do play a part. There comes a point where safety and authneticity have to compramise. If the angels are out of sight then the benefit is great as they were at Chickamauga 145th.

  9. #9
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    Wherever the Navy sends hubby
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    Default Suggestion

    Quote Originally Posted by hta1970
    My point is there is no place for ice angles and women on the battlefield running about 10 yards from the line of battle.

    The battlefield was no place for women in the 19th century. Like it or not my attitude towards this is a very 19th century attitude. It was quite common for surgeons to voice their displeasure at the prescence of women in the hospitals serving as nurses. And Dix had many many critics in the US Medical Department. She was far from poular with surgeons in her day.

    Also a nurse in the 19th century had very different duties than in the 21st century. Many duties today performed by nurses were in fact performed by medical officers in the 19th century.

    Yes I spoke in generalizations. In most cases what I have said is true. What you have stated are the exceptions and the rare cases, not the common instances.

    A nurse in the 19th century was commonly a man, not a woman. We would be better served education the public on what was the norm first before we try to find the exception to the rule.

    I know this excludes women from getting out there and getting dirty. But if we can't first show the plain everyday common, the public will believe that the exception was in fact the rule.

    I would certainly though encourage you to please share with the forum here, perhaps in a separate topic, women's service in the medical department with references (which you are by ther way always good at providing and always helpful to those looking to read more). I think this is an area which women can properly mentored and , as you say, i"n the proper situations" be used correctly to educate the public and the reenactor. I myself am looking into a general hospital event where I would really like some dedicated and well educated women to participate education the public on the role of women in hospitals during the war. If you are interested, I'd love to caht further and send me an e-mail.

    I think we are both looking to do the same thing here, improve the authentiucity of medical reenacting and educating the public. Sorry if I started off on a high horse, but I always worry the effect of the exception to the rule has upon less than authentically minded medical reenactors.
    Given the number of WOMEN pensioned for their work as nurses during the civil war, I suggest you do some more research about the role of women as nurses during the American civil war.

    In case you need some names to start with:

    Susan E (Hall) Barry
    Sarah Mary Carrol (Sister Mary Carroll--Sisters of Charity)
    Blanche Duffy (formerly Sister Blanche O'Brien--Sisters of Charity)
    Harriet Dada Emens
    Anna M Holstein
    Rose V Mullin (Sister Vincent--Sisters of Charity)
    Sarah S Sampson
    Joanna W Turner
    Isabella Fogg (pensioned due to DISABILITY as a result of mishap aboard the hospital ship Jacob Strader)

    Perhaps you can also explain Dr Mercedes Graf's research that indicates a percentage of the FEMALE nurses pensioned during the civil war would have been likely termed today as suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?


    Wonder if you know who some of these women are and can identify their unit affiliations:

    Addie Jackson
    Elmina Keeler Spencer
    Amanda Colburn Farnham
    Estelle S Johnson
    Kady Brownell
    Annie Etheridge
    Modenia R Weston
    Ruth Helena Sinnotte
    Estelle S Johnson
    Mary E Scott

    Or the contributions of these women:

    Helen Gilson
    Cornelia Hancock
    Kimberly Schwatka

  10. #10
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    Aug 2007
    Location
    Baltimore, Maryland
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    Default

    To answer your question yes...

    I've said my part, you've said yours.

    I will not participate in a tag team attack by a husband and wife directed towards me in this forum.

    You enjoy your events and I'll enjoy mine...
    Harry Aycock

    Medical Director Bee's Brigade - 150th First Manassas
    Medical Director Evans' Brigade - 150th Leesburg
    Medical Director Valley District - 150th McDowell
    Chief Surgeon of Division - 150th Seven Pines/Seven Days
    Chief Surgeon of Division - 150th Sharpsburg
    Chief Surgeon Heth's Division - 150th Gettysburg

    Chief Surgeon
    Southern Division

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