Eventually she ended up at the National Archives and the Library of Congress looking through original documents that were around 150 years old. Some of the items she studied were the diary of the nurse at Lincoln's dying child's bedside, hospital admission ledgers, rosters of nurses hired as wounded numbers grew in the war and personal letters of Dorothea Dix.
"They were wrapped in plastic, they were crumbling, they were yellow and I remember feeling if those documents themselves took me back in time," she said.
Sutter and herself also shared the same profession of being a nurse, which she also saw as a connection between her and what she was writing, among other connections.
"I am a very persistent human being and in that way Mary and I connect with one another," she said.