Sister Cecelia
lifedates unknown
Both northern and southern politicians had prepared to raise armies even before secession began in the spring of 1861, but virtually no provisions had been made for the care of wounded and sick soldiers. With the declaration of war, military and civilian groups began to organize relief efforts, build hospitals, and train the volunteers to provide nursing care. Catholic women's communities, with a long tradition of caring for orphans and the sick, provided trained nurses. More than six hundred sisters worked in hospitals throughout the North and South, the largest number coming from the Daughters of Charity based in Emmitsburg, Maryland. By 1862, many nuns from this order had come to Washington, where thousands of soldiers were housed in hospitals made from federal buildings, churches, and newly constructed sheds. In this photograph, Sister Cecelia wears a black woolen dress, white muslin cap, and black veil, the typical habit of the Daughters of Charity.

Mathew Brady Studio
Albumen print
14.4 x 11.1 cm ( 5 11/16 x 4 3/8 inches)
1198.0001 (165-B-766)
National Archives & Records Administration