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November 12 Salute to Vets in Tiskilwa: “Ann Stokes: Civil War Nurse”

When we think of the Civil War, floating hospitals are probably not among the first things that come to mind. Nevertheless, this is the method by which many Union soldiers were given medical treatment from battle wounds as well as diseases such as smallpox.

On Monday evening, November 12, Marlene Rivero of Grand Chain, Illinois, will portray Ann Stokes, a nurse aboard the USS Red Rover. The evening will begin at 7:00 p.m. with the annual Salute to Veterans. The society is extending a special invitation to all area vets to attend and be honored for your service.

In the evening’s program, Marlene will share the remarkable story that she has pieced together through meticulous research. It’s the narrative of a courageous but unsung hero, one of the first African-Americans to serve on a U.S. military vessel.

Born into slavery in 1830, Ann Stokes was taken aboard the Red Rover in 1863, and she soon volunteered to serve as a nurse. Eventually, as U.S. Navy pension records reveal, Ann was paid a small salary. While she and her fellow nurses treated almost 3,000 soldiers during the final years of the war, the ship’s mission took it into the dangerous, enemy-held territory.

Marlene’s “3-D History” of this courageous woman’s life is sure to be entertaining and informational to history buffs of all ages. Her visit to the Tiskilwa Historical Society is made possible through the Illinois Humanities Council, who sponsors numerous presentations throughout our state in their “Road Scholars” program by providing for the speaker’s travel, lodging, and fees. Following the program, the society host a social time with refreshments in the museum galleries.

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