Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - July 20, 1862

Sunday 20th [July] 1862

I wish I was one of the women of Richmond. They have made for themselves a name that will be handed down with praise and honour for many generations. During the battles that were fought around Richmond, in which their dear ones were engaged – while they could see the flash and hear the cannon all day long – there was no screaming, or shrieking or running about the streets. They waited quietly until the dead and wounded were brought in – some of them to their doors – and then busied themselves in doing all that a woman can do to alleviate the sufferings and minister to the wants of our wounded. Sunday – the fourth day of the fight – none of the churches were opened. The ministers went around to the different houses encouraging the women to set to work and make beds, pillows and sheets for the hundreds of wounded that were still being brought in.

Many of the ladies have private hospitals. Six or eight, who live near each other, will together rent a house in their neighbourhood and fill it with wounded or sick soldiers (sometimes as many as fifty) and feed and nurse them themselves.

It is not just now that the women of Richmond are showing their heroism and patriotic devotion. They have been doing all that they could do ever since the war began, on many occasions sending their dinners untasted to the tired and hungry soldiers who had just arrived.

But I do not believe Richmond has done more than any other city in the Confederacy would have done had she the same opportunities

Many take the soldiers to their own house to nurse.

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