Hospital Sketches (1863) is a compilation of four sketches based on letters Louisa May Alcott sent home during the six weeks she spent as a volunteer nurse for the Union Army during the American Civil War in Georgetown.
Tribulation Periwinkle opens the story by complaining, "I want something to do." She dismisses suggestions to write a book, teach, get married, or start acting. When her younger brother suggests she "go nurse the soldiers", she immediately responds, "I will!" After substantial hardship in trying to obtain a spot, she has further difficulty finding a place on the train. She then describes her travel through New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore en route to Washington DC.
Louisa May Alcott 1832 - 1888) was an American novelist, short story writer and poet best known as the author of the novel Little Women (1868) and its sequels Little Men (1871) and Jo's Boys (1886). Raised in New England by her transcendentalist parents, Abigail May and Amos Bronson Alcott, she grew up among many of the well-known intellectuals of the day, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.