Outstanding Homemaking Skills Make History

I’ve come to a decision. If I had lived during the Civil War era, and if I’d been around the age of thirty and a spinster, I would’ve volunteered as a hospital matron in a base hospital. I’d rather not be a nurse. Just my opinion…  Why? Well, I’ve been reading the reminiscence of a hospital matron, and I have a new appreciation for that role.

Meet Phoebe Yates Pember – the hospital matron whose writing prompted my rambling thoughts. Today we’ll explore the job description, conflicts, and humor in a Confederate hospital through the explanations of Mrs. Pember. Continue reading

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Loud noise travels a long way, and I’m sure you’ve experienced this in some situation. Fireworks and artillery practice on military bases are some of the best examples I can think of.

Okay, so what’s this got to do with Back To Gettysburg on Tuesday? Well, I thought it’d be interesting to share some of the long range reports of the fighting at Gettysburg. Just how far away were those cannon blasts heard? Continue reading

A Southern Lady’s Self-less Service

Look Away To Dixieland! Now, it’s time to introduce and remember some brave ladies from the South and their role as nurses or hospital matrons.

In the South, the prejudice against women’s service in the medical field was even more pronounced than in the North. But the ladies were not discouraged. While old-school surgeons made life unpleasant, saying that a woman must stay home and in her sphere of influence, the ladies argued that tending the sick and injured had been one of the tasks in their homemaker roles and that it became a way to contribute patriotic service. (For a more complete discussion of the argument, please read: Nurses of the American Civil War – An Overview)

Today I’d like to introduce you to one of my favorite Southern nurses and share an overview of her experiences and contributions to the war effort. Meet Miss Kate Cumming… Continue reading

By The Banks Of Rock Creek

Rock Creek is a stream to the east of the town of Gettysburg. Reading historical accounts sometimes leaves a researcher with the impression that Rock Creek was omnipresent. (It’s not, it just happens to meander all over the east part of the battlefield zone.)

A tributary to the larger Monocacy River, Rock Creek became a semi-important landmark and high-dangerous enemy during July 1863. From peaceful stream to battlefield landmark to dangerous floodwaters, let’s explore some historical details of Rock Creek and how it was incorporated into my recent historical novel. Continue reading

January 2016: Holiday History & Craft

Holiday History and Craft, January 2016Okay…so I totally failed. I did something I’ve never done before and hope I’ll never do again. I failed to meet a blog post deadline – and now I’m two weeks late. I’m sorry. But today’s the actual day, so you’re getting January’s Holiday History and Craft now and for the rest of the year I’ll go back to being faithful to post on first Monday of each month.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Usually referred to as MLKJ Day, I never quite grasped what it celebrated/memorialized when I was a kid. My parents did try to educate me – we read about M.L. King, Jr. in the encyclopedia, but it wasn’t until I was formally studying U.S. History that I understood. Let me see if I can make this easy to understand and not too long-winded…and then we’ll do a craft! Continue reading

Author & Nurse: The Woman Who Wrote “Hospital Sketches”

Louisa_May_AlcottWho wrote the classic novel Little Women? If you said “Louisa May Alcott.” You’re correct!

Who volunteered as a nurse at a Union hospital in Washington D.C. –  “I haven’t the slightest idea…” Wait, I wasn’t finished with the question! (Don’t be so impatient, now.)

Let’s try again – Who volunteered as a nurse at a Union hospital in Washington D.C., worked hard and cheerfully, but became deathly ill and had to go home…and later wrote about her experiences in Hospital Sketches?

Louisa May Alcott is the correct answer. Let’s learn a little more about this remarkable writer and nurse and her role during the American Civil War.

Continue reading