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 sanitary commission

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Nombre de messages : 50
Age : 68
Localisation : Caen
Points : -6
Date d'inscription : 10/11/2007

MessageSujet: sanitary commission   Mer 27 Fév - 12:54

Sanitary Commission Pennant Proclaimed Improved Conditions
The American Civil War claimed an appalling number of lives. And while casualties are an unfortunate product of war, it may be surprising to learn that for every man killed in battle, two died from disease. Many of these diseases — dysentery, diarrhea, typhoid and malaria — “were caused by overcrowded and unsanitary conditions in the field. Preaching the virtues of clean water, good food and fresh air, the [U. S. Sanitary] Commission pressured the Army Medical Department to ‘improve sanitation, build large well-ventilated hospitals and encourage women to join the newly created nursing corps.' Despite the efforts of the Sanitary Commission, some 560,000 soldiers died from disease during the war.”

Surprisingly the U. S. Sanitary Commission was “organized by civilians, run by civilians and funded by civilians.” Church congregations, ladies aid societies and groups of all kinds volunteered to make and collect goods for soldiers in the field. An effort to create an effective system of collection and distribution was begun by the ladies of New York in 1861, and subsequently, they held a conference to coordinate all the individual efforts of relief societies throughout the United States. Doctors, clergymen, lawyers and other interested parties who recognized a need for better coordination of relief efforts, attended the conference. As a result the development of Articles of Organization to form what would become the Sanitary Commission. After members of the delegation lobbied the War Department, the Department sanctioned the creation of the U. S. Sanitary Commission on June 9, 1861. The first President of the Commission was Rev. Henry W. Bellows, D.D. of New York and the General Secretary of the Commission was the noted landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmstead. The work of the Sanitary Commission was divided into three distinct departments:

The Preventive Service employed a corps of medical inspectors who visited camps, hospitals and transports of each army corps in the field. These inspectors were attentive to dangers from change of climate, exposure, malarious causes, hard marching or any failure of supplies or transportation.”

The Department of General Relief embraced three-quarters of the work done by the Sanitary Commission. Its duty was to supply food, clothing, on the field and the sick and wounded in camp, field, post, regimental and general hospitals.” According to Dr. Herschel L. Stroud in a recent article on flags of the U. S. Sanitary Commission, “the manner of getting the wounded from the battlefield to an aid or dressing station, and thence to a field hospital, was made possible by the use of flags…” The cloth pennant pictured here is made of cotton with black lettering. The pennant is 24 inches by 12 inches in size, and was sewn onto a tent indicating the Sanitary Commission station in the field.

The Soldiers' Homes came under the third department, the Department of Special Relief. These homes furnished shelter, food and medical care to men who, for one reason or another, could not from the government...that is men on furlough or sick leave, recruits, stragglers and men who were left behind by their regiments or were permanently discharged from hospitals.”

The U. S. Sanitary Commission, contributing significantly to alleviating the suffering of soldiers, was the forerunner of the American Red Cross. Additional information about the Sanitary Commission can be obtained. “My Story of the War.” A woman's narrative of four years personal experience as nurse in the Union Army, and in relief work at home, in hospitals, camps and at the front during the war of rebellion. By Mary Ashton Rice Livermore, A. D. Worthington & Co., 1890. [E621.L79 189] “Lincoln's Fifth Wheel.” The political history of the U. S. Sanitary Commission”

The mission of the Sanitary Commission was to provide supplies to Union Army volunteers, and to work with the Army in promoting good health in the ranks... The longest and most arresting item in this volume is a private report Olmsted wrote in September 1861 action, and aftermath of battle. The investigation compiled a lengthy questionnaire and concluded from the responses that the failure in the battle directly flowed from the poor physical condition of the troops in camp. Many had not eaten for days before the fighting, and the Olmsted report concluded that the war could only be won by drastic changes in the organization and supply of the army."-- Civil War History

Although the significant involvement of American women in the reform movements that swept the nation prior to the Civil War and afterward has often been noted in historical studies, women's wartime activity has tended to be ignored. Giesberg (history, Northern Arizona Univ.), the author of several articles on women and the war, presents a study designed to correct this picture. By examining independently in this highly developed female-driven system of soldier supply and that this activity prepared them for postwar, women-led reform work. Libraries that own Jeanie Attie's Patriotic Toil (Cornell Univ., 1998) and other studies of women's work within this organization may still wish to acquire this book, which offers not only a comprehensive view of female wartime activity but also establishes a link between their prewar and postwar political action
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