The history of a place and the people in it can sometimes yield stories about your Civil War ancestor.

Phoebe Yates Levy Pember

Phoebe Yates Levy Pember

For example, Francis Marion Poore spent December 1862 in Chimborazo Hospital No. 2 in Richmond, still recovering from the gunshot wound to the hand he received at Antietam.

In mid-December, about a month before Francis returned to duty with his regiment, the famed matron Phoebe Yates Levy Pember arrived to care for him and the other men housed in Hospital No. 2.

In all likelihood, Francis found odd the prospect of the well-educated daughter of a wealthy Jewish family from Charleston, South Carolina, tending to wounded soldiers. Southern men generally considered women too delicate to be exposed to the horrors of battlefield injuries.

Pember had a ready response to such notions, “In the midst of suffering and death, hoping with those almost beyond hope in this world; praying by the bedside of the lonely and heartstricken; closing the eyes of boys hardly old enough to realize man’s sorrows, much less suffer man’s fierce hate, a woman must soar beyond the conventional modesty considered correct under different circumstances.”

It seems reasonable to suppose that Francis came to appreciate the way Pember dedicated herself to doing everything possible to relieve the suffering of the soldiers. He may even have partaken in her first act of kindness toward the men under her care, a serving of chicken soup she cooked in her hospital kitchen.

Have you ever checked to see if your Civil War ancestor’s path may have crossed that of a well-known historical figure?