Rebecca Usher of Hollis (1821-1912) left her home in Maine in late November 1862 to travel to Pennsylvania to begin work as a nurse at the U.S.A. General Hospital in Chester.
In this letter to her sister "Mat," Martha Usher Osgood, she recounts the difficulties of traveling -- lack of hotel space in New York, poor weather, and train delays.
She asked her sister to send stockings, bandages, dried apples, slipper, towels, handkerchiefs, shirt collars, her red cloak, wooden needles, and a bar of soap.
She concluded, "I am delighted with hospital life feel like a bird in the air or a fish in the sea, as if I had found my native element."
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