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A New Atmosphere by Gail Hamilton

Through the United States Sanitary Commission


[3] The discussions which, since this was written, have arisen concerning expenditure and extravagance, in connection with the women's pledge against the purchase of foreign goods, only increase the strength of my position. But let it be remembered, that I speak not for an emergency, but for the conduct of life.

"At this moment, the only region in the loyal States that is definitely out of the circle is Missouri. The rest of our loyal territory is all embraced within one ring of method and federality. This is chiefly due to the wonderful spirit of nationality that beats in the breasts of American women. They, even more than the men of the country, from their utter withdrawal from partisan strifes and local politics, have felt the assault upon the life of the nation in its true national import. They are infinitely less _State-ish_, and more national in their pride and in their sympathies. They see the war in its broad, impersonal outlines; and while their particular and special affections are keener than men's, their general humanity and tender sensibility for unseen and distant sufferings is stronger and more constant.

"The women of the country, who are the actual creators, by the labor of their fingers, of the chief supplies and comforts needed by the soldiers, have been the first to understand, appreciate, and co-operate with the Sanitary Commission. It is due

to the sagacity and zeal with which they have entered into the work, that the system of supplies, organized by the extraordinary genius of Mr. Olmstead, has become so broadly and nationally extended, and that, with Milwaukee, Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburg, Philadelphia, New York, Brooklyn, New Haven, Hartford, Providence, Boston, Portland, and Concord for centres, there should be at least fifteen thousand Soldiers' Aid Societies, all under the control of women, combined and united in a common work,--of supplying, through the United States Sanitary Commission, the wants of the sick and wounded in the great Federal army.

"The skill, zeal, business qualities, and patient and persistent devotion exhibited by those women who manage the truly vast operations of the several chief centres of supply, at Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, and New York, have unfolded a new page in the history of the aptitudes and capacities of women. To receive, acknowledge, sort, arrange, mark, repack, store, hold ready for shipment, procure transportation for, and send forward at sudden call, the many thousand boxes of hospital stores which, at the order of the General Secretary at Washington, have been for the past two years and a half forwarded at various times by the 'Women's Central' at New York, the Soldiers' Aid Society of Northern Ohio, at Cleveland, the Branches at Cincinnati and at Philadelphia, or the Northwestern Branch at Chicago, has required business talents of the highest order. A correspondence demanding infinite tact, promptness, and method has been carried on with their local tributaries, by the women from these centres, with a ceaseless ardor, to which the Commission owes a very large share of its success, and the nation no small part of the sustained usefulness and generous alacrity of its own patriotic impulses.

"To collect funds (for the supply branches have usually raised their own funds from the immediate communities in which they have been situated) has often tasked their


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