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Historic Diaries: Emily Quiner, 1863

Aug. 19, 1863: A Party in a Cemetery

Editor's Note:

The date for this entry should be the 19th, not the 20th of August. Emily subsequently misdated all entries until Monday August 24th.


The Small Pox Hospital was located at Fort Pickering, about two miles south of Memphis. Mary Ann Bickerdyke, a well-known nurse and hospital organizer, visited it in January 1863, and found that the hospital "had become a charnel-house". Patients were left to help themselves or die. She cleaned the hospital thoroughly and reorganized it, then moved on to the Gayoso Hospital and became its matron. By the time Emily arrived at Gayoso, Bickerdyke had moved on to Illinois, where she encouraged farmers to donate live cows and chickens to the Memphis hospitals.


View Emily's entire diary at Turning Points in Wisconsin History.


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Wednesday 20th [19th]


We went out to the Small Pox Hospital today with Cordy Reynolds. Went all over it, also to the Catholic Cemetery where we rambled around an hour or two, accompanied by the sexton, an old Irishman and quite a curiosity in his way. He told us a great many stories about the occupants of the graves and of their families. Met Dr. Worthington, the Surgeon in Charge, a Wisconsin man, and Drs Pegan & Bowen. The former is from Indiana. We liked him very much. We took supper in a tent under the trees. It was perfectly delightful there and we had a nice supper. After, we had a very pressing invitation to a dance on the green ward. The boys had a fiddle which gave forth melodious sounds under the magic touch of one of the [indecipherable], and we danced one quadrille to the entire satisfaction of all concerned and then went home, having spent a very pleasant afternoon. Found them all doing well at home. Did not go out in the evening.

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