| 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 |
Of course, all the women in the United States were not
Unionists. You have already heard how the Southern
women treated the Union officers whenever they met them on
the streets. Do you remember how angry the New Orleans
women were when Butler came? But these Southern
 women, who believed that their side was right, and that
the Unionists were but thieves and robbers, were not
content with being merely angry. They worked for their
soldiers just as the Northern women worked for theirs.
There are some funny stories told of ways in which these
bright-witted women used to plan to carry help to the
It was the fashion then for ladies to wear very large
hoops; and these ladies soon found it very convenient to
fasten packages and letters to the wires of these hoops, and
so carry them to the soldiers.
One lady was found to have on a quilted skirt which
weighed fifty pounds. What do you suppose she had hidden
in this wonderful skirt? You may be sure it was
something for the soldiers. It was filled in all among the
quiltings with sewing silk for the doctors in the army to
use for sewing up wounds, and a medicine, called quinine,
which is believed to be very good for fever and chills.
All trunks and boxes and packages that went out from
Washington on the train were carefully searched; and sometimes,
I fancy, very strange things were found in them.
One story is told of a little red, wooden trunk, marked
Mary Berkitt, Wheeling, Virginia. It was a very innocent
looking little trunk, looking as if it might belong to some
old lady perhaps. But the officers had learned from
experience that the most innocent looking people and the most
 innocent trunks sometimes held the greatest secrets. So
Old Lady Mary's trunk was looked into. On the top, lay
some clothing, very neatly packed, and under these some
"Never mind that trunk," said an officer; "there's nothing
under there but the old lady's caps."
"Can't be too sure," answered the officer in charge, still
pulling out the clothing. Down at the very bottom of the
trunk, the caps were found indeed. Hundreds and hundreds
of them—more than the old lads could ever wear in a whole
lifetime, you will think. Yes, indeed; but you see, boys,
they happened to be percussion-caps; and the officer,
thinking them more useful for him than for her, emptied them
all out, and I fear Mary never saw her trunk again.
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