From Ohio History Central
The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) founded the United States Christian Commission on November 16, 1861. The commission hoped to provide spiritual support to men serving in the Union military during the American Civil War. The members of the Commission were all volunteers and included men, women, and children who volunteered their time making supplies for the soldiers. They also raised money to send religious tracts and books to the men. The United States Christian Commission raised more than three million dollars to complete this part of its mission. More than five thousand volunteers traveled with the Union armies that moved through the South during the war. These volunteers assisted sick and wounded men in hospitals and worked with army chaplains to bring a religious message to the soldiers. The United States Christian Commission established branches in Ohio in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Toledo. The Commission remained in operation until the war's conclusion in 1865. Many Union soldiers recorded in their diaries and letters home their thanks for the work of the commission.