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Adeline Couzins

11 Nov

Adeline Couzins was wounded at Vicksburg. How is that possible you ask, her being a woman? Because during the Civil War, she followed the action to help where help was needed. She was one of the founders of the St. Louis Ladies Union Aid Society, a group of women who came together to help soldiers. What that meant for Adeline was greeting trains full of wounded soldiers, organizing efforts to collect and make supplies, travelling to battlefields to remove and care for soldiers, and going all the way to the front lines to help.

Since she was technically a volunteer and not entitled to a salary or pension, Adeline had to petition the government for a pension in her old age. The miniball that punctured her leg during the battle was causing her trouble. She got a doctor who she served with and the head of the Western Sanitary Commission to write on her behalf:

“Mrs. Couzins’ efforts were not spasmotic; she worked steadily. When not in the field she was looking after the sick in our hospitals. Her attention was not alone given to the sick and wounded Union soldiers. The sick and wounded prisoners who were sent to our city in large numbers claimed her attention and care. I presume there was not a day from the arrival of our first wounded from the battle of Wilson’s Creek to the close of the war that Mrs. Couzins was not engaged in the service of mercy and patriotism.”

It took a special act of congress to grant Adeline Couzins her pension for service. On October 1, 1888 congress granted her $30 a month, equivalent to about $710 by today’s standards. She is one of few women who received a pension for Civil War service. View her service record here.

She is buried in Lot 919, block 117 in Bellefontaine Cemetery.

View a picture of Adeline Couzins from the Missouri History Museum collection.

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