Sunday, October 21, 2012

Soldiers Aid Societies in the Union

Sanitary Commission Headquarters
I named my latest Civil War reproduction collection Metropolitan Fair to remember women's fundraising efforts during the war.
The Metropolitan Fair and many of the other ladies' fairs benefitted the United States Sanitary Commission. By the end of the War the Commission, much like the Red Cross in 20th-century wars, was well organized with offices and warehouses throughout the Union. The national and regional organizations coordinated efforts of Soldier's Aid Societies large and small. The millions of dollars raised by the Fairs went to maintaining the organization as well as assisting the soldiers.

Headquarters, New York, in the center storefront

Interior of the Boston office
with socks on the table and a quilt on the chair
The warehouses stored items to send to the Soldier's Hospitals and Recovery Homes.
See details of the photo above here:

 Christian Commission Headquarters,
probably in Washington City
The Christian Commission did similar service on a smaller scale. Here: wounded soldiers and crates (full of quilts?)
With the red, white and blue bunting you couldn't miss it.
This photo of a building on the corner of
F Street in Washington City
is captioned "Sanitary Commission Warehouse"
but it probably includes the offices too.
Both organizations were quick to move into battlefield locations and set up headquarters.
Sanitary Commission Headquarters, Federicksburg
The Christian Commission in a brush arbor at Germantown.
"The Shebang," the USSC headquarters at Brandy Station
And as the Union occupied the South, buildings were commandeered for soldier's aid society offices in Southern cities.
NewBern, North Carolina
University of North Carolina Collection
Christian Commission
Richmond, Virginia
Sanitary Commission
It is amazing to see the detail in these photos, many of them from the Library of Congress.


  1. It is amazing and quite the story of how woman helped the soldiers in a war that took so many lives and wounded so many. I can only imagine the horrors they had to endure with the quality of medicine and care and I am sure what these woman did, made such a big difference for their spirits.


  2. I love your pictures. They are the best and I love this new line of fabric. Please post more as you are able. I sure enjoy them.

  3. Thank you for the information, and your fabric is lovely!
    I'm sending you separately a copy of a Sanitary Commission document that you may find interesting (or not!)

  4. Love, love, love these posts. The history behind quilts is just so fascinating. I just bought a fat quarter bundle of Metropolitan Fair and it is so gorgeous.

  5. Thank you for the informative post, the great photos and looking forward to the wonderful fabric. Always a treat.