Rebecca Carr, 1859, source: Carr Family Collection
Shortly after the Civil War started, the men in Rebecca Carr’s life felt the call to fight for the Union as staunch Abolitionists. When her eldest son Anthony and husband Job enlisted in 1861, Rebecca decided to answer the call as well. She served as a field hospital nurse matron for eight months. Her unit followed Job’s regiment as they moved from one battlefield to another. At times, her younger son, Howard, would join her and help as he could in the makeshift “hospitals.” She also helped to recruit other women to serve as nurses for the Union cause.
"On one occasion her duties as a nurse led her into the dead house, where she found a man who she was satisfied was not dead. Through her directions he was removed from the hospital and under careful treatment recovered and lived to write her a letter of gratitude."
~ Rebecca's obituary in the Tacoma Daily News, Dec. 10, 1908
When Job and Anthony were each injured in the fighting, Rebecca took them home to Richmond, Indiana to recuperate. After Job's military service ended and he decided to start over in the west, Rebecca stayed in Richmond with their two teenage daughters. In late 1864, when Howard was released from a prisoner-of-war camp in the South, she also nursed him back to health.
Rebecca Carr, source: Carr Family Collection
In May 1865, Rebecca was listed in the “Directory and Soldier’s Register of Wayne County” as keeping a boarding house on Franklin Street in Richmond, Indiana. She is the only woman whose name is listed in this directory of soldiers along with over 3,500 men. Later in her life, Rebecca was awarded a pension for her service.
About the Author
Holly Stewart joined the team at the Job Carr Cabin Museum in 2013. She oversees the Museum's programs related to education, volunteer resources, community outreach, and public events. In addition to her work with JCCM, she serves on the board of the Heritage League of Pierce County and Tacoma's Landmarks Preservation Commission.