Wednesday, August 8, 2012

“Oh, how I thought of him who is the cause of all this woe on his fellow countrymen-Abraham Lincoln. What kind of a heart can he have, to leave these poor wretches here? To think how often we have begged for exchange; but this unfeeling man knows what a terrible punishment it is for our men to be in Northern prisons, and how valuable everyone of them is to us. For this reason he sacrifices thousand of his own. May heaven help us all! But war is terrible.”

Kate Cumming, after seeing the conditions at the Confederate prison camp at Andersonville, Georgia on August 19, 1864. 

Kate Cumming is best known for her dedicated service to sick and wounded Confederate soldiers. She spent much of the latter half of the War as a nurse in hospitals throughout Georgia.

Unlike most women nurses, who served only temporarily, Cumming continued as an active nurse for the duration of the war. After a two-month respite in Mobile during the summer of 1862, she traveled to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to volunteer at Newsome Hospital, where she remained for the next year. 

While there, the Confederate government reluctantly decreed in September 1862 that hospitals could legally pay nurses rather than rely on them as volunteers. Thus Cumming's status changed from volunteer to professional; for the war's duration, she was officially enlisted in the Confederate Army Medical Department.

After the war she published a chronicle of her wartime nursing experiences."

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