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The Civil War was for nursing in America what the Crimean War was for nursing in Europe . Mary Ann Bickerdyke, a Union nurse, administered care to enlisted men and later acquired the moniker Mother Bickerdyke. She championed soldier's rights, became a heroic figure in the eyes of Generals Grant and Sherman. Louise May Alcott, the writer, and Walt Whitman, the poet, were both Civil War nurses. Mary Ann Bickerdyke was the first woman to unite nurses by lobbying in Washington to secure pensions for Civil War nurses and veterans .