The Civil War presented many unprecedented opportunities for women to expand their roles in society and prove that they were capable and equal in a world where men were held higher. Indiana women organized benefits to raise funds and soldiers aid societies to make clothing and collect supplies for the camps, conducted bazaars, helped needy families of soldiers, carried out family businesses, and took the jobs that were previously reserved only for men to help with the war cause and finances. When reports of widespread disease in the military hospitals and camps reached the women in Indiana, they saw it as an opportunity to prove themselves capable and equal in what was a mans world, and they began looking for ways to help the affected soldiers.
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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 the military hospitals caring for Indiana soldiers. At the end of the war, it was reported that the sanitary commission sent about two hundred and fifty women to serve as nurses. Despite the womens efforts, historians have largely excluded them from the published reports of the conflict.
These Indiana women who served as nurses used independent routes to their experiences. Eventually, there were so many women working that an order was issued for those not serving as matrons or laundresses to leave, and those serving as nurses had to be approved and were only allowed to serve at base hospitals. Many other women were eager to help, but the responses to their offers varied. Many women found it difficult to serve as nurses, but those who were relatives of afflicted soldiers were granted passes to travel to the hospitals and serve as temporary nurses. Because nursing schools had not yet been established, nurses were chosen based on age, appearance, and reputation. She Went to War: Indiana Women Nurses in the Civil War gives many names of the women who went to serve as nurses in the war without any preparation for the hardships they faced. 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. particularly women from Indiana who served as nurses 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. 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 some background knowledge about the subject and details about a specific group that played a vital role in the war.
I enjoyed reading this article because I felt it had a lot of information that is important when it comes to the history of nursing. Ive never been one who was very interested in history, but with my desire to be a nurse, I think it is interesting to know a little bit about what nursing 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 or 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 that the impact these nurses had on the war was so large. I never realized how much women were looked down on because the men thought they were not capable of the same things they were. In todays society, men and women are looked at as equal. For these women to have to enter the war field without any previous preparation for what was to come, it shows how brave they must have been. Without these women, many soldiers may have died from diseases and other things.
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 entering the war zone. 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 thing they endured throughout their time serving in the war.
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