Old Hannah

            “When I was in Jefferson, in the fall of 1862,” said Robert Collyer, "I found the hospitals in the most fearful condition you can imagine. I cannot stop to tell you all the scenes I saw; it is enough to say that one poor fellow had lain there sick on the boards, and seen five men carried away dead, one after another, from his side. He was worn to a skeleton, worn through, so that great sores were all over his back, and filthy beyond description.

            "One day, a little before my visit, old Hannah, a black woman, who had some washing to do for doctor, went down the ward to hunt him up. She saw this dying man, and had compassion on him, and said, ‘O, doctor, let me bring this man to my bed, to keep him off the floor.'

            “The doctor said, ‘The man is dying; he will be dead tomorrow.' Tomorrow came, and, old Hannah could not rest. She went to see the man and he was still alive. Then she got some help, took her bed, put the man on it, and carried him boldly to her shanty; then she washed him all over, as a woman washes a baby, and fed him with a spoon, and fought death, hand to hand, day and night, and beat him back, and saved the soldier's life.

            “The day before I went to Jefferson, the man had gone on a furlough to his home in Indiana, He besought Hannah to go with him, but she could not spare time; there was all that washing to do. She went with him to the steamboat, got him fixed just to her mind, and then kissed him, and the man lifted up his voice, as she left, and wept like a child. I say we have grown noble in our suffering."

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