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Angel Agnes:The Heroine of the Yellow Fever Plague in Shreveport

The Heroine of the Yellow Fever Plague in Shreveport

Library of Alexandria
ANGEL AGNES. May God protect you, reader of this book, from all manner of sickness; but above all, from that thrice dreaded pestilence, yellow fever. Of all the scourge ever sent upon poor sinful man, none equals in horror and loathsomeness yellow fever. Strong fathers and husbands, sons and brothers, who would face the grape-shot battery in battle, have fled dismayed from the approach of yellow fever. They have even deserted those most dear to them. Courageous, enduring women, too, who feared hardly any other form of sickness, have been terrified into cowardice and flight when yellow fever announced its awful presence. Such was the state of affairs when, a short time ago, the startling announcement was made that yellow fever had broken out in Shreveport, Louisiana, and that it was of the most malignant type. At once everybody who could do so left the stricken city for safer localities, and, with equal promptitude, other cities and towns quarantined themselves against Shreveport, for fear of the spread of the frightful contagion to their own homes and firesides. Daily the telegraph flashed to all parts of the land the condition of Shreveport, until the operators themselves were cut down by the disease and carried to the graveyard. Volunteers were then called for from among operators in the places, and several of these, who came in response to the call, though acclimated, and fanciedly safe, took it and died. Then it was that terror really began to take hold of the people in earnest. A man was alive and well in the morning, and at night he was a horrible corpse. The fond mother who thanked heaven, as she put her children to bed, that she had no signs of the malady, and would be able to nurse them if they got sick, left those little ones orphans before another bedtime came around. In some cases even, the fell destroyer within forty-eight hours struck down whole families, leaving neither husband, mother nor orphans to mourn each other, but sweeping them all into eternity on one wave as it were. Then it was that a great wail of mortal distress rose from Shreveport—a call for help from one end of the land to another. Business came to a stand-still, the ordinary avocations of life were suspended. No work! no money! no bread! Nothing but sickness! nothing but horror! nothing but despair! nothing but death! Alas! was there no help in this supreme moment? There was plenty of money forthcoming, but no nurses. Philanthropic men and women in near and also distant States, sent their dollars even by telegraph. But who would go thither and peril his or her life for the good of the city in sackcloth and ashes