I wanted to introduce everyone to my new book. I'd be honored if you would take a look at it.
When the Civil War broke out, the Union and the Confederacy were prepared to fight, but they weren’t prepared to care for their battle wounded. While many people volunteered to care for the soldiers, the only ones with any experience were Catholic 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.
“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,” Civil War chaplain Father William Barnaby Faherty once said.
Battlefield Angels: The Daughters of Charity Work as Civil War Nurses is the newest book by award-winning writer James Rada, Jr. Nearly 700 Catholic sisters from 22 orders provided some sort of service during the Civil War. The Daughters of Charity provided the largest number—around 300—to serve in the war.
Once the smoke dispersed and the armies moved on, the Daughters of Charity and other medical personnel moved in to help those left behind on the battlefield. Battlefield Angels captures the primitive conditions in which the medical staff of both armies worked to try and save lives.
The brutality of the war tested even the Daughters of Charity’s abilities as they ran hospitals, served on troop transports and provided care in battlefield hospitals and ambulances. Armies from both sides of the war even occupied the sisters’ Central House at times.
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 North and South. Battlefield Angels follows them as they are called to serve in Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. In some cases, soldiers had sisters caring for them on the battlefield, during their transport and at a hospital.
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.
Though Rada is known more for his historical fiction, Battlefield Angels is a non-fiction history book that reads more like a novel with its stories of the people involved in the war.
The Midwest Book Review wrote that Rada is “a writer of considerable and deftly expressed storytelling talent.” Battlefield Angels shows Rada’s ability to apply that storytelling talent to relate a true story to readers so that they will discover their own fascination with history.