Saturday, July 4, 2015

Cornelia Hancock, Quaker and Civil War Nurse

I have just finished reading "Letters of a Civil War Nurse" by Cornelia Hancock, 1863-1865. Cornelia was a single Quaker woman born in 1840 near Salem, NJ. She was turned down for nursing by Dorothea Dix who thought she was too young and attractive to nurse effectively. Nothing daunted, Cornelia simply hopped on the train to Gettysburg and served as a nurse until the close of the Civil War.
Her account of battles and particularly the aftermaths as she nursed the sick, wounded, and dying soldiers, often in temporary shelter  and often short of supplies and food is forthright and factual in nature. She mentions many soldiers, nurses and doctors by name throughout, as she writes to her family. A clear picture of camp politics emerges and Hancock's positive outlook is seen to wear down as the war nears its bittersweet end.

Imagine my surprise to find that the book mentions a Scipio soldier on page 139.

I have recently been reviewing the roster of the 111th NY Volunteers, particularly the Scipio men.  Quaker Allen Hoxie enlisted July 20, 1862, at Scipio, to serve three years; he was mustered in to Company I as sergeant August 20, 1862; the official roster shows he was killed in action on June 16, 1864, at Petersburg, PA. Cornelia Hancock was at that time stationed at City Point, VA. City Point, at the juncture of the James and Appomattox Rivers, was headquarters to the Union Army during the siege of Petersburg.
On page 139 of the book, Hancock has a short paragraph which reads:
"I am well. Miss Willetts is better, I hear. Allan Hoxie was shot with 5 bullets - is dead."

Hoxie's family received the sorrowful news from George Peckham, a fellow soldier in the 111th. George survived the war, and was buried with his wife  in Indian Mound Cemetery in Moravia, NY. His cousins Job, William and Fred Peckham, all Quakers, also served in the Civil War. Job and William are buried in the Friends Cemetery in Ledyard, NY while Fred and his family are buried in the King Ferry Cemetery.
All felt strongly that the Civil War was just in nature, believing so strongly in abolitionism that it overrode their belief in non-violence.

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