Women Respond to Adversity

The women of York responded in great numbers to the needs of the wounded throughout the Civil War. Mary C. Fisher served as a nurse at the U.S. Army Hospital on Penn Common, was active with the Ladies Aid Society, and traveled to help the wounded on the battlefields of Second Bull Run and Gettysburg. A lengthy account of her time in Gettysburg was published by the Philadelphia Times. She lived with her husband, Judge Robert Fisher, at 124 East Market Street in York.

Mary Ruggles, another nurse, earned the affectionate nickname Mammy from the wounded soldiers who greatly appreciated her motherly instinct. As the Confederate Army entered York on June 28, 1863, the nurses became determined to prevent the hospital's U.S. flag from falling into enemy hands. The flag was lowered and wrapped around Mammy, under her clothing, and she proceeded to walk past Confederate soldiers to deliver the flag to safekeeping. It was later written that after the Southern army lowered the town flag and vacated York, the hospital flag was flown in its place. The Mammy Ruggles Tent of the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War was established in 1937.