Presentation on theme: "Women during the Civil War On and Off the Battlefield."— Presentation transcript:
Women during the Civil War On and Off the Battlefield
Most of the women at the time of the Civil War did try to remain fair and pure, untainted by the war. As time passed however, more and more women found themselves placed far from the domesticity that had enveloped their lives. Who was going to run the plantations and factories while their men were at war? Who was going to become the family breadwinner during this crisis? Who would fulfill the role of nurses, reporters and lawyers while the men were away? Majority of the women at the beginning of the Civil War were considered frail, genteel ladies. Those who never let the touch of the sun spoil their fair complexion. Imagine the movie “Gone with the Wind” and what the ladies looked like – dress, hair, manner.
Have you ever wondered what women did during the Civil War and how their lives changed? Wives, mothers, daughters, and grandmothers impacted the War both at home and on the battlefield. Their lives changed in many ways with the onset of the Civil War. In what ways did they change? Your job is to become an expert on the changes the women experienced in their lives during the Civil War
Women were forced into accepting outside employment so that their families wouldn't go hungry. But women who worked in any capacity, whether they managed or work on a plantation, be a nurse, reporter, doctor, lawyer, teacher, factory worker, or who voiced any strong opinion of advocacy was declared not virtuous, not genteel, not pure and was open to much unkind criticism
Imagine then, the women, especially the unmarried women, who laundered, cooked, nursed at the war's front or became involved in espionage activity. Their motives were put under the deepest of scrutiny. If a woman went the next step, disguised herself as a man, and went to fight in the war, she was accused of being insane or to have other reasons for being close to the men, sometimes her family would even disown her. Information about these unique women is extremely scarce.
approximately 500 - 1000 women soldiers who fought, disguised as men, on both sides during the American Civil War
A woman enlisting in either army disguised herself as a man by cutting her hair short, wearing men's clothing, binding her chest, and taking a man's name. She did her best to act like a man so as not to draw attention to herself or her sex. Those who were successful in their disguise and died in combat were known only by their male identity. Most of their real names are lost to history.
Imagine you live in the 1860's. You are most probably a housewife, whose world circles around your husband and your children. Now imaging being separated from the person that your world is built around. Many of the women who enlisted did so from a desire to be with husbands or fiancés. For some, enlistment was a way to gather some adventure or romance in a world that was mostly ordered by the males in her family. Others enlisted due to patriotism and still others from particular obsessions. This is illustrated in the case of "Emily" from Brooklyn, whose family saw her desire to enlist as being mentally unsound and who, they say, had the idea that she was a second Joan of Arc. She was fatally wounded on the second day of the battle of Chickamauga where her sex was revealed.
less worthy reason for women to disguise themselves was so that they could be closer to the military camps and promote their "trade". This adds the difficulty of separating these "trades women" from the woman actually serving as a soldier. An added difficulty is that if a female soldier's sex was discovered it is likely that the commanding officer would deny any knowledge of her and she would be labeled a prostitute or would be escorted out of camp. All the women who for whatever reason disguised themselves fought hard and well, giving their last full measure to their chosen cause.
Jennie Hodgers, a.k.a. Albert Cashier Albert Cashier, born Irene Hodgers in Ireland, spent the entire war in the guise of a man, and continued in that disguise almost until her dying day in 1915.
Sarah Emma Edmonds a.k.a. Franklin Thompson Disguised as Franklin Thompson, a bible salesman, Sarah Emma Edmonds entered the United States from Canada to avoid an arranged marriage. She failed the first attempt at a physical due to a height requirement, but managed to pass the second physical and enlisted in Co. F, 2nd. Michigan Infantry on May 14, 1861 at the age of 20. This soldier started out as a field nurse serving at First Manassas (Bull Run) and the Seven Days Campaign. She served as an accomplished spy and buried another female soldier at Antietam. The regiment was moved to Kentucky early in 1863, where Thompson came down with malaria. Fearing discovery she deserted on April 22.
Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, alias Private Lyons Wakeman
Madam Loreta Velazquez Otherwise Known as Lieutenant Harry T. Buford, Confederate States Army Cuban woman fought in the Civil War for the Confederacy as the cross-dressing Harry T. Buford. As Buford, she organized an Arkansas regiment; participated in the historic battles of Bull Run, Balls Bluff, Fort Donelson, and Shiloh
Dr. Mary Edwards Walker early suffragette, one of the earliest women physicians, a champion for more comfortable clothing for women and a pioneer for women in many areas that we take for granted today. Her medal was rescinded, then subsequently restored by President Carter.
At the start of the war, Mrs. Hopkins sold her estates in New York, Virginia and Alabama and gave the proceeds to the Confederate government to establish hospitals for Confederate soldiers. She then went to Richmond to serve as chief matron of the hospital corps for Alabama. Mrs. Hopkins was even shot twice while attending to the wounded on the battlefield. Called the Florence Nightingale of the South, her picture appeared on Confederate currency from Alabama.
The most famous of all nurses was Clara Barton. She went on and formed the Red Cross which is still in existence today.
Annie Etheridge Courageous Nurse known for her courage in giving medical help to the wounded on the battlefield as a part of the Michigan Volunteers, serving the regiment as a nurse. She was an expert horsewoman and at the start of the war she filled her saddle bags with lint and bandages and often rode through battles caring for the wounded.
Rose O'Neal Greenhow She produced intelligence of great value to the Confederacy. embryonic spy ring out of Washington, D.C., set up late in 1860 or early in 1861 By the outbreak of the war, neither the Union nor the Confederacy had established a full-scale espionage system or a military intelligence network. Much of it reportedly came from an infatuated Suitor, Henry Wilson of Massachusetts, chairman of the Senate Military Affairs Committee. Through a ring of couriers that included a woman named Bettie Duval, Greenhow smuggled information about the southward-marching army under Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell to Confederate troops in the vicinity of Virginias Manassas Junction. There it was received by Colonel Jordan, now chief of staff to the local commander, Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard. The intelligence helped turn First Bull Run into a Confederate victory.
Pauline Cushman "Major" Pauline Cushman claimed Confederate sympathy yet she actually spied for the Union, often as an actress. Her many adventures were capitalized upon by P.T. Barnum who advised her tours.
Ginnie and Lottie Moon two sisters who cleverly and brazenly spied for the Confederates during the Civil War - and got away with it. One disguised herself as an old woman and passed through enemy lines with no trouble and the other passed through by claiming she was going to see her boyfriend (beau) The Moon sisters adventures for their beloved Confederacy led them into danger and eventually brought down - and they were quite successful as spies. Proving once more that in every conflict - women were there!
Emmeline Piggott became North Carolina's most famous spy and smuggler. She is said to have carried dispatches in the large pockets under her full skirts. She avoided capture many times but was finally caught, arrested and imprisoned. She was eventually released and sent home.
Elizabeth Van Lew Union spy who made notable contributions throughout the war Resident of the Confederate capital of Richmond. "Crazy Bett," as the eccentric Unionist was known to her neighbors, ran the largest and most successful spy ring concentrated in any city. Her team of operatives included a freed slave whom she placed as a servant in the Confederate White House to eavesdrop on Pres. Jefferson Davis and his visitors.
Elizabeth C. Howland Elizabeth C. Howland, trained in medicine by her father, was highly successful as a Confederate spy. She often sent her young son and daughter to carry dispatches. Appearing innocent, the children were allowed to pass through enemy lines undisturbed
Susie Baker, later King Taylor Born a slave in 1848 in Georgia. She learned to read and write while living with her grandmother. Susie gained her freedom in 1862 as contraband of war and was appointed laundress of the 33 rd U.S. Colored Troops. At the age of 14 she taught the soldiers in her husband's regiment to read and write and did their laundry. In January 1863, Susie King began to nurse the wounded men who returned to camp from a raid up the St. Mary's River. Susie also learned to clean, load and fire a musket
TELEGRAPHERS dot code was developed in the 1860s, he said, because of difficulty between the Army Signal Corps and the semi-private US Military Telegraph Service. Executives of the Northern telegraph companies were afraid the military would take over their lines, Mathers explained. "Everything of importance was sent in cipher. Union generals weren't shown the secret codes. Even Lincoln was out of the loop." In the South, army signalers were expected to be proficient not only with flag and torch, but with the key and sounder
Harriet Beecher Stowe : Three Novels : Uncle Tom's Cabin Or, Life Among the Lowly; The Minister's Wooing; Oldtown Folks Uncle Tom's Cabin is probably the most influential work of fiction in American history. This Christian epic turned millions of Americans against slavery, bringing the "peculiar institution" closer to its destruction.
Confederate women: Forced to finally face reality and change their lifestyle from Lizzie Neblett, a housewife facing a life of physical labor for the first time, to Sallie Tompkins, a Virginia aristocrat turned military nurse, to Belle Boyd, a ruthless teenaged spy. Their lives changed overnight and they found themselves head of the family responsible for the entire family and/or plantation
One black woman started life as a slave, then managed to buy her freedom, and later set up a successful living as a seamstress, eventually going to work for Mary Todd Lincoln in the White House Women not only had to tend to the family and the land but take on other issues as well. Slave and class relations, regional politics, lynchings, farm management, medical practices, mental illness to name a few.
During the Civil War, one of the tasks which Southern women took up for the Cause was to sew uniforms for soldiers Southern women organized within their communities to support the war effort and care for sick and wounded soldiers. many other activities women undertook, from going "daily to the Hospitals..." to "offer(ing) to write letters to the dear ones at home."
…..contribution of chickens to feed the soldiers. She explains that at the depository in Lynchburg, soldiers "use an average of five dollars worth of chickens daily." In addition to chickens, vegetables to pickle were also in high demand since "the soldiers are particularly fond of it."
….occupied with caring for sick and wounded Confederate soldiers in hospitals set up on the Lawn at the University of Virginia. In a letter to her brother Eugene at camp, she describes the horrors of a Confederate hospital. "Most of our immediate neighbours are getting on well but just across the lawn there are some of the worst cases & the sight & sounds we have to encounter daily are most distressing. I am mightily afraid we shall have some sort of infectious fever here for it is impossible to keep the place clean & there is a bad smell everywhere.“ Despite the conditions, she writes, "(t)hey say though that the patients are much more comfortable at this hospital than anywhere else. I should think the hospitals must be very uncomfortable indeed."
Confederate States of America. Congress. Senate. A bill to regulate the pay and allowances of certain female employees of the government. Richmond, January 5, 1865.This measure established equitable wages and other compensations (including firewood and additional rations) for women employed in hospitals, and in the Quartermaster's Department and the Ordnance Department.
Daily Richmond Examiner, March 14, 1864: "City Intelligence--Terrible Laboratory Explosion Brown's Island-- Between Forty and Fifty Persons Killed and Wounded--Horrible Scene." Throughout the war, women made the ultimate sacrifice for Confederate patriotism. This incident illustrates the dangers of their wartime industrial employment. The explosion occurred on March 13, 1863, killing thirty-five women and injuring thirty-one. The explosion horribly burned many victims beyond recognition.
As the war progressed and conditions in the South worsened, it became increasingly difficult for families to keep their daughters in school. In this 1863 letter from Fannie Booth of Danville Female College, to her grandmother, she mentions that "several girls have left on account of the high board." However, the cost of education did not diminish its value in Fannie's eyes. "I value an education higher than property, therefore I will remain at school as long as Brother Edwin thinks we can afford it."
a favorite of Confederate soldiers; after the war many Southern women were named "Lorena” "Lorena," Macon, Georgia: John C. Schreiner & Son: 186?, sheet music. "Lorena" was an antebellum song with Northern origins.
"Pray, Maiden, Pray," Richmond, Virginia: George Dunn & Co.: 1864, sheet music. This ballad, "respectfully dedicated to the patriotic women of the South," suggests the prayers of Confederate women could bring victory to the cause of Southern Independence: "Maiden, pray that yon trumpet blast/And rocket's signal light/But summon squadrons thick and fast!/To win in our victorious fight/For Home, for Freedom and the Right/Pray, maiden, pray!"
Approximately 258,000 Confederates died from bullets or disease. We can never know the number of women who died of broken hearts.
As much as possible Confederate women tried to live normal lives despite shortages of specific foods and goods. The fact that the war took so many men from home was particularly worrisome to women left on the plantations and in towns, as Mrs. Roberts describes in this March, 1862 letter. "(S)hould the darkies trouble I assure you we would be in a bad way are (sic) men are thinned out so." However, hard times did bring about ingenuity. Mrs. Roberts describes her innovation of using rye as a substitute for coffee, which was in short supply due to the blockade
Henry County, Virginia resident complains to her sister about hard times and high prices, August 23, 1862 "Times are very hard here every thing is scarce and high... corn is selling for ten dollars, bacon 45 cents per pound, brandy is selling about here from 4 to 5 dollars per gallon, in Danville it sells for eight dollars. We cannot get a yard of calico for less than one dollar we cannot get a pound of copperas [a sulfate used in making ink] for less than a dollar and 25 cents."
Southern women were determined to protect themselves against the "ultimate outrage" (rape) -63-year-old Lucy Johnston Ambler confided in her diary: "I intend to get Mr. Downs to show me how to shoot tomorrow and how to load." ….gloating March 6, 1863 letter from a Baltimore brother-in-law describing the good life in the North, latest fashions, parties and balls, museums, and churches. He offers to send her ribbons of any color she wants and urges her to "Come down and see for yourself."
January, 1865 letter from one sister in rural Virginia to another explains the toll the war had taken on the social interactions and social life of Southerners. "You can tell what ladies we have been all this year. I have nothing to do but sit in the house & sew all day."
The federal government preferred to expel Confederate women suspected of disloyalty As Union forces made their way across the South, many women were forced to flee from their homes, moving from one Confederate state to another just ahead of advancing armies.
…pass signed by Confederate Secretary of War James A. Seddon, January 23, 1865: allows this lady to cross enemy lines to visit
Confederate soldiers and civilians, including women, were required to take oaths of allegiance after the war and formally apply for pardons if they wished to obtain federal assistance, return of captured property (excepting slaves) or restoration of their civil rights
After the war, Southern women remained loyal to the Confederacy. An 1866 invitation to a benefit supper to raise funds for a Confederate cemetery, this Ladies' Memorial Association of Charlottesville describes its mission as "to embrace the sisterhood of those who once called the Confederate cause their own”
Your Task: Now that you have become familiar with the lives of women during the Civil War, it is your task to publish the employment section of a magazine. This magazine will become a permanent part of an exhibit at the Museum of Texas. You must include two (2) of the following job descriptions in your employment section. Each job description needs to be a half page and include an illustration to support the job description. Nurse Spy Soldier Slave owner 5. Any other vocation or position you want to include (be creative!!)
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