ABSTRACT • AT THE ONSET of the American Civil War, women were asked to leave their homes and serve as suppliers and caregivers for the armies on both sides of the conflict. • MANY WOMEN suddenly found themselves in situations that required real strength, stamina, and fortitude, and some found an inner strength as they organized others to provide care. • WOMEN LIKE Dorthea Dix and Clara Barton were among the first to champion the ability of and the need for women to provide nursing care, which until then had been a male bastion. • THIS ARTICLE, which is the second in a two-part series on nursing during the Civil War, tells how Dorthea Dix, Clara Barton, and other women worked to establish nursing as a viable career choice for women in the United States. AORN J 78 (October 2003) 618–632.