Anne Reading, an ordinary woman from
London describes her extraordinary life. In 1855 she travels to
the Crimea with Florence Nightingale and nurses the sick and
wounded of the British Army. Five years later, she takes a six
week voyage to New York aboard a sailing ship.
Anne finds work at St. LukeÕs hospital. The following year
brings the start of the Civil War. In 1862 Anne leaves St. LukeÕs
and travels south to the headquarters of the Union Army in
Washington. She was hired by Dorothea Dix, Superintendent of
female nurses to the Federal Army and also known as the American
AnneÕs saga becomes the story of her life among the wounded.
She describes experiences on hospital ships and in a former hotel
converted into a hospital in Alexandria, Virginia. The diary
chronicles the impact of atrocities on the soldiers. The general
social unrest which developed in the northern cities as the war
continues and the riots against the drafting of young men into the
army against their will, makes very interesting reading.
Anne married Andrew Furry in October, 1862 and soon gave up
nursing and returned to the New York area. She does different work
while waiting for him to be released from the army. She provides a
detailed account of the death of President Lincoln and an eye
witness account of his lying in state and funeral procession
through New York in 1865.
The diary continues with the FurrysÕ married life in Pennsylvania
and New Jersey highlighted with the marriage of AnneÕs younger
sister, Jenny and a swimming party at Coney Island.
In 1870, Anne FurryÕs mother, Anne Reading writes about her
trip to visit her daughter, with another daughter and the diary
closes with the two of them returning to Bethnal Green, London, one