Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Hospital Sketches #3: Love Apple - White House Landing

Hospital Sketches Block # 3 Love Apple by Becky Brown

Our third block recalling Civil War hospitals focuses on Union hospital ships docked at White House Landing, Virginia.

Ships on the Pamunkey
Photo by Timothy O'Sullivan for the Brady Studios

White House Landing was a port on the Pamunkey River 30 miles east of Confederate capitol Richmond, Virginia. In the summer of 1862 Union General George McClellan occupied the area, using the river to supply the 100,000 Union troops he commanded there in the vain hope of capturing Richmond and ending the war in its second year.

Union troops were this close to Richmond, but McClellan frustrated
Lincoln because he could not take that ground.

The White House, a Washington/Lee home

The name came from nearby "White House," Martha Custis Washington's first married home,
which descended to her granddaughter Mary Custis Lee, who was living there when her husband Robert E. Lee joined the Confederate Army. McClellan gave Mary Lee safe passage out of the area and set up his headquarters in her family home. The house was burned when Union armies abandoned it.

Georgeanna Muirson Woolsey Bacon 1833-1906

White House Landing also became a staging area for medical ships. Among the first nurses to serve in the floating field hospitals was New Yorker Georgeanna Woolsey. The Sanitary Commission preparing to care for wounded soldiers adapted river steamers including The Daniel Webster. Some ships transported patients to the sea where larger ships moved them up the Atlantic coast to land-based Union hospitals. Georgy explained the situation to her mother in 1861.

Sketch from the Library of Congress
The Daniel Webster, a side wheeler steamship, had been a mail boat.
In 1862, Joel Cook described the Pamunkey fleet.
"The North seemed to have been ransacked to find all the queer, old, worn-out steamboats and broken-down barges and canal-boats. Steamboats which had, from age or debility, been discarded from Northern pleasure-lines, and which during 1861 suddenly disappeared from Northern bays and rivers, were found plying up and down the York and Pamunky Rivers. Old tow-boats, familiar servants to the ship-owners of large cities, long, lank propellers, which neither nature nor art ever intended to be models either of speed or beauty, sprightly tugs, once frisking about in Northern harbors, all had been transferred to the Pamunky, where they puffed and labored and made the hills echo their shrill whistles."

Love Apple by Bettina Havig

In 1862 the Daniel Webster arrived in New York with patients from Yorktown, Virginia. There are no women nurses mentioned although those nurses with initials might have been female names. Families read the papers daily for news of injured soldiers. See the list of wounded at the bottom from New York regiments.

The Elm City was a permanent floating hospital at White House Landing. Georgy said she jumped "round from boat to boat," while sister Eliza was on the Ocean Queen.

Hospital flags were yellow and green
This one is from the Atlanta History Center

Sister Harriett also served on a ship, writing that she spent her first day, a Sunday, on deck "sewing upon a hospital flag fifteen by eight, and singing hymns to take the edge off this secular occupation. It is to be run up at once in case we encounter the [ironclad Confederate] Merrimac." (At the time sewing on Sundays was frowned upon by many Christians.)

Love Apple by Janet Perkins

Hospital volunteers had to pass muster by Superintendent of Army Nurses Dorothea Dix. Georgy, in her late twenties, recalled her interview:
"First one must be just so old, and no older [Georgy was too young.] Have eyes and nose and mouth expressing such traits, and no others,  [She was too pretty.] Must be willing to scrub floors...Finally, however, by dint of taking the flowers out of my bonnet and the flounce off my dress...I succeeded in getting myself looked upon with mitigated disapprobation."
She fainted on the first day, but soon earned a reputation for competence and coolness. 

Idealized view of a hospital transport ship on the Tennessee River

Dix was well-known for her emphasis on plain, middle-aged nurses. Her greatest fear seems to have been that her nurse corps would earn a reputation as a marriage market, a place for fortune hunters and flibbertigibbets to take advantage of wounded soldiers or lonely doctors. There was to be NO flirting or falling in love...
Particularly with Confederate patients.

Patchwork (?) on a hospital bed aboard ship

Georgy had already fallen in love---with a doctor, Francis Bacon, who became Director General of  Union hospitals in the South. Never assigned to the same hospitals she and Frank wrote each other during the war and married soon after. You can be sure she kept those letters secret from her superiors.

The name is wrong here; the ship is the Red Rover.

Threee Woolsey sisters in Normandy headdresses 
at the fundraising Metropolitan Fair in NewYork City in 1864.
Although the women were nurses this is not nursing headgear.
Four Woolsey sisters worked in hospitals during the war.

The Block

Love Apple by Marty Webster

19th-century block

Variations of this fruit were popular with applique artists; we see
them as pomegranates, an ancient symbol of fertility.

Still Life with Fruit by Jacob van Walscapelle, 1675

...Which is why the pattern is also called Love Apple.

Detroit Free Press, 1932

To Print:
Create a word file or a new empty JPG file.
Click on the image above.
Right click on it and save it to your file.
Print that file. Be sure the square is about 1" in size.

For the background cut a square 18-1/2".
Add seam allowances to the pattern pieces if you are doing traditional applique.


Following the aesthetic theory that "Less is More" and easier to applique I show you Becky's blocks and mine. I put everything that would fit into mine. Becky's finishes to 20"; mine to 18". (She say No---hers finish to 18" too.)

Also notice that as I am the Queen of Directionality, I did the block backwards. There is really no backwards in applique.

Cut 8-1/2" x 8-1/2" background.

#3 Love Apple Sprouts
 Denniele Bohannon. Her block finishes at 9"

Subtract then Add

Sometimes "More is More."

After the War 
Georgeanna Woolsey & Frank Bacon spent the rest of their lives in New Haven, Connecticut, where he was a lecturer at Yale University. Together they founded the pioneering Connecticut Training School for Nurses, which prepared women for the nursing role with which we are familiar. 

Connecticut Training School for Nurses,
Class of 1899

Block 3 is a directional block, going in a corner.

Sampler quilt with block dated 1852, Preble County, Ohio.
Perhaps set and bordered later.

Extra Reading:

Mary Custis Lee's White House was burned by retreating Union troops in 1862.

Read more about White House Landing and the Lee family association with it

Love Apple by Kathryn Jones


Louise Haddon said...

I am having problems saving patterns and then printing to correct size. Any suggestions? Can a print link be added that will print correct size?

Becky in VA said...

Print the pattern and then adjust the size, by increasing or decreasing the size percentage on your copy/printer machine. Hope this helps!

terry said...

I ditto Louise's comment. First block printed correctly but second block with stems and leaves printed in miniature. After several attempts, gave up. Any help to print to correct size would be appreciated. Terry

Allie said...

Thank you so much for these patterns - I saw them on Big Lake Quilter's blog and fell in love! I'm doing the Sprouts, so cute. I'm really enjoying the history as well!

Jeanne said...

Thanks Barbara! I remember those Normandy headdresses!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the opportunity to do these blocks. Mother loved to applique and I can see why. Also, this is Barbara Eikmeier's fabric line. Wondered what I was going to do with my fat quarters. Thanks to the two Barbaras.
My husband's grandmother was a Woolsey.

Barbara Brackman said...

Printer problems:
Its the coordination between your printer and your computer. Paste this address into your browser.It explains how to adjust the size.

You can buy the patterns through the mail if you don't want to mess with the printer.

Lakegaldonna said...

Wow, loved this post Barbara. Had to look up the meaning of 'flibbertigibbet' and the pronunciation. I know three of those type of people today!

Susan said...

Some of us still don't sew on Sundays. =) Thanks for such interesting information about the hospital ships. I didn't know any of that. It's such a shame the Union burned the White House. That kind of history should have been honored. I'm sure their stay left it a mess, but at least it would still have been standing and could have been fixed up again.

The Lees lost pretty much everything with this and Arlington, but Lee's advice to a Confederate widow was, "Dismiss from your mind all sectional feeling, and bring [your children] up to be Americans." (Virginia Museum of History and Culture)