Civil War Quilts and Resources
Making Quilts in the Style of the U.S. Sanitary Commission Quilts
In Don Beld and Pam Weeks' book, Civil War Quilts, an amazing story is told regarding the United States Sanitary Commission (USCC) and how it was created to train nurses; to request and coordinate the civilian donations of supplies; and to improve conditions for soldiers in camp and on the battlefield. Across the country, an open letter appeared in thousands of newspapers, addressed to "The Loyal Women of America!". The letter requested that societies or social circles be formed to aid in the collection of articles that were most needed by the soldiers. " Within two weeks more than 20,000 such groups had been formed around the country with most of them being in the North. In a description of the articles most wanted quilts, about 4' wide and 7' long, were listed, along with woolens socks, slippers and pillows. (the size quilt appropriate to cover a cot)
During the 4 years of the war, women in the North produced more than 250,000 quilts for Union Soldiers. Northern women were accustomed to "gathering and sewing for a cause." Both Union and Confederate women rallied to the war effort but as the South had no textile manufacturing of their own, cotton goods were scarce. Southern women did what they could and helped raise money for the Southern Gun Boats that were so urgently needed and costing about $80,000 each. It is written that the Southern Woman raised enough money to buy 3 of them by raffling off their beautifully and artfully made "Gunboat Quilts".
See pattern page if you are interested in making a potholder style quilt or potholder block.
pg.98 "Alabama Gunboats" by Byrding Adams, Quiltmaking in America: Beyond the Myths
pg "Civil War Quilts" by Pam Weeks and Don Beld
"Quilts from the Civil War" by Barbara Brackman