| American History Stories, Volume IV|
|by Mara L. Pratt|
|Stories of the great conflict from the time Lincoln became president and the southern states seceded, through the battles of Bull Run, Shiloh, Antietam, Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, until the close of the war. Includes poems, songs, and illustrations commemorating the events. Ages 8-12 |
WHAT SOME POOR PEOPLE DID FOR THE SOLDIERS
 Up among the mountains, in a farming district, lived a
mother and her daughters. They were very poor—too
poor by far to buy anything to send the soldiers.
Twelve miles away, over the mountain, was a town in
which was one of these "Soldiers' Relief Societies."
"Let us go over the mountain, daughters," said the old
mother, "and bring home some work to do for the soldiers.
We have no money to give, but, we can find a little time, I
am sure, to work for them."
"Yes, indeed," said the daughters; "we can get up earlier
and milk the cows, and feed the chickens and the pigs; we
can hurry a little with our planting and all the rest of the
farm-work, and so make time to sew and knit for the
Now, when you think that these three women had all the
work to do both in the house and on the farm, and that
their farm was all the means of gaining food that they had,
you can see that they had quite as much to do as they had
time or strength for without taking work home. Nevertheless
every two weeks one of these three women used to ride into
the village for work. Poorly clad, looking always as if
very little of the good things of
life had ever come to them,
dusty and tired from their long ride, back and forth they
came with their little offerings of work.
 "I presume you have some dear one in the army," said
one of the officers to these women one day.
"No," said they; "none now; our only brother was killed
at the Battle of Ball's Bluff. But for his sake, and for our
country's sake, we do all we can for the soldiers."
In another little village, lived a widow and her one little
girl. Papa had left them to join the army. Mamma worked
and the little girl worked for food and clothes till papa should
come back to them. But one day the news came that he
could never come to them again—he had fallen in the battle of
Fair Oaks. They worked on still; and although they
earned so little, they saved enough money, and found enough
time, to make a quilt for the hospital, a pair of socks and a
shirt. All winter long, these two, mother and child,
worked through the long evenings to make these. "Papa
died in the hospital," the little girl used to say; "and
perhaps he needed these things. Perhaps some other little
girl made the quilt that kept him warm, so we will make this
one to keep some other good soldier warm."
Many a little girl went without candy in these days, many
a little boy went without toys, that they might save their
money for the soldiers.
One, little girl, only five years old, knit a pair of stockings
to send to the soldiers. Such a little girl! I suspect her
mamma had now and then to take a stitch for her on them.
But nevertheless the little girl's love was in them from top
 to toe. On them she pinned a little note, saying, "These
socks was nit by a little gurl fiv yers old and she is
going to nit lots more for the dere soljers."
I hope the soldier who got these stockings was one who
had a little girl at home himself. Then I am sure he would
understand what hours and hours of hard work this baby
girl had put into this pair of socks.
Another little girl, Emma Andrews, only ten years old,
used to come to the rooms of the Society in her town every
Saturday and fill her basket with pieces of linen which had
been sent in for bandages for the wounded soldiers. These she
would take home, and cut up into nice towels or handkerchiefs,
or roll them into neat bandages, and bring them
back the next week. Her busy little fingers made over
three hundred towels, all neatly hemmed and folded.
It is said that counting up all the money the children
saved, together with the value of their work, they as good
as sent over a hundred thousand dollars to aid the Union
soldiers during this war.
The very old women, too, some of them so old that they
could remember the days of the Revolution even, did their
part. Thousands of stockings these half blind old grandmammas
would knit, while their thoughts, I fancy, ran
back over those years so long ago, when they had seen their
fathers go away to fight for this same country in 1812, and
 One old lady, ninety-seven years old, spun a woollen
blanket, and carried it a mile and a half to the Society to
send to these soldiers. "It is all I could do," said she;
"and I had to bring it myself."
Another old lady, Mrs. Bartlett of Medford, Mass., knit
over a hundred and ninety pairs of socks for the Union
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