Plate 53. Headquarters Christian Commission, in the Field

Text and photograph from Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War, Vol. II. Negative by James Gardner, text and positive by Alexander Gardner.
One of the most striking evidences of the patriotism of the American people, and of the desire of those who were unable personally to enter the field, to render every assistance in their power to promote the Union cause, is to be found in the workings of the Christian Commission – the members of which were connected with every corps and division of the Federal Army, and who were instrumental in doing much to alleviate the sufferings of our sick and wounded soldiers, and in administering spiritual consolation to the dying.
Organized in New York on the 16th of November, 1861, and devoting itself to the interests of the army and navy, branch offices were speedily established in Washington, Philadelphia, and all our leading cities, and every little town, village and hamlet, immediately entered into the spirit of the enterprise, and poured its treasures into the coffers of the parent stem – from whence they were conveyed to the soldiers by faithful, zealous and indefatigable delegates. The women of America were untiring in their efforts to provide luxuries and comforts for our armies, and the princely liberality of our citizens, in every rank and calling, was fully and thoroughly developed. The following summary, up to January, 1865, probably is the best means of conveying an idea of the magnitude of the operations of this charitable and praiseworthy association: The receipts in 1861 were $231,256.29; in 1863, $916,837.65; in 1864, $2,882,347.86; making a total of $4,030,44. 80. During 1864, 47,103 boxes of hospital stores and publications were distributed, valued at $2,185,670.82. Two hundred and five chapels and chapel tents were erected at. a cost. of $114,359.78; and 569,594 copies of Bibles and Testaments distributed.
Libraries have been furnished to hospitals, forts, regiments, and vessels of war. Thousands of hymn-books, knapsack-books, magazines, weekly religious papers, tracts and literary productions were gladly received by the soldiers, and relieved the tedium of many a weary hour. Railroad and telegraph corporations in all parts of the land rendered gratuitous facilities in support of the institution, and, with the Government, aided the Commission very materially.
Currently not on view
Object Name
albumen photograph
date made
Gardner, Alexander
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 6 3/4 in x 8 13/16 in; 17.145 cm x 22.43658 cm
Place Made
Germantown, Pennsylvania
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Gardner's Sketchbook
Civil War
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Gardner's Sketchbook
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
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