History Archive > My Story of the War (1889)

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 the rebellion ; with anecdotes, pathetic incidents, and thrilling reminiscences portraying the lights and shadows of hospital life and and the sanitary service of the war


Date: 1889



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Livermore, Mary Ashton. My Story of the War. Hartford, Conn. : A.D. Worthington and Company. 1889.


Livermore, Mary Ashton (1889) My Story of the War. Hartford, Conn. : A.D. Worthington and Company.


Livermore, Mary Ashton, My Story of the War. Hartford, Conn. : A.D. Worthington and Company. 1889.


During the American Civil War, Mary Livermore volunteered as an associate member of the United States Sanitary Commission at 40 years old. As agent of its Chicago branch, later named the Northwestern branch, she attended a council of the National Sanitary Commission at Washington in December 1862, organized many aid societies, visited army posts and hospitals, and in 1863, organized the North-western Sanitary Fair in Chicago which raised $86,000. President Lincoln donated his own copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, which was auctioned off at $10,000.

Livermore eventually became the co-director of the Chicago branch with Jane Hoge, another soldier's aid advocate. The two women completed a hospital inspection tour across Illinois, Kentucky, and Missouri. With a thorough understanding of the needs of the hospitals, Hoge and Livermore sent $1 million worth of food and supplies to hospitals and battlefields most in need.

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Livermore, like many other nurses, came up against the issue of women disguised as male soldiers. On a visit to the camp of the 19th Illinois Infantry, a captain pointed out a soldier to Livermore, asking if she noticed anything odd about them. Livermore confirmed the captain's suspicions that the soldier was indeed a woman. The captain called the soldier for questioning, and though she pleaded to stay in service near her beloved, Livermore escorted her out of camp. The soldier escaped Livermore, however, and fled.

In addition to her nursing services, Livermore was also a prolific writer. She authored numerous books of poetry, essays, and stories, and was a recognized member of the literary guild. Though Livermore had to sacrifice much of her social justice work for nursing, she still managed to publish some kind of content once a week throughout the entirety of the war.

Superbly illustrated with portraits and numerous full-page engravings on steel, and fine chromo-lithograph plates.

List and description of battle-flags: p. 15-65; also plates facing p. 93, 239, 329, 421, 443, 597, 625, 657.

Cloth binding with facsimile signature in gold on cover and ornate design and illustration in gold on spine.


Tsui, Bonnie (2006). She Went to the Field: Women Soldiers of the Civil War. Guilford: TwoDot. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-7627-4384-1.

Hall, Richard. Women on the Civil War Battlefront. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. p. 130. ISBN 9780700614370.

Brockett, L.P.; Vaughan, Mary (1867). Woman's Work in the Civil War: a Record of Heroism, Patriotism and Patience. Philadelphia: Zeigler, McCurdy and Company. p. 134.

Publication Information

Publisher: Hartford, Conn. : A.D. Worthington and Company



ISBN-10: N/A

Date Added: 2019-04-19

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