Monday, September 7, 2015

Annie Bell, Civil War Nurse


Although Annie Bell was not native of Union County, she did go to Bucknell University. She is well written about and the University at Lewisburg has much information about her.

She was born in Blair County, Pa. April 9, 1839 to Martin and Eliza Bell. She graduated from Bucknell University in 1858. She was an unpaid volunteer at Harpers Ferry, Dec. 8, 1862. She helped tend the wounded at the Battle of Antietam in Sept. 1862. She did also serve at Gettysburg and then went to Nashville, Tenn. At Gettysburg she was at the 12th Corps hospital on the George Bushman farm where there were 1,200 wounded from July 2 thru Aug. 5th of which 125 were Confederates.

Her cousin was Sarah Dysart. They remained with the 12th corps. Annie Bell spent the last part of her Gettysburg service at Camp Letterman which was established in August, 1863 and located one mile east of Gettysburg on the York Pike. The site was known as Wolf’s Woods. Over half the patients were Confederates. Annie worked in the 4th ward and completed her work at Gettysburg as the chief matron of ward 4. This company closed Nov. 20, 1863, the day after President Lincoln gave his famous address.

Annie was ordered to Nashville, Tenn. and assigned first to the U.S. Hospital No. 1 in 1863. The Battle of Chickamauga had taken place Sep. 1863 as well as the battle of Missionary Ridge, Lookout Mt. and several others that Annie Bell was faced with many dying and wounded men. The 12th Corps began as part of the Army of the Potomac and the 12th was eventually folded into the 20th corps. Annie therefore served both.

The doctors and nurses had many disagreements and Annie had one in Nashville and she resigned. The other nurses were very upset that Annie left and Annie rescinded her resignation. She served General Hospitals No. 1 and 8 in Nashville and served as chief matron in both hospitals. She served in Nashville until the end of the war and was discharged May, 1865 and returned home to Blair County.

Annie Bell married a doctor she met in the service- Dr. George Stubbs of Maine, while nursing in Nashville. She married Sep. 14, 1865 in Annie’s home in Bellwood. After the war they lived in Ohio, Philadelphia and Merion, Pa.

Annie began receiving a pension Nov. 8, 1893. She was one of the first to receive such as they began in 1892. Dr. Stubbs died in 1909 and Annie received her and his pension of each $12 a month for the rest of her life. He is buried near Philadelphia and Annie died Jan. 25, 1916 and is buried in West Laurel Hill Cemetery.

Image: Union nurse Annie Bell in Nashville


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