The Important Role of Confederate Women in the American Civil War

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The Important Role of Confederate Women in the American Civil War

Women in the Confederacy had a great impact on the Civil War. They were thrown into totally different lifestyles--ones that did not include men taking care of the land and other businesses. Women had more control of their lives than ever before. Some took it upon themselves to get involved directly with the war while others just kept the home fires burning. Whatever roles they played, women contributed a multitude of skills to the Civil War effort.

The life of a plantation mistress changed significantly once her husband left to join the Southern army. A majority of them stayed right on the land even if they were rich enough to move to a safer place. While there, the
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Some, however, were much closer to the battlefield than they would have liked to have been. Lucy Breckinridge, a nineteen-year-old girl who lived in the Shenandoah Valley, wrote in her diary how she could hear the cannons over the mountains. Carrie Berry consistently wrote that her family spent a good part of two months in the cellar while her home was being bombarded by shells. Another nineteen-year-old, Sarah Morgan, from Baton Rouge, went to the levees to watch the battles, even though it was against her mother's wishes.5 But some women took it a step further: rather than just watching the men fight for the Southern states, a few women decided to pick up a gun and join the ranks.

It is not known how many women actually participated in battle; however, the number seems to be higher than anyone expected. These women played the role of the warrior and literally gave up their gender to fight. One such case is Amy Clark. She dressed like a man to serve in the Confederate army with her husband. After his death, she continued her service and was wounded and captured by the Union. Once the North discovered her true identity, they released her back into the Southern army and insisted that she wear a dress. Some say that Amy Clark may have worn lieutenant's bars on her uniform. Another women who dressed as a man to fight was Malenda Blalock, who posed as a brother to her husband. Another southern female warrior was Madame
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