Louisa May Alcott’s Civil War Service
The worth of life lies in the experiences that fill it.” In this
way Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women and many other beloved
children’s classics of the 19th century once summarized a part of her
life’s view. That summary occurred during a short period of Alcott’s
life that involved her service as a wartime nurse ministering to wounded
Union soldiers. Although Louisa May Alcott’s nursing service
encompassed only a few weeks, it shaped many of her core values and
nearly cost her life. While Alcott is best known for her career as a
writer it can scarcely be an exaggeration to say that the short span of
weeks during which she nursed sick and maimed Union soldiers left an
indelible imprint upon her spirit, beliefs, and future writing. These
imprints are best understood via the series of articles Alcott penned
about her nursing experiences, which were published under the title
Hospital Sketches. Read the entire article - http://www.citizenscompanion.com/?p=831
Part of her experience included time
spent in a hospital which was in reality a converted hotel. The use of
available buildings to treat wounded and sick during the Civil War was a
common happening. At Historic Washington State Park, the historic
Baptist Church was one such building. The original was destroyed in a
tornado, but the replica can bee seen today. Many of those treated in
the "hospital" here were never to leave Washington. They are
memorialized in the Old Washington Cemetery just north of the park. We
hope you will make this a stop during your visit to take note of the final resting place of
those treated by the doctors and citizens of Washington, Arkansas while so far from their homes.
From the Washington Telegraph Newspaper
Hospital Stores (April 30, 1862)
STORES.--About twenty-five ladies had an informal meeting at this place
last Monday for the purpose of co-operating in forwarding stores for
the hospital at Little Rock. Upon comparing notes they supposed they
could get ready a wagon load to start tomorrow afternoon, and they have
had the offer of a wagon and team to convey it free of charge, upon
payment of road expenses only. The name of the liberal owner will be
given in due time. It will be one record of his devotion to the cause,
It is to be hoped--that is a bad phrase! We mean to say we
know, that the ladies throughout the country will send in to any friend
in town, as rapidly as possible anything they can spare. Those articles
which arrive by to-morrow morning will go with the wagon and those which
come later will be dispatched by other wagons, and so on, until they
may be notified they are no longer needed. It may not be generally known
that half worn clothes, such as shirts, drawers, socks, underclothes of
all sorts, sheets, pillow cases, &c., are very much needed, and
also large quantities of soap for washing. Soldiers are brought into the
hospital in heavy woolen clothes, generally much soiled. They have
mostly no change of garments, and are utterly unfit to be comfortably
nursed. The hospital requires large stores to be kept constantly clean
for frequent change. Life often depends on it, to say nothing of the
comfort of the poor fellow, who lies many a weary day, thinking of home.
Any food or herbs suitable for the sick or convalescent will also be
acceptable. The articles will be stored and packed at Mr. Carrigan's
Commissary store, next to Moore & Smith's drug store.
hospitals at Nashville and Memphis we have known matrons, amidst all the
unpleasant associations of the wards, devotedly nursing strange men,
the sons of women whom they never knew; humbly praying, that, if need
be, God would provide like maternal care, to bathe the fevered brow, and
adjust the couch to the wounded limbs of their own sons, in some far
theatre of the east.
Washington Hospital (June 25, 1862)
HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION.--The treasurer of this Association reports the
amount of sixty-three dollars sixty cents in cash contributed to the
hospital, which appears to have been properly expended. Most of the
assistance given the Association has been in clothing and other
The matron, Mrs. McDonald, would be glad to designate
all the citizens who have humanely come to the assistance of the ladies
by their contributions. But it seems they have been following the
Scripture and generally not letting "their left hand know what the right
hand doeth." The contributions, she says, have been made in such an
indirect way and with so little ostentation, that it is often impossible
to know the donors. It gratifies us to notice, but it is not modest to
boast of the proper feeling which our citizens exhibit towards the
soldiers from a distance, who have fallen sick amongst us.
Our Hospitals (June 1, 1864)
HOSPITALS.--By request, the patriotic and humane citizens of the county
are invited to meet at the Presbyterian Church next Saturday at 11
o'clock, to take measures for improving the condition of our hospitals,
and contributing to the comfort of the patients. Many sick and wounded
are coming in, who appeal strongly to our humanity. Let each man feel
this a personal duty and not tire in well doing.
We Have Company
We got word last month that Historic Washington was going to have
company coming. We were excited and started making plans for their
visit. On an icy January day, Flat Austin and Flat Summer arrived from
the Waldron School District. They are spending a few days hanging with
the people in the park, having their pictures taken, and trying out all
kinds of new activities. Their trip is part of The Flat Stanley Project. This is a program that increases literacy and geography awareness. Participants can even download an app to
their smart phones to follow Flat Stanley Project members around. We
hope Flat Austin and Flat Summer have fun and and go back to Waldron
with great memories to share with the class and the school.
See them on their visit - Link to Photos
Learn more about Flat Stanley and his adventures - http://www.flatstanley.com
No Longer in the News- We are in the Blog!
Here is a great little piece that mentions Historic Washington and is full of experienced insight. http://interptalks.com/
Prep Time 45 minutes
I am thinking warm and creamy comfort food. I think it has something
to do with having a delicious aroma coming from the oven on a chilly
day. This one looked good and is a timeless classic. Something similar
may have been cooked regularly in Washington's past.
For dessert I am going to repeat a classic recipe from an earlier newsletter for all of our new subscribers. It too is a one every housewife new how to make in the days of yore.
Classic Chicken Pot Pie
You can bake these pies in any 2-quart baking dish. For personal pies, use six 10-ounce dishes.
Total Time 1 3/4 hours, plus chilling
Yield Serves 6
Add to Shopping List
For the Crust
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 to 5 tablespoons ice water
- For the Filling
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced small (1 1/2 cups)
4 medium carrots, diced small (2 cups)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 cups shredded cooked chicken (15 ounces)
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse together flour,
sugar, and salt. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse
meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Sprinkle with 3
tablespoons ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together
when squeezed (if necessary, add up to 2 tablespoons ice water); do not
Form dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour or overnight (or freeze, up to 1 month).
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make the filling: In a large
pot, melt butter over medium-high. Add onion and carrots and cook until
softened, 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add
flour and stir to coat vegetables.
Slowly add broth, whisking constantly until sauce is smooth.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thickened, 5 to 7
minutes. Stir in peas. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in chicken
and parsley. Pour filling into a 2-quart baking dish.
On a floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch
thickness. Place dough over dish and fold overhang inward while pinching
to crimp edge. Cut vents in dough. Place dish on a rimmed baking sheet
and bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling around
edge, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.
Roll your dough a couple inches larger than your dish:
Folding it up and over, pinching as you go, forms a beautiful
To make potpies ahead of time, let the filling
cool, then assemble and freeze for up to 4 months. Bake at 425 degrees, 1
1/4 hours (1 hour for small pies).
1700s Pound Cake Recipe - A little Pound Cake History at this link.
POUND CAKE - One pound sugar, one pound butter, one pound
flour, ten eggs, rose water one gill, spices to our taste; watch it
well, it will bake in a slow oven in 15 minutes.
4 cups of flour, 2 ¼ cups sugar, and 4 sticks of butter for two loaves
Mix, bake at 350 degrees until it passes the toothpick test.
Hands-On Historic Happenings
Introduction to Forging Workshop January 26 - 27, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Dutch Oven Cooking 2 February 2, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Valentine's Dinner February 8, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Valentine's Dinner February 9, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Frontier Days for Home Schools February 15, 2013
Frontier Days at the Hill of Five Trails February 16 - 17,
Introduction to Forging Workshop February 16 - 17, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Basic Dutch Oven Cooking Workshop February 23, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Call 870-983-2684 for details or check the online Calendar of Events
Ways to Be Involved
Volunteer! Call Vicky at 870-983-2558 or email.
Coupon - $1.00 off Horse drawn surrey ride. http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/deals-coupons/
Group Rates - Book a reservation for your group of
Annual Passes - Unlimited visits and special events-Individual -$20.00 or Family- $30.00
For more information - 870-983-2684