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Rebecca Pomeroy and Abraham Lincoln, "One of the best women I ever knew"

Discussion in 'Medical Care of the Civil War' started by John Hartwell, Mar 5, 2017.

  1. John Hartwell

    John Hartwell Captain Forum Host

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    Mary Livermore wrote of Rebecca Pomeroy:
    "Mrs. Rebecca R. Pomroy [sic] of Chelsea, Mass., was another of the heroic women who gave themselves to hospital work. Bereft by death of her husband and a son and daughter, almost at one stroke, she sought comfort in ministering to those who were more heavily weighted with sorrow and suffering than herself. She offered her services as a nurse to Miss Dix, was accepted, and installed in the Georgetown, D. C, hospital. She proved herself so unusual and efficient as to attract the attention of surgeons and of visiting members of Congress. And when sickness invaded the White House, and Mrs. Lincoln and Willie, the second and favorite son of the President, were sick unto death, and a good nurse was unattainable anywhere in the District of Columbia, Mrs. Pomroy was sent by Miss Dix to the stricken household. Willie died, Mrs. Pomroy remaining in charge of the other invalid till she was fully restored, comforting the bereaved President by her sympathy and kindness, and calming and managing the distracted household. She then returned to her work for the soldiers, sometimes in hospitals, sometimes on hospital transports and sometimes in the rear of the battlefield, where the wounded were brought to her for care and protection. After the surrender at Appomattox she came home to rest. Not long, however, for her practical ability was sought for the management of the 'Newton, Mass., Home for Orphan and Destitute Girls,' where she remained in charge until her recent death." [Mass. Women and the Civil War, 1868]

    The Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Society has a more detailed account:
    "One of the Best Women I Ever Knew": Abraham Lincoln and Rebecca Pomeroy
     

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  3. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Colonel Forum Host

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    We've heard of women like this, finding an outlet for grief in helping others. There are several accounts from Gettysburg, wives and mothers traveling there to find wounded husbands and sons, finding they'd died and staying anyway to be of service to other wives and mothers.

    Thanks very much for Rebecca's bio, so much compassion in a short paragraph. It's even more wonderful having Mary Livermore take time to ensure women were recognized. I mean, really, how would anyone stuff her service into a paragraph, too?
     
    lelliott19 and pamc153PA like this.
  4. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Colonel Forum Host

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    I haven't been able to concentrate on some of the themes I've begun lately, but seeing Rebecca was a nurse on the hospital transports, am hoping to include her on the thread for these ' boats '. Some of our nurses really, really had a hugely varied career.
     
  5. lelliott19

    lelliott19 2nd Lieutenant Forum Host Trivia Game Winner

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    Thanks for posting this @John Hartwell

    The hospital transports are such an interesting topic! Can you imagine having all those sick and wounded soldiers packed onto a boat? Talk about challenging circumstances. It was bad enough when they were in a field hospital in tents, sheds, warehouses and what not. But a boat? Oh my.
     
    John Hartwell likes this.

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