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In the Willing Hearts app, you have remarkable chance to read the words of Sisters of the Holy Cross as they remembered their Civil War experiences serving as nurses. You will find in their words strength, love, compassion and even a bit of humor.  But, these were very difficult times, and here is Sister M. de Sales account that can well nearly take your breath away.

"The buildings (of the Mound City Hospital) were originally intended for storehouse purposes and were, therefore, very crude. The boards on the floor were in places separated rather widely. An instance of what this poor flooring meant is furnished by Sister M. de Sales (O'Neil) CSC."

"I remember distinctly the February day in 1862, soon after the battle of Fort Donelson, when Mother M. Angela was assisting the Chief Surgeon on the lower level.  He was perfoming a difficult operation, the exact accuracy of which would determine the life of the soldier.  His head and that of Mother Angela were bent over the poor boy.  Suddenly from the ceiling a heavy red drop fell upon the white coif of Mother Angela, who, true to her Celtic ancestry, did not move.  Another and still another, drop after drop came till a little stream was flowing.  At last, the final stitch had been taken and the two heads, that of the Surgeon and that of the Sister, rose simultaneously.  Not till then did the doctor know that a stream of blood, trickling through the open chinks of the upper floor, had fallen steadily upon the devoted head of Mother Angela, who now stood before the Surgeon with her head and face and shoulders bathed in the blood of some unknown soldier."

  On the King's Highway p.248


Willing Hearts
Sisters of the Holy Cross
Civil War Nurses
1861-1865
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