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This article examines international law as practice. It explores the ways Geneva Convention rules were implemented in the many armed struggles of the late Imperial age, including colonial and small wars where the law had no formal jurisdiction. Through case studies of several armed conflicts involving British, United States, and German medical staff—placed in the context of the evolving international Red Cross network—it traces the establishment of a hierarchically subordinated but gender integrated nursing corps as a global norm, if not a universal pattern. The article is as much about the methodology of transnational history as about a new approach to law, war, and gender.