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Civil War Nurse

Item MED-9204
Arabella Macumber Reynolds
Price: $650.00

Description

Arabella Macumber Reynolds also known as "Major Belle Reynolds"

“Only Woman to be officially given rank in the Union Army during the Civil War”

Borne Arabella Loomis Macomber, she completed her education and became a school teacher in Iowa. She married William S. Reynolds. When the war started, he promptly enlisted in the 17th Illinois Infantry. On August 11, 1861 she showed up in her husband’s camp at Bird’s Point, Missouri. When her husband’s regiment received orders to move, she was anxious to accompany her husband. She had to convinced the regiment’s colonel, Colonel Leonard F. Ross, to approve her movement with her husband and his unit to the front. Convincing the Colonel, she left with her husband on the boat. Her first experience as a nurse was at the Battle of Fredericktown, tending to battlefield wounded. She remained with the regiment through its campaigns during the fall and winter of 1861 and 1862. After encountering hostile fire, Belle and another army wife had to flee their deserted camp and made their way to the river landing. Directed by a surgeon to the awaiting vessels, she landed on the Emerald and threated the wounded. Three days since leaving camp, she disembarked and tended to those in field hospitals. Reunited with her husband, she boarded the Black Hawk to return home. There, overhearing her talk with two other ladies, was Governor of Illinois, Richard Yates. Overhearing her experiences, someone suggested that a commission was warranted. The governor directed his secretary to fill it out, giving her a commission to the rank of major. The original document read as follows: “Mrs. Belle Reynolds having been duly appointed to the honorary position of “Daughter of the Regiment” for meritorious conduct in camp & on the bloody field of “Pittsburg Landing (Shiloh)” with the rank of major in the state militia…” The governor later presented her with a beautiful horse.

She experienced the hardships of a soldier’s life. Moving with the regiment, sometimes marching beside the troops. Arranging for the transport and care of the wounded and comforting the dying. Serving through the Vicksburg Campaign. She served with them until the regiment’s enlistment expired in June 1864.

After the war she earned her degree as a doctor and had a successful practice in Chicago and Santa Barbara, CA. She also served as President of the Woman’s Parliament of Southern California in 1898. She resumed her duties as a army nurse in 1899, under the Red Cross. Her travels included the Philippine Islands during the U.S occupation. After her service in Asia, she returned to her practice in Santa Barbara until her retirement in 1915.

Information extracted from Wikipedia, Women in War, and a Military Images article.