Sanitary Commission festival poster, Wiscasset, 1863
The Sanitary Commission, an organization formed to aid soldiers, especially those in hospitals, held a Thanksgiving music festival in Wiscasset in November 1863 to raise funds for its work. Private donations were important to supply soldiers with needed clothing, food, and other items, and to support hospitals. In addition, the State of Maine contributed about $740,000 during the war for hospital stores and other necessary relief items for soldiers. The state also spent near $2 million on aid to families of soldiers.