James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
The war gave a powerful impetus to the humanitarian spirit. Americans were essentially religious and Christs teaching had sunk deep in their hearts. Non-combatants individually and through well-devised organizations were diligent in ministering to the wants and sufferings of the soldiers who were upholding the Northern cause in the field. This work of aid was well adapted to women whose energy, self-sacrifice and well-directed efforts proved them worthy of Lincolns words spoken at one of the Sanitary fairs.1 This extraordinary war, he said, in which we are engaged, falls heavily upon all classes of people, but the most heavily upon the soldier. For it has been said, all that a man hath will he give for his life; and while all contribute of their substance, the soldier puts his life at stake and often yields it up in his countrys cause. The highest merit then is due to the soldier. In this extraordinary war, extraordinary developments have manifested themselves such as have not been seen in former wars; and amongst these manifestations nothing has been more remarkable than these fairs for the relief of suffering soldiers and their families. And the chief agents in these fairs are the women of America. I am not accustomed to the use of the language of eulogy; I have never studied the art of paying compliments to women; but I must say, that if all that has been said by orators and poets since the creation of the world in praise of women were applied to the women of America, it would not do them justice for their conduct during this war. I will close by saying, God bless the women of America.