Southern Women In The Civil War Essay

1628 Words 7 Pages
Women during the Civil War were forced into life-style changes which they had never dreamed they would have to endure. No one was spared from the devastation of the war, and many lives were changed forever. Women in the south were forced to take on the responsibilities of their husbands, carrying on the daily responsibilities of the farm or plantation. They maintained their homes and families while husbands and sons fought and died for their beliefs. Many women took the advantage of their opinions being heard, and for the first time supported their cause in anyway they could.
Whether a woman was the mistress of a plantation or the wife of a yeoman farmer, her life was defined by work. Only a small number of women, those related or
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Many women were beginning to notice changes in themselves and the other women around them. Sallie Putnam wrote, "Those who had formerly devoted themselves to gaiety and fashionable amusements, found their only real pleasure in obedience to the demands made upon their time and talents, in providing proper habiliments for the soldier… the devotee of ease, luxury and idle enjoyment, found herself transformed into the busy seamstress" (Confederate, 26).
Before the war women who lived in or near cities could, if status and funding permitted, lead slightly easier lives than rural women. General stores lined the streets, selling all types of merchandise, from sewing machines to washboards. Newspapers advertised both ready-made clothing and the services of expert seamstresses and milliners. Produce grown in backyard gardens was available for purchase, and local farmers carted their surplus into town. Churches, schools, and theaters offered social and cultural outlets. The sociable elite enjoyed dinner and card parties (Grander, 5).
Once the war began many women were forced to give up the simple luxuries they were once accustomed to. The daily things that women used became scarce, and many women were forced to sell, or barter their personal property. Before the war many women of high society often wore elaborate dresses made of silk and lace, but as basic goods became more
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