Civil War Women

Superior Essays
The Civil War wasn’t all about the male soldiers on the battlefield. There were other soldiers fighting a different battle on the home front, and they were none other than the women. The lives that women lived during this time period are often over looked, but they played a huge role in the war. As noted by the article “Women and the Civil War”, “…when in 1861 the American Civil War broke out between the north and the south, both men and women became deeply involved in the conflict.” (Women and the American Civil War) They have often been overlooked, but many historians have become fascinated with the role of women in war, especially the American Civil War. This topic has developed into a huge area of research, and it aids the understanding …show more content…
Wives were left to take care of all domestic responsibilities while their men were at war, and many had to force themselves into independence in order to keep their lives afloat. However, many did this quite willingly, as suggested in the poem “The Volunteer’s Wife to her Husband,” “Take your gun and go, for Ruth can drive the oxen, John, and I can use the hoe.” (Unknown) Women took a large step toward independence when their husbands went to war and they were left to run a large majority of industrial and domestic life. This role differed largely from the traditional domestic duties of women which were accepted in the early 19th century. As the article “The Domestic Ideal” suggests, “…the Civil War both profoundly changed women 's lives and, ironically, further entrenched the ideals of the preexisting Southern social order.” (The Domestic Ideal) Without the hard work of the wives left at home during the Civil War, America could have completely crumbled in the domestic sense, yet these wives are often forgotten when discussing the Civil …show more content…
When women really desired to be heavily involved in war, they went to great lengths to appear as men and then enlist. The article “Women on the Battlefield” suggests that women participated in many different jobs within the armies, such as, “…combatants, teamsters (drivers of teams of horses used to pull cannon and other heavy equipment), or mule drivers, but many more appear to have served as musicians in regimental bands.” (Women on the Battlefield) Often, women could only pass for teenage boys so their options on the battlefield were still limited, hence the reason many of them were merely drummers for the army. The view of these women was contradictory, and is perfectly described by an article from the Civil War Times, stating, “At a time when society saw women soldiers as either unbalanced lesbians or heroic patriots who wanted to be Joan of Arc, some women did espouse a passion, on occasion described as "unadulterated patriotism," for their country, not unlike many men who served beside them.” (It was their Cause) Society tried to exclude women for the war, but its efforts were proved a failure by the over four hundred documented accounts of women fighting in the Civil War. As Brigid Schulte perfectly stated, “Against all odds and every social convention of the time, women soldiers were in the ranks during the Civil War.”

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