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 Kate Cumming

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Kate Cumming

  • Birth 1836 Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Death 5 Jun 1909 Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama, USA
  • Burial Mobile, Mobile County, Alabama, USA
  • Plot Square 19-Lot 153
  • Memorial ID 10538942

Civil War Confederate Nurse, Author. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the Cumming family moved to Montreal, Canada, then settled permanently in Mobile, Alabama, while she was still young enough to become thoroughly Southern. Intelligent and courageous, she did not believe in the right to secede, yet she became an impassioned Confederate, blaming Abraham Lincoln for the war, condemning Yankees for being Yankees, and lashing out against her own people for anything less than wholehearted patriotism and at the soldiers for not fighting as often as she thought they should. During the war she ignored those of her family who opposed hospital work as unladylike. She became one of the best known nurses in the Western Confederacy, and was known as "The Confederate Rose." Through 1861, illness and reluctance to displease her brother restricted her service to collecting supplies and distributing them to convalescents. But in April 1862 she nursed the wounded at Shiloh, worked that summer at Corinth, Okolona, and Chattanooga. She kept a diary in which she often listed patients who died in her care. Noting in January and April of 1863 that there were so many wounded they could "scarcely take note" of their names, she listed the veterans who died, many which are buried in Chattanooga Confederate Cemetery. This compassionate act has allowed many families to find their loved ones, even if it took generations to do so. In the fall she enlisted in the army's medical department as a hospital matron. Opinionated and assertive, she worked under Doctor S.H. Stout, a progressive military physician committed to the employment of women in hospitals. She applied her energy and organizational ability to running efficient, clean wards and adequate kitchens, and to making the wounded as comfortable as possible as the army retreated before Sherman through Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia. Postbellum, she returned to Mobile in 1866 where she published, 'A Journal of Hospital Life in the Confederate Army of Tennessee.' It was one of the most accurate and vivid accounts of life in Southern wartime hospitals. In the preface she challenged Southern women to attend unselfishly to the needs of the maimed and disabled soldiers. A later, revised edition, titled 'Gleanings from the Southland' is considered by historians as being weakened by the passage of time and by her chastened conciliatory tone toward the North. She never married, supporting herself by teaching school and music. During her later years she was active in the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the United Confederate Veterans.

Bio by: Ugaalltheway

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Stonewall
  • Added: 28 Feb 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10538942
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Kate Cumming (1836–5 Jun 1909), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10538942, citing Magnolia Cemetery, Mobile, Mobile County, Alabama, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .