Saturday, May 4, 2013

Lorinda Anna Blair Etheridge Hooks, born May 3, 1839

Lorinda Anna Blair was born May 3, 1839 in Detroit, Michigan, the only child of her parents.  Her mother died when Anna was young, and she moved with her father  to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Anna married her first husband, David Kellogg, when she was a teenager; nothing is known about him.  She married her second husband, James Etheridge in 1860.  Some accounts say that he enlisted in the army and was killed; others that the marriage was not a success, and that she had left him before the war began. 

Anna worked briefly in a hospital with a poor reputation for patient care, which she attempted to improve.

She was 22 years old when the Civil War began.

Detroit, Michigan
When the Civil War began, Etheridge, who was living in Detroit, joined the 2nd Michigan Volunteer Regiment as a vivandiere and nurse.  Many of the vivandieres would serve in purely ceremonial roles, outfitted in feminine versions of the uniforms of their regiments 
(bloomers, which featured a dress over full trousers). Etheridge served as a laundress and was known as "Gentle Annie" and later "Michigan Annie." She was also known as “Ethridge,” and “Lorinda Blair.”

2nd Michigan Volunteer Regiment
After a period of training the 2nd Michigan shipped out for Washington, D.C. to join the Potomac Army. When the 2nd Michigan first saw action at Blackburn's Ford, Etheridge was reported to have nursed the wounded and to have brought water to the dying. She served with the Regiment throughout its battles, including both battles at Bull Run. 

Etheridge served as an army nurse on hospital transports during the winter of 1861-1862, working under under Amy M. Bradley.

Amy M. Bradley
It was at the Second Battle of Bull Run that she came to the attention of General Philip Kearny.  She had almost been captured while attending to the wounded.  Kearny recommended she be given a horse.

Philip Kearny
After the Battle of Antietam, the 2nd Michigan was relocated to the Army of the West.  Etheridge transferred to the 3rd, and later 5th, Michigan Regiments in order to stay with the Army of the Potomac. 

At the Battle of Chancellorsville in spring of 1863, Etheridge was wounded in the hand when a Union officer attempted to hide behind her horse.  He was ultimately killed and her horse was also wounded. 

Battle of Chancerllorville
In July at the Battle of Gettysburg, General Clair A. Mulholland recalled observing Annie during the second day at Gettysburg during fighting around the peach orchard. “Amidst cannon shot that was throwing up loose dirt around the farm … a woman on horseback and in uniform galloped back from the line of battle, asked for some information, and quickly returned to the front again. She was a nurse of the Third Corps, Anna Etheridge and was directing the removal of the wounded. She was cool and self-possessed and did not seem to mind the fire.”

Etheridge was still with the Regiment in 1864 when it entered into the Wilderness and Spotsylvania campaigns in Virginia.  In 1864, General Grant issued an order that all women in the army have to get back, and Etheridge had to leave her Regiment. A petition was sent to the commander to have her stay, but she went to City Point, Virginia.  She continued her work of serving the soldiers from City Point.

The Detroit Free Press of June 9, 1864, reported the observations of Mrs. Jessie Hinsdill who served as a nurse during the war, apparently with the 2nd Michigan. Mrs. Hinsdill “speaks in glowing terms of her co-laborer, Miss Anna Etheridge, of this state, who has already become famous in the discharge of her angelic duties as hospital nurse. Her name will be cherished and remembered by many a suffering soldier to the latest hour of their lives.” 

Civil War Illustration of Etheridge
”When camped near Jeffersonville, Indiana July 5, 1865, just before our return home. I was presented with an official copy of the battles which we had participated in, nearly every one of which I had been with my command giving my services as a nurse.”
~ Annie  Etheridge
The document lists her as participating in 32 battles.

Etheridge returned to Detroit with her Regiment at the war's end until mustered out in July 1865.

For her courage under fire, Etheridge was one of only two women awarded the Kearny Cross, named in honor of Gen. Kearney. During that era there were few officially recognized decorations, other than the Medal of Honor, first awarded on March 25, 1863. However, on March 13, 1863 Brig. Gen. David B. Birney, Kearny's replacement, issued an order to the effect that a "Cross of Valor to be known as the 'Kearney Cross', would be bestowed upon such non-commissioned officers and privates who most distinguished themselves in battle."

Kearney Cross
After the war she married on March 1, 1870, for a third and last time to Charles E. Hooks, a corporal with the 7th Connecticut Infantry in the war. She worked for a while as a clerk in the United States Treasury Department. Eventually she received a monthly pension of $25 for her unpaid military service. 

She died on January 23, 1913 at Georgetown Hospital, Washington, D.C., at the age of 73.

 She was buried with veteran's honors in Arlington National Cemetery, next to her husband. 

Hooks Grave in Arlington Cemetery

1 comment:

  1. For the latest on Annie: