After more than three years of grim fighting, General Ulysses Grant had a plan to end the Civil War—laying siege to Petersburg, Virginia, thus cutting off supplies to the Confederate capital at Richmond. He established his headquarters at City Point on the James River, requiring thousands of troops, tons of supplies, as well as extensive medical facilities and staff.
Nurses flooded the area, yet many did not work in medical capacities—they served as organizers, advocates and intelligence gatherers. Nursing emerged as a noble profession with multiple specialties. Drawing on a range of primary and secondary sources, this history covers the resilient women who opened the way for others into postwar medical, professional and political arenas.