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Army Nurse Corps History Home > Army Nursing History in Pictures > History of the Army Nurse Corps, Slide Presentation with Narration

HISTORY OF THE ARMY NURSE CORPS
(Slide Presentation with Narration)

WAR OF INDEPENDENCE

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Military nursing in the United States dates back to the War of Independence. Although family members occasionally cared for ill or injured soldiers, inadequate help frequently forced General Washington's Commanders to pull soldiers from the front lines to care for them. Because of this, the second Continental Congress responded in 1775 with funds for medical support. It authorized a ratio of "one nurse to every ten patients" and one matron to supervise the nurses at each camp. For this work, which included caring for the sick, preparing patient's food, and doing miscellaneous housekeeping duties, the sum of $2 a month plus one meal per day was paid. It was difficult to find women to take these jobs, because they could earn more money doing a soldier's laundry.

CIVIL WAR

Following the Revolution, women nurses disappeared from military rolls until the Civil War. In June, 1861, the Secretary

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of War appointed Dorothea Linde Dix Superintendent of Women nurses of the Union Army. These nurses were paid 40 cents per

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day plus one ration a day. The U. S. Sanitary Commission, Sisters of Charity and other volunteer organizations also sponsored women volunteers. In 1887, the Surgeon General tried to avoid the episodic requirement to hire female nurses by establishing a Hospital Corps of enlisted soldiers.


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