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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Amanda Stokes Served As Civil War Nurse

Contributor:
Dallas Bogan on 14 September 2004
Source:
original article by Dallas Bogan
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

One of Warren County's most heroic women, Amanda Stokes, died at 6 o'clock on the morning of March 28, 1886, in her 65th year, at Xenia, Ohio.
She was her usual active self until the night before when she suddenly became terribly ill. All Lebanon was in a state of shock as well as the many soldiers of the Civil War she had been in contact with.
Amanda Stokes was raised on a Warren County farm and had, like many other farm children, no special advantages other than those of an ordinary girl.
At the breaking out of the Civil War she had saved a little over $1,000, most assuredly by the sweat of her brow.
Against the advice of her friends and relatives, she entered into the service of her country by working in the hospital as a nurse. She found, however, that nurses were needed at the war front more so than on the home front.
Aided by Thomas Corwin, she obtained from the Surgeon General a commission as a hospital nurse with orders to report at once to the South.
Within a short time, she was in her new field of duty and, in the Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain hospitals, her services were unparalleled. She was also involved in the battles of Stones River, Chattanooga, Chickamauga, Nashville and Atlanta.
In the midst of engagement on the battlefield, with the shot and shells flying about, she would be seen bandaging the wounded, closing the eyes of the dying, and in every way, aiding "her boys," as she would call them.
In her hospital duties, she fought but was unable to receive from the Government the many delicacies that were most essential in caring for "her boys."
Without hesitation, Amanda Stokes took the thousand dollars she had laid back, and spent, not a small portion of it, but the whole amount for the comfort of the soldiers.
Amidst everything else, a life-threatening incident happened to her on the march to Atlanta. While crossing the Chattahoochee River, the horses pulling the ambulance, in which Miss Stokes was riding, became unruly and the vehicle abruptly overturned.
She escaped from drowning by breaking a hole in the top of the ambulance with her head, an injury that was of a permanent nature. All her goods and personal belongings were swept away.
Her commission was also lost during the tragedy. She applied to the Surgeon General's office for a duplicate and it was found that, through some gross negligence, neither record nor copy had been made of the commission.
She returned to Lebanon after the war and resumed her previous work. Her head injury, combined with her financial state, produced many hardships.
Her "boys" heard of these difficulties and rallied around her. Through their efforts she was appointed Matron of the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Orphans Home at Xenia.
Her fashion of discipline was such that boys of defiance and misbehavior were turned out into the world as completely well mannered and obedient.
She was a very powerfully built woman, but she never used her strength, except upon isolated occasions, to discipline the children.
She was loved and respected by all who knew her.
Many attempts were made to obtain her pension she so rightfully deserved. It seemed justice was not accessible until Hon. Henry L. Morey took the case. Supported by Benjamin Butterworth, a most valiant effort was made, and a pension of eight dollars a month was granted to her by a special Act of Congress.
She has not achieved any great honors in America's history, but has gone down as one of Warren County's finest citizens.
In recognition of this fine and generous lady, the Daughters of America, in 1906, named their lodge The Amanda Stokes Council, No. 132, in her honor.
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This page created 14 September 2004 and last updated 3 December, 2009
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