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Civil War Nurses: Requirements for Women in the Nursing Service

Historical Document: Written by Dorothea Dix

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The following is a document written by Dorothea Dix to lay out the requirements for women who would work in the nursing service for the Union Army during the American Civil War.

    Circular No. 8., by Dorothea Dix

    Washington, D. C., July 14, 1862,

    No candidate for service in the Women's Department for nursing in the Military Hospitals of the United States, will be received below the age of thirty-five years, nor above fifty.

    Only women of strong health, not subjects of chronic disease, nor liable to sudden illnesses, need apply. The duties of the station make large and continued demands on strength.

    Matronly persons of experience, good conduct, or superior education and serious disposition, will always have preference; habits of neatness, order, sobriety, and industry, are prerequisites.

    All applicants must present certificates of qualification and good character from at least two persons of trust, testifying to morality, integrity, seriousness, and capacity for care of the sick.

    Obedience to rules of the service, and conformity to special regulations, will be required and enforced.

    Compensation, as regulated by act of Congress, forty cents a day and subsistence. Transportation furnished to and from the place of service.

    Amount of luggage limited within small compass.

    Dress plain, (colors brown, grey, or black,) and while connected with the service without ornaments of any sort.

    No applicants accepted for less than three months service; those for longer periods always have preference.

    Approved,
    William A. Hammond,
    Surgeon General.

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