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Civil War Harper's Weekly, February 13, 1864

Welcome to our online collection of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. This collection presents you with a valuable source or original reports and illustrations of the War. Harper's was the prominent source of information for people during the war, and today is popular among collectors and researchers.

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HARPER'S WEEKLY.

[FEBRUARY 13, 1864.

108

CONVALESCENT CAMP, ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA.

COOK-HOUSE AT GENERAL HOSPITAL, GETTYSBURG.

(Previous Page) upon the clean white sheet the name of his family and his home, his convulsive sobs startled all around, making the whole hospital weep."

In December last a Vermont regiment was encamped behind Arlington Heights, in Virginia. The men of the regiment were brawny and robust, but protracted exposure had occasioned an unusual degree of sickness among them; and application was made to the Sanitary Commission for supplies, medical and otherwise. The regiment, from some cause, had never been fully supplied with blankets, and many of the sick were consequently destitute of the most necessary protection from the cold. The wants of the men once discovered to the Sanitary Commission, arrangements were immediately made to supply them, and in a day or two one hundred and fifty blankets—one hundred and forty nine had been asked for—were forwarded to the regimental head-quarters. These blankets, thus bestowed, were the gifts of patriotic associations in various parts of the country, most of them having been made by the wives and sisters of volunteers.

In this regiment was a private whom we will call Andrews—a large, lusty fellow, who had been broken down by severe service, and was considered by all as beyond hope of recovery. He had behaved with

marked bravery in every engagement in which his regiment had participated, and was a universal favorite among his fellows. Though naturally courageous and stout-hearted, his physical prostration had seriously affected his mind, and he was full of despondency, expecting momentarily to die. When the supplies of the Sanitary Commission were conveyed to the camp, the condition of this man was brought particularly to the attention of the agent having them in charge. He, full of sympathy for the suffering fellow, provided him with all possible comforts, such as fruits, medicines, and agreeable food, adding to his supplies a sick-blanket, which he carefully folded over the patient as he lay on his hard, board bed.

The following day, visiting the regimental camp a second time, the agent was met by the Colonel with the information that Andrews was much better, and promised, after all, to recover. "Would you believe it," said the Colonel, "the sight of that blanket seemed to bring the fellow right back to life; his whole manner brightened; his very fingers grew nettlesome, clutching the blanket with a very ecstasy of delight."

The agent hurried to the sick man's tent, and found him, indeed, vastly improved. His face

brightened as the agent approached, but he did not take his gaze from the blankets. Presently, pointing with his long, thin finger to a corner of the blanket, he whispered, "That, Sir, has been better medicine than all your hospital stuff. It has put new life into my veins; if I'm ever a well man it'll be because God sent me this blanket."

The story of the blanket was a simple one. It had been made by the soldier's wife living far away among the Vermont hills, and had been sent with other contributions from the same neighborhood to the Sanitary Commission. The woman was poor, her home was humble, but she had a true heart, and having nothing else to give she had cut up the silk dress in which she was married and converted it to the purpose mentioned. On one corner she had worked her name, and with that mark only had sent it on its mission, little dreaming what that mission would be. The blanket, laid over the soldier, immediately caught his eye; the material seemed familiar; he had certainly seen it before, and that thought roused his whole nature. Presently, pulling up the corners to his face—he was too weak to raise himself—and passing the whole slowly before his eyes, he saw the name dearer to him than all the world besides, and in an instant the

whole story of her sacrifice for the soldiers' sake was daguerreotyped upon his thought. What wonder that, under the flood of memories which that moment came over him, sweeping away all thoughts of self, all despondency and gloom, he grew hopeful again, realizing that he still had something to live for and a work to do. He recovered; and to his dying day undoubtedly he will be a believer in the medicinal properties of blankets. Surely that was a special Providence which sent to this man this precise gift—a tonic which strengthened and saved him when nothing else, it may be, could have brought him safely through.

The brave and noble men who march a-field with their lives in their hand, to battle for the life of the nation, deserve our fullest sympathy and encouragement. Through no channel can we so certainly and effectually reach and serve them as in that offered by the Sanitary Commission. Let it be our care to keep that channel ever full and flowing. So, blessing our soldiers, shall we win blessings for ourselves. So, women of the North,

"When peace shall come, and homes shall smile again, A thousand soldier-hearts in northern climes Shall tell their little children in their rhymes Of the sweet saints who blessed the old war times."

HEAD-QUARTERS OF THE UNITED STATES SANITARY COMMISSION AT GETTYSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA.

Convalescent Camp
Cook House
Sanitary Commission

 

 

  

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