- Jun 2, 2017
Image from Louisa May Alcott's Hospital Sketches, 1885
" ... He never spoke again, but to the end held my hand close, so close that when he was asleep at last, I could not draw it away. Dan helped me, warning me as he did so that it was unsafe for dead and living flesh to lie so long together; but though my hand was strangely cold and stiff, and four white marks remained across its back, even when warmth and color had returned elsewhere, I could not but be glad that, through its touch, the presence of human sympathy, perhaps, had lightened that hard hour."
Louisa May Alcott, best-known for her literary career including her famous work Little Women (1868), volunteered as a nurse late in 1862. She served in the Maryland region, tending to wounded soldiers, until she was diagnosed with typhoid pneumonia the following year. Her book Hospital Sketches documents this period of her life. "John" was a soldier who died in Alcott's presence.