"The country had only 600 trained nurses at the start of the Civil War. All were Catholic nuns. This is one of the best-kept secrets in our nation's history," Father William Barnaby Faherty once wrote. When the Civil War broke out, the Union and the Confederacy were prepared to fight, but they weren't prepared to care for the wounded that their fighting created. While many people volunteered to care for the soldiers, the only ones with any experience were Catholics sisters. Among the sisters, the most-experienced were the Daughters of Charity based in Emmitsburg, MD. When war broke out, they had already been caring for the sick for decades. However, the brutality of the war would test even their abilities as they ran hospitals, served on troop transports and provided care in battlefield hospitals and ambulances. They even had their own Central House occupied by armies from both sides of the war. The Daughters of Charity had such a high level of trust among the government officials that they were allowed in the early part of the war to move back and forth across the border between the two warring countries. Nor did they betray that trust as they served officers and soldiers, Union and Confederate, with the same level of care. With their wide, white cornettes looking almost like wings, the Daughters of Charity did resemble battlefield angels. The sight of those wing-like cornettes told soldiers that relief was on the way; someone who cared for them was coming.
James Rada Jr., Paperback First Edition edition, ISBN 10: 0971459959, ISBN 13: 9780971459953