hen the Southern states seceded from the Union, they faced an immediate dilemma. Their troops would need to be supplied with supplies for their hospitals. States’ rights came into play immediately. In the North the Sanitary Commission and the Christian Commission were formed on a national level to provide for the troops and supplemental supplies for the hospital system set up under the army. Each state in the South began worrying about their own soldiers. Virginia civilians were to worry about only Virginians etc. In the South, Georgia proved that it could develop one of the most efficient systems to serve its soldiers fighting in the war.

The GRHA (Georgia Relief & Hospital Association) was formed in December, 1861 legislative action in Milledgeville.  The act consisted of five sections. This was a unique concept as the Georgia legislature was providing state funding to “aid” the private association in its efforts. The purpose of the GRHA was to “provide medical attendance, stores, and supplies, hospital rooms, accommodations and transportation for the sick and wounded soldiers of, and in the State of Georgia.” It was a very broad mandate indeed! The act included a “sum of two hundred thousand dollars” to be expended by the GRHA to accomplish its purposes. The fund was to be drawn from only in amounts needed as ordered by the GRHA Executive Committee. The Executive Committee consisted of twelve members. To account for these funds to the state, a monthly statement of expenditures and its details was to be provided on a monthly basis. If statements were not provided, the fund was to be frozen by the Governor of Georgia until statements were provided. The funds were to be distributed at “the different permanent and temporary Hospitals at the various military positions occupied by troops from this State, within the State of Virginia and elsewhere.” Agents were to be appointed to carry out the duties of the GRHA in places that the organization felt necessary. The agents were to be paid employees.

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