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Women In War Essay

886 words - 4 pages

Over the time before the Civil War, American women lives were based on a set of ideals that historians call "the Cult of True Womanhood." While men work moved away from the home and into shops, offices and factories, the household became a new kind of place: a private, feminized domestic sphere, a "haven in a heartless world." Women devoted their lives to creating a clean, comfortable, nurturing home for their husbands and children.
During the Civil War, however, American women turned their attention to the world outside the home. This was the first time in the history of United States that Women actively participated during the Civil War, and the best part is that the participation of the ...view middle of the document...

The Confederacy had less money and fewer resources than did the Union, so they did much of their work on their own or through local auxiliaries and relief societies. They, too, cooked and sewed for their boys. They provided uniforms, blankets, sandbags and other supplies for entire regiments. They wrote letters to soldiers and worked as untrained nurses in makeshift hospitals. They even cared for wounded soldiers in their homes.Many Southern women, especially wealthy ones, relied on slaves for everything and had never had to do much work. However, even they were forced by the exigencies of wartime to expand their definitions of "proper" female behavior (Rowen, 2000-2015). With the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation in September 1862, African-Americans - both free and runaway slaves - came forward to volunteer for the Union cause in substantial numbers. Beginning in October, approximately 180,000 African-Americans, comprising 163 units, served in the U.S. Army, and 18,000 in the Navy. That month, the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteers repulsed a Confederate attack at Island Mound, Missouri. Men of the U.S.C.T. (United States Colored Troops) units went on to distinguish themselves on battlefields east and west - at Port Hudson, Louisiana; Honey Springs, Oklahoma; Fort Wagner, South Carolina; New Market Heights, Virginia. African Americans constituted 10% of the entire Union Army by the end of the war, and nearly 40,000 died over the course of the war.
Blacks on both sides of the war served in relief roles, for example, working as nurses, cooks, and blacksmiths. The South refused to arm blacks but used them to build fortifications and perform...

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