In a city famous for its public and private charities, Anna M. Ross was widely known for the rare kindness of her heart.
When the war assumed its colossal proportions, she led by example ladies of the city to do all in their power to aid the soldiers who passed through the City of Philadelphia on their journey toward the seat of war.
By their exertions the ladies opened the Cooper’s Shop Saloon. It was a plain but spacious building where a soldier was offered the opportunity to wash after their long train journeys. They were then ushered into another room where they were offered an abundance of well prepared and nourishing food. Exhausted and sick soldiers were offered medical care.
As early as November, 1861, Miss Ross and her lady friends were voted a note of thanks for the able and effective manner in which they had fitted out a new hospital attached to the eating saloon, and for their untiring efforts to treat sick and wounded soldiers.
Miss Ross’s workload increased as the war went on. She traveled through many towns and cities in Pennsylvania, pleading the cause from door to door. She felt nothing had been accomplished as long as anything remained undone. She was thoroughly exhausted, but worked well into the night on many occasions.
She died one night in December, 1863. The funeral train was immense. The saloon and hospital continued to serve until the war ended. Our Sons of Union Veterans camp was named in her honor, the only camp to be named after a woman. This speaks volumes of the high esteem in which she was held by her soldiers. She fell at her post in the heat and depth of the conflict, before the joyful shouts of victory rang out over her city.
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War- http://www.suvcw.org/