Amanda Stokes (1820-1885) was raised on a farm in Warren County. By the outbreak of the Civil War, in 1861, 41-year-old Amanda, against the advice of friends and relatives, obtained from the Surgeon General a commission as a hospital nurse with orders to report to Federal troops in the South.
Amanda worked in dozens of field hospitals near such battles as Stones River, Chattanooga, Chickamauga, Nashville and Atlanta. She fought for items she felt were essential in caring for "her boys." Finding little support from the U.S. government, she took her own money and spent it for the comfort of the soldiers.
One day, the ambulance Amanda was riding was crossing the Chattahoochee River. The horses became unruly and overturned the wagon into the river. Amanda escaped through a hole in the top of the ambulance, injuring her head in the process. In the accident she lost not only her personal belongings but also her commission. Attempts to apply to the Surgeon General's office for a duplicate proved fruitless since no copy had been made.
After the war, Amanda, with the aid of scores of “her boys,” was appointed Matron of the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Orphans Home at Xenia, Ohio. A pension of eight dollars a month was eventually granted to her by a special act of Congress.
Amanda died on March 28, 1885 in Xenia. She is buried in the Lebanon Cemetery with the simple marker: “Amanda Stokes 1820-1885 Army Nurse.”
- John Zimkus
Various staff and volunteer writers.