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 women and children would do a plethora of things: plant gardens, sew, knit, weave cloth, spin thread, process and cure meat, scour copper utensils, preserve and churn butter, and dip candles. Another important chore for a plantation mistress was caring for all the slaves. This included providing food, clothing, shelter, and medical care.1 Since money was scarce, "everything was made at home" according to one Southern woman. In a letter to her sister, she added that they "substituted rice for coffee . . . honey and homemade molasses for sugar . . . all we wore was made at home. Shoes also. You would be surprised to see how neat people looked."2 Even a ten-year-old girl wrote in her diary how she would have to go to work to help her mother: "Mama has been very busy to day and I have been trying to help her all I could." This same little girl cooked for her family and cared for her little sister while her mother was busy keeping the plantation alive. 3 Not only did the women stay busy trying to keep...
... middle of paper ...
... Tompkins opened many hospitals across the South. Jefferson Davis gave Tompkins rank, but she refused to accept a salary.
9 "Sister Writes from Vanquished South"; Clinton 65,81, 122, 143; Hall 81; East 293; Woodward 216-217.
10 Clinton 123, 124, 128; Robertson 185; East 238, 247; "Sister Writes from Vanquished South"; Berry; Woodward 153.
11 Clinton 131; Robertson 93,60,192, 62; Woodward 44,88; East 55,162,486.
12 Clinton 62,66.
13 Roland 237; Woodward 29,410, 196; Robertson 35, 211; Clinton 41.
14 Robertson 330-331; 215, 250, 138; Clinton 134-135, 175; "Sister Writes from Vanquished South"; Tucker 151.
15 DePauw 77; Robertson 132; East 182-3, 64; Woodward 217; Roland 237.
16 East 175, 290, 568.
17 Clinton 56, 59, 61; DePauw 77; Hunter 37; East 123.
18 Boritt 82,126; Roland 237; "Sister Writes from Vanquished South".
19 DePauw 77-78.
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