Discussion in 'Contemporary Photos of Civil War Sites & Events' started by Gettmore, Jun 13, 2018.
I am familiar with them as a Catholic order of nuns who did excellent work with the wounded in their hospitals but I had never thought they actually went out onto a battlefield, like Clara Barton, to attend the wounded there.
May not have been normal circumstances, but redoubtably occurred to tend to wounded
Oops for a second I thought you meant these guys, the "Sisters of Mercy":
(sorry, couldn't help myself)
That will cost you 3 Our Fathers and 10 Hail Mary's
We had the Sisters of Mercy at the school of Resurrection parish on the West Side of Chicago. I called them the Sisters of No Mercy. But they were efficient teachers, no doubt of that.
I'm a Protestant
But all kidding aside, what these gentle nurses did for the wounded cannot be overrated. It must have been a great relief for them to know they were cared for.
I see some familiar faces from my group in the background playing Yankees. I don't know the ladies playing the nurses though, but they're on the field every year for this reenactment.
My story of an Irish immigrant nursed by the Sisters of Mercy after Fredericksburg.
Pat as usual a well written and informative article. I appreciate that you had track of William McCarter after the war ended.
As a Catholic who lived with cloistered sisters for a time...was the title given because these good ladies are portraying Sisters of Mercy, or because of their "veils"? (Actually more of a gimp/veil combo as shown.)
If that's their impression, I'd love to see their inspiration.
I assume the sisters of mercy thing is just meant generically and not to mean that famous Irish order, the Sisters of Mercy. And I never saw a Mercy nun who wasn’t lean; that was part of their big medicine.
Oh, no, I mean the habits...super sorry for not making that clear! Thank you.
In Remarque's Im Westen Nichts Neues, All Quiet on the Western Front, one of the company's wounded, Franz Kemmering, I think, is wounded and the comment is made that he has been sent to a Catholic hospital in Germany for recovery. That is a great stoke of luck, it is said, as everyone knows that their care is the best. I cannot recall if the nuns in the hospital are Sisters of Mercy but there were several orders of nuns who primarily worked with the ill and injured of their day. From my own experience with Catholic nuns, their success may have come from, among other things, just their physical cleanliness (cleanliness is next to Godliness) which may have helped reduce post operative infections.
The Sisters of Mercy are the order most commonly associated with Civil War nursing, and they were the most numerous. But the 640 sisters who so served came from 21 different communities of nuns, and by no means all of them were Sisters of Mercy.
The "Nuns of the Battlefield" monument located at the intersection of Rhode Island Avenue NW, M Street, and Connecticut Avenue NW, in Washington, D.C., honors sisters who served both North and South. The relief on the monument pictures nuns in the habits of Sisters of St. Joseph, Carmelites, Dominican Order, Ursulines, Sisters of the Holy Cross, Poor Sisters of St. Francis, Sisters of Mercy, Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, and Congregation of Divine Providence. Even communities with the same name were not always of the same Order: the Sisters of Charity of Charleston (who attended both Confederate sick and Federal PoWs there) were not the same order as the Sisters of Charity of Indianapolis (who operated the army hospital in that city). Some communities of nuns were very small, only a handful of nuns belonging.
Sisters of Mercy of Vicksburg
The history of The Sisters Of Mercy In The United States 1843-1928, by Sr. Mary Eulalia Herron was published in 1929. It gives the history of every community of the order up to that time. A teaching order, their duty to teach, not to nurse. The account of the early years of the community established in Vicksburg, Miss. in 1859, shows just how small come of these communities were, their abject poverty, and also something of how the war affected them:
The first community of the Sisters of Mercy in the Diocese of Natchez came from the mother house in Baltimore, at the request of Rt. Rev. William Henry Elder, to open schools in the city of Vicksburg, October, 1859. The community comprised Sister M. Vincent Brown, Sister M. Ignatius Sumner, Sister M. Stephana, a postulant, Miss Rosa Farmer, a young lady of Baltimore who volunteered for the southern mission, and Sister M. de Sales Brown, superior. The sisters had the privilege of returning to Baltimore if they so desired. Later, Sister Stephana, broken in health, returned to Pittsburgh, the convent of her profession.
The journey from Baltimore to Vicksburg was long and tiresome. For three days after their arrival they were the guests of Mr. Antonio Genella. On October 15, 1859, they took residence in a large brick building which had been converted into a convent.
On October 22, they opened school with sixty children enrolled on the first day. The number continued to increase until the beginning of the Civil War, 1861. The schools were then closed and the convent became a hospital for the sick and wounded soldiers. During the bombardment at Vicksburg, the sisters were requested to nurse the sick and wounded soldiers at Mississippi Springs, Oxford, Jackson, and Shelby Springs. As the enemy approached, the sisters moved with the disabled soldiers to places of safety.
The period was one of extreme suffering. The sisters were without the necessaries of life and their clothing was so worn that their nearest friends would not recognize them. About a year before the close of the war, Bishop Elder wished them to return to Vicksburg. Four sisters returned, the others remained with the disabled soldiers. The Confederate general (Polk) very reluctantly gave permission for the sisters to withdraw. When the sisters reached Vicksburg they were not permitted to take possession of their convent as it had become the headquarters of General Slocum and other Federal officials. The sisters were again obliged to accept the hospitality of Mr. Genella, at whose home they had been received on their first coming to Vicksburg in 1859. The following sisters nursed the soldiers during the war: Mother M. de Sales Brown, Sister M. Vincent Brown, Sister M. Ignatius Sumner, Sister M. Agnes Maddigan, Sister M. Philomena Farmer, and Sister M. Xavier Poursine.
The convent property was later restored to the sisters through the influence of Mr. Stanton, Secretary of War, at the request of Rev. Michael O'Connor, formerly Bishop of Pittsburgh, then a member of the Society of Jesus. On the sisters' return to Vicksburg they were penniless. Confederate money was without value. Their property was in need of repairs from neglect and the ravages of war. Martin Keary, a generous benefactor, lent them several thousand dollars, without interest, with which to build, and, assisted by Mr. Casey, collected six hundred dollars to repair the convent so as to make it habitable until the new convent was erected.
Here is my " Sisters of Mercy " story . Gettysburg 135th re-enactment 100 plus degrees that day and they sent us out to the afternoon battle in full gear and frock coat . We set out marching to the staging area with no water as the water tanks were empty and hoping to find water on the way but to no avail . So waterless we head into battle thirsty and full of sweat and dust. Half way through the battle I am starting feel to terrible, dizzy, chills , goosebumps and cramps. So time to take a hit and my regiment goes on without me pretty much alone in a woodsy area. So i'm thinking this is not going to be a good day for mother. Off in the distance I see a older women in period clothing walking towards me and as she gets closer I notice she carrying a bucket of ice water . "Best" water I have ever had . I thanked her many times as I am sure she saved me from going to the hospital if anybody would have found me . So I was able to fight another day due to her kindness .
Separate names with a comma.