My Story of the War – Mary A. Livermore

Categories: History
Written By: John

Mary Ashton Rice Livermore (1820–1905) joined the war effort with the U.S. Sanitary Commission.  Her book is very comprehensive, and attractive artistically for the black and white plates, portraits, and eight colored plates of old flags.

The book opens with an extensive description of the Battle Flags.   I cannot transcribe it all, but the text is available at Google Books, HERE.

As quoted from Reynolds Historical Library at the University of Alabama at Birmingham:

“Mary Ashton Rice Livermore, a native of Boston, Massachusetts, is one of the most well-known female figures in the Union relief movement. Before the Civil War broke out, Mary had already devoted her life to social, humanitarian and charitable causes. In her early twenties, she worked as a family tutor on a large rural Virginia plantation. In this position, she came face to face with the injustices of slavery and became a staunch abolitionist. During these pre-war years, Mary also became known for her involvement in the temperance movement, which especially thrived after her marriage to fellow temperance supporter and Universalist minister, Daniel Parker Livermore, in 1845. Mrs. Livermore organized a juvenile temperance group, the Cold Water Army, for whom she wrote short stories and read them aloud (Holland 37-38). In 1857, the Livermores and their three daughters moved from Massachusetts to Chicago, where Mary assisted her husband in editing the Northwest Universalist paper, The New Covenant. There, she also helped found two charities, the Home for Aged Women and the Hospital for Women and Children (American Reformers).

When the war began, many relief organizations quickly emerged in the North, and in 1861 the United States Sanitary Commission was formed to coordinate these efforts. Mary Livermore, convinced of the need for female participation in war relief, and with the support of her husband, resigned many of her former obligations and became a leader in the Northwest Sanitary Commission, a division of the U.S. Sanitary Commission (American Reformers; Heidler & Heidler 3: 1201). In December 1862, Livermore and her friend, Jane C. Hoge, were appointed co-directors of the Chicago office. As a leader in the Commission, Livermore set up local Soldier’s Aid Societies in her vicinity, raised funds and medical supplies for the soldiers, lobbied for the relief effort, wrote Commission reports, and inspected hospitals. She personally delivered and coordinated the delivery of supplies to the battle fronts. During these many visits, she acted as an attentive nurse, and transported discharged, wounded soldiers to their homes (Holland 39). In 1863, Livermore and Hoge organized the Great Northwestern Sanitary Commission Fair, for which Mary convinced President Lincoln to donate the Emancipation Proclamation document. The fair raised nearly $100,000 for the soldiers, and it became the model for similar fund raisers in the North (Heidler & Heidler 3: 1202).

As part of her war relief work, Mary Livermore had many opportunities to speak, during which she rallied women together and encouraged them to volunteer. After the war, she applied her speaking ability to the fights for temperance and women’s suffrage, often incorporating her Civil War experiences in these orations. In 1887, she first published a detailed account of her Sanitary Commission days in My story of the war. Not only did Livermore tell her own story in this volume, but she also included details regarding the work of other Northern nurses and women volunteers (Heidler & Heidler 3: 1201-1202). This work is a great and important primary resource on the role of women in the Union relief effort. Later in life, she published another autobiography, The story of my life, which includes additional anecdotes from her Civil War experiences (Freemon 86).     The Civil War Memoirs Of The Famous Nurse, Relief Organizer, And Suffragette”

I have posted the original scans of these in very large size, although I have not edited or enhanced them heavily.   I cleaned up and edited smaller versions and posted those as well.  Currently, only the flag images have been cleaned up.

You will find four versions of each flag image in the Flag folder of this book in the Gallery:  The whole page including captions, the image only, and two cleaned up versions.   Cleaning up the versions always involves compromising on color versus contract, so I posted a lighter and a darker image of each.  They are not that different from each other, but enough to make it worthwhile to provide a choice.

I will post cleaned up versions of the other plates as I get to it.  (If I get to it – you know how it goes…) They are somewhat dark, some of them, so a bit of lightening of the aging would be good.

I have not scanned the portraits yet, but that is next on my list.

Title: My Story Of The War: My Story Of The War: A Woman’s Narrative of Four Years Personal Experience as a Nurse in the Union Army…
Author: Mary A. Livermore
Artist: Various (engraved by J.J. Cade, New York)
Publisher: A. D. Worthington and Company
Date Published: 1887 (1892)

All images are available in the Gallery or by clicking the images below.

Famous Union Battle Flags 1

Famous Union Battle Flags 1

1. Eleventh Regt Conn. Volunteers
2. Headquarter Guidon Old Vermont Brigade
3. Gen. Sedgwick’s 6th Corps Headquarters Flag

Famous Union Battle Flags 2

Famous Union Battle Flags 2

1. Twenty first Mass. Reg’t.
2. Fortieth N.Y. Reg’t.
3. Fourteenth Conn. Reg’t.
4. Twenty fourth Mass. Reg’t.
5. First Maine Heavy Art.
6. First Conn. Heavy Art.

Famous Union Battle Flags 3

Famous Union Battle Flags 3

1. Thirteenth Ills. Reg’t.
2. Twenty fourth Mich. Reg’t.
3. Eighth Mo. Reg’t.
4. First Minn. Art.
5. Second Mich. Art.
6. Seventh N.Y. Heavy Art.

Confederate Battle Flags

Confederate Battle Flags

1. From Bragg’s Army
2. Forty second Miss. Reg’t.
3. Twelfth Miss. Cavalry
4. Ninth Texas Reg’t.
5. Austin’s Battery
6. So. Carolina Flag
7. Texas Black Flag
8. Virginia Flag

Famous Union Battle Flags 5

Famous Union Battle Flags 5

1. First N.J. Cavalry
2. Forty-eighth N.Y. Reg’t.
3. One hundred and fiftieth Penn. Reg’t. (“Bucktails”)
4. Eighty third Penn. Reg’t.
5. Ninth N.J. Reg’t.
6. One hundred and fifth N.Y. Regt.

Famous Union Battle Flags 6

Famous Union Battle Flags 6

1. Fifth N.H. Reg’t.
2. First R.I. Cavalry
3. Sixteenth Conn. Reg’t.
4. Fifty fourth (Colored) Mass. Reg’t.
5. First Vermont Cavalry
6. Twentieth Mass. Reg’t.

Famous Union Battle Flags 7

Famous Union Battle Flags 7

“Old Abe” War Eagle of the 8th Wis. Reg’t.
1. Ninth Iowa Reg’t.
2. Second Kansas Battery
3. Second Wis. Reg’t.
4. Seventh Mo. Reg’t.
5. Second Kansas Reg’t.
6. First Ohio Battery

Famous Union Battle Flags 8

Famous Union Battle Flags 8

1. Seventy-eighth Ohio Reg’t.
2. Seventy-eighth Penn. Reg’t.
3. Thirty-second Ind. Reg’t.
4. Ninth Ky. Reg’t.One hundred and twenty ninth Ills. Reg’t.
5. Eighteenth N.Y. Cavalry

Plate 1 - A Woman in Battle - Michigan Bridget Carrying the Flag

Plate 1 - A Woman in Battle - Michigan Bridget Carrying the Flag

Plate 2 - The Dying Soldier - The Last Letter From Home

Plate 2 - The Dying Soldier - The Last Letter From Home

Plate 3 - Prayer Meeting in a Contraband Camp - Washington 1862

Plate 3 - Prayer Meeting in a Contraband Camp - Washington 1862

Plate 4 - Fleeing From the Land of Bondage - On the Mississippi River in 1863

Plate 4 - Fleeing From the Land of Bondage - On the Mississippi River in 1863

Plate 5 - Our Battery at the Front - Reveille After an Anxious Night

Plate 5 - Our Battery at the Front - Reveille After an Anxious Night

Plate 6 Death of Sergeant Dyer While Spiking His Gun

Plate 6 Death of Sergeant Dyer While Spiking His Gun

Plate 7 - Midnight on the Battlefield

Plate 7 - Midnight on the Battlefield

Plate 8 - A Rebel Shell Bursting in a Union Hospital

Plate 8 - A Rebel Shell Bursting in a Union Hospital

One Response to “My Story of the War – Mary A. Livermore”

  1. Denise Gatlin Says:

    I have this book and out of curiosity decided to research it online. It was left in some of my father-in-laws old books. It has gorgeous artwork (plates, liths, etc). The binding is pretty rough but the rest is intact. In fact, someone actually took the newspaper clipping on Mother Bickerdyke’s orbituary and glued into the front of the book. May be interested in selling it if I can find out its worth.

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