Silver tea set presented to Mrs. Dr. William H. True by the patients of
Campbell U. S. Army Hospital
WASHINGTON D. C.
All too typical of the day, little has been set down of the history of Lydia Augusta Holden beyond that she was an estimable young lady who was wed to successful Freeport, Maine physician Dr. William. H. True, July 4, 1849 and that she bore him five children only two of which survived into the 1880s. We can reasonably surmise by virtue of a silver tea set passed on in the family with its original penned presentation document that Mrs. Dr. True was one of several giving women who followed their husbands to the seat of war where these courageous women served in the Army hospitals in and around Washington D. C.
Lydia’s physician husband had been offered a commission to the medical staff of three different Maine regiments when in September of 1862 he selected the 25th Maine Infantry. Several of his Freeport townsmen had done the same. After service as 1st Assistant Surgeon with his Regiment near Fairfax Court House then Chantilly, Surgeon True was ordered to duty on the medical staff at Campbell Hospital in Washington then assigned duty at an Army Convalescent Camp back in Virginia where he rejoined the 25th Maine for return to Maine and mustering out at the expiration of their term of service July 11,1863. Upon the personal request of Surgeon J. H. Baxter as head of Campbell Hospital Dr. True was back in Washington in early August and in charge of his two old wards at Campbell. We believe that it was at this point that Lydia traveled with her husband to be with him and serve patients at Campbell. They would be together until February, 1865 when Dr. True was commissioned surgeon of the 20th Maine Volunteers. He would join the 20th at the front of Petersburg where he was appointed Surgeon in-chief of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 5th Army Corps. True was with the 20th at Appomattox on the day of Lee’s surrender and would return to Maine to be mustered out with the 20th Regiment on July 16, 1865