Caring for soldiers and freedmen

Ladies' aid societies

Ladies' aid societies and soldiers' aid societies were often organized by women as part of their congregations' larger efforts to support the troops. Some women participated through local hospitals and community organizations, while others chose to organize independently. In general, younger women were more willing to travel long distances to assist soldiers directly on the front lines and in hospitals.

Working independently of the United States Sanitary Commission (USSC) and without denominational affiliation, the Ladies' Aid Society of Philadelphia (LASP) dedicated itself to providing supplies, medical aid, and emotional and religious support to soldiers. Nicknamed the "Presbyterian Ladies' Aid Society" because it held meetings and packed supplies in the basement of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, it became one of the most famous and successful women's charitable groups during the war. Ellen Orbison Harris, secretary of LASP, also worked in conjunction with the USCC as a field correspondent, travelling to hundreds of hospitals to care for Union and Confederate soldiers.

The Ladies' Aid Society of Philadelphia kept a record of honorably discharged soldiers from 1863 through 1864, listing information such as soldiers' names, addresses, reason for discharge, and any possible sources of assistance.