The Role of Women During
What roles did women the Civil War
actually have during the
What impact did women have
on the outcome
Listen to Civil War song: of the American Civil War?
“The Girl I Left Behind Me”
-Midi File Sequenced by John Renfro Davis
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.
It is an accepted convention that the Civil War was a man's fight. Images
of women during that conflict center on self-sacrificing nurses, romantic spies, or
brave ladies maintaining the home front in the absence of their men. The men, of
course, marched off to war, lived in germ-ridden camps, engaged in heinous
battle, languished in appalling prison camps, and died horribly, yet heroically.
This conventional picture of gender roles during the Civil War does not tell the
Listen to Civil War song:
“When Johnny Comes Marching Home“
-Midi File Sequenced by Anon
Here is a picture of
disguised as a soldier.
Men were not the only ones to fight that war.
Women bore arms and charged into battle, too.
Like the men, there were women who lived in
camp, suffered in prisons, and died for their
Women were not
allowed to be
soldiers. So they
had to disguise
Listen to Civil War song:
quot;The Battle Hymn of the Republicquot;
-Midi File Sequenced by Anon. as men.
Nursing the Wounded
The women of the war
formed groups like the Sick
Soldier's Relief Society and
the Soldier's Aid Society.
In the South and in the
North too, women made
bandages for the wounded
and knit socks to kept he
soldiers' feet warm and
dry. A few, Louisa May
Alcott, author of Little
Women, among them,
volunteered to nurse the
Nurses and Caregivers
Nursing the wounded in a
Civil War field hospital.
Clara Barton entered
the war as a field
hospital nurse. After the
war she would go on to
found The American Red
Even the most
in the battlefield
women. Here a
Women worked to manufacture arms, ammunition, uniforms, and other supplies
for the soldiers. Prior to its destruction, women in the Fayetteville arsenal made some
900,000 rounds of small arms munitions in 1864. People were grateful for the contributions
of women in the war, and newspapers reported their accomplishments. Many other services
and supplies were also needed for
the war effort.
Another common job for a
woman during the civil war was
to become a spy. Since legally
they could not serve on the
battlefield, some woman anxious
to help the war efforts would
engage in espionage.
One famous spy during that time
was Mrs. Rose O'Neal Greenhow.
Since she socialized in political
circles she was able to gather and
pass along information.
Mrs. Rose O'Neal Greenhow
Being a spy was a very dangerous
contribution to the war effort. If
discovered you could be killed or
One of the most famous of
Confederate spies, Belle Boyd
served the Confederate forces
in the Shenandoah Valley. She
was caught and imprisoned in
quot;Majorquot; 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. Listen to Civil War song:
Barnum who advised her tours. quot;The Red River Valleyquot;
-Midi File Sequenced by Barry Taylor
Citations and Sources
Women Soldiers of the Civil War By DeAnne Blanton
quot;KNOWN BUT TO GODquot;: FEMALE SOLDIERS IN THE CIVIL WAR By Richard Hall
Women of the American Civil War
Civil War Music