Sanitary Commission History

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Over 600,000 American men lost their lives in the Civil War. Most of these men perished from disease and complications from wounds on the battlefield. Over 300,000 were wounded and needed medical care in camps and hospitals. Compassionate and devoted women compelled to support and assist in the war effort gathered supplies and offered their services by volunteering as nurses. Inspired by Florence Nightingale’s work during the Crimean War, many critical relief agencies have been established throughout history (Geisberg, 2000). The Sanitary Commission was formed providing imperative care for soldiers, which was the precursor of the American Red Cross, founded by Clara Barton in 1881. This was the start of a major revolution progression …show more content…
They approached Dorothea Dix for help, who previously was sponsored by the government to tour asylums and hospitals to report on sanitary conditions. Eventually Abraham Lincoln ratified the commission on June 18, 1861.
The Sanitary Commission had three main functions. First it would help to coordinate the efforts of existing charities that were already engaged war relief. Next it would communicate directly with the United States Army Medical department concerning their needs at any given time and place. Lastly the commission was tasked with creating a bard for the recruitment, selection, registration, training and deployment women nurses. This would provide Blackwell and Dix with a strategic position to test their ideas concerning women successfully working in positions equitable with men.
The commission became an avenue for local charities to funnel the donated foods, clothing and supplies for soldiers in camps and on the battlefields. Supplies were collected and sorted by individual chapters of the commission all over the north to be distributed among the enlisted men. Affluent areas were able to collect a larger amount of supplies than rural and poorer areas; the commission received the food and supplies and assured an equitable allocation based on
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This was the first major task for the organization was supplying a ship (later known as the “Mercy Ship”) with emergency supplies and clothing. They also employed 170 surgeons and nurses to provide medical aid to wounded soldiers. The Red Cross played a critical role integrating volunteer efforts. Several charities were organized bringing volunteers together to collect relief supplies. In efforts to support the Red Cross a knitting campaign was organized from a large group of volunteers producing wool socks, sweaters and other clothing to keep the American soldiers

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