The Home Front: 1861 to 1865

Southern Diarists

Was there a standard for how men endured their suffering while in military hospitals?

The North and the South were different in many ways, but when it came to the endurance of pain, their attitude was strikingly similar. Nurses and doctors in Northern hospitals echoed what Mrs. Pember wrote about the Southern soldier:

No words can do justice to the uncomplaining nature of the Southern soldier. Whether it arose from resignation or merely passive submission, yet when shown in the aggregate in a hospital, it was sublime. Day after day, whether lying wasted by disease or burning up with fever, torn with wounds or sinking from debility, a groan was seldom heard. The wounded wards would be noisily gay with singing, laughing, fighting battles o’er and o’er again, and playfully chafing each other by decrying the troops from different states, each man applauding his own.


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