Nuns of the Battlefield Memorial

This memorial honors the women of religious orders who nursed the sick and wounded in the Civil War.

The Nuns of the Battlefield Memorial, honoring the nuns who tended wounded and sick soldiers during the Civil War, features a large bronze relief panel that depicts the life-sized figures of twelve nuns, who wear various habits. At either end of the monolith on which the panel rests are bronze figures—a bronze angel of patriotism on the north end wears a helmet and armor but carries no weapons, indicating the nuns' peaceful mission; the figure of a woman on the south end represents the angel of peace. An inscription honoring the nuns is carved on the monolith above the bronze panel.

The monument was erected and paid for by the women's auxiliary branch of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians in 1924. Ellen Jolly, who campaigned for over a decade for the statue, had grown up hearing nuns' tales of their work on the battlefields, but the War Department first rejected her proposal as she was unable to show proof of the nuns' service. She spent years collecting evidence, and her later proposal was approved by Congress on March 29, 1918.

Jerome Connor, an Irish-American artist and an Irish Catholic, was the sculptor. Following delays due to disagreements over the monument's design and intended location, the monument was installed and dedicated on September 20, 1924, as part of a meeting of Catholics from across the country.

Part of Civil War Monuments
DC Inventory: March 3, 1979
National Register: September 20, 1978

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1745 M Street NW