[Boston—Tuesday, 15 December 1863]

Tuesday. Dined with Mr and Mrs. Bartols, with Dr Bellows and Dr Hedge. Dr Bellows talked of his experiences during the past year. He said from his personal knowledge of the different angels who have served over men he thought Miss Gilson the most remarkable. He said he was with her in a small rebel hospital which had been obliged to wait for service because of the rising of the river between our hospital and that. This river was passed by a noble young rebel three times a day, by swimming, in order to carry supplies to his brothers in distress. Four days after the battle of Gettysburg the officers of the Commission entered this miserable stable where lay 400 wounded men. Beautiful youths stretched in suffering upon heaps of miserable ordure and all dark and terrible as can be. After something had been done for each man one of them said to Miss Gilson, “Ma’am could you sing me a little hymn?” Yes she said “I will sing something good for both sides,” and then [she] stood up and sang in clear sweet tones the tune now so common, then heard by Dr Bellows for the first time, “When this cruel war is over.” He said her face seemed angelic as she sang and he longed to throw himself on his knees in prayer. One of the men after a short silence who had lost his arm exclaimed—“Oh ma’am I wish I had my arm now if it was only to clap you.”

The Sanitary Commission has received 7,000 000 000 of dollars—6 000 000 000 have been contributed in stores and $6,000 000 were sent in money from California. 3,000 000 was contributed by the city of New York.


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