Emma Huey Proctor - Civil War Nurse
During the Civil War many women left the comfort and safety of their homes to work as nurses on the battlefield. Emma Huey was one of them. Choosing to be a camp follower, Emma went with the troops to the battlefield; she supported and assisted the wounded and ill in the 15th and 100th Colored Regiments - U.S.
Emma spent most of her war service in Nashville, Tennessee, where she was the Matron of the Post Hospital. Essential to the care of the soldiers, the volunteer nurses were looked down on by the men in charge and the surgeons. Most of the women who served as nurses served in obscurity. Only the founder of the American Red Cross Clara Barton and her nurses eventually won the right to ride in army ambulances in order to be on site when their nursing services were needed.
After the war Emma remained in Nashville to help with the Freedmen's Bureau, which had been established by the War Department. Their mission was to assist with rations, clothing and medicine for the mass of freed blacks as well as ragged children, paroled Rebels, discharged government employees and mustered out Union troops.
Following the war Emma married Frank Proctor, who had been a farrier with the 2nd Michigan Cavalry. After surviving her own privations during the war, Emma died in childbirth at the age of 27.
JoAnne P. Miller