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Object Record

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Object Name Dressing
Catalog Number 0985.13.00214pp
Date 1861-1865
Description Surgical lint / dressing cotton / charpie: ecru bundle of linen thread. Tied in the middle with additional linen threads. Some of the threads are permanently creased giving an overall unkept appearance. One of forty-two hanks of linen thread.
Dimensions W-1 L-8 inches
Owned Miss M. F. McCalla; Julia E. Bain
Made Miss M. F. McCalla; Julia E. Bain
Provenance Cousins Miss M. F. McCalla and Mrs. Julia E. Bain made this dressing cotton surgical lint, or charpie, for Confederate soldiers from their linen underclothes and spare ends of table linen damask. They worked at Miss McCalla's home at 1826 H St. NW, Washington, DC, to provide the dressing throughout the war. Because their families were Northern sympathizers, they worked secretly at night in their attic by the light of a single candle with no heat, from 12 midnight to 3 a.m. They did this for the entire duration of the war. A devoted Irish woman got the weekly amount through to Alexandria in a paper bag in her hands while selling apples and pies to Union soldiers. Afer the surrender, they had no way of sending the lint, so a small supply was left and this is part of it.
People McCalla, M. F., Miss
Bain, Julia E.
Search Terms divided families
Subjects Medical care
Medical equipment & supplies