Daily Archives for: September 5th, 2017

Louisa May Alcott’s Civil War Journals

Some years before Little Women made her famous, Louisa May Alcott volunteered as a nurse at a makeshift Union hospital in Washington, D.C. in 1862. The Civil War was raging. Alcott’s Civil War journals describing her experiences, along with the letters she sent home, provided the basis for Hospital Sketches (1863).

Though the experience was frustratingly short for the fledgling author who wanted to experience all of life, good and bad, her writings provided richly drawn views of the terrible conditions in the hospital, commentary on women’s roles in the war effort, race issues in the armed forces, and more. Read more about Louisa May Alcott as Civil War Nurse. Read More→


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Louisa May Alcott’s Service as a Civil War Nurse

“I WANT something to do,” Louisa May Alcott wrote of her desire to contribute to the Union Army’s effort in the Civil War.

If women had been allowed to serve as soldiers, Louisa would have surely taken up arms. But as it was, the only direct way women could serve was to volunteer as nurses, and that’s just what she did. The photo at right was from around the time she served.

After the crushing defeat of Union forces in Fredericksburg, December 1862, Louisa began her duties as a nurse at the Union Hotel in Georgetown, Washington D.C. It had been hastily turned into a makeshift hospital. Read More→


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