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The Stamford Historical Society Presents

Stamford's Civil War: At Home and in the Field
a 2003 Exhibit and more

The Sanitary Commission

On June 9, 1861, by order of the Secretary of War, approved by President Abraham Lincoln, the Sanitary Commission was authorized, to continue for the duration of the war. Henry W. Bellows, D.D., pastor of a New York City Unitarian church, became its first president. Frederick Law Olmstead was named Executive Secretary and William A Hammond, Surgeon General. The primary objectives of the Commission were to collect supplies, support soldiers' homes, transport the sick, supply fresh food, and to provide battlefield services and relief for discharged soldiers. Their aid extended to the protection of dependent families and help in solving problems with pension claims and collecting soldiers' wages. The Commission attempted to do whatever would improve life for soldiers which the government was unable to do. They also inspected hospitals and almost incidentally put together a hospital directory.

Olmstead was in charge of the Commission's Hospital Transport Service. In this capacity he was responsible for the emergency effort that transported sick and wounded soldiers to hospitals in northern cities. Agents of the Commission were on hand to direct the walking wounded to trains; wagon transport moved those unable to walk. Often the seriously wounded were sent to such hospitals wrapped in a blanket, having lost clothing and all personal belongings.

When they arrived at northern hospitals, help was scarce. No provision was made for issuing clothing. Basic food was served but there was always a need for milk and fresh vegetables. Nearby localities provided these needs, through the Commission, as well as arranging for clothing and medical supplies, usually in short supply.

Prominent physicians gave up their practices for various periods of time to serve at these hospitals. The Commission served sick and wounded soldiers by providing temporary lodging near railway stations, furnishing paper and stamps, and maintaining convalescent camps. Commission members served without pay. Hired field inspectors, nurses, cooks, and teamsters received small salaries. All efforts were financed by sanitary fairs and donations.

in association with, click hereSanitary Fairs: A Philatelic and Historical Study of Civil War Benevolences
Alvin Robert Kantor, Marjorie S. Kantor
Sf Pub; August 1992
ISBN: 0963260308

Civil War Medicine

The Stamford Ladies Soldiers' Aid Society


Introduction to Exhibition
A Virtual Tour through the Exhibit
Reenactors at the Opening
Civil War Timeline
Maps from the Exhibit
Picturesque Stamford, 1892 – Chapter on Civil War
Regimental Histories
Casualties and Causes of Death
Casualties, All Regiments
Soldiers' Biographies
Stamford Irish Volunteers
The Home Front: Biographies of Citizens
The Diaries of Noah W. Hoyt (Record Group 16)
The Diaries of Noah W. Hoyt: Timeline
The Diaries of Noah W. Hoyt: Excerpts
The Sanitary Commission
The Stamford Ladies Soldiers' Aid Society
The Civil War changed funeral custom
Bibliography and Recommended Readings
Civil War in Connecticut/Stamford on the Internet
Civil War Books
Civil War Roundtable of Fairfield County