Mary Clemmer Ames (Hudson)

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Print of Mary Ames
Print of Mary Ames

United States Senate

Quick Facts

Significance:
Author of "The Battle of Harper's Ferry As a Woman Saw It" (The New York Evening Post, 1862)
Place of Birth:
Utica, NY
Date of Birth:
May 6, 1831
Place of Death:
Washington, DC
Date of Death:
August 18, 1884
Place of Burial:
Washington, DC
Cemetery Name:
Rock Creek Cemetery

From the Peninsula to Maryland: Ames' role in the summer of 1862

Mary Clemmer Ames was a writer, and started at an early age. She spent her childhood in New York and Massachusetts. When she was twenty years old she married Daniel Ames, a Methodist minister, in 1851. She found herself in Washington, DC and Harpers Ferry during the Civil War because her husband's work as a minister. During the Battle of Harpers Ferry in 1862, she wrote of her experience and what she witnessed. Her account of the battle was published in The New York Evening Post in 1862, and entitled "The Battle of Harper's Ferry As a Woman Saw It."

A few of Ames' recollections of the time from September 13-15, 1862 are as follows:
"There was no corner of safety for unarmed men, women, or children."
"Whiz, whiz, whiz! Whir, whir, ......Bang, bang,...Crash, smash! The rebel batteries opened upon us together. The windows rattled, the house shook to its foundations. Heaven and earth seemed collapsing."
"We all went into the cellar....I entrenched myself in an empty piano box..."

In 1866, Ames' began writing a column for the New York Independent entitled, "Woman's Letter from Washington." This column was how she became a well-known writer. Close to a decade after the Civil War, she divorced Daniel Ames in 1874. She remained in Washington DC and continued to write novels and spend time with people in the political community. She remarried in 1883, to Edmund Hudson who was a noted Washington journalist. She died in 1884 of a cerebral hemorrhage.