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Arabella Wharton Griffith Barlow

Image courtesy of the Penny Colman collection

Arabella W. Barlow (1824-1864), a civil war nurse from Somerville, contracted typhus and perished from the disease in 1864. She served as a nurse during the Peninsula, Antietam and Gettysburg campaigns. Barlow’s husband was a well-respected general by the time of the Battle of Gettysburg. In order to both serve her country and stay close to her husband, Barlow enlisted as a nurse in the U.S. Sanitary Commission. She dedicated several years of her life to caring for the wounded and sick in field hospitals.

At Gettysburg, Barlow braved enemy fire to reach her wounded husband. When she was refused permission to pass safely through the lines, Barlow took matters into her own hands. She ran from one line of fire to the other. After a long search, Barlow found and remained with her husband in order to nurse him back to health. Just one year later, Barlow contracted typhus and died from the disease.

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