Sanitary Commission Pennant Proclaimed Improved Conditions

The American Civil War claimed an appalling number of lives. And while casualties are an unfortunate product of war, it may be surprising to learn that for every man killed in battle, two died from disease. Many of these diseases - dysentery, diarrhea, typhoid and malaria - "were caused by overcrowded and unsanitary conditions in the field. Preaching the virtues of clean water, good food and fresh air, the [U. S. Sanitary] Commission pressured the Army Medical Department to 'improve sanitation, build large well-ventilated hospitals and encourage women to join the newly created nursing corps.' Despite the efforts of the Sanitary Commission, some 560,000 soldiers died from disease during the war."

Surprisingly the U. S. Sanitary Commission was "organized by civilians, run by civilians and funded by civilians." Church congregations, ladies aid societies and groups of all kinds volunteered to make and collect goods for soldiers in the field. An effort to create an effective system of collection and distribution was begun by the ladies of New York in 1861, and subsequently, they held a conference to coordinate all the individual efforts of relief societies throughout the United States. Doctors, clergymen, lawyers and other interested parties who recognized a need for better coordination of relief efforts, attended the conference. As a result the development of Articles of Organization to form what would become the Sanitary Commission. After members of the delegation lobbied the War Department, the Department sanctioned the creation of the U. S. Sanitary Commission on June 9, 1861. The first President of the Commission was Rev. Henry W. Bellows, D.D. of New York and the General Secretary of the Commission was the noted landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmstead. The work of the Sanitary Commission was divided into three distinct departments:

The Preventive Service employed a corps of medical inspectors who visited camps, hospitals and transports of each army corps in the field. These inspectors were attentive to dangers from change of climate, exposure, malarious causes, hard marching or any failure of supplies or transportation."

The Department of General Relief embraced three-quarters of the work done by the Sanitary Commission. Its duty was to supply food, clothing, bandages, hospital furniture [and medicines] for the wounded on the field and the sick and wounded in camp, field, post, regimental and general hospitals." According to Dr. Herschel L. Stroud in a recent article on flags of the U. S. Sanitary Commission, "the manner of getting the wounded from the battlefield to an aid or dressing station, and thence to a field hospital, was made possible by the use of flags." The cloth pennant pictured here is made of cotton with black lettering. The pennant is 24 inches by 12 inches in size, and was sewn onto a tent indicating the Sanitary Commission station in the field.

The Soldiers' Homes came under the third department, the Department of Special Relief. These homes furnished shelter, food and medical care to men who, for one reason or another, could not get it directly from the government...that is men on furlough or sick leave, recruits, stragglers and men who were left behind by their regiments or were permanently discharged from hospitals."

The U. S. Sanitary Commission, contributing significantly to alleviating the suffering of soldiers, was the forerunner of the American Red Cross. Additional information about the Sanitary Commission can be obtained through the following sources located at the Military History Institute: "History of the United States Sanitary Commission..." J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1866. [E631.A34 186]. "My Story of the War." A woman's narrative of four years personal experience as nurse in the Union Army, and in relief work at home, in hospitals, camps and at the front during the war of rebellion. By Mary Ashton Rice Livermore, A. D. Worthington & Co., 1890. [E621.L79 189] "Lincoln's Fifth Wheel." The political history of the U. S. Sanitary Commission"

This Sanitary Commission pennant is in the collection of the United States Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC). The USAHEC represents an unprecedented partnership between the Federal government, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, local governments and the private sector, and is dedicated to preserving and sharing the stories of America's citizen soldiers - from icons to unsung heroes. Comprised of four buildings and an outdoor Museum Park, the USAHEC is one of the components of the National Museum of the Army.

As the Center's supporting foundation, the Army Heritage Center Foundation, is developing a wide range of educational programs, both on-site and online, to help Americans better understand the American soldier and the prominent role their Army has played in American history. With your support to the Foundation, you will help to preserve and proudly display the letters, documents, photographs and artifacts from nearly 230 years of service. You can help educate future generations on the proud history and achievements of our Army, and you can honor a family member, a friend or a comrade in arms. To learn how, contact the Army Heritage Center Foundation at 1 866 ARMY HTG, write to P. O. Box 839, Carlisle, PA 17013 or visit their website: Army Heritage Center Foundation

Doctors in Blue: The Medical History of the Union Army in the Civil War
An excellent treatment of a rather specialized subject

Clara Barton Civil War Nurse
Clara Barton: Spirit of the American Red Cross
Ready To Read - Level Three
Clara Barton was very shy and sensitive, and not always sure of herself. But her fighting spirit and desire to help others drove her to become one of the world's most famous humanitarians.

Memoirs of a Soldier, Nurse and Spy: A Woman's Adventures in the Union Army
On April 25, 1861, Sarah Emma Edmonds alias Frank Thompson became a male nurse in Company F, of the 2nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment. This is 'his' story
Washington, D.C. Maimed soldiers and others before office of U.S. Christian Commission
The Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted: Defending the Union: The Civil War and the U.S. Sanitary Commission
"The mission of the Sanitary Commission was to provide supplies to Union Army volunteers, and to work with the Army in promoting good health in the ranks... The longest and most arresting item in this volume is a private report Olmsted wrote in September 1861 on the Bull Run disaster. Olmsted and several assistants spent late July and all of august interviewing Union troops on the prelude, action, and aftermath of battle. The investigation compiled a lengthy questionnaire and concluded from the responses that the failure in the battle directly flowed from the poor physical condition of the troops in camp. Many had not eaten for days before the fighting, and the Olmsted report concluded that the war could only be won by drastic changes in the organization and supply of the army."-- Civil War History
Civil War Nurse Barbie
Civil War Nurse Barbie

Part of the American Stories Collection. She comes with her own storybook and wears a costume of the times. Go back to Gettysburg, (1863), where Barbie tends to the wounded soldiers. She comes with a nurse's cape, cap, bag, stand and small storybook.
Civil War Sisterhood: The U.S. Sanitary Commission and Women's Politics in Transition
Although the significant involvement of American women in the reform movements that swept the nation prior to the Civil War and afterward has often been noted in historical studies, women's wartime activity has tended to be ignored. Giesberg (history, Northern Arizona Univ.), the author of several articles on women and the war, presents a study designed to correct this picture. By examining gender differences in the leadership of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, she shows that women thought and acted independently in this highly developed female-driven system of soldier supply and that this activity prepared them for postwar, women-led reform work. Libraries that own Jeanie Attie's Patriotic Toil (Cornell Univ., 1998) and other studies of women's work within this organization may still wish to acquire this book, which offers not only a comprehensive view of female wartime activity but also establishes a link between their prewar and postwar political action.
Kindle Available

Civil War Curiosities: Strange Stories, Oddities, Events, and Coincidences
This work was fascinating to read and was neither over dramatic or under written. The stories were lively and interesting and the additon of old photos and draqwings helped fill out the book.
Germantown, Virginia Headquarters of the U.S. Christian Commission
Kindle Available
Civil War Medicine

Civil War Medicine
The staggering challenge of treating wounds and disease on both sides of the conflict. Written for general readers and scholars alike, this first-of-its kind encyclopedia will help all Civil War enthusiasts to better understand this amazing medical saga. Clearly organized, authoritative, and readable
Richmond, Virginia Crowd before headquarters of the U.S. Christian Commission

Petersburg Virginia Surgeons of the 3rd Division
Union Civil War Doctors 3rd Virginia
Civil War Replica Musket
Civil War Musket
Wood & Steel Frontier Rifle Designed After The Original Rifle,
This Civil War Musket replica has been designed after the original rifle of its era. Measures approximately 37 inches long. Each is constructed with a solid one-piece wood stock, painted steel barrel and die-cast parts.

Womens Suffrage
Civil War Exhibits
State Battle Maps
Clara Barton - American Red Cross
Civil War Picture Album
President Abraham Lincoln
Documents of the War
Civil War Summary
Civil War Submarines
Women Subject Reference Books

Robert E Lee CSA

Civil War Games
Civil War Nurse Barbie
Civil War Nurse Barbie

Part of the American Stories Collection.
Cavalry Sabre
Cavalry Saber
This fine replica is 39 inches overall and features a highly polished 33 inch carbon steel blade. Its leather wrapped handle fits the hand perfectly and sports decorative brass accents and a shiny brass pommel.
Civil War Revolver Pistol
Civil War Model 1851 Naval Pistol
Engraved Silver Tone / Gold Tone Finish and Wooden Grips - Replica of Revolver Used by Both USA / Union and CSA / Confederate Forces
Enfield Rifle
1860 Enfield Civil War Musketoon
This piece is a full-size non-firing reproduction of the rifle used in the Civil War. The body is made of European hardwood

Civil War Historic 1000-piece Puzzle
The famous faces and fearsome facts of the Civil War are captured in this 1,000-piece cardboard puzzle for Civil War buffs and serious puzzle fans.
Civil War Cannon Collectible
Civil War Cannon
Collectible Models and childrens playsets
Miniature Collectible Civil War Cannon12 pound Civil War field cannon replica weapon collectible is a detailed 1/12th scale military caisson replica weapon collectible as used throughout the Civil War
Childrens Cannon Set. Includes 6 gray cannon with black wheels that measure 4.5 inches long
Civil War Trivia Game
Professor Noggin's Civil War Trivia Game
  • The History Card Game Thats Won a Dozen Awards
  • 32 sturdy cards with trivia, true/false and multiple-choice questions
  • Memory retention
  • A teachers favorite
Civil War soldier toys 102 pieces
Civil War Soldier 102 Piece Playset
  • 25 Union and 25 Confederate Soldier Figures, 18 Horses, 10 Cannon
  • 2 Covered Wagons, 2 Tents, 2 Canoes, 2 Flags, 16 Fences
  • Size: Figures Stand up to 2-1/8 inches tall
  • Scale: 1/32nd, Wagons and Horses slightly smaller