Tuesday, October 21, at 6:30 p.m. will be another quality program commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War. There is no charge and it is open to the public. The Wayne County Civil War Roundtable, in collaboration with the Wayne County Libraries, will host the program in the Wooster Library Conference Room. We are well into the fourth year of that horrible war. We will be blessed to have Mrs. Carolyn Caskey from near Alliance, Ohio portray Mary Ann Bickerdyke, better known as “Mother” Bickerdyke.
During the war, Bickerdyke became chief of nursing under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant, and served at the Battle of Vicksburg. Bickerdyke was a nurse who ran roughshod over anyone who stood in the way of her self-appointed duties. She was known affectionately to her “boys,” the grateful enlisted men, as “Mother” Bickerdyke. “Mother” Bickerdyke was so loved by the army that the soldiers would cheer her as they would a general when she appeared. At Sherman’s request, she rode at the head of the XV Corps in the Grand Review in Washington at the end of the war.
Carolyn Becker Caskey has always enjoyed history from grade school age and on up. She first heard of Mary Ann Bickerdyke about 12 years ago when she heard an acquaintance tell her story. With the permission of the acquaintance, Carolyn began presenting Bickerdyke also. This was the beginning of an adventure of a lifetime. Starting her research into this fascinating woman, Caskey bought books and read all that she could find. Admiring her spirit and her dedication to the “boys” was the most intriguing trait. Since that day, she has shared her story to hundreds and hundreds of people including schools, church groups, civic groups, Civil War Roundtables, historical and genealogy societies plus others.
Presenting Mother Bickerdyke in a first person presentation and having pictures, medicines, and other items has been a greatly rewarding activity for Caskey. Even though the majority of people have never heard of her, Caskey’s hope is that after people have heard her story they will appreciate what “Mother” Bickerdyke did and how she did it.