Women mobilized and formed Ladies' Aid organizations, often affiliated with the national Sanitary Commission (ancestor of the Red Cross.)
"The members of the Woman's Central worked incessantly. Miss Collins was always at her post. She had never left it. Her hand held the reins taut from the beginning to the end. She alone went to the office daily, remaining after office hours, which were from nine to six, and taking home to be perfected in the still hours of night those elaborate tables of supplies and their disbursement, which formed her monthly Report to the Board of the Woman's Central. These tables are a marvel of method and clearness."The office bought or accepted donations, "assorting, cataloguing, marking, packing, storing and final distribution of nearly half a million of articles" over the years of the war.
"Every day old Roberts, the faithful porter...would place the [incoming] boxes in a long row and raise the lids; every day would come a corps of young lady 'Volunteer Aids' to unpack the miscellaneous articles, sort and place them in designated bins, stamp them with the stamp of the Sanitary Commission, and repack the same boxes (one kind of article only in each box now), after which they were nailed up by Roberts, appropriately marked, and wheeled off to the store house, ready to be shipped at shortest notice. A system was adopted whereby each box could be identified and traced. Miss Collins saw to it that each was acknowledged; conducted a large correspondence; made out and sent weekly lists of supplies in hand to the headquarters of the Sanitary Commission in Washington."
When the war was over Ellen's work wasn't; she continued her philanthropies with emancipated Southerners through the Freedman's Bureau and advocated tenement reform in her neighborhood by buying decaying buildings and acting as a responsible landlord.
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