Two more backings are ready for the other two tops I pulled from the large boxes filled with CW quilt tops.The white squares in the center of each block are for words of comfort to the bereaved families and I noticed that this one is lacking those messages, so I will be taking it to friends and family this week to invite them to write their own messages. This block is the Album Cross and many states including Colorado, are using this traditional block design for the Soldier's quilts.
In case you would like to know a little more about the tradition behind these Soldier's quilts below is a brief explanation, and a little more detail if you click here.
The U. S. Sanitary Commission was the first volunteer fundraising organization and was the forerunner of the American Red Cross. It was modeled after the British Sanitary Commission, which was organized to assure that conditions in British military hospitals were sanitary and to aid and comfort the wounded. During the Civil War (1861 – 1865), Northern women made and donated approximately 250,000 quilts to the Union troops.
Southern women also made quilts to support the Confederacy but due to the shortage of fabric and the price [around $16 per yard in the currency of the day], the ladies of the south were not able to make as many quilts as in the north and often times sent heirloom family quilts to their soldiers.
Sanitary Commission quilts measured 48 x 84 inches. These quilts functioned as bedrolls for the soldiers and were used on the cots in military hospitals. Most quilts did not survive the Civil War- battlefield conditions wore them out quickly and those used for bedding in military hospitals often served as burial shrouds because of the shortage of wood for coffins.Of these quilts, only five are known to survive today, one of which is part of the collection at the Lincoln Memorial Shrine in Redlands,CA.
Every U. S. Sanitary Commission quilt had the Sanitary Commission stamp on the back of the quilt. A reproduction of this stamp is sewn on the back of the quilts presented to the families today.