|The Wisconsin Angel|
Cordelia Adelaide Perrine was born in upstate New York in 1824. Her family moved to Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 1840. When she got older, she became a schoolteacher. In 1847, she married Louis Harvey. Louis was interested in politics. In 1861 he was elected governor of Wisconsin. Sadly, his time as governor didn’t last long.
In 1862 Governor Harvey drowned while visiting wounded Wisconsin soldiers. Cordelia Harvey was first lady for only 94 days. She knew how important those visits were to the soldiers. Cordelia made up her mind to keep visiting them. Her decision changed the lives of people from Wisconsin for the better.
She toured battlefields and inspected military hospitals. Hospital care during the Civil War often did more harm than good. Hospitals were dirty and overcrowded. Many patients had to sleep outside in tents. There were never enough doctors or nurses. Diseases killed more soldiers than bullets!
Later these hospitals became orphanages. They cared for the children of soldiers killed in the Civil War.
Cordelia Harvey died in 1895. She will always be remembered as Wisconsin's Angel.
"I would not exchange the memory of their grateful faces and their heartfelt 'God bless you's' for anything in this world."
Read more about Cordelia Harvey in the Badger Biographies book Cordelia Harvey: Civil War Angel, available now from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.