Sunday, March 20, 2011

Payday and rats

Today at Brandy Station: March 20, 1864

A portion of a letter from Cornelia Hancock, a nurse serving the soldiers of the Second Corps, Third Division, on Hansbough Ridge, to her sister. Originally from New Jersey, she began supporting the sick and injured after Gettysburg.

..."We have with us tonight Maj. Hutchins, paymaster for our Division. He has paid all our sick and wounded this evening. We have an extra guard on. There was a very interesting spectacle seeing the men come in to be paid hobbling along on crutches and canes; most of them received $50. Some fine looking young men-it seemed such a pittance to me, considering their wounds. They all seemed pleased, are going to bed praising Dr. F. A. Dudley for securing the paymaster to come to the hospt. He is wide awake and attend to their interest in many ways they never had before."

further in the letter

"The rats have gnawed my two hoods so they cannot be worn. I am wearing now a piece of red flannel doubled, plaited behind with black strings. It looks very fantastic and tolerably comfortable. I do not want another as I shall soon need a hat."

Hancock wrote a number of letters home of her experiences during the winter encampment. A book of her letters: Letters of a Civil War Nurse: Cornelia Hancock, 1863-1865; edited by Henrietta Statton Jaquett.

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