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Arabella W. Barlow

Image of Arabella Barlow's headstoneArabella W. Barlow (1824-1864) was a civil war nurse from Somerville.

Barlow 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. To 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 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 and nursed him back to health. One year later in 1864 Barlow contracted typhus and died from the disease.


Brockett, L. P., and Mary C. Vaughan. n.d. Heroines of the rebellion; or, Woman’s work in the civil war; a record of heroism, patriotism and patience. Edgewood Pub. Co. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/2211258 

Questions to Explore

How did Arabella Barlow’s connection to her husband help her through her job as a nurse during the civil war?

What does Arabella’s determination to save her husband during the war symbolize to other wives during the civil war? 

Additional Resources

Brockett L. P and Jon A. Lindseth Suffrage Collection. 1867. Woman’s Work in the Civil War : A Record of Heroism Patriotism and Patience. 1st ed. Philadelphia: Zeigler McCurdy. https://worldcat.org/title/6942381

Barlow, Francis C., and Christian G. Samito. Fear Was Not in Him : The Civil War Letters of Major General Francis C. Barlow, U.S.A. Bronx: Fordham University Press, 2004.