Mary Ellen O’Connell (also known as Sister Anthony) (1814-December 8, 1897) was an Irish-American, Roman-Catholic Nun. Her work with the wounded during the American Civil War and health care in general caused her to be known as “the angel of the battlefield” and “the Florence Nightingale of America.”
When the Civil War broke out in 1861, she and other nuns of the Sisters of Charity went to Camp Dennison to help out. She then went on to serve battlefields throughout the south.
Sister Anthony developed the Battlefield Triage. Her method was “the first recognizably modern triage techniques in war zones, saved countless lives through faster hospital treatment and won her praise from President Lincoln”. She saw no distinction between Union and Confederate soldiers and just felt her duty to help all.
Sister Anthony was loved and admired by many, including Generals Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, McClellan, and Rosecrans. She also knew President Jefferson Davis who admired her greatly.
She was a true heroine of the War. After the War, she returned to Cincinnati and ran Good Samaritan Hospital. She was made a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. She died on December 8, 1897, in Cincinnati, Ohio where she is bu
ried. At her funeral two veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic, members of the William Lytle Post, bearing aloft flags of their country draped in somber black, stood sentinels at the bier.