Women During The Civil War

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Women During the Civil War

" ‘I want something to do…' ‘Write a book,' Qouth the author of my being. ‘Don't know enough, sir. First live, then write.' ‘Try teaching again,' suggested my mother. ‘No thank you, ma'am, ten years of that is enough.' ‘Take a husband like my Darby, and fulfill your mission,' said sister Joan. ‘Can't afford expensive luxuries, Mrs. Coobiddy.' ‘Go nurse the soldiers,' said my young brother, Tom. ‘I will!' (Harper 14)." This is a dialog of Louisa May Alcott with her relatives. Miss Alcott, like many other African American women, helped serve in the Civil War. During the Civil War, Miss Alcott held a variety of jobs. Mainly working as a writer, she held positions as a nurse, teacher, and volunteered in Soldiers' Aid Societies (Harper 14). These were just a sample of jobs that African American women occupied during the Civil War.

African American women, free or enslaved, found the Civil War to be a chance for them to break out of bondage. It was a point in their lives where they had a chance to find freedom. Although they knew they wouldn't be able to directly influence this chance, they did have an opportunity to make an impact. While their husbands, fathers, or male relatives were out fighting the war, African American women had to find a way to support their families. African American women worked as nurses, domestic servants, laundresses, cooks, seamstresses, and operated boarding houses. They also managed to continue the education of young people by being teachers, volunteered at churches, and created literary and moral improvement societies. The most common job of African American women during the Civil War was nursing. African American women were usually the backbone of hospital staffs....

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...ves, and many families ended up starving. Many of these women were forced to make their own clothes and shoes. It would be the only way they could clothe their children. Women that did have jobs, found themselves wearing formal attire to work because their street clothes were so ragged and worn. It was also a woman's role to teach her children. Women not in the war had to take on many responsibilities. Another role they had to endure was being a nurse. A major disadvantage of living on a farm in the South was that your home would become a battlefield. With warfare taking place on the home front, women were invaded with wounded soldiers in their homes and forced to take care of them (Massey 197-219). Even the women that weren't working in the battlefields, still endured pain and suffering, and sacrificed themselves for the betterment of their families and country.
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